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Anime / Space Runaway Ideon

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"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 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 called Buff Clan is after. This results in a Strategy of the Week format as the Buff Clan (unsuccessfully) employs increasingly more devastating technologies and renowned military commanders to bring down the Solo ship and to get their hands on Ideon. Along the way, many folks die, and the Solo crew screw up their relationships with other Terran colonies and the Earth itself, all of whom now want Ide for themselves. On top of all that, it also becomes apparent that Ideon has a will of its own and that it is displeased with the humans' wars and infighting...


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

This anime provides examples of:

  • Action Girlfriend: Kasha.
  • Alliterative Name: Kitty Kitten.
  • Afro Asskicker: Cosmo Yuki, main character, main pilot of the Ideon and proud owner of a stylish orange 'fro.
  • Anyone Can Die: Taken to its absolute logical extreme in Be Invoked. Not even Rapappa is spared.
  • Apocalypse How:
    • In Be Invoked we see the energy from the Ideon's destruction spread out and engulf the remaining planets in the system. And then it just keeps getting larger... and larger...
    • It's theorized that the explosion destroyed the entire universe... Then rebuilt to start anew. And a certain tie-in manga implies the new universe is Gundam's.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Gije. Becoming, obsessed with the Ideon, he defects to the Solo Ship so that he can witness 'a manifestation of the Ide'. He ends up becoming one of its pilots.
  • Advertisement:
  • Badass Crew: The Solo Ship crew grow into this and having two variations of {Proud Warrior Race Guy also help.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: So... so... many... *sob*.
  • Big Bad: At first you'd think it'd be the leader of the Buff Clan, Emperor Zuou Habel Gande, or their military commander, Karala's Archnemesis Dad, Doba. The real main villain is actually the Ideon itself. The machine is alive and out to destroy the entire universe.
  • Brandishment Bluff: Karala threatens to shoot Commander Doba with a small remote control-like object that she claims can emit a tiny laser. It's later revealed that the object in question was actually a communicator.
  • Break the Haughty: Sheryl.
  • Cain and Abel: Karala is the Abel and Harulu is the Cain. It culminates in Harulu killing her own sister in Be Invoked
  • Combining Mecha: The eponymous Ideon itself is made out of three transforming component vehicles, including:
    • Sol-Amber/Ideo-Delta making up the arms and head, piloted by Cosmo and Deck.
    • Sol-Vainer/Ideo-Nova making up the torso, piloted by Bes, and after him, Moera, Gije and finally in Be Invoked, Bento.
    • Sol-Conver/Ideo-Buster making up the waist and legs, piloted by Kasha and in Be Invoked, Deck.
  • Compressed Hair: How on Earth Planet Solo does Cosmo manage to make his afro fit inside his helmet?
  • Cool Ship
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The Ide is a god of infinite power who either wants all sapient life in the universe dead from the start for their repeated acts of violence and war, or is conducting a final Humanity on Trial test before it takes this final step. It deliberately manipulaties the emotions of the crew of the Solo Ship to accomplish its desires, which the crew become increasingly aware of over the show. Many, like Sheryl, are even broken by the fact they have no control over what is happening or even their own minds anymore. This finally comes to a head in the movie, were the Ide forces a Despair Event Horizon so it can get the crew to wish for everything to be "fixed". And once Ideon is invoked by those desires, it uses its Your Mind Makes It Real powers to do just that... by wiping out humanity and restarting the universe.
  • Cosmic Plaything: The crew of the Solo Ship feel this is what they are, as everywhere they go they are attacked and they can't even leave the Solo Ship and Ideon lest the Ide, its infinite power source, falls into the wrong hands and dooms everyone. It only gets worse when they start to realize the Ide is sentient, wants them there as well, and is even manipulating their very emotions for its own ends.
  • Creator Cameo: Mr. Tomino is briefly seen as a crew member of the Solo Ship in Be Invoked. This most likely means even Tomino won't escape death in a Tomino Kill 'Em All story.
  • Creepy Twins: Dopa and Kiyaya Buff, who also have the ability of Twin Telepathy.
  • Company Cross Reference: The Ideon itself takes the head design of the GMs from Mobile Suit Gundam. What a change.
  • Culture Clash: When Terrans meet the Buff Clan, they raise a white flag of truce. Unfortunately, in the symbolism of the Buff Clan, the white flag means "we're gonna fight to the death."
  • Cunning Linguist: Sheryl is a linguistic scholar.
  • Death of a Child: In the movie all of the kids die, some very gruesomely. Messiah himself dies with Karala, when Harulu shoots her dead. Ashura gets her head obliterated by a missile, and Deck gets incinerated by Gando Rowa's Wave-Motion Gun.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Sheryl, again. Brutally prevented by Gije dying first.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Sheryl finds herself basically losing all hope after realizing she'll never be able to leave the Solo ship due to the various warring factions and the danger giving any of them the infinite power source that is the Ide poses. It only gets worse when she further realizes the thing she is most proud of, her mind, is nothing but a plaything of the Ide, which is not only sentient but manipulating her and everyone around her for its unknown desires.
  • Downer Ending: Everyone dies. Doba Ajiba's final trump card leads to the death of the entire human race and the Buff Clan, including everyone in the Solo Ship, with Ideon and the Gando Rowa pulling a Mutual Kill and then Ideon causing a massive explosion that wipes out most of the galaxy and potentially the entire universe. The show ends on the idea this may be an Eternal Recurrence, and the audience is left to hope the next form of sentient life can overcome the failings the previous version of humanity could not.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Frequently.
  • Eldritch Abomination: In an otherwise Real Robot Genre universe where ships and robots are just advanced military hardware, the Solo Ship and Ideon are an Empathic Weapon capable of infinite power and are in fact a living, sentient mechanical god, filled with the souls of an entire civilization that can bend those around it to its will... and has come to hate mankind for their destructive, war-like nature, to the point it wants them all dead. And in the end, it gets exactly what it wants.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Ideon itself, sorta.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The Ideon's true goal.
  • Failure Knight: Cosmo's guilt upon not being able to keep Kitty Kitten alive. In Be Invoked, when their souls are reunited, he apologizes to her, but she smiles and tells him to ease up
  • Fatal Family Hologram
  • Fantastic Nuke: The Ideon is a sci-fi metaphor for nuclear weapons and Mutually Assured Destruction. It has the power to wipe out everything, and yet it can't be acutally destroyed. So the only way to avoid this eventuality is to not fight. But, since humanity is incapable of this, in the end they trigger a mutually assured destruction that causes the death of everyone.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: DS drive.
  • First Church of Mecha: The Ideon is worshiped by parts of the Buff Clan's culture as the legendary "Giant of Ide". Depending on the interpretation of the beliefs though, Ideon is either a savior of all who live or a destroyer of the universe.
  • Foreshadowing: In the opening theme we are outright told that the titular mecha's power can rip apart the galaxy.
  • Funny Afro: Subverted: Cosmo has a HUGE Afro, but in-story, no one thinks anything of it. The fandom, on the other hand...
  • Genre Deconstruction: One of the earliest for the Humongous Mecha genre.
    • It does not shy away from showing exactly what a Humongous Mecha would be used for in real life: war. And it is destructive on a scale we can't imagine.
    • In order for the Ideon to function, it needs an ungodly amount of power. The Ide is what supplies it the power needed in order to move. While most Humongous Mecha shows would use that to Handwave how the giant robot functions, it doesn't get glossed over here, as its infinite fuel source is the driving force for much of the conflict that happens in the story. When you have something that can supply infinite energy, everyone will be gunning for it, even if it means war.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Buff Clan's last ditch effort to destroy Ideon does succeed... which unleashes the Ide's infinite energy, destroying the entire universe.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: The Ideon is rather fond of hand-to-hand combat, either by choice or when the Ideon Gauge 'is low'.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Bes and Karala's child.
  • Hime Cut: Karala.
  • Hot-Blooded Action Girl: Kasha, more so than the other Ideon pilots.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place
  • Hypocrite: Many characters are this when one really looks at their words and compares them to their actions. Gije is one of the most obvious stating to fight honorably when casually killing defenseless civilians.
    • Especially noticeable when the main characters reach a friendly planet and Gije attacks said planet via Sub-Light Missiles that destroy entire cities, killing millions, then threatens to kill off 90% of the population in the same way if Ideon and the Solo ship aren't given to him, then he has the gall to call the defenders a "Brutal Race" for fighting back instead of giving into his demands.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug
  • Interspecies Romance: Repeatedly.
  • Kick the Dog: In episode 12, while begging Harulu to spare the Solo Ship and her crew, Harulu orders Guhaba to humiliate her by tearing off part of her shirt, then orders everyone else watching to laugh at her.
  • Kill 'Em All: The series where the trope namer, Yoshiyuki Tomino, got his nickname. Not only does Ideon explode, not only does every named character die, not only does all of humanity die - a large portion of the galaxy is annihilated in the process, and possibly all of reality.
  • Kill Sat: The Buff clan's Gando Rowa, a 500 by 350km installation powered by a supernova. It can destroy a planet when powered up to 40% and eventually destroys the Ideon.
  • Laser Blade: The "Ideon Blade" is the absolute, undisputed heavyweight champion of this trope. It can slice one whole freaking planet in half, and it is speculated that its reach is potentially infinite.
  • No Animosity in the Afterlife: At the end of Be Invoked, the souls of the main characters are shown to interact peacefully with the Buff Clan.
  • Not Hyperbole: The opening theme tells that Ideon can rip apart the galaxy. Obviously an exaggeration, right? You keep thinking that if you live in that universe. You will live happier for as long as you have left.
  • Off with His Head!: How Kitty and later Ashura die in Be Invoked.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: In the very end of the second movie.
  • Papa Wolf: The Ideon itself. New Powers as the Plot Demands are activated by children being in danger. Some of the more clever characters even try to deliberately utilize this.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: In Be Invoked, Daram's soul carries Harulu's around like this.
  • Plot Armor: Deconstructed. The main cast survive impossible odds and forces that easily destroy entire planets, despite being a Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits who have barely any idea what they're doing. The ultimate reason however is that the Ideon is an Eldritch Abomination that needs a strong enough desire from one of them to be able to doom all of the current reality.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Subverted with Karala who takes three bullets in the face from her sister Harulu; however, we don't see the results.
    • Also averted - again, in a memorably nasty way - in Be Invoked. Ashura, one of the Solo Ship's orphan-mascot-type kids is killed brutally via a bazooka shot that just... obliterates the poor little girl's head in an instant. No time for blood or splatter - just boom
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Buff Clan don't allow us to forget that they are samurai.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: Everyones' souls are pretty cheerful and optimistic about... um... whatever they're anticipating next, good luck figuring that out. Granted, it can't be any worse than what they just went through.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: At one point, the crew uses the most advanced computer humanity has ever created in order to analyze the Ide. It'd be safe to say that infinity would be considered WAY off the scale.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Many characters were killed off because the production team could no longer afford to pay their voice actors.
  • Reflectionless Useless Eyes: The Buff Clan look identical to humans, with the exception of their eyes.
  • Revenge Lotta tries to shoot Karala once because of this.
  • Rivals Team Up: Gije, of all people, becomes the second best pilot of Ideon. Too bad he doesn't live long...
  • Roboteching
  • R-Rated Opening: Be Invoked opens with the severed head of Kitty flying through the air after a brutal attack, and Cosmo roaring in rage and grief. Hope you enjoyed your popcorn.
  • Sanity Slippage: Sheryl in Be Invoked, after losing both his sister Lin and his lover Gije in the previous episodes.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several of Buff Clan's mecha are modeled after the Martians' tripod from The War of the Worlds.
    • One episode of the series is named "violent battle on the Planet of the Apes"
    • The Ideon is a technology left by a possibly extinct civilization powered by the Ide/Id, like the Krell Machine of Forbidden Planet was a technology left by an extinct civilization powered by the Id from its users.
    • In some scenes, Sandworms are visible which look extremely similar to those of Dune.
    • The ending of Be Invoked has some planet scenes similar to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    • In episode #7, Karala says that her homeworld is next to the Gido nebula, whose 2 halves are called Zenji nebula and Gundam nebula.
  • Spiritual Successor: Many people say that this show is the "spiritual predecessor" to Neon Genesis Evangelion. It uses many of the same themes and even has a similar ending to Evangelion.
  • Spoiler Opening: The theme song basically foreshadows everything in the entire series. Yes, including the parts about the galaxy being ripped apart, the time of resurrection and the birth of a new world. All this despite being cheery and catchy as hell.
  • Team Mom: Kitty Kitten was this for the orphans she gave a home to. Lin and Karala are also this, to a degree.
  • Team Pet: Rapappa, Deck's two-tailed squirrel. He always sits in his shoulder and even has his own spacesuit.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Gije, after he got Put on a Bus, tasked with studying Ide, and came back only to be abandoned by his new superiors.
  • Transforming Mecha: Ideon's components can turn into wheeled vehicles.
  • Translation Convention: The Buff Clan aren't actually speaking a human language, but it's hard to notice since there's only one line of dialog in the first episode with Karala turning on some kind of translator in her ear and affects her vocal chords.
  • Tripod Terror: Some of the more...conventional Buff Clan mecha designs.
  • Troubled Child: Fard. Like most of the other kids, he lost his parents when the Buff Clan attacked the colony on Solo. Spends most of his time, moping, cries easily, is an Extreme Doormat and carries a rag doll with him for most of the series.
  • True Love's Kiss: In Be Invoked, Kitty's soul awakens Cosmo's from a Convenient Coma like this after the Kill 'Em All last battle.
  • Tsundere: Kasha Imhof.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Sheryl, on the Solo side, and Doba on the Buff Clan side.
  • Unfortunate Names: At one point, the Solo Ship crew are ferried in a ship called the Krap. The fansubbers even added a note that this was its actual name.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Ideon Gun, despite also being known as the Wave Leader Gun, is actually an aversion/subversion to the trope, as it doesn't fire the standard beam found within Wave Motion Guns. Rather, it fires miniature black holes in the form of a tornado of pure gravity. Needless to say, entire fleets tend to explode wherever it's aimed.
    • Not to mention the Buff Clan's Gando Rowa, which doubles as a spaceship AND a really, really big WMG!
  • You Bastard!: Cosmo's Famous Last Words in Be Invoked, when the last Buff Clan fighter rams Ideon in a suicide attack and puts them in Gando Rowa's path.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Mostly averted with the humans, who have relatively normal hair colors, but played straight with the Buff Clan characters, most noticeable with Karala's father Doba Ajiba and Gije Zaral, who have blue hair. The Buff Clansmen seen in crowd shots don't do it half bad either, with lots of pink, orange and lavender-haired men and women.
  • You Have Failed Me: Gije fails to defeat the Ideon for the upteenth time and crashes on the Moon; his superiors just don't bother to pick him up anymore. He doesn't die like they expect him to though (yet).
  • Zeerust


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