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Blitzivan 3: Dark Eclipse (simply known as Blitzivan 3 in Europe) is a 2003 El Kadsreian fantasy science-fiction action tokusatsu superhero film directed and written by Max Axis and Akira Hisashi, and distributed by El TV Kadsre Films and Silver Bullet Pictures. It is the third installment in the Blitzivan film series. The film marks the directorial debut of Max Axis.

The film revolves around Blitzivan as he and Ivy prevent an evil cult from summoning the ancient warlord named Kraxxar by using an upcoming solar eclipse. While there, Blitzivan and ivy attempt to find an ancient relic so that they can defeat Kraaxar once and for all.

The film premiered on March 13, 2003, at the Fox Village Theater and was released on March 15, 2003, worldwide. The film received critical acclaim from critics, who praised its writing, special and visual effects, and the performances of the cast. The film was a box-office success, grossing over $505 million worldwide against its $156 million budget, making it one of the highest-grossing films of 2003.

Plot

In an underground cave, a cult is discussing a solar eclipse that'll occur in a few days. Its leader overhears this and tells the mysterious voice that the solar eclipse is coming, to which the voice says that its the perfect time that he'll be initiating rebirth.

Back in Mirai City, An excavation crew has been exploring a deep mineshaft because they've detected a signal from the bottom, unaware that the shaft leads to the cult's whereabouts, and that the "signal" was used as bait to capture anyone who follows it. The crew is captured by the cult's members, who used their blood for experiments so that the cult can create monsters of their own. However, one of the members managed to escape the cave so that he can contact local and national media about the event.

A few weeks later, the news about the cult became widespread, with Mirai City's armed forces guarding the cave. Both Ray and Ivy got wind of this and decided to check out the place, only to be stopped by the armed forces. The cave suddenly exploded and released a group of monsters from within the black smoke. Both Blitzivan and Ivy fought the monsters, with the armed forces assisting them. After the monsters where defeated, the armed forces relieved that Blitzivan and his sister managed to save them, decided to take Blitzivan and Ivy in their hidden base of operations in a barren desert.

They soon arrived at the base, in which the base's owner, Xyricus, greets them. He recognizes Ivy as one of Ornyxion's henchmen, but Blitzivan assures him that Ivy changed her mind and that she decided to work as a heroine instead, Much to Xyricus' surprise. Xyricus explains why they're here: They needed both Blitzivan and Ivy to find an ancient relic known as the Solrizer, which is said to be used to defeat an ancient evil warlord known as Kraxaar whenever he returns. He further explained that they'll be using the Sorizer's power to activate a new suit of armor known simply as the Ultimate Armor, which Xyricus knows that it will help defeat Kraxxar. Blitzivan and Ivy quickly accepts their offer, to which Xyricus revealed the Solrizer's location.

The duo arrived at the temple which houses the Solrizer. Right before they retrieve the Solrizer, the cult's members and their army of monsters soon arrive. To which the duo faced in an epic battle. While there, one of the cult's monsters attempt to use the Solrizer against them but quickly subdues, Ivy then uses the Solrizer herself, killing all the enemies. The duo then returned to the hidden base with the Solrizer, in which Xyricus takes the duo to the chamber where he unveils the Ultimate Armor. While the armed forces' scientists and Ivy were attempting to power the Ultimate Armor using the Solrizer, the solar eclipse has arrived, to which the cult prepares to summon Kraxxar.

After the armed forces finished powering up the Ultimate Armor and creating a device to house the armor itself called the Solkey. The base suddenly shakes, causing Blitzivan, Ivy, and Xyricus to head outside and witness Mirai City suddenly glowing red. Xyricus reveals that Kraxxar has been revived. Kraxxar begins terrorizing the city. With no time to waste, Blitzivan takes the Solrizer and heads off, with the military assisting in helping the people evacuate.

Blitzivan faces Kraxxar himself, while Ivy and the military helped the citizens of Mirai City evacuate and facing off against the cult and its leader. Kraxxar nearly beats Blitzivan, but not before he places the Solkey in his belt. Blitzivan was engulfed in a a bright, blue light. The light disappeared, revealing Blitzivan with the Ultimate Armor in him, which he calls himself Ultimate Blitzivan. Ultimate Blitzivan swiftly defeats Kraxxar, but not before he and the cult's leader fused each other and transform into their final form. Ultimate Blitzivan shared the Solrizer's energy to Ivy, giving her a temporary power boost. The duo then faced off against the Kraxxar/Cult Leader hybrid, in which the duo defeats the hybrid when Ultimate Blitzivan projects a wormhole that sucked the hybrid.

After they defeated the hybrid, the duo and the military escaped the now crumbling hideout. To which they celebrated their victory. A few days later, Blitzivan gets a call from Xyricus, who says that Ray can keep the Solkey and that he and Ivy are now considered "Mirai City's Ultimate Guardians".

Cast

  • Patrick Cruz as Ray Daichi/Blitzivan
  • Paulina Tan as Ivy Daichi
  • Daisuke Eiko as Kraxxar (voice)
    • Ezume Hajime as Kraxxar (suit)
  • Hachiro Kanaye as Xyricus
  • Katashi Hiromi as the Cult's Leader
    • Kibo Masakazu as the Kraxxar/Cult Hybrid (suit)
  • Harry Cruz as Terra-Moth (suit)
  • Hisano Hayami as Metaroach (suit)
  • Hajime Goro as Kabutorr (suit)
  • Fudo Kentaro as Evo-Slug (suit)
  • The Action Masters Stuntmen as the Scientists
  • The BoomMasters Stuntmen as the Cult's Members

Production

Development

Development of Dark Eclipse began in February 2001, in which co-writer Akira Hisashi planed to give the third installment in the Blitzivan film series a more serious tone. Writer Max Axis suggested that the third film would implement fantasy elements, but still keep the sci-fi elements intact to prevent the film from being "too deviated". The duo then started working on the script. To push the fantasy elements further, they decided to have an ancient warlord Kraxxar as the main antagonist while the cult was added so that the audience will know that someone has been working under their back. Max Axis conceived Blitzivan's Ultimate Form so that Blitzivan would at least have something new at his arsenal. Max Axis contacted Frederick Lloyd to direct the film, but declined, saying that he was too busy with Negasus. Max attempted to contact different directors but was met with the same response. So Max Axis decided to direct the film all by himself, despite him having no directing skills.

Design

One of the more challenging designs the filmmakers made was the design of Blitzivan's Ultimate Armor. Max Axis suggests that the suit should have the perfect balance of a medieval and futuristic/mechanical designs, but he also wanted the suit to be fast and graceful when in motion. A team of concept artists submitted 355 designs, most of the designs feature round shoulder plates, cape, and rounded boots, and Blitzivan's helmet resembling a medieval knight helmet before the final concept art was chosen. One of the rejected designs, however, was later used for the armor of Kraxxar. Most of the monster's designs were based on a combination of insects, bugs, and mythical creatures.

Filming

Principal photography began on June 2002, to November 2002. The filming locations include Texas, El Kadsre City, Sydney, and Tokyo. While the second unit filmed the action and stunt scenes.

Effects

Like the first two films, they pushed the in-camera special effects more than digital effects, though the digital effects were pushed a bit due to the increased budget. El TV Kadsre Films' Special Effects Department returned to create the monster suits and the cult's while Superview assisted in creating the sets for the air force's hidden base, the cult's hideout, and helped in creating the Ultimate Blitzivan suit.

The visual effects of the film were handled by Zecter Media, Superview, and Fuse Special Effects. Because Zecter Media was too busy with other films that they're working on, so Zecter Media decided to collab with Superview, and Fuse Special Effects to produce the VFX more quickly and efficiently without rushing the entire schedule.

Release

Home media

The film was initially released on VHS, TVD, Videocard, and DVD on August 15, 2003. The DVD was available in both anamorphic widescreen and Pan-and-Scan "fullscreen" versions. Blitzivan 3 was the last film to be released on the TVD format before it was discontinued. The film was later released on the PSP, via it's proprietary Universal Media Disc (UMD) format and on Blu-Ray.

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.

Marketing

in a rather unique turn of events, El TV Kadsre Films partnered with Drillmation Studios to include Blitzivan's character in Touhou 14: Double Dealing Character, as a way to promote both the film and the game. First, he was included as mini-boss once the player collects all the 6 individual machine parts. (although he was given a different design and that he goes by the name of BSV-133). Once he was defeated, he becomes a playable character. The second is that the official trailer of Dark Eclipse was included as a bonus feature after the players defeat the BSV-133 mini-boss. Fans speculated that Blitzivan's appearance in the game could potentially mean that a crossover between the Touhou Project and the Blitzivan franchise was happening, which it did 6 years later, in the form of Blitzivan X Touhou Project. Blitzivan and Ivy's characters are also available as a playable character in Technic Smash! 2 as the downloadable content for Theorysonic Pyramid owners that can be purchased via TheoryShop.

This time, Bandai produced the tie-in figurines. They even produced Gunpla model kits of Blitzivan and Ultimate Blitzivan.

Soundtrack

Hiroshi Naoyuki returned to compose the soundtrack for the film, while Jiro Kaori was hired to give the soundtrack both a techno and horror-esque feel to it. The soundtrack album was released on March 18, 2003, by El TV Kadsre Records.

Reception

Critical Reception

The film received critical acclaim from critics. It was praised for its writing, characters, visual effects, and acting and called Blitzivan 3 "one of the greatest sequels of the 21st century". Despite its positive reception, Blitzivan 3 failed to outgross Lana X: The Ladybot, which was released four months later.

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