Gundam ZZ

Alternative Titles: Gundam Double Zeta, ZZ Gundam

Studio: Sunrise

Original Airdate: 1986-1987

Type: TV Series

Length: 47 Episodes

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mecha, Military, Science Fiction

Synopsis: The year is Universal Century 0088. Directly after the end of the Gryps War, Haman Karn and her army of Zeon remnants on the asteroid Axis begin their quest of reviving the lost empire of the Zabi's, and proclaim themselves as the Neo-Zeon. With the Earth Federation as hapless as ever, only the Anti-Earth Union Group (AEUG) is able oppose the plans of Neo-Zeon. In need of all the help it can get after being decimated in the previous war and losing many of its key members, the AEUG ship Argama enlists the aid of a young junk collector from the Side 1 colony of Shangri-La named Judau Ashta to pilot its newest mobile suit, the Double Zeta Gundam.

Storyline: 6/10

After the near epic and tragic storyline to Zeta Gundam, the first twenty or so episodes change in tone is a dramatic change. No longer are we treated to the dark storylines of the tragedy of war, but rather a very episodic storyline of Judau saving the day.

The beginning “Shangri-La” arc is possibly the worst, with a completely formulatic approach. Zeon mobile suits attack the colony to find the Argama, Judau steals Zeta Gundam and saves the day.

The new comedic approach to this Gundam series is made worse by the fact that virtually none of the jokes are actually funny.

Fortunately, Yoshiyuki Tomino who, at the time was writing the finale of the first Gundam saga, Char’s Counteratatck was given rights to step in and take over the director’s chair at Episode 20 and the series suddenly attains a much more serious and darker tone. Unfortunately by then the series could not be completely salvaged and the damage had been done to the storyline, and even Tomino’s writing could not completely save the rather weak storyline.

Characters: 5/10

The new characters introduced in this series were made to appeal to a younger target audience, who would not be able to comprehend the deep three dimensional personalities of the protagonists of previous Gundams. Unfortunately, what we have here are lucky to be called one-dimensional characters.

The single mindedness of characters in this anime is utterly ridiculous, Judau Ashta, our hero for this series seems to only have three thoughts in his head. His sister, making money from scrap metal, and, later on, how evil Neo Zeon are.

The worst offenders of single mindedness are the utterly annoying Beecha and Mondo who seems obsessed with betraying the Argama to the point of obscurity. These two characters in particular are utterly unlikeable, yet we, the audience seem to be expected to feel for them.

The only reason I did not give this anime a 2/10 (which I was tempted to) was due to the writing of Tomino, who salvaged the annoying Zeon pilot Glemy Toto and completely rewrote his personality. No longer is he obsessed with his love interest (the Argama pilot Lu Luka), but
An influential insurgent who wishes to overthrow Haman Karn

Fortunately many of the popular cast remains on hand. The highlights being the great captain Bright Noa and the insidiously cool Haman Karn. Although both, due to the changed tone of the show are mere shadows of their former selves.

Animation: 6/10

The animation in this anime is completely unremarkable. No genuine effort is made to animate mobile suit battles as neither exciting nor particularly grim. Rather, we have the same frames of animation repeated far too often that even the target audience of young kids will notice.

Character designs themselves are utterly ridiculous with obscure Zeon pilots that look like they belong in a mix of a candy store and an S&M club mixed in with ultra generic brethren. There is little more to say about the animation other than utterly unremarkable.

Voice acting, music: 6.5/10

The voice acting is what could have saved this anime from being a major train wreck. Surprisingly, the seiyuu do a surprisingly remarkable performance, Judau although an annoying character, his seiyuu does an exceptional job portraying his emotions.

Yoshiko Sakakibara stands absolutely head and shoulders above everybody else with a performance that is nothing short of electrifying. Reprising her role as Neo Zeon leader Haman Karn, she absolutely nails it.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the music. Although the opening and closing themes for the second half of the series, which takes a dramatic turn, the rest of the music is appalling. Although there are good tracks in the series, those that are good are simply recycled music from Zeta Gundam, which was loaded with dark dramatic tracks.

The bgm remix of the first opening song “Anime ja nai”, which is played at the end of nearly every episode in the first half of the series in particular made me cringe in its utter childishness.

Overall: 5/10

This is a horribly disappointing sequel to a series I consider nearly perfect. Although the second half of the series is passable for Gundam, having to watch the utter stupidity of the first half of the series is utterly painful.

The entire series is not bad, but having to watch the utter travesty of the first half of the series to see something only a little above average is utterly painful.