P-Anime History Overview
P-Anime History Part 0
P-Anime History Part 1
P-Anime History Part 2
P-Anime History Part 3
P-Anime History Part 4
P-Anime History Part 5
P-Anime History Part 6
P-Anime Compact Disc
P-Anime Comic Books
Glossary of Terms
1993 Anime Releases
1994 Anime Releases
1995 Anime Releases
1996 Anime Releases
1997 Anime Releases
1998 Anime Releases
1999 Anime Releases
Other Product Releases
Box Art Image Gallery
The Unofficial History of Pioneer Anime:
Part 2: May 1994 - March 1995
by Adam "OMEGA" Arnold
"Anime--Any Way You Want It!" is how Pioneer primed its' new VHS series of Anime. With the choice of either Subtitled VHS or Dubbed VHS, Anime fans without Laserdisc players could enjoy the growing library of Pioneer titles. First to be released were the first 7 episodes of Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki and the first three volumes of Moldiver. The Tenchi fandom exploded and gave Pioneer enough customers to finish releasing the last 3 episodes of Moldiver on both VHS and Laserdisc. Pioneer Anime was here to stay.
November 1994 marked the appearance of Pioneer's fourth Anime release, KISHIN HEIDAN: Machine God Corps. Kishin Heidan is a seven episode OVA series and Pioneer's first attempt at an Anime Compilation. In a clever cost cutting measure Pioneer planned Kishin Heidan to be a 4 volume series to be released on a bi-monthly basis starting in November 1994 with the final volume released in May 1995. The first volume would contain the first 60 minute episode and every volume and Laserdisc there after would contain 2 episodes for only $25 dollars for per 60 minute volume ($24.95 dub, $29.95 sub, $39.95 LD). All the tapes and Laserdisc were produced with the name KISHIN HEIDAN printed on them. But, in a last minute decision Pioneer renamed the series KISHIN CORPS: "Active Defense Forces". (Note: The Dubbed VHS box has a 4 part mural printed on the side of the box, so when you put the 4 volumes together it shows a complete picture of the 3 main Kishin.)
KISHIN CORPS is a series set during the time of World War II, but the story doesn't focus around Hitler, it focuses around a special squadron of giant robot soldiers called 'Kishin.' The Kishin Corps stop the Nazi's from creating their own 'Kishin' with the help of an Alien race (yes, Aliens). With mood-setting symphonic music, an enthralling plot, and characters you sympathize with, this is definitely one of Pioneer's most under-watched series they have ever released. Most people will just hear the overall plot and skip right over it, but this is defiantly one to pick-up even if you hate war movies.
The Green Legend Ran compilation was delayed until January 1995. All three Laserdisc volumes were released in a boxed set. A 140 minute un-cut one volume Dubbed VHS compilation of GL for $39.95 (no extras) and an un-cut 3 volume Subbed VHS boxed set were also released simultaneously with the Laserdisc set and contained a T-Shirt, a 20 page booklet, and three sets of postcards.
March 28, 1995 saw the release of the second Tenchi special, Tenchi-Muyo!: Ryo-Ohki Mihoshi Special. A 45 minute special told from Mihoshi's point of view with the Tenchi characters put into her story, which delves into what created her luck, and introduces Kiyone and The Magical Girl Pretty Sammy into the Tenchiverse.
March 28, 1995 also saw the release of Pioneer's fifth series, ARMITAGE III, on both Laserdisc and VHS subbed and dubbed. Armitage III (The Third) is Pioneer's first 'more mature' release (on Pioneer's current rating scale it is for viewers "16 UP"). Unlike Kishin Corps, with this series, it was decided that the 4 episode OVA series was to be released on a bi-monthly basis on 4 separate VHS and Laserdisc.
ARMITAGE III is a cyber-punk story of "Ross Sylibus, a recently transferred button down cop from Chicago and his new partner, ARMITAGE, the irreverent 19-year-old Martian born detective with a shocking attitude" as they uncover someone is killing off all 'The Third' line of Androids on Mars in 2046. But there is something not quite right about these Thirds. They have their own personalities, lives, and they can even give birth. What is Armitage's secret? Who is killing 'The Thirds'? And what is Ross's secret? To find out you'll have to watch the series to find out in this Blade Runner meets Total Recall thriller. Overall, this is a very addictive series to watch, but it should be watched in one marathon sweep. There are a lot of minor plots and something's that are easily missed if you aren't paying attention. But, this the OVA series definitely a keeper. (Note: The movie compilation of Armitage III has some new scenes that explain a few things that the OVA omitted, is darker in nature than the OVA, is shorter than the OVA series, and sports a new ending, but the OVA series does have the better ending of the two.)
End of Part II
Note 6: Kishin Corps has been renamed Alien Defender Geo-Armor: Kishin Corps.
Note 7: Alien Defender Geo-Armor: Kishin Corps is available as a 4 Volume VHS boxed set in both English Dubbed or English Subbed formats for only $59.99. However, the original Kishin Corps boxed set of all 4 Dubbed volumes plus a T-shirt, postcard, subtitle inserts, and stickers is currently unavailable.
Note 8: Armitage III OVA is currently only available as a Dubbed VHS for $24.95. No re-release has been planned as of yet for this 4 volume series, so all 4 episodes are ONLY available on 4 separate VHS tapes, plus the availability of these tapes are in short supply. (See the trend yet?)
Note 9: Armitage III: Poly-Matrix the 90 minute movie compilation of the 140 minute Armitage III OVA series is currently available on VHS for $19.95 and LD or DVD for $29.95. The DVD release sports interactive menus with music from the movie and character bios.