Invader Zim Season One & Two

Format: NTSC
Region: All Regions
Studio: Nickelodeon
DVD Release Date: May 4, 2010
Run Time: 596 minutes


This 2001 animated series made for children’s TV channel Nickelodeon is a bit of an acquired taste, which probably explains why it was cancelled before its second season could be finished.

It has also become a bit of a cult item in the years since then. Like most cults its appeal is difficult – if not downright impossible – to explain to outsiders. Invader Zim is the sort of show you either “get”, or you don’t.

One can understand why the show was cancelled though. It is too noisy and abrasive for most adult sensibilities and too dark and occasionally scary for small children. It is however delightfully demented and will appeal to adult and teenaged animation fans of a certain (twisted) mind set. Along with Cowboy Bebop it counts as one of our all-time favorite animation shows. But be warned: you simply might end up hating it. (It is somewhat reminiscent of Cartoon Network’s Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy.)

The story involves an inept and overzealous alien named Zim who always messes up and is sent to Earth as an undercover spy to pave the way for a future alien invasion. It is all a ruse of course: the idea is to keep Zim out of everybody’s hair. Back on Earth most of Zim’s time is taken up by protecting his secret identity. A boy living next door named Dib knows that Zim is an alien infiltrator is out to expose him . . .

THE DISCS: Anime Works has now discontinued its Invader Zim DVDs and this title will from now on only be available in this manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media by format. It is unfortunate since this set excludes all of the special features such as audio commentaries and animatics found on the old discs.

However to be fair thanks to lots of otherwise out-of-print material (including music CDs) will still be available this way, which is better than nothing.

WORTH IT? We love Invader Zim’s Calvin & Hobbes on hallucinogenics aesthetic. It’s like pencil doodles of Tim Burton’s which have come to glorious over-stylized life with bold lines, bright colors and loads of delirious movement.

The show was largely created by “alternative” comic book artist Jhonen Vasquez. Whoever read titles of his such as SQUEE’s Wonderful Big Book of Unspeakable Horrors and Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and thought that they’ll make for kiddy-friendly fare for the same channel that broadcasts shows such as Dora the Explorer and Rugrats probably should have their minds read however.

RECOMMENDATION: See whether you can pick up the older DVD editions perhaps via Amazon resellers instead.



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