Favorite MangaNo manga favorites added
Favorite PeopleNo people favorites added
50 of 50 episodes seen
When I first started watching the show, I immediately connected with most of the extremely likable and interesting characters. Sometimes, it takes a while for characters in a Gundam show to grow on you, but it's very apparent from the first few episodes of Turn A that many of the characters feel real. Loran himself is probably the first Gundam pilot without some severe mental disorder. He's not as anti-social as Amuro or as hot-headed as Kamille and Domon. He's not a panic-stricken youth like Uso or a soldier who has thrown away his emotions like Heero. He's just a guy with a (not overbearing) sense of justice trying to find his place in the world. Who cross-dresses when necessary.
The other good guy characters pleasantly surprised me even more than Loran. Dianna I thought would be another impractical idealist who represents some kind of purity, but she takes a lot of risks and action after realizing her flaws. She can be giving an eloquent speech one minute and in disguise, wielding a rifle the next minute. Sochie is another protagonist I found intriguing, as she goes through a ton of personal growth as the series goes on. Even minor characters, like Corin Nander, had the potential to steal the show every time he was on screen.
The weakness of the series started to become apparent to me when after this great cast of characters was laid out, very little happened. The conflict of the main story revolves around the people of the moon trying to migrate back to Earth, and the Earth trying to stop the perceived invasion. However, the conflict is really a result of racial tensions and differing view-points of what is right. The higher-ups on both sides of the conflict seem to want peace, which makes the whole conflict rather weak.
For the first 40 out of 50 episodes really, mobile suit battles are small scale and often the result of disgruntled soldiers defying their commanders. It's not until Gym Gingham appears very late in the series that we even get a true antagonist. The overall weakness of the "bad guys" in Turn A is apparent when looking at MAL's character page, where nobody has even bothered to yet list any of the show's troublemakers outside of Gingham (I may fix this).
The general setting and aesthetic of Turn A is wonderful. The technology and fashion of the Earth at the beginning of the show represents the 1920s or 1930s. It makes everyone look very fashionable as they fly around in their suits. The hair of Dianna and Kihel is probably the most well-animated hair outside of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. The music in Turn A varies in quality but is overall good. The first OP is very good, the second OP is very bad. The first ED is okay but somewhat forgettable. The second ED is one of the best EDs I've ever heard.
It's apparent that Tomino was going for something radically different from his usual depressing war epics. He purposely wanted to move away from epic battles and "Kill Em All" with an extremely colorful show that is 100% character-driven. In some ways, this was a success and made this particular series memorable among the crowded Gundam universe. In other ways, the action and deviousness was probably minimized too much. The plot moves very slowly at times, with very few plot turns before the run up to the finale. I can handle a lack of action as long as you put something else compelling in its place, which Turn A didn't do well at times.
Because of the lack of action, this Gundam series has the potential to be very polarizing among people who watch this show with certain expectations for how mecha needs to be. Even after keeping an open mind, I still have my issues with the pacing and the weakness of the overall conflict. However, the strength of the characters make it a show I don't regret having seen. read more
39 of 39 episodes seen
I feel it very necessary to say, I have not yet read anything written by Agatha Christie. I have no doubt that the original books were superior to this adaptation, and I can tell just from watching the show that the stories had an excellent source material. The main question for Christie fans will probably be, "How much adaptation decay is there?" I cannot answer this, only talk about how I felt as someone who was experiencing everything in this show as fresh and new.
In part to provide a common link between Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, the lead detectives of our story, and also in part to give children a character with which to relate, we are introduced to Maybelle West, a 16-year old girl who is learning how to become a detective. Maybelle also comes along with the unfortunate companion of Oliver the duckling. Maybelle, when she's not being a horrible brat to her father, is mostly smiling and friendly and vapid. Fortunately, she doesn't intrude on the established stories very much. She assists Poirot and Marple, but I often times forget she is there. Oliver is harder to ignore, because when he pops his head out of his basket, the camera is squarely on him until he disappears. Oliver gets far too much screentime for a creature with zero purpose other than to be adorable.
If like me you haven't read these stories before, don't think you won't be fooled just because this is a "kid's show." Yes, sometimes they add in extra clues, but for the most part these are riddles that will challenge an adult mind. Sometimes I correctly guessed a culprit and reasoned through it, and sometimes I didn't. That's probably the genius of Agatha Christie shining through.
At the heart and despite all the trimmings, this show is classic "whodunnit," with an ample side dish of "howdunnit." Marple and Poirot are both the kind of people who prefer to solve a crime with deduction than following breadcrumbs. So, instead of a crime story where breaks and new leads in the case are handed to us, we as viewers have to slowly gather facts and read suspects. There is almost zero action in this show, and that is just fine, because it kept my brain chugging along. The suspense is good enough to cut with a knife.
While the animation screams "low budget," it doesn't really hamper the show as there's no action to be animated anyway. A positive and surprising tip of the hat should go to the soundtrack, which I felt heightened the show quite a bit, including the OP. It's more than I would have expected for a show of this type.
Despite the simplicity of all the main characters, Marple and Poirot included, and the younger audience wrapping, there is a distinct satisfaction that I got from watching this show and trying to figure out how the bad guy did it, whether I'm right or wrong. Some of the cases are brilliant, and it's easier to watch four episodes than it is to read a novel (if you're the lazy type). You do not need a background of reading Christie stories to appreciate the mystery. The show actually has made me want to go to the bookstore and check out some of Agatha Christie's other work. So while certainly not perfect in translation, the core of this anime was solid enough for a fully grown adult like myself to enjoy watching it. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
xxxHolic is a show that tries to stimulate the viewer in many different ways. There's adventure, philosophy, plenty of comedy, and sometimes action, all with a distinctly CLAMPy flair. The routine nature of Watanuki's life between school and the shop allows for episodes to be largely interchangeable with no heavy storyline that covers all or even most of the season. Truth be told, Watanuki's wish to stop seeing spirits is rarely mentioned after the first episode, and it's basically just an excuse to have him start working at the shop. That's not necessarily a complaint though, because the individual stories or mini-arcs that make up the show are wholly fulfilling on their own.
Although Watanuki is the protagonist, Yuko is the real star of the series and undeniably magnetic. Although her origins remain a mystery, she has enough charm and personality to keep one watching in any situation. On the surface, she playfully teases and bosses Watanuki around but seems to genuinely care about him even though she never explicitly states her feelings about... well, anything. Because Yuko is so attuned to the absolution of fate, she never gets emotional. Because Yuko is a wish granter, she doesn't help other people until they ask for and purchase her help. Even if she wanted to do otherwise, it would create an imbalance. Yet she never comes across as cold. She can be playful, aloof, serious, motherly, childish, sexy, and spontaneous.
The strength of xxxHolic is the way it uses colorful and whimsical events to illustrate the hidden side of human nature. Everyone who comes into the shop has a wish. It's never a shallow wish, and it's often something that is unusual or shameful. Watanuki is often confused by the problem or the solution, but Yuko explains to him many truths to life. The unspoken plot of xxxHolic is Yuko's role as a teacher to Watanuki, in result making him more of an adult. Aside from the philosophy, just being able to witness the wonderful mystical scenes of the spirit world for the first time with Watanuki is a treat.
If there's a downside to xxxHolic, it is probably the comedy, which comes across as cliched. Plus, they run the same gags into the ground again and again. One can't help but notice how Watanuki happily spazzes out every time the girl he has a crush on, Himawari, smiles at him. Then, his rival/friend Doumeki shows up, says one or two words, and Watanuki spazzes angrily with cartoonish exuberance. This is a scene you'll find in almost every episode of xxxHolic through both seasons. It's unfortunate that such a large amount of the show is comedy, because those parts are very run-of-the-mill.
The artwork is largely what you might expect from CLAMP, which is good to me, but everyone has REALLY long and skinny arms, legs, and torsos, to the point where Watanuki looks like a spider when he bends his legs. So while I wouldn't call most of the characters attractive, the style fits the show. The animation is minimized in a lot of scenes and episodes, and it's easy to see that when you contrast the first season to the second season which has improved production values. But it absolutely doesn't hurt the show very much.
For me, the complete attraction to xxxHolic is hard to summarize. It's a stylish feel, a mood, a charisma that the entire show gives off that kept me watching from beginning to end. It's the tension when Yuko shares a cup of tea with her new client. It's the relaxed feeling when Doumeki and Watanuki participate in the annual monster procession. It's the creeping madness of the owner of a monkey's paw. While not a perfect show by any means, it's a worthy addition to any library. read more
64 of 64 episodes seen
God Mars is a 1981-82 show in the Super Robot tradition. If you haven't seen God Mars, you may have at least seen footage of other Super Robot shows, where a bunch of small, quasi-magical robots combine to form a superhero-like giant robot. Our hero or heroes pilot the Super Robot to fend off bad guy giant robots, evil aliens and things like that. Like many other anime from the 70s and 80s, God Mars follows this popular premise with its own spin on things.
Our hero, Takeru, is a 17-year old member of the military Crasher Squad on Earth. One day, he finds out that he's actually an alien from the planet Gishin who is supposed to blow up the Earth for the warlike Emperor Zool. Takeru grew up on Earth and loves the Earth, so he decides to fight back. He of course gets control of six robots which can combine to form the show's eponymous giant robot, God Mars. (Also, if Takeru dies, the world explodes anyway.) Very simple premise to start the show.
If this already sounds childish and boring, I don't blame you. I wanted to drop the show five episodes in, thinking this wasn't going to go anywhere. I thought I had figured the show out. "Okay, so every episode, Zool is going to send an assassin after Takeru. Every episode, they're going to fight, jump into robots, then Takeru will finish them off. Repeat times 64." Fortunately, the show got better, or I would've scored it much lower.
At the risk of scaring people away, I am going to mention the bad parts about God Mars before the positives. First, the animation is extremely cheap. Not only does God Mars rely on stock animation during the robot battles, but even the stock animation isn't well-animated! The show uses a lot of laser beams and sliding backdrops and other things to disguise the fact that there's not a lot of animation going on.
Another downside is the fact that there is always a monster-of-the-day, and the battles almost always go exactly the same way. The only episode in the entire series where we don't see the formation and butt-kicking power of God Mars is in the very first episode. After that, you can set your watch to the robot battle, even if the episode isn't leading up to one. To give an example, there's one episode halfway through the series where Takeru and the Crasher Squad are transporting stuff from one planet to another planet while the bad guys are running away. With about two minutes left in the episode, all of a sudden a giant robot comes out of nowhere, and Takeru says, "What? A battle NOW?" So he kills it quickly and goes back to work.
The good thing about God Mars, the thing that gives this show REAL value among a sea of Giant Robot shows and other children's stock of the early 80s, is the fact that they start to take the focus away from the show's weak point (the robot action), and focus more on its strong point, character development and a decent story. I wasn't big on Takeru's teammates in the Crasher Squad, but Takeru meets a lot of other interesting characters along the way: Marg, Rosee, Flore, Gyron, Gasshu, to name, well, all of them. They all go through their own metamorphoses as characters and show growth.
Takeru himself must deal with a lot of issues that weaken his resolve: His own identity, death of people around him, the seemingly inevitable death of himself, what it means to have free will...
The story is neatly divided into three complete story arcs. The second arc is the best one, because it has the least emphasis on the robot battles. They take up only a few minutes of each episode, which are otherwise spent entirely on telling this great tale about a foreign war in which Takeru gets swept up, despite not wanting to take either side.
There's also romance! I liked the romance, as it was tasteful and slow-building and never overbearing. There are three ladies in the show around Takeru's age, but I won't tell you which one he hooks up with! You have to watch to find out.
God Mars is definitely not going to be a show for everyone. You have to be open-minded to old-school anime and their style. You have to be patient when there are episodes which don't advance the plot much. You have to stop wondering why they didn't just build one big robot instead of six small ones if they always have to combine anyway (it's to sell more toys). It may get a bit repetitive and be far from perfect, but the solid characters and story make God Mars something of a hidden gem. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
Le Chevalier D'Eon is an anime that tries to draw off a lot of people who existed in European History, including the main character and several other characters with large roles in the show. The main hero is based on a cross-dressing French spy from the 18th century, given an original backstory to explain his gender confusion. Other, more recognizable characters, include Maximilien Robespierre, Catherine the Great, King Louis XV of France, and King George III of England, among others. Being something of a history enthusiast, this new take on real historical figures was the main thing that kept me watching for most of the series.
I was more than willing to take historical facts with a grain of salt. I don't want to be such a stick in the mud that I'll get hung up on the fact that the real D'Eon wasn't really possessed by his sister's spirit or that one or two of the rules of Europe didn't die in exactly the same fashion, as long as the respectful nod to history was there. The problem is that Le Chevalier takes a larger and larger dump on history as the show progresses, completely perverting people and events while still trying to give us the hook of "This is history!" I won't spoil anything important, but let's just say that certain kings do not abdicate the throne voluntarily, the Seven Years War did in fact happen (whereas a peaceful preemptive resolution is introduced in the show), George III's wife was not Mary, Louis XV's uncle did not fight over him for the throne because he DIED 30 years before the anime takes place, and his son... well, you get the idea. And I can't even say the biggest offenders, because they're major plot points.
Yet, after resmashing history into something unrecognizable, they have the gall to give us a scene at the end of the show, showing "Robespierre" selling his revolution propaganda on the streets, as if to say, "Aha! See, it's just like history!"
History aside, let's say you don't care at all about history. Many people don't. Does the show entertain? Does it have redeeming qualities? Perhaps it does, but they are few and far between.
Briefly, let's talk about the characters. Most of them have very little personality and either come across as unlikable or cliches or both. I don't even know where to begin describing the main characters aside from what they look like or what happens to them. D'Eon, he... wants to find out why his sister died. He likes France. That's about it. Teillagory, he's an old knight. He basically does nothing for the first 21 episodes except be the prototypical soft-spoken old warrior. Lia, she dies before the first episode, usually manifests back in reality only to kill something, and yet I'm supposed to care about her. Oh, and we can't forget Anna. Anna is the biggest waste of screen time in the show. I don't know how anyone can care about this vapid woman and the way she just sits in Versailles, waiting for D'Eon to come back home the entire series. She has lots of thoughts about how she misses D'Eon, and you're going to hear a lot of them! None of them advance the plot either!
The pacing deserves special mention for being a downfall of the show. You can divide the show into two parts. The first 19 or so episodes, everything sluggishly follows your four heroes around Europe as they track down bad revolutionary people for King Louis, interspersed with scenes of Anna writing letters or something equally boring. Then in the last 5 episodes, all Hell breaks lose, at the same time making a lot of the crap you have to sit through in the first 19 episodes pointless. There is wanton borderline-tasteless violence, far too many ridiculous plot twists to take seriously, everyone turns on everyone else, and it is far more of a mess than a satisfying climax of plotlines. And why is Cagliostro there for the whole show, including the finale, when he never does ANYTHING?
The end leaves me feeling rather unsatisfied, even though that wasn't my biggest complaint. Still, I felt terrible for D'Eon's sense of identity. I felt terrible that they tried to turn some of the bad guys into sympathetic figures and the good guys into bad guys and... no.
I'm glad that an anime decided to do something that isn't Japan-centric. They really tried to make something sophisticated, and in some ways it is. In more ways, the show is incredibly tacky. I have to give it points for being original, but all in all, I cannot recommend it. If you want to watch it anyway, just keep expectations at a safe level. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
The very first episode of Higurashi can be off-putting, as it introduces a cast of characters that seem at the time more like a collection of overused anime tropes from a slice-of-life anime than people the viewer would want to care about. Here's Keiichi, the stock new kid in town. Here's Rena, the stock girl-next-door girlfriend-type. Here's Mion, the stock tomboy. Here's Satoko, the brat. So on down the line. This is not the way people will view the characters by the end of the show, but it ends up being a smart choice to use character types that will be initially familiar to regular anime fans. The show is made much more disturbing and emotionally jarring by the juxtaposition between the light comedy parts that happen at the beginning of each story arc and the grim, violent results after events and character psyches degrade. The great contrast between the Azumanga-esque comedy bits, complete with super-deformed characters and great exaggerations, and the paranoia and psychotic murders, is one of the best artistic devices of the show. If these were dark characters more suited for a horror show, there would not have been the same emotional impact.
Style aside, Higurashi takes an interesting format in basically retelling the same story again and again, but changing key details and character perspectives each time to keep rehash almost nonexistent. During this first season especially, each retelling of the Hinamizawa tragedy reveals more truths behind the town, the background of the characters, and the surprisingly deep interpersonal relationships between them. Facts you learn towards the end of the season will give entirely new meaning to events you saw in the first part of the season. Each story arc peels away layers of the juicy truth, which gives each story arc something that enhances the whole.
Even putting aside the conclusions the viewer makes by putting the arcs together, each story arc is also its own rich self-contained story. Each time you start a new arc, the protagonist may be different. The killer may be different. The protagonist may be the victim or the killer. An arc usually focuses on one or two of the main characters and gives them their own story, subtly replacing the original image you had of them as a stock anime character with a new image of them as a fleshed-out character with a strong personality and motivations.
Without giving away any spoilers, the arc that begins with episode 16 is for me the highlight of Higurashi. It encapsulates everything one can love about the show. It creates great revelation about an earlier story arc. It has really intense and disturbing horror scenes (that are still tastefully done). It also is a great character study, showing how a seed of resentment and great trauma can push a normal person to the brink of madness.
After having watched both seasons of Higurashi once before and knowing the entire truth, watching the show a second time still filled me with a range of emotions from laughter to sadness to horror to thoughtfulness to excitement, all delivered to great effect and in a refreshing way. If you are not a horror fan, it may be hard for you to get past some of the content, but at the same time most of the gore is just off-camera so that you can feel the disgust without it being gratuitous. For those with adult sensibilities, it is easy to fall in love with a show and a story as breathtaking and unforgettable as Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. read more
2 of 2 episodes seen
The premise of Eiken is very simple. It's an ecchi comedy centered around big boobs. Check that: gigantic, Hindenburg-sized boobs. Every spare second of Eiken is fan-service, and in order to cram in as much big boob fan-service as possible, we have to chuck out things like character development and a logical plot and anything that doesn't look like boobs.
One of the main complaints about the show is, "The boobs are too big. They aren't sexy. They are cartoonish." I understand where these people are coming from. I wouldn't want my girlfriend to have breasts as big as the ones in this show either. However, the size of the breasts are absolutely essential to the slapstick comedy that makes Eiken such an amusing show. If the Eiken girls had normal, appropriately sized breasts, the show would have been lifeless and the comedy dull.
At its heart, Eiken finds a very clever way to mix fan-service with comedy. One of the female characters introduces herself to the male protagonist several times by jumping crotch-first into his face, as if she were Wiley Coyote and she just ran into a telephone pole. At the annual sports festival, one of the first events is a water slide filled with plain yogurt. So as our hero and his female club members ride down the slide, they all get covered in squirts of white goop, the visual image I'm sure you could compare to your favorite hentai. Everywhere on the school's campus just happen to be banana peels which rocket men helplessly into the chests of women. Why do they use yogurt? Where do the banana peels come from? There is no logical answer, nor does the show attempt to give one. That is why the show is so absurd and thus enjoyable.
One thing that has to be recognized about Eiken is that the animation is pretty good, especially with the breasts. I can think of a hundred shows I've seen with production values worse than Eiken, hentai and non-sexual shows alike. Without breasts and underwear and yogurt flying everywhere thanks to the solid animation, the show would not have been nearly as zany or comedic.
The show is not for everyone. If you are offended by non-stop fan-service, you'll hate this show. If you can't get over the beach ball-sized breasts to see the comedy aspects, you'll hate this show. If you are disturbed by the fact that the stupid little girl with ponytails has breasts larger than the rest of her body, that's probably understandable, but she's still funny.
Eiken is a very shallow show. It has a story, but it's entirely unimportant. It's extremely low-brow. I can't call it a masterpiece in the slightest bit. However, it's not trying to be a good plot. It's not trying to please everyone. It is comedy for perverts. Whether that encourages you or discourages you from seeing the show entirely depends on what kind of person you are. read more
49 of 49 episodes seen
When you think Gundam, you probably think about war and a serious space opera with minimal wackiness and very little in the way of anime-style expressions. G Gundam, for better and for worse, does a complete 180 degree turn on all the Gundam series that preceded it, and many that came afterwards. You'll find a lot of overused anime tropes here, from people yelling out the name of their signature attack (SHINING FINGER!), to big mouths, to quivering eyeballs when they get angry. Plus, the comedic appearance of a lot of the Gundams themselves definitely appear to make G Gundam slanted to a younger audience. For example, the Gundam from Spain has a giant bull head for a torso. The Gundam from Egypt is a mummy. The Gundam from Kenya is a zebra, and so on. Not what you'd expect to see in the original Gundam or Gundam Wing for sure, but not only do these unique Gundams become highly amusing, they add to the charm of the show once you learn to stop taking it completely seriously.
The story revolves around two main things, the Gundam Fight and the Devil Gundam. The Gundam Fight is a contest held every four years to determine which country gets sovereignty over space. This is a gentleman's agreement done so that there won't be any wars. Every country submits their best Gundam to represent them, and the last one standing wins legislative power in space. All of the main characters in the show participate in the fight, including our hero Domon Kasshu, who represents Neo Japan. The Devil Gundam is a nigh-invincible world-destroying mega-sized Gundam that is threatening the very safety of the world while the Gundam Fight is going on. In the entire Gundam history, it is probably the largest Gundam ever made by a longshot. Along the way of this 49-episode series, Domon will make friends and enemies from other nations, discover the secrets behind the Devil Gundam and his brother's disappearance, see people close to him reveal their true colors, and many other fun plot twists.
If at first you have a hard time getting into G Gundam, stick with it. The show definitely starts a little slow, but it gets incrementally better as the series goes along. It gets better with the appearance of Master Asia around episode 12, then even better once the Gundam Fight begins in the mid-20s, then even better once the final Battle Royale begins. The last ten or so episodes showcase some really fun action and highly epic conclusions to all the main storylines. The show definitely aims to be a fan-pleaser in all aspects.
All that good stuff being said, I can't give G Gundam a rating worthy of a masterpiece. The show is at many times shallow and kind of a typical anime. Some of the fight scenes take a lot of shortcuts when it comes to animation, and a lot of the characters aren't very deep (although Master Asia is a pimp). I don't believe G Gundam is trying to be a masterpiece though. It wants to be a fun action series that you can watch and have a good time. At having fun, it succeeds, in spite of (or perhaps because of) all the cheese it brings. Recommended. read more
47 of 47 episodes seen
The collection of characters in ZZ, particularly the new group of protagonists, aren't terribly deep and aren't incredibly original, but they do have a kind of chemistry together that can carry the show during the low points. Judau Ashta is our hero, a typical rash teenage boy pilot that we have seen a hundred times and will see a thousand more. Haman Karn returns from Zeta as the main antagonist, now seemingly more powerful and determined than ever. One of the surprising bright sides of ZZ is the unique chemistry that develops between Judau and Haman. Half the time, Haman is trying to kill Judau, and the other half she is trying to seduce him. While the series as a whole lacks enough tense moments, Haman and Judau seem to supply a few fireworks when they are in close proximity.
Not all of the characters are nearly as tolerable, unfortunately. The first ten or so episodes heavily feature an antagonist named Mashymere Cello. His entire schtick of comedy through romantic fantasies of Haman gets old at a rapid pace. I was relieved when the focus shifted away from him. If you have seen Zeta Gundam, you might have been annoyed as I was with the bratty kid Katz. Gundam ZZ introduces a major character named Elpeo Puru who is lightyears more spoiled and intolerable than Katz could've ever dreamed to become. Puru is supposed to be one of the good guys, too. We're supposed to like her, but it's almost impossible. Mashymere and Puru stand out as two of the worst characters, but rest assured they aren't the only people bringing this series down. Nearly the entire cast shares some quality that is a boon to viewers' interests, whether they are boring, poorly developed, shallow, unoriginal, or just plain unlikable.
The story of ZZ definitely lacks the scope and intrigue of other Gundam titles. Haman's troops chase Judau around space. Then they fight on Earth. Then they fight in space again. Then they have a final battle. There are some sub-plots surrounding the fate of Judau's sister Leina, and a planned coup d'etat by one of Haman's underlings, which offer interesting tidbits. However, far too many of the episodes are complete throw-away stories, as the main plot isn't complex enough to fill a 47 episode series alone. Sometimes, a series makes the best of stand-alone episodes. Cowboy Bebop did this excellently. Gundam ZZ isn't crafty enough to pull it off.
One last thing, as shallow as it might be, that I could not get over is the influence of the 80s on fashion for every character in the show. An Axis commander named Chara Soon looks like she wandered right out of a glam rock concert. Roux Louka has a spacesuit with a terrible Rainbow Bright-inspired star pattern on it. Judau's friend Elle dresses like a Madonna groupie, and Judau himself dresses like Michael Jackson. Except for our old friend Captain Bright, I don't think there's a single character who doesn't dress tacky on a regular basis. While this might not be a big deal to some, it was a little distracting.
I admit that while starting out rough, Gundam ZZ does find legs and become watchable towards the latter half of the show. However, the first half of the show is really not much more than an unfunny comedy, which is bad enough for any anime but even worse when you're using the holy brand name of one of the most respected serious anime metaseries, Gundam. Also, even when ZZ does hit its stride, it only remains "okay" even at its highest moments.
Does Gundam ZZ deserve a spot on some "Shames of anime" list? I don't think so. However, is it an above average series? I would say no. Other shows have better characters, more interesting filler episodes, and don't fail at comedy. Still, it is a believable continuation of the Universal Century storyline, so they could have screwed up worse. read more
50 of 50 episodes seen
Set some eight years after the end of Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeta Gundam tells the story of a new conflict between the Earth and space with a new cast of characters. However, nearly everyone who survived the end of the original MSG makes an appearance in Zeta Gundam, with varying degrees of importance. Having seen the original show definitely helps a viewer understand those return characters better and why we should care about them. However, I believe it is also possible to see Zeta without having seen the original series and still be able to appreciate it.
Our main character is Kamille Biden, a rebellious and short-fused teenager who winds up joining a group of rebels looking to overthrow the government. Kamille is very sensitive about people saying he has a girl's name, so don't make fun of him for it. Kamille has to be one of the best main stars of a Gundam series, because he isn't just some generic leading man with a strong sense of justice, like we see in many series. His anger issues put him in many socially awkward situations, yet he still can care deeply about people around him. He fulfills a wish that many of us have, to take authority figures who are being jackasses and punch them in the face. He does it many times, and even if Kamille is something of a brat by acting that way, you can't help but applaud him. Over the course of the series, Kamille goes through many personal conflicts which make him grow as a person. He must decide what to fight for, how to save people close to him, and what it means to be a grown up. One of the running themes of Zeta is how war forces children into adults, and how if a soldier doesn't act like an adult, everyone is put in danger. I don't really do Kamille justice with my description, but he is a great, emotional character, much more relatable than Amuro who was kind of an all-around jerk.
Other characters besides Kamille get deep personal analysis over the course of the series. It's impossible not to get emotionally invested in many of these characters and their personal stories, which is why it's disappointing that many of them disappear without and proper resolution. Without giving away too much, there is one character who gets enough screen time in the first half of the series to almost qualify as a co-main character. A lot of time is spent on his personal growth and the relationships with the people around him and how they shape his personality and his motivation as a soldier. He also repeatedly states his grand goal in life, and if he did achieve that goal, it would have changed the entire outcome of the show in a major way. However, in the second half of the show, he barely appears and doesn't grow anymore as a character at all. Eventually, he makes his last appearance in the second to last episode, but all in all he ended up accomplishing nothing. Because he never did anything, he served almost no purpose in the show. All of the time spent building up his character was for nothing. It never went anywhere, and his primary goal was ignored entirely. (That paragraph was hard to write without giving spoilers)
Other characters also end up making a strong mark but then disappear for 20 or so episodes because the large cast has to battle for screentime. This not only made it hard to properly pace the sub-plots around these characters, but it made the show struggle to find its focus at times.
The art, at times, looks very stylish for an 80s anime. The OP in particular looks particularly stunning when compared to the original MSG. Some of the characters look better than others. The designs of the mobile suits set a new benchmark, one that other series have since met or exceeded, but they definitely look great for the mid-80s. I would say that towards the second half of the season, some of the pencilwork got a bit sloppy looking. I don't usually look out for that kind of stuff, but the decline in art quality at times was enough for me to notice it anyway.
Overall, the story of the Gryps conflict and the tremendous characters involved in it make this a show that any fans of dramatic anime should be able to appreciate. From just the first few episodes, Kamille is thrown into an emotional and tragic rollercoaster, and from that point you will be hooked. Along the way, you will be surprised and provoked by the actions taken by well-written characters like Reccoa Londe, Four Murasame, Char Aznable, Sarah Zabiarov, and others. Zeta is not just a show that is worthy of being part of the Gundam legacy; it heightens the reputation of Gundam as a serious war storytelling anime metaseries with its very existence. Just the plot and story are enough to make it a great show, but the mishandling of certain characters and an ending that is a slap in the face forces the finished product down a couple of notches. read more