To finally round out my look at series adapted from Shotaro Ishinomori’s works, I decided to review one last thing of his before the month was over. My last two reviews were over the two different Kikaider adaptations, but there is a third one that is not touched upon as much, for the simple fact that unlike the series and OVAs, this last OVA was not brought over to the states. It is an adaptation of a manga chapter where Jiro meets up with another one of Ishinomori’s creations: Inazuman.
Still haunted by his previous actions, Jiro has been wondering alone by himself, unsure of where to go and how to apply himself. The detective Hattori Hanpei is searching for Jiro for Mitsuko and Masaru, who wish him back home. They both end up in a town that is home to its own set of oddities, mainly young men and women who have psychic powers. Saburo Kazeta is one such young man, and is also a mutant in addition to being a psychic. Due to shadowy reasons, Jiro finds Saburo and attempts to kill him, leaving Saburo to take on the now crazed boy with the guitar…
As mentioned before, Kikaider vs. Inazuman is adapted from a chapter in the Inazuman manga where the two heroes faced off, and was also meant as sort of a lighter conclusion to the dark manga of Kikaider’s. It sort of fills the same niche here as well, serving as an epilogue to the animated Kikaider’s adventures. It was released in Japan in September of 2003 as an extra feature in the boxset of the previous OVAs.
To start off, I’ll cover the production side of things, like the music and animation. The music uses the OST from the original series for the most part, which is a plus since the soundtrack of 01′s was rather poor in comparison. The character designs are still in the retro Ishinomori style and, thankfully, the actual fights and animation are a complete step above 01′s by a mile. This is probably helped by the fact that this is just a one shot OVA as opposed to a series that is considerably longer.
Moving on to protagonists and side characters, they are a rather interesting bunch. We are introduced to Saburo and his psychic friends and they all seem to be likeable on the surface, though many of them do not get much development due to this being a one shot. The one with the most focus is, of course, Saburo, who is also Inazuman. His transformed form is rather nice to look at, with some cool powers attached to him.
Interestingly enough, the main antagonist in this is Jiro himself, who is being controlled via the submission chip inside him, implanted in the last series. That in turn means he is being controlled by Inazuman’s villains, the New Humanity Empire, but they really only show up through one monster who doesn’t have any speaking lines and no real presence other than manipulating Jiro. As for Jiro himself, it is rather interesting to see him act in such a villainous way, but he is able to settle his own demons by the end of the OVA.
That is what the OVA is ultimately about, learning to settle or deal with your past and trying to move forward. If you are not able to, it is not shameful to have help along the way, as is the case between Jiro and Saburo in this OVA and how Saburo is able to help him out. If there is anything wrong with this OVA, it is how it is a one shot and the unfamiliarity most people would have with Saburo, his character, and his friends.
These problems aside, if you did watch the previous two Kikaider shows, you owe it to yourself to try and watch this one, provided you can find it. I have no real reason why Bandai Entertainment would not license this when they licensed everything else of this series, but I am not one to guess their intentions.