Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (Kidou Senshi Zeta Gundam, Z Gundam, Zeta)
3/2/1985 to 2/22/1986
Type: TV Series (52 Episodes)
Genre: Mecha/Military Drama
Plot Synopsis: In UC 0087, seven years after the conclusion of the One Year War, A.E.U.G start a campaign against the oppressive military regime of the Titans. Camille Bidan, finds himself caught up in the middle of a growing war. And soon he finds out how brutal and tragic war can be.
Story (10/10): This may seem like a rave review, but those who know me will know I donít like to rave. In all the hundreds of anime I have seen, I have never bore witness to such a well written and executed script. Zetaís brutal, no nonsense approach to war is harsh and uncompromising. This is highlighted when Camille visits a colony which had fallen victim to a G-3 gas attack, and bears witness to decomposed bodies floating around the streets.
The story progression is deceptively slow at times, but often the build up used pays off. Although I wonít spoil anything, the ending to this anime is one of the most rewarding yet surprising endings I have seen in a while.
Characters (10/10): Another very well earned 10 here. The characters in Z Gundam are amazingly well developed and fleshed out; we bear witness to their hopes and dreams in life. You will find yourselves cheering for their success and maybe and odd tear at their loss. This does not only apply to the protagonists, but the antagonists as well.
One of Yoshiyuki Tominoís (The great director and creator of the Gundam franchise) best hallmarks is his ability to show that in war, there is no absolute good and evil, but that everybody is not out to destroy, but trying to survive..
Okay, this anime is old, very old, a little over 20 years old. And sometimes this does indeed show itís age. Although Gundam animation does age rather well, you can certainly see the distinctive 80ís rounded noses here.
Although the animation itself is acceptable, and most older viewers wonít find much of a problem watching it, some of the more recent initiates to anime may find it a far cry to the ages of digital animation.
Voice Acting/Music (9/10)
Behind the characters are some incredibly convincing voice actors. Although to the more recent of anime fans the voices will be unfamiliar. But their performances are charged with genuine emotion. Shuuichi Ikeda and Bin Shimada steal the show as Quattro Bagina and Paptimus Sirocco respectively. Both of whomís performances are nothing short of stunning.
The music within the show itself is amazingly atmospheric, full of some excellent symphonic scores. The main Titanís theme (Battleship Alexandria) is disturbingly haunting and foreboding. Although the only complaint is that the main ending score, a rather generic piece of 80ís J-pop seems terribly out of place in such a dark and deeply dramatic anime.
Hardcore Gundam fans consider Zeta Gundam to be head and shoulders above the rest. And there is a very strong argument to support such a masterwork of anime. Although you need the backstory of the original series, once you see it you will be greatly rewarded with one of the best stories to come into anime.