KISHIN HAIDIN vols 1,2 (Pioneer, 60 mins ea, cert 12, £12.99.)
An astonishing SF anime series from Pioneer, set in an alternative 1940's period world where hostile power blocs face each other AND an alien invasion is in progress! The alien invaders are mostly androids, and with some difficulty several rival groups from Japan, Nazi Germany, etc (one of these being the KISHIN Corps) capture a few of the control components or 'modules' with which they can animate their own fighting robots; crude, gigantic, but still, in a 1940's world, highly effective war machines. At the outset, the hero, young Taishi Takamura has one of the modules, but it is soon seized from him and the Kishin Corps fights to get it back. There is a fascinating cast of characters ranging through children, Nazi spies, soldiers, inventors, heroes and villains, and the 'mecha', the robots and the special trains also have to be seen to be believed. There are elements of real history, and real issues such as the responsibility of scientists. The fast-paced action never lets up and, coupled with some transparent and well-scripted dubbing, makes for riveting viewing. Do watch this, and if you do, you may not want to return to mental chewing gum like Star-Trek.
KISHIN HEIDAN vols 3 & 4. (Pioneer, 60 mins ea, cert PG, #12.99) Continuation and end of the fascinating SF series, in which an alien invasion occurs in the 1940's during an alternative Second World War. These later episodes are worth seeing if you bought the others. It has to be said that the production becomes increasingly rushed and confused, with plot elements left dangling. The climax is the Kishin Corps' effort to stop the Americans nuking the alien base, for motives which may remain incomprehensible to those whose country has never suffered nuclear attack..