Anime: Space Runaway Ideon

"A merry robot action anime about protecting the peace of the world and your neighborhood."

Space Runaway Ideon (a.k.a. 伝説巨神イデオン, Densetsu Kyojin Ideon, lit. Legendary Giant God Ideon, also The Ideon) is a 1980 Super Robot Genre, Mecha Show anime. It was the project that Yoshiyuki Tomino worked on directly after Mobile Suit Gundam. As with its sister series it had its run cut short, it was planned for 43 episodes but got pulled after 39. The last 4 episodes were made into the movie Be Invoked. Due to its angsty and bizarre ending, it is often cited as close inspiration for Neon Genesis Evangelion (Hideaki Anno himself describes Evangelion as Ideon meets Devilman). Heck, it's probably best known today as the absolute heavyweight champion of the Kill 'em All trope.

The full story goes as follows: A group of Terran colonists on a remote planet find a Cool Starship and three bulky starfighters that combine into a Super Robot. The ship and the robot contain the so-called Ide, a source of infinite energy, which a militaristic alien-but-actually-human civilization of Buff Clan is after. This results in a rather monotonous Strategy Of The Week as Buff Clan (unsuccessfully) employs increasingly more devastating technologies and renowned military commanders to bring down the Solo ship and get their hands on Ideon. Along the way, many folks die and the Solo ship screws up their relationships with other Terran colonies and the Earth itself, all of whom now want Ide for themselves. Towards the end of the series, every known army in the universe gangs up against the Solo crew. It also becomes apparent that Ideon has a will of its own and that it is displeased with the humans' wars and infighting. Enough so to completely wipe all of them out. That's where the series abruptly cuts. In The Movie, Buff Clan stages the final assault on the Solo ship and Ideon, this time with a planet-destroying Wave Motion Gun. And succeeds. Ideon explodes and destroys what's left of Buff Clan army—but before that, it generates a swarm of meteors that wipe out all life on both Earth and the Buff Clan homeworld (destruction of other Terran colonies is strongly implied). Cue the Mind Screwing scene with the characters' spirits being somehow reborn on a higher plane of existence.

The series features rather formulaic combat engagements. These usually follow the pattern of Buff Clan (later, Earth, too) presenting their newest strategy/technology/commander, engaging Ideon (which may or may not be in combined form at the time), and getting their asses handed to them in every single episode. The grand scale of the battles commonly seen in various Gundams is unattainable with a single robot and a Cool Starship, so don't look for it here. Another notable feature is the shameless Plot Armor of major antagonists, as it is not uncommon to see them escape with ease while Ideon takes out their Redshirt Army. To be fair, however, the show isn't bad, just a little monotonous. Be Invoked, on the other hand, is a must for every anime fan out there. Otherwise, you miss out big time on how Kill 'em All was done back in the days...

Yoshiyuki Tomino apparently wants to make a remake of it. Complete with the death scenes.

This anime provides examples of: