"The Bacterian, an invasive, almost parasitic species, attacking Planet Lotus with such fury that its ruler, Lord British, is forced to call on three warriors from the rival planet Gladius for help. Eddy, Dan and Stephanie use the latest space hunting techniques to combat the Bacterian, but there are other conflicts in their own hearts. The glossy designs are by Haruhiko Mikimoto, one of the giants of the art whose work included the legendary GUNBUSTER. Directed eith the emphasis on pace by Hisayuki Toriumi."
Director: Hisayuki Toriumi Screenplay: Kazuhito Hisajima Copyright: Konami VHS version: Language: Japanese with English subtitles Label: Western Connection Volume: 1 2 3 Running time: 60 mins 60 mins 60 mins Certificate: PG PG PG Catalogue no: WEST 026 WEST 030 WEST 034 Price: £10.99 £10.99 £10.99 Release Date: 23rd Jan 1995 27th Feb 1995 27th Mar 1995
Once upon a time, Konami produced a video game called "Gladius" (aka Nemesis). The success of this game led Konami to produce many more similar shooters and Salamander (aka Life Force) was Gladius' first successor. Then Konami returned to the Gladius world by releasing its sequel "Gladius II : Goffer's Ambition".
The success of these games led Konami to produce the three parts anime : Salamander. Its story tells us how the alien race "Bacterian" (which can take any form and turn inorganic matters to organic) tried to destroy different planets.
In Salamander 1, the Bacterians attacked Gladius but they were unsuccessful due to the effort of three brave pilots - Dan, Stephanie and Eddy.
Then in Salamander 2, the Bacterians switched their attention to Lotus. This time they used a deadly organic planet called Salamander in an attempt to destroy Lotus. But with the help of the three Gladius pilots, Lotus' Prince Lord British managed to fight off the invaders.
However, when they went back home in Gladius, the Bacterians struck again with a new plan.
Of all the main characters, only Eddy Evans (sounds more like Eddie Ivans) can be described as special. His passion and background increased the watchability of the first two episodes. Unfortunately, he didn't appear in the last episode which IMHO, caused it to be the worst episode of the three.
Lack of charismatic characters isn't the only problem of the anime either. A lot of the space combat scenes are quite uninspiring. It looks particularly odd when the Bacterians sent some dragons and tentacles out to fight but at the same time having a giant battleship as backup (Salamander 1).
The pluses about the series is that it fits in with the games rather well. From the episode titles (Salamander 2 was just called Salamander and Salamander 3 was "Goffer's Ambition") to the Gladius-Salamander-Gladius setting and many more. Unfortunately, for people who haven't played the games before, these subtleties will not be appreciated.
Overall, Salamander is quite an uneven series. Salamander 1 was alright. Salamander 2 was good. It has the best atmosphere and space combat scene. The build-up was so good that my eyes got a little wet after the tragic event near the end of the episode. In contrast, Salamander 3 was just a little too ordinary. [Terry Bogard]