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Earth is attacked by an alien race, known as the Cthulhu. The only hope for Earth is Iczer 1 who must find her synchronization partner who turns out to Nagisa Kano.
An alien ship carrying the survivors of the Cthulhu, a race of female clones, is taken over by the sinister entity Big Gold and heads for Earth. The Cthulhu (hastily and ineptly disguised as "Cutowolf" in early Western publicity to avoid copyright problems) seek a new home, and with Big Gold's malign energy driving them, they decide that Earth will suit them nicely once they kick out the current occupants. One of the Cthulhu, Iczer-One, is willing to fight for Earth but must link up with the right human to help her power her mighty fighting machine, Iczer-Robo. The "right human" is Nagisa Kano, an ordinary Japanese schoolgirl who is so terrified by seeing her parents transformed into alien monsters and her world falling to pieces around her that she can do very little apart from quake in terror. Only when she unleashes the full force of her anger can she power the huge robot, but then she and Iczer-One are an unstoppable combination. The Cthulhu call on all their powers to warp dimensions, transform familiar objects and places into nightmarish threats, and send in gross, drooling monsters. At last, they even throw in Iczer-One's nasty red-haired clone sister, Iczer-Two; but they can't win against the love and trust between Na-gisa and Iczer-One, since both are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save Earth.
Hirano's dark, dank otherworld was based on a story by Rei Aran, with nightmarish references to the work of H. P. Lovecraft (see Armitage III). However, nameless terrors are hampered by the fact that the "unimaginable," once animated, looks merely nasty, but Watanabe's monsters are as well crafted as Aramaki's fabulous robots. The script is loaded with homoerotic subtexts and sexualized cruelty, all the more effective for being less than completely explicit. Nagisa's helpless terror is an understandable reaction to an extreme situation, rather than being an annoying character trait played up by writer and actress in the mistaken belief that helplessness is cute, and Iczer-One is the ideal heroine-brave, understanding, and determined. A shameless steal from the ending of Superman II doesn't jibe but makes for a rather touching finale in which Nagisa, having given her all to save the world, is rewarded by getting her old life back and forgetting everything else, including the friend who would have died to save her.
Hirano returned to the concept with Iczer-3 (1990), toning down the violence but keeping the fan-service nudity. Big Gold was defeated but left many of her progeny still at large in the galaxy. Iczer-One has tracked them down and destroyed all but one, Neos Gold. After a terrible battle, both are wounded and agree to a truce to heal, after which they'll settle things with a final fight. As Iczer-One withdraws to recoup her strength, Neos Gold cheats by sending her cohorts to soften up Earth for her attack, so the Cthulhu send prepubescent Iczer-3 to defend the planet until "big sister" recovers. With a descendant of Nagisa Kano and the crew of an Earth battle cruiser, Ic-zer-3 attempts to hold off the enemy with the Power of Cute. A helium-powered performance from wrestler Cuty Suzuki in the leading role took what had been a tale of nameless horrors into the realms of high camp, grounded by the reappearance of the two older Iczer clones for the final battle.
Hirano reworked the concept again as an armored-girl-team show in the manner of Bubblegum Crisis, first as a manga and then for the two-part video Iczelion (1994). For this resurrection, production moved to KSS, with Hashimoto and Masanori Nishii joining Hirano for design work. Nagisa Kai is an ordinary teenager until fate intervenes and makes her the chosen combat partner of an intelligent battlesuit. Iczel robots, useful entities in their own right, become Iczelion battlesuits when "fused" with their girl operatives in a nude transformation sequence. Together with three other young women, Nagisa must save Earth from subjugation by an invading alien army headed by Chaos and Cross, who have so far swept across the galaxy defeating all in their path. At first Nagisa is too terrified to fight and even separates from her Iczel in an attempt to escape, but when her friends at school are threatened, she decides she must save them. Once more, affection between girls wins the day, though the explicit lesbian overtones of the first series have been edged into the background. The two later incarnations lack the dark power of the first, moving the original concept in less adventurous directions, but the series remains a firm favorite with older fans. Iczer-3 was subsequently renamed Iczer Reborn in a 2003 U.S. DVD release-a smart move that helped offset some of the numerical confusion. LNV