Zoids—powerful animal-shaped combat mechs—are no longer used in warfare, but in organized sporting competitions. The Blitz Team, a group of pilots struggling to carve out a niche for themselves in the Zoid battling leagues, experience a stroke of luck when Bit Cloud, a vagrant junk dealer, wanders into their midst and proves himself capable of piloting the temperamental Liger Zero, a Zoid that refuses to let anyone else into its cockpit. Led by Bit and the Liger, the Blitz Team steadily make their way to the top—but along the way they attract the unwelcome attention of the Backdraft Group, an organization of Zoid pilots that operates outside the laws set down by the Zoid Battle Commission. The Backdraft want powerful Zoids to add to their ranks, and they have their eye on the Liger Zero...
I don't know what it is, but I've been reliving my childhood a lot lately. Maybe, as college approaches, I want to remember all the good times I had as kid. I got into anime in the fourth grade via Sailor Moon (didn't everyone?), and once Toonami started airing anime all the time, I got hooked. I don't know exactly when I discovered the wide world of anime outside my TV, but if it wasn't for Cartoon Network bringing it over, I probably wouldn't be such an avid member of the anime fandom.
One show that Toonami aired was Zoids: New Century Zero, or, as the
dubbing company named it, Zoids. I loved watching Zoids after school, it was definitely one of my favorite series. So I picked it up again, torrented the dub, and watched it start to finish. Serious blast from the past.
The plot of the show works rather well, and it's very fun to see the Blitz team pull out one victory after another. The Backdraft group is a little cliche at the beginning with their, "oh ho ho, we're the bad guys and we're going to beat you do-gooders into the ground", but as the series goes on, the members of the back-draft group get a lot more fleshed out and become interesting villains. Still, some remain stale, with little to no explanation of their motivations except "I wanna be powerful, lol".
Sometimes, though, I felt Bit and the Liger were too powerful. I can only remember one instance of the Liger losing, and with twenty five plus battles, you start to get annoyed by the Liger's uber skills. In the beginning episodes, the other characters hardly get any action at all, and powerful warriors like Brad and Leena even start to seem like hindrances to Bit and the Liger. However, as the series goes on, this remedies itself, with Brad getting a tricked out Shadow Fox and Leena blasting away opponents with her Gun Sniper. Jamie even gets a share of the action in his flying Raynos.
To tell the honest truth, I think this series needed to be longer. Brad doesn't get his Shadow Fox until Episode 20 out of 26, and Jamie only gets one or two episodes to totally kick butt as the Wild Eagle, his alter ego. The show gets a lot of fleshing out too late, in my opinion.
But what I've written makes it seem like I didn't enjoy the show. Quite the contrary, Zoids is a great series, despite its slow build-up to the uber awesome. Every character is fun to watch, from the fun-loving Bit to the "shoot first ask questions later" Leena. Brad's misery behavior is very funny, and Jamie shows off more than once that he is the most mature of the team, despite being the youngest. Steve Torros' impulse buying of things that are "big and shiny" is always chuckle-enducing. Harry Champ is also hilarious to watch -- he's desperately in love with Leena, but she refuses his advances (probably due to the fact that he's a total dork).
The writing, I will admit, sometimes dissolves into the classic shonen anime "long stare off into the sky with determined expression" cheese. But some passages of dialogue are very funny. So it's a mixed bag.
The art of this series is actually one of the things that makes it stand out. For 2001, the art is really clean and polished, and the amount of detail is astounding. All the Zoids are animated in full 3D CG, which makes for some pretty stunning battles. Watching the action on this show is hardly a bore -- everything is animated beautifully, and all the Zoids are designed fantastically.
The music is also something that sticks out. In short, it kicks ass. You WILL find yourself bopping up and down to some of the tunes, especially the "uber dramatic action" songs that got me bopping my head. Whoever did the music handled it VERY well. I watched the dub, so I didn't hear the Japanese opening theme/ending theme, but the American ending theme isn't so awful. No singing, just some cool rock music -- a good choice, in my opinion.
As for the dub, I can honestly say that Zoids is probably one of the best dubs I've seen. A few of the lines are little "whut?!" but for the most part, across the board, the acting is good and the voices all fit great. They did a bit of editing (Bit walks in on Leena in the bath -- they disguise it as Leena being mad because Bit took her scheduled time slot) but it really wasn't annoying. I mean, I'm not the sort who goes, "OMFG there shuld b more cursin!!1 lol" so I think whatever edits they did were appropriate and non-obtrusive to the storyline.
Really, I watched around eight episodes of this series in a row. It's that good. Definitely will keep you entertained, and probably get you invested along the way.
Time to review a blast from the past! Zoids Zero was a popular show on Cartoon Network's Toonami block in the early 2000s. The show largely existed to sell awesome toy models, much like Hasbro's Transformers from the 1980s, but it was still a decent show and not just a glorified toy commercial.
The plot is that piloting giant robots and fighting in epic team battles is now the most popular sport on Earth, or whatever the hell planet this takes place on. The main team is called the Blitz team and in the tradition of sports movie cliches goes from a bunch of
complete losers to being the champs in dramatic fashion. The Blitz team is led by Bit Cloud and the mysterious Liger Zero Zoid. The Liger can transform into several other forms with the help of attachable battle armor including the lighning fast Jager, the heavy fire power Panzer, and the well balanced Schneider. This show had a bizzare fetish for German names. The most powerful Zoid in the whole series is a T-rex called the Berzerk Fuhrer (not kidding). Although they did change the name to the Berzerk Fury in the US and German dubs for censorship reasons. The plot heavily resembles other fighting robot sports series like G-Gundam and Robot Jox. Only instead of fighting to control the world, it is simply a sport for entertainment. The plot honestly isn't as important as the EPIC battle scenes and awesome robots. This was a great little shonen action series that is worth checking out for that reason alone.
The characters are honestly pretty bland and generic. Bit Cloud is funny at times, but doesn't really have any character depth or anything that makes him memorable. The other characters are even less developed. This isn't really a series you watch for the great characters though.
Although it looks a tad dated now, the CG was amazing when it first came out. Combining CG with traditional animation was difficult in the late 90s and early 2000s, and often it came out looking like complete horse shit. Zoids is one of the better examples of an anime with heavy CG from this time period.
I wouldn't rush out and buy the soundtrack, but it had some catchy toons and fit the action of the series quite well.
It has been quite a while since I last saw Zoids, so obviously my review is tinted a bit by nostalgia. I did find it quite enjoyable back in the day, and would think that current generation anime fans in their young teens would also probably have some fun with it.
This is a series that really isn't brought up much anymore. This is kind of a shame because it is a LOT better than a lot of current day shit like Rail Wars! I'm not saying that Zoids Zero is a classic in the same vein as Cowboy Bebop or anything, but it was and is a decent little series that deserves a tad more love than it gets.
I am making these scores based on a standard set by all American Dubbed Anime. I'm talking the abominations that became Bleach and Naruto. The laughable (but cherished) memories of DBZ and Ronin Warriors. All Anime that when aired in America...were utterly ruined by abysmal voice actors and edited scenes all to hell.
When i sit back and look at Zoids for what it is, an American Dubbed anime, i am left in awe of it's prowess. The voice acting was actually something i felt little shame for. The plot was fun and amusing, but it incorporated enough twists, revelations and
serious scenes to give it a good blend. A whimsical and light anime, the characters stand out with their sarcastic wit. I had to give it extremely top marks because of the impact it left on me.
Zoids: New Century/Zero, the second series of the Zoids saga that's even better than the original!
As typical for a Shounen there isn't much of a story, every episode is basically just another fight scene and, of course, the heroes always win, but this time the story isn't so serious. In Chaotic Century, Zoids were strictly used as weapons of war, but in New Century Zoids are used for sporting competitions where no one dies and even if you lose you can just get back up and try again. There's much less tension and drama in New Century which I really like because I never took
Zoids that seriously, I mean come on when this show was on TV it ran to back with shows like Pokemon.
The character's are also much better is New Century than is Chaotic Century. Bit has a much more carefree attitude than Van did and Leena is a total Tsundere which I just find hilarious. New Century has a lot of funny characters in fact: Leena's dad is just a big kid, Dr. Leyon was such an incompetent villain, and everything Harry says is funny. Of course, don't get the wrong impression, this anime is still packed to the roof with explosions, fight scenes, and cool Sci Fi Mecha stuff so it isn't just a comedy.
New Century does have kind of an over-arching plot like Chaotic Century did, but, kind of like in Chaotic Century, a whole lot of exposition is crammed into last episode and isn't really that important. However, like I said at the beginning, its a Shounen, every episode is basically just another adrenaline fix with a few laughs thrown in for comic relief. A lot of fun to watch, though!
For the past 20 years, children and adults alike have dreamed of what it would be like to go get a little Pocket Monster partner from a professor and start beating Gyms. But Pokemon is not the only series to feature partnerships and we need something to tide us over while we wait for Sun and Moon!