a.k.a.Kidou Senshi Zeta Gundam
In the year Universal Century 0087, seeds of war are once again planted into the Earth Sphere. The Earth Federation’s elite military force, the Titans, have started to commit violent atrocities all throughout the colonies. In retaliation, the Anti-Earth Union Group (AEUG) wages a bloody war against the Titans. In the middle of this is Kamille Bidan, a teenage “newtype”‘s life changes forever when he enters the cockpit of a Gundam.
summary by Ender
Highs: Great cast of characters; riveting story; wonderful music; intense mecha fights; cements Gundam into epic stature
Lows: Some back-story required; not as complete as it could be
Tomino “Kill ‘Em All” Yoshiyuki strikes back at his own creation after five years of dormancy with this first sequel to Mobile Suit Gundam. You can say that he struck back with one heck of a vengeance. Zeta Gundam is a lot darker, a lot grittier and a whole lot more epic than its predecessor.
The staple of any good Gundam series is, of course, the story and the characters. Alliances, relationships, promises… all these are made and broken. As far as characters, almost every cast member gets his or her time in the spotlight and manages not to waste any of it. They show their strengths, weaknesses, nightmares, dreams, everything; you really get to know these characters. This adds more to the already exciting battle scenes (since everyone is already trying to kill one another). And as mobile suits fights and lives are lost, the background music makes it all seem somewhat beautiful.
Again, this series is a sequel, so one might need to know a few names, places and terms, but they mention them enough to get the relevance across. My only main gripe with this series is that it purposefully leaves itself for the sequel, Double Zeta. Though it’s not a bad way to keep the epic going, I still think that this series could have stood alone without one.
I suggest anyone who wants to get into Gundam, needs an action fix or loves hard-boiled science-fiction and drama to watch this series. And don’t worry, it’s “monotonous-bishounen“-free!
Highs: Captivating space opera with a perfect cast and atmosphere
Lows: ’80s J-Pop doesn’t work well; ends with a helluva cliffhanger
Straight up, I’m not a mecha or giant robot fan. Most works of both genres have never truly enthralled me nor had an engaging storyline. However, Tomino Yoshiyuki’s Zeta Gundam is a big exception.
Any anime, mecha or not, needs to know how to appropriately progress so that it captures its audience’s attention. Zeta Gundam accomplishes this by using tragic opera characteristics, like melodramatic emotion that isn’t over the top and a cast with a wide range of distinct mannerisms. The characters themselves weave their own individual plots throughout the course of the Gryps War, which is used as the primary instrument to drive characters and further define their personalities. The cycle of battles may wear down those whom desire an anime that’s less action-driven, but it’s effectively used to continually evolve character relations, as well as the war itself. The many deaths that occur force much of the cast to change and keep the gritty atmosphere alive; without the dark ambiance, many of the elements would become hard to believe at best.
And although it didn’t harm the atmosphere, the ’80s J-Pop at the beginning and end of every episode feels out of place. The soft rhythms and uplifting lyrics were pleasant to the ear but don’t seem to work to the anime’s advantage. But what’s disappointing is that the final episode ends on one of the biggest and unforeseeable cliffhangers I’ve ever witnessed. Suffice it to say, you’ll need to endure Gundam ZZ to see the true outcome rather than a finale that leaves you hankering for more.
Due to the numerous references, it’s practically a requirement to watch Mobile Suit Gundam before you get into Zeta Gundam. Once you do that, you’ll see and understand how a sequel to a classic has inevitably become a classic itself.