Space Warriors Anime Review
Choujin Rokku - Lord Leon
US Release By
Psychics in Space Action
75 minutes (orig. 3 30-minute episodes)
1989-10-25 - 1989-12-16
Locke is a mysterious super-powerful psychic who has come to the aid of humanity in times of need before. He's living the quiet life on some quiet planet these days, apparently courting the pretty, blind schoolteacher Flora. Somewhere far away, another powerful psychic, Lord Leon, is busy being a pirate and thoroughly enraging The Great Zog (yes, seriously), head of the rather wealthy Astro, Inc. When a government agent shows up to convince Locke to maybe stop some sort of interplanetary war between Lord and Great, he reluctantly agrees, but there's all manner of melodrama awaiting once he gets caught up in a generation-long interfamily feud.
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Space Warriors is the rough anime equivalent of a can of SPAM. Start with raw material--Locke the Superman: Lord Leon in this case--that is of debatable quality to begin with. Then chop it up and mash it together into an almost unrecognizable and entirely unpalatable blob of mysterymeat. Finally, serve with a big, thick slice of cheese. The crude, old-school animation and wild-yet-generic sci-fi/psychic supermen plot would've made the series hard enough to stomach in its original form, but the hack-job of a dub called Space Warriors is so bad it hurts to watch--grade-school scriptwriting and positively butchered sound editing abound. There are a few blatant rip-offs (sorry, homages) of classic sci-fi that might get a chuckle if you catch them, but that's the extent of it.
If you ever run across it, you can hold up Space Warriors as a prime example of what anime used to be in the US: Mediocre source material made far worse by choppy editing, random script changes, and terrible dubbing. The only thing this abomination is good for is prime material for mockery with friends.
Full ReviewSwitch to Quick Review
Space Warriors is the rough anime equivalent of a can of SPAM. Start with raw material--Locke the Superman in this case--that is of debatable quality to begin with, then chop it up and mash it together into an almost unrecognizable and entirely unpalatable blob of mysterymeat. Finally, serve with a big, thick slice of cheese.
Let me take a moment to note that, despite what seems to be a common mistake, the epic cheese of Space Warriors is not based on the original Locke The Superman film--that's a different horrendous dub from the mid-'90s. No, this mess is based on the later OAV series Locke the Superman: Lord Leon. Not that it matters all that much, since neither is available in any decent English form anyway.
The crude, old-school animation and wild-yet-generic sci-fi/psychic supermen plot would've made the series hard enough to stomach in its original form, but the hack-job of a dub called Space Warriors is so bad it hurts to watch. Topping the list of crimes is the amateur sound editing: Lines everywhere are ham-handedly cut and pasted, and phrases are frequently re-used for "dramatic effect" (or, more likely, just to fill dead air). Often, the dialogue barely makes sense.
If you look past the classic-anime melodrama made even cheesier by the editing, there are a couple of bright spots in Space Warriors. One, the subservient female lead is remarkably pretty in contrast to the rest of the art. Two, she and a couple of other characters aren't acted at all badly, but it's hard to tell through the grade-school scriptwriting and butchered sound editing.
Also, classic sci-fi fans might get a chuckle out of the numerous references/rip-offs. There're Starfleet logos on some uniforms and straight-from-the-Empire villain outfits. Elsewhere, the ships bear a resemblance to the one in 2001, and the dub even throws in the classic Trek "red alert" sound in one scene.
If you ever run across it, you can hold up Space Warriors as a prime example of what anime used to be in the US: mediocre source material made far worse by choppy editing, random script changes, and terrible dubbing. It might have kept the kids entertained back when, but now it's either an abomination or prime material for mockery with friends.
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For truly epic classic anime cheese, Space Adventure Cobra or Lensman are worth checking out, though both are better than this. Other classic sci-fi films include Harmageddon, Odin, and the entire Harlock/Galaxy Express universe. The uber-psychic territory was also hit by Babel II.
Notes and Trivia
Note that Space Warriors is based on the 3-part OAV series Locke the Superman: Lord Leon, not the original Locke the Superman film. That movie version was also available in the US (titled either Locke the Superman or Locke the Superpowered) from Best Film and Video, though the treatment was just as poor.
US DVD Review
There is (thankfully) no DVD available, nor will there ever be, as USM's license expired even before the company shut down.
It's moderately violent, but some of the goofy dialogue changes try to hide it. I'd call it 10-up.
Violence: 2 - There's actually a lot of destruction, but its largely offscreen.
Nudity: 1 - Nothing of note.
Sex/Mature Themes: 1 - Some vague mature themes, but nothing notable made it through translation.
Language: 1 - Nothing significant.