Space Runaway Ideon - Perfect Collection Part 1Space Runaway Ideon has suffered badly in terms of DVD releases - when the series finally came to DVD, the first boxed set was produced in large numbers in the expectation it would match Mobile Suit Gundam's sales. It didn't, and production numbers for the second set and the following double-pack containing the films were much smaller. These are now very rare, while even the first set is difficult to find. In 2006, the whole series was released again on 12 single DVDs, but these were limited edition and rapidly sold out.

Space Runaway Ideon - Perfect Collection Part 1Step in China's bootlegging industry, and this dodgy copy of the first boxed set, named as 'The Perfect Collection' Part 1 (that's bloody typical, isn't it? All the Gundam 'Perfect Collection' bootlegs contain the whole damn series, but Ideon gets done piecemeal).

The artwork has that weird fresh-off-the-Laserjet look, while the text is curiously light on company names, copyright markings and the like - I wonder why...

Space Runaway Ideon - Perfect Collection Part 1It also includes Chinese or English subtitles. The latter are a bit awful. Most character names are changed, ranging from the understandable (Deck becomes Dick, Sheryl is Sherry) to the downright bizarre (Bes is referred to as base, lower case 'b' and all, while Cosmo is named Universe). To be fair, most of the actual meaning of the dialogue survives, and providing you're familiar with the series from fan subs or actually understanding Japanese (the discs do have a 'no subtitles' option), the plots can be followed. Just try to not laugh too much. It is nice to see the series' visuals properly rather on murky video files, though - the picture is very bright and clear, I'm guessing it was directly pirated from the original discs.

For content, it's undoubtedly the weakest slice of Ideon. It doesn't help that the series' cancellation meant the obvious middle point (the destruction of the Dorowa Zan, setting up the Ome Foundation and what follows, and then the recap clip show) is moved to slightly back, so this set finishes rather abruptly and without quite getting up to speed. There are some plus points, mainly character-based, but most of the dross is in this half. Worst of this is the galactic travelogue phase, after the colonists have left Solo behind but before they've really found any direction. Each episode or so, the Solo Ship lands on some weird planet, while Harulu's latest general comes up with a plan (usually involving hooks), sets off with a small fraction of the available forces and has his arse handed to him. It's not actually quite that bad, but it certainly feels repetitive.

In summary, this set isn't recommended for those new to Ideon, both due to the presentation and - in a way - the content. Ideon is rewarding to watch through from the start without a doubt, but you'll need the rest of the series and the films on hand to reward your patience.