- “From a city of futuristic proportions, a new legend will be made to save it. Human or not.”
- –Official tagline
Blitzivan: Born to be Reloaded (also known in Europe and Asia as Blitzivan: Generation 1) is a 1997 El Kadsrean kadsresatsu superhero film directed by Frederick Lloyd, from a screenplay by Max Axis and Akira Hisashi. The film stars Patrick Cruz, Paulina Tan, Ogata Hako, Hilario Cordovieru, Nishiyama Sukejuro, and Kawena Malo. The film centers on Ray Daichi, who becomes the volunteer of a robotization experiment by Misumi Daichi and Hayatsumi Fuyama, becoming the superhero Blitzivan.
The film was released on September 26, 1997, and was a critical and financial success, receiving positive reviews from critics and grossing $509 million worldwide against its $90 million budget.
In the fictional city of Naphia, groups of soldiers sent by Monospec Industries investigate the abandoned Harldawn Fort castle, after being reported glowing a mysterious purple light, unknowingly releasing Ornyxia, an ancient sorcerer, from her prison, where she declares her return on Earth. Upon hearing the news from a surviving soldier, Hayatsumi Fuyama, CEO of Monospec, announced her plans on creating a android in order to defeat Ornyxia. During development, volunteer scientist Misumi Daichi suggests using her younger brother Ray Daichi as the host for the android's organic body, but Fuyama warns her about the potential complications he would experience during the procedure. However, Misumi decides to take Ray in to the lab anyway.
During the robotization, Lacynite, a monster created by Ornyxia, causes an ambush on the Monospec building that causes the procedure to temporarily halt. Once Lacynite reaches the lab, it unknowingly transfers an energy source into Ray's robot body, activating it and allowing Ray's consciousness to gain control of the body. Ray confronts Lacynite and defeats it, gaining his first victory.
Fuyama congratulates Misumi on the success of the project, but on the condition that Fuyama monitors Ray in order to prevent misuse of his body. Ornyxia, after learning of Lacynite's demise, commands Oragor to destroy Ray, who decided to name his alter-ego as Blitzivan, and steal his technology in order to augment her abilities. At home, Ray meets Fujita, a AI assistant of his Blitzivan form, and offers her help in training Ray on using his abilities, to which he agrees. Oragor soon battles Ray after finding his whereabouts before Oragor escapes before being killed. He soon heads back to the Monospec building as Misumi and Fuyama learn about Ornyxia's origins and planning a way to defeat her.
- Patrick Cruz as Ray Daichi/Blitzivan
- Seiji Takaiwa as Blitzivan (suit)
- Paulina Tan as Misumi Daichi
- Ogata Hako as Ornyxia
- Kogane Momoko as Ornyxia's Double
- Hilario Cordovieru as Oragor
- Nishiyama Sukejuro as Lacynite
- Kawena Malo as Fujita
- Max Axis as a Monspec soldier
In June of 1994, writer Max Axis, who was at high school at the time, submitted an incomplete script to El TV Kadsre Films for a science-fiction action film. Once the executives read the script, they liked it but advised Max to rewrite and revise a few points to make it more original. So Max rewrote the script and brought alongside fellow co-writer Akira Hisashi to give her own ideas into the script. Once they completed the revised script, they submitted it to El TV Kadsre Film's executives again, this time with much more confidence. The executives enjoyed the revised script and settled on a budget of $90 million.
However, the project was on hold for 2 years until Max got graduated in high school. And soon, right after he graduated high school, production of the film began in March 1995, making it Born to be Reloaded Max's feature debut.
Principal photography had begun on February 16, 1996, to March 22, 1997. However, though, some shots had to be reshoot due to the stunt doubles often being injuring and the number of technical issues that occurred during filming. It was filmed entirely in El Kadsre City, with the outside shots of Ornyxia's castle being filmed in Azara.
Ryan Hussain was hired to supervise the overall visual effects for the film. To keep the film's budget intact, he insisted on using practical effects more than CGI. The suits made for the film were designed by El TV Kadsre Film's special effects department. Some of the designs that were intended to use CGI with them were either scrapped or used in other films with much larger budgets. Some of El TV Kadsre Films' sound stages in the El TV Kadsre Television Centre were used for Misumi's lab and the throne of Ornyxia's base, Suzuki, one of the film's sponsors, used one of their motorbikes as the basis of Ray's Blitzcycle and for the Hammerhorse bikes the troopers use. Mazda designed and provided the Mazda RX-7 for Misumi's car, the NX-39 Sparrow.
The visual effects were made by CiGiWOW and Zecter Media. Due to the director's request, they opted to minimize the use of CGI and digital compositing as much as possible. CiGiWOW created digital extensions of Naphia, animating and compositing the bottom half of the Hammerhorse bikes, while Zecter Media provided the effects for Blitzivan's transformation gimmick. However, Blitzivan didn't transform as much in the film to preserve the effects budget. This was the last film CiGiWOW made before they were filed for bankruptcy. El TV Kadsre Imageworks provided some of effects for Oragor and Lacynite's abilities.
Blitzivan: Born to be Reloaded held its world premiere at the Hendring Cinemas in El Kadsre on October 28, 1997. It then held its U.S. premiere at the El Captian Theatre in Hollywood on September 21, 1997. The film was officially released in El Kadsre on September 26, 1997, and received an international release in the United States on December 12, 1997, where the film's distribution rights were handled by R.A. Releasing.
The film's teaser trailer premiered on the screenings of Nova Orbis 4: Death Race, Blueworld, Boys of Uprising, and Codename: Lightning. In addition, Hasbro produced a line of action figures based on the characters of the film. El TV Kadsre Films spent $20 million to promote the film. In addition, a novelization of the film was produced, written by co-writer Akira Hisashi.
The film was released on VHS, TVD, Laserdisc, and DVD four months later, on January 20, 1998, in the El Kadsreian Islands by El TV Kadsre Home Entertainment, Australia by Roadshow Entertainment and the US and Canada by Buena Vista Home Video.
In early August of 2007, the film was re-released on Blu-Ray that contained additional unused scenes, a new commentary with writers Max Axis and Akira Hisashi, special features not included in the original DVD release, and a sneak preview of the then-upcoming Blitzivan: 10 Years Later.
In 2017, to commemorate the Blitzivan franchise's 20th anniversary and to celebrate the then-upcoming release of Blitzivan: 20 Years Later, all of the main theatrical and television films were included in the Blitzivan: The Ultimate Collection two-disc set.
The film has also been released on Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D.
Canceled video game
A video game based on the movie was planned to be developed by Seymour Games, and was originally set to be released for the Sony Playstation, Sega Saturn, Theorysonic SphereBox, TS-UGOS, and Microsoft Windows but was later canceled due to unspecified reasons. The official trailer for the game can still be seen in the film's VHS release.
The film initially received $67 million in the first run, in which the director described at first was "a bit disappointing". But by its second week, the film quickly received $175 million worldwide and after that, received $265 million, breaking its expected $223 million revenue.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes holds the film an 82% rating based on 113 reviews, with an audience score of 7.64/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Blitzivan: Born to be Reloaded may have some malfunctions here and there, but its enjoyable characters and the film's overall sci-fi twist ensures that it can still function on its own." Metacritic gave the film a score of 74 out of 100, based on 72 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
El Kadsrean critic David Sududikino gave the film three stars out of four, calling it "a well-made and original tokusatsu that may not be part of Technic Heroes itself, but proves it doesn't have to be."
Sequels and franchise
The film's success spawned an entire franchise starting with Blitzivan 2: Type Overload, Blitzivan 3: Digital Eclipse, Blitzivan Armageddon, and Blitzivan: 10 Years Later. The following films after 10 Years Later were released as television films (though they were released theatrically in some countries).