Space Runaway Ideon

Space Runaway Ideon

BluRay Boxart of the movie adaptation of the series: A Contact and Be Invoked
(Densetsu Kyojin Ideon)
Genre Drama, Mecha, Space opera, Tragedy
Anime television series
Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino
Produced by Toru Hasegawa
Music by Koichi Sugiyama
Studio Sunrise
Network TV Tokyo
Original run May 8, 1980 January 30, 1981
Episodes 39
Anime film
The Ideon: A Contact
Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino
Studio Sunrise
Released July 10, 1982
Runtime 85 minutes
Anime film
The Ideon: Be Invoked
Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino
Music by Koichi Sugiyama
Studio Sunrise
Released July 10, 1982
Runtime 100 minutes

Space Runaway Ideon (伝説巨神イデオン Densetsu Kyojin Ideon, lit. Legendary Giant Ideon, also The Ideon) is a 1980 anime television series produced by Sunrise, created and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, produced immediately following his most famous work, Mobile Suit Gundam. It first premiered on TV Tokyo from 1980 to 1981, followed by two feature films in 1982, and was later broadcast in Japan by the satellite TV network Animax from September 2006.

Its mechanical designs were created by Yuichi Higuchi at Studio Submarine. The television series credited only the design studio, while Higuchi received full credit for the subsequent films. The characters were designed by Tomonori Kogawa. The series won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize for the second half of 1980.[1]

Plot summary

Screenshot of an Ideon eyecatch

Television Series (prior to the ending)

Space Runaway Ideon begins in 2300, far enough in the future that mankind has begun colonizing other planets. On the planet Solo in the Andromeda Galaxy, a group of archaeologists had come across the mysterious remains of the Ideonthree large armored trucks with the ability to transform into a godlike mecha. They also come across a large spaceship, known as the Solo Ship. For six months, they had diligently restored the machines but failed to get the giant tanks to move. Suddenly, a humanoid alien civilization known as the Buff Clan comes across Solo.

Karala, the daughter of the Buff Clan's military commander flies down to the planet against orders with her assistant Mayaya to investigate (her commanding officer, Gije, is reluctant with her, due to her standing and the fact that he once was a soldier under her father). She is pursued closely by comrades sent by Gije, but they lose sight of her. Assuming the "aliens" (Earthling colonists) have attacked Karala, the Buff Clan begins to attack. Cosmo Yuki, the afro-wearing protagonist of the series, and his friends Kasha Imhof and Deck Afta climb aboard the three tanks, which activate on their own, and, when they initially form the Ideon, fend off the first assault, repelling Gije's men.

This is a short respite, though, as another force is sent down soon after. Bes Jordan, leader of the sparse military force stationed with the colonists orders that the Ideon tanks be armed with missiles, but while that's happening the cities on Solo are obliterated by the Buff Clan soldiers. Gije and his partner Damido, meeting up with the leader of their expedition, Abadidi Gurimade soon launch more attacks on the planet Solo in an attempt to capture the Ideon (which they refer to as the 'Giant God'). The survivors flee inside the Solo Ship and Karala, who was mistaken by Bes as a colonist is let aboard as well. Other civilians who quickly get aboard the Solo Ship include Sheryl Formosa, a linguist studying the civilization on Solo, Sheryl's sister, Lin; Banda Lotta; three children: Piper Lou, Ashura Nobaku and Fard Maraka; mechanic Joliver Ira, pilot Hatari Naburu and Moera Fatima. The pilots Tekuno and Bento soon join Cosmo and Kasha as pilots of the Ideon's 3 parts and Moera soon replaces Bes as another pilot. Karala and Mayaya are soon discovered to be aliens and while Mayaya is shot to death, Bes has taken a liking to Karala and she is allowed to live, although Sheryl and others distrust her. Karala tells everyone of the Legend of Ide, a story of the Buff Clan's savior, who saved them with the power of Ide. The Buff Clan have searched the universe for this legendary existence, which is what powers both the Ideon and the Solo Ship.

The Solo Ship soon flees the planet Solo using its powerful DS Drive engines and after a fight in sub space with the Buff Clan arrive at the Planet Saurus Star. Bes, Cosmo and the others confront Gije in a powerful Dogg Mack Mobile Suit and later in man to man fighting. Abadidi receives orders from above - Karala's elder sister Harulu that they no longer have to worry about harming her and could kill Karala if need be, since she has ashamed the Ajiba family by associating with the humans. The Buff Clan force chases the Solo Ship to the planet Crystal Star where Abadidi heads out himself in a Dogg Mack. His attempts to destroy the Solo Ship with giant winged creatures known as Bajins backfires and it is he who is killed by them. With Abadidi dead and Damido injured Harulu herself heads to the front. Arriving on the planet Ruins Star, Karala tries to make peace with her sister but is humiliated by Harulu's underlings. Things get even worse for her when Banda Lotta, upset by all the harm the Buff Clan has caused tries to kill her but folds under pressure. Karala willing to die impresses everyone on the Solo Ship with her strength.

The Solo Ship arrives at an Earth base where Cosmo meets Camyula, a female officer who reminds him of his mother. She soon dies right in front of him which renews his desire to fight. Damido, now recovered makes one final attempt to destroy the Ideon but is killed as well. The Solo Ship heads to the planet Ajian and when Gije attacks the planet the Ideon uses its powerful Black Hole Cannon, which prevents the Buff Clan's missiles from hitting the planet, but destroys a lot of the planet as well. Gije heads back to the Buff Clan homeworld as the Solo Ship travels to the planet Flag Star. The Solo Ship and Harulu's Dorowa Zan meet in space and the Dorowa is destroyed. Harulu flees in an escape capsule and meets up with Daram Zuba, a former lover and member of the Ome Foundation, which is plotting with Harulu and Karala's father, Doba, to overthrow the Buff Clan Emperor. With Gije with him Daram now becomes the main adversary of the Solo Ship as it goes to the planet Kyaral. There Cosmo meets Kitty Kitten who desires for the Solo Ship to flee since it will bring nothing but more heartbreak to their wartorn planet. Kitty is shot to death soon after by Daram and Cosmo is injured, saved only by a blood transfusion from Karala.

The Solo Ship, still pursued by Daram, approach Earth but find that their fellow Earthlings will not welcome them. Sheryl and Joliver head to the moon to use the Earth Military's powerful Gloria computer and discover that the power of Ide is infinite. The Solo Ship is attacked yet again and the Ideon uses its newest weapon, the Ideon Gun to defend itself. The 3 children sneak aboard the Ideon in their latest battle with the Buff Clan's Barume Baram Mobile Weapon but this becomes an unforeseen benefit as the reaction of the children in danger make the Ideon even more powerful and yet another weapon, the Ideon Sword is revealed. Gije, abandoned by Daram meets Sheryl and sneaks aboard the Solo Ship. Few trust him even after he kills Daram in a battle on Earth. The Earth military completely rejecting them, the Solo Ship flees without a home to go back to.

The Buff Clan continues to send high ranking Buff Clan Officers after the Solo Ship, but all fail. Moera is killed in battle to the distress of everyone, especially medic Rapot. Gije takes his place as one of the Ideon's pilots. The Solo Ship returns to Ajian who now despises them for what happened earlier in the series and their military leader takes hostages, killing Sheryl's sister Lin before he is stopped. The Solo Ship flees to the planet Steckin Star and Gije is killed when the Ideon is heavily damaged. The Ideon continues to get more and more powerful as the battles and deaths escalate and the Ideon chops the entire planet in half as it makes its escape.

TV Ending

With repeated failure by his military leaders, Doba Ajiba himself heads out on the Buff Clan flagship, the Bairal Jin. Along with him is the Ome Foundation leader, Gindoro. Karala and Joliver suddenly find themselves transported to the Bairal Jin and are caught by Doba and his men. Karala reveals that she is pregnant with the child of an Earthling's (Bes's) to the shock of everyone and they make their escape. The Solo Ship heads there to save them and do as Karala and Joliver survive despite their ship being shot down. Doba Ajiba then declares that he will do whatever it takes to end the life of his own daughter, causing the Ideon's power to invoke.

Be Invoked

Where the TV series ends, the second movie changes events drastically. The Buff Clan is quickly finishing its work on the Ganda Rowa, a powerful warship that might be even more powerful than the Ideon. After Doba Ajiba declares that he will hunt his daughter to the ends of the universe, the Solo Ship flees under pursuit of many Buff Clan troops. Harulu sends out her top fighters, Tororof and Kilarul, in the Zanza Lubu. Sheryl, drunken and mad over Gije's death and armed with the knowledge that the Ide desires to protect children, brings out Piper Lou onto the deck of the ship in order to strengthen the Ideon. The force of the Ideon gun blows her right off the ship to her death, reuniting her with her beloved Gije. Karala saves Piper Lou and the Solo Ship escapes.

On the bridge of the Solo Ship, Karala reveals to everyone else that she's pregnant with a child that Cosmo and the others call a Messiah. Kilarul and Tororof head back to Harulu telling her that Karala and her unborn child are what manifests the Ide. Harulu decides to both prevent its birth and stop the Ide's power from invoking by killing Karala. The Zanza Lubu is destroyed in battle, but the three make their way onto the Solo Ship. Tororof is killed by Banda Lotta, who is killed shortly after by Kilarul. Karala reveals herself and is shot in the face by Harulu, who flees immediately after. It isn't long before the two of them are annihilated by the Ideon Gun.

Meanwhile, meteors strike both the Earth and the Buff Clan Homeworld reducing them to uninhabitable wastelands. Gindoro, afraid of the Ideon, wishing to flee, refuses to listen to Doba and is subsequently killed. Doba, angry with the deaths of his daughters, has the Buff Clan military force continue to attack the Solo Ship as it approaches the Ganda Rowa. In the ensuing battle, Kasha is killed by shrapnel and Buff Clan soldiers make their way to the Solo Ship bridge. Hatari, Rapot, Ashura are killed while Fard was mortally wounded. Bes is shot in the neck only to hang on long enough to fire back at the remaining assailants. Doba doesn't care about sacrificing everyone's lives as long as the Ideon is destroyed, causing his own soldiers to kill him. The Ideon grapples onto the Ganda Rowa, which fires and kills everyone aboard both and destroys the Solo Ship. The Ideon and Gando Rowa are also destroyed, creating an epic blast that grows larger and larger, engulfing and destroying the surrounding planets...

The naked souls of everyone, Buff Clan and Earthlings peaceful at last, ascend through space. Bes and Karala's baby, the 'Messiah', leads everyone to a new planet in the universe.

Like Mobile Suit Gundam before it, the series originally met with rather low ratings and was cancelled after 39 of its scheduled 43 episodes aired. As a result, the producers were forced to insert a short segment at the end of the final episode that ended the series in the middle of the action. Demand for a release of the final unaired episodes followed the show's cancellation, and two movies were produced to end the series.

The two movies, The Ideon: A Contact and The Ideon: Be Invoked, were produced by both Sanrio and Sunrise and released as a double bill by Shochiku in 1982. A Contact featured clips from the first 32 episodes of the TV series interspersed with newly animated footage. In addition a few new scenes, the movie also created new death scenes for character such as Damido, Mayaya and Daram. Be Invoked featured a modified version of the final episode of the TV series (removing the ending sequence), in addition to those episodes that never aired, finishing off the Ideon saga once and for all.


The influence of Ideon on Japanese animation, despite its rough beginnings and infamous ending, has been considerable. At one time it was rated #10 among the greatest anime series as compiled by famous anime magazine Animage (counting popularity, influence, and opinion). On the other hand, the series has never been very popular, even among Japanese mecha fans.

Space Runaway Ideon is a predecessor-of-sorts to Hideaki Anno's Neon Genesis Evangelion and deals with many of the same issues. The Neon Genesis Evangelion series also ends in a similar fashion, with two theatrical releases: the first part (Death) being composed largely of clips from the already-released episodes, and the second part (Rebirth/The End of Evangelion) made up of new animation devolving into apocalyptic territory much like that of Be Invoked, right down to overtones of rebirth. However, unlike Ideon, The End of Evangelion, actually had survivors at the end of the movie, unlike Ideon's ending in Be Invoked, where everyone dies and turn into spirits.

In many ways, Ideon was a first of its kind. It has been considered to be the prototype of the modern dark and twisted science fiction anime such as the above-mentioned Neon Genesis Evangelion, Akira and Tomino's own bleak Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. Although it is debatable as Mobile Suit Gundam is often considered the first anime to show a truly grittier side of science fiction, Ideon undeniably has a very distinct presentation and plot style which had never been seen before, specifically with the series' emphasis on making the audience feel for the characters and their struggle against a hopeless scenario as opposed to just watching the Ideon do battle or feeling for the overall theme.

The Ideon

The titular mecha was designed by Yuichi Higuchi at Studio Submarine. One of the most notable features of Ideon was the power of the robot, which was more powerful than anything else in Super Robot shows at the time.

The Ideon is portrayed as a very destructive device in terms of raw destructive power. Although it is, at first, a rather humble weapon in comparison to other mecha, brandishing only an array of missiles and a double barreled energy cannon called the Glenn Cannon on its abdomen as well as limited melee and defensive shields, this changes gradually as the series progresses and the protagonists delve further into the Ideons' secrets.

The Ideon's overall performance increases to incredible heights of speed, durability, and power; even its most basic weapons increase their potency dramatically such as the cinematic "All Missiles" attack where all of the Ideon's now Ide-powered missiles are launched simultaneously at great speeds destroying literally fleets of ships in one attack. Without a doubt, Ideon's destructive power reaches godlike status when three distinct weapons are discovered:

Buff Clan

The Buff Clan are humanoids native to the planet Buff in the Gido Nebula of the Andromeda Galaxy. Throughout the series they use a variety of war vehicles and robots called Heavy Mobile Mecha. These forces are listed in order from appearance and all of them are capable of flying.

Space Runaway Ideon shares a number of similarities to Tomino's Mobile Suit Gundam series. As well as similar initial fates for both series (cancellation followed by films – though Ideon never became a long-running franchise as Gundam did), there are several broad similarities in the make-up of the characters and some reused plot devices (such as a teenage electronics expert climbing on board a powerful robot when his home colony is attacked by aggressors).

More explicitly, Tomino included several references to his previous work - a Haro appears in an exploding Solo colonist fighter in the second episode (as a side note, this same footage is used in episode 18, but the Haro has been painted over); Amuro Ray makes an appearance in episode 6 as the Solo Ship's crew gather to plan their next move; in episode 7 Karala refers to a nebula named the "Gundam Nebula"; in episode 9, another Haro appears as some dinosaurs explode; in episodes 7, 13 and 19 a Haro can be seen rolling around on a table as the ship shakes, also in episode 13 a meteor in a shape of Haro can be seen for a few seconds; in episode 18 a poster of Char is seen on a bedroom wall, a few seconds later as the room explodes a pair of Haro can be seen flying around the room. Near the end of episode 37 a pink and blue Gundam Mobile Suit can be seen hanging out with the Buff Clan fleet.

Tomino's appearance in the series would be near the end of "Be Invoked", appearing in a spacesuit on the Solo Ship's bridge with storyboard illustrations in his hands. Fittingly, Tomino himself is killed in the film.


Character Actor Character Actor
Cosmo Yuki Yoku Shioya Bes Jordan Hideyuki Tanaka
Kasha Imhof Fuyumi Shiraishi Karala Ajiba Keiko Toda
Sheryl Formosa Yō Inoue Gije Zaral Kazuo Hayashi
Deck Afta Tatsuya Matsuda Lotta Banda Eiko Hisamura
Moera Fatima Hideki Sasaki Rapoh Famu Kimiko Tsuruta
Lin Formosa Keiko Yokozawa Ashura Novak Masako Matsubara
Fard Malaka Sanae Takagi Joliver Ira Kaneto Shiozawa
Harulu Ajiba Yōko Asagami Doba Ajiba Takkō Ishimori
Damido Pechi Banjō Ginga Daram Zuba Shojiro Kihara
Gindoro Jinma Seizō Katō Kitty Kitten Rumiko Ukai

DVD releases

The home video releases of Ideon have all had very limited production runs. The series' first DVD box was overproduced, resulting in many units that did not sell even years after the release, so the second boxset and movie boxset had much fewer units produced. As a result, they sold out quickly and it was not uncommon to see the second boxset alone command a price of over 80,000 yen used on such websites as Yahoo! Japan auctions or, or all three boxsets sell for over 120,000 yen (over $1,000 USD), a remarkable feat for 38 episodes and 2 movies. (For reference, the retail price on the 153 episode Dragon Ball boxset sold new for 100,000 yen, $800 USD.)

In 2006 Ideon was re-released on single DVDs, but the singles, like previous Ideon releases, went quickly out of print due to a low production run.

The series has no Western license as of 2016.

Other media

Super Robot Wars video games

The titular mecha, characters, and other aspects of Space Runaway Ideon also make appearances in two of the Super Robot Wars series of anime mecha crossover video games: Super Robot Wars F Final and 3rd Super Robot Wars Alpha.

Reflecting its status in animation, the Ideon is considered one of the most powerful mecha ever featured within the "SRW" games. Ideon has a gauge, known as the "Ide Gauge", which increases as Ideon is attacked. As the Ide Gauge rises, Ideon's general capabilities increase dramatically (including Ideon's "EN" becoming infinite) and the unit unlocks three weapons: Zen-houi (All Directional) Missile, Ideon Sword, and Ideon Gun (the latter two are available in both a "normal" version and a MAP version). The Ideon Gun is particularly powerful; along with an attack power of 9999, enough to destroy most lesser enemies in one hit, the MAP version has a massive blast radius which often almost covers the battlefield. It is one of the most dangerous attacks in the Super Robot Wars series. However, when the Ide gauge reaches the maximum level, the Ideon becomes uncontrollable and goes berserk, destroying the universe by self-destructing, which means the end of the game. Hence, while absorbing attacks can rise the Ide Gauge and let the player to use those devastating weapons, there is a great risk that the Ideon will be attacked for too many times and go berserk.

Although rather difficult and dangerous to use in Super Robot Wars F, in 3rd Super Robot Wars Alpha the Ideon is possibly quite overpowered due to its massively increased ease of use. The 'berserk' system is also removed.

In 3rd Super Robot Wars Alpha, the apocalyptic ending of Ideon is one of three possible endings in the game and is arguably the worst of them all. This ending is triggered during scenario 56, the final Ideon scenario. If a certain decision is made by the player, the tragic events of the Ideon finale play out with an unavoidable conclusion. All pilots on your force even state comments of hopelessness as they attack anything when this ending is triggered, to further the feeling of dread upon the horizon. This ending is only available upon the second playthrough, and while it is something most players should see at least once, it also ends the overall game earlier than usual (The actual game length is 60 levels), and also doesn't count as a finished game, so it is recommended in most cases that this ending be avoided. The only significant benefit of seeing this ending is getting a glimpse of Messiah, the unborn child of Bes and Karala who in Be Invoked, guided the dead cast towards a dark recreation of the universe controlled by Keisar Ephes who will most certainly enslave all of humanity for all eternity as he successfully corrupts the Messiah.


The Ideon also appears in a non-canon crossover manga with Gundam, Mobile Suit Vs. Giant God: Gigantis' Counterattack, with story and artwork by Yuichi Hasegawa. In this story, set in Universal Century 0090, the Federation sends Amuro Ray to recruit Judau Ashta to help deal with a group of Zeon remnants. While this seems routine, the Zeons have uncovered what they call the "Giant God", namely the Ideon (which is never actually called Gigantis nor Ideon within the story). While investigating, Judau learns that the Zeons are planning on using Mineva Lao Zabi's Newtype powers to awaken the Giant God and get their revenge. Unfortunately, it goes out of control and begins attacking anything in sight. As Judau infiltrates the Giant God, Amuro (along with Char Aznable) fight to distract it. As he nears Mineva, the spirit of Karala and her baby appear, explaining that Ideon remade the universe because it hoped that a new type of human - namely, Newtypes - would be the universe's salvation from war. But since this turned out not to be the case, the Giant God was set to remake the universe again. Judau also learns that he is the reincarnation of Ideon protagonist Cosmo, and violently opposes this plan. With Amuro's help, he manages to free Mineva and shut Giant God/Ideon down before it can do any more harm.

Yoshiyuki Tomino's name comes up in the story, as Amuro explains the myth of Giant God (the events of the Ideon series) to Judau, suggesting that he exists in the Gundam world.

See also


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