Zoids are beast-like fighting machines used in both everyday use such as transportation, and special use such as war. Some types of Zoids, know as Organoids, are miniature Zoids that are living organisms. These Organoids have the capability to fuse with a non-living Zoid and make it much more powerful.
Van (Ban) Freiheit discovers a Zoid Organoid in an abandoned laboratory while running from two strangers piloting Zoids. Also in the laboratory, in an animated suspension tube is a strange girl. He breaks the tube open and takes her and the Organoid with him. Spotting a ruined Shield Liger Zoid outside nearby, the Organoid fuses with it and repairs the damages. Making his escape, Van names the Organoid Zeke, and decides to keep him as a friend. The girl, who says her name is Fiona, wants to find something called Zoids Eve, and so Van, Zeke, and Fiona begin their adventure.
Zoids is a mecha anime about people who control beast-like units. Unlike Gundams, they aren\'t really used in space (at least in this particular anime) but are used for purposes such as transportation and of course, battles. This anime was the starting point of the Zoids franchise, and after watching the anime a few times (both in English dubs and Japanese subs), one can point out that it was a great way to start of the Zoids phenomena.
The story, although your simple "country raised kid rises up to the challenge of saving the world from evil," is very good and has
enough plot twists in between to leave you on the edge of your seat and wanting for more. What made this Zoids saga different from the others were the miniature Zoids organoids that were able to fuse with their larger counterparts and in essence, bring the Zoid to life with more power than before. What really makes the story great is the epic battles they have between many Zoids.
These epic battles for the most part, are animated very well. For being an older anime (debuted in 1999) it still holds up to today\'s standards fairly well and really does not disappoint. The characters themselves look a bit bland at times, but it isn\'t to the degree where its unwatchable.
The sound is so-so. Because it\'s been awhile since I saw this anime, I don\'t remember a lot of the scores used, but I do remember for scores used for the battles and they fit just right.
All of the main characters have very distinct personalities and you\'ll come to have your favorites most definitely. Van and Fiona have believable strengths and weaknesses given their environment and always seem to have an enemy, or rival, to go against up with. There really isn\'t a boring moment where you\'ll find that the protagonists are superior to everyone else.
All in all, the anime was a great start to the Zoids saga. Though a lot of the following stories after were not as great, this is still a classic. The stirring romance between Van and Fiona again is something you\'ll fall in love with as the story progresses and is one more reason to give this show a try. To end with, if you\'re one of the younger anime audiences out there and like mecha anime, but haven\'t given the original Zoids a try because of the lackluster performances of the others, I urge you to give this one a shot.
Zoids consists of two series. Chaotic Century and The Guardian Force, essentially it's all one series.
The series takes place on the Planet Zi, where living machines called Zoids live. There are wild ones, and ones controlled by humans. There are two major powers on the planet Zi, the Republic and Guylos Empire. Though the war they fought is over, the peace is tenuous and could give way to war at any moment. The story follows Van who lives in a village. He goes out one day and gets chased by bandits into some ancient ruins. The he finds
a organoid, and names it Zeke. Zeke reviews a Shield Liger and defeat the bandits. They go back into the ruins and discover Fiona a ancient Zoidian who has lost her memory. The group on a adventure searching for t he Zoid Eve, through bandits, merc's, and war.
STORY: The story is great, it's light, but there are dark undertones. I guess the company did it to attract younger viewers. The violence is toned done, though you see cities being destroyed, and Zoids being destroyed so you know what's happening and doesn't take anything away from the story.
ART: The animation is great done by XEBEC, the same people who did Love Hina, Elemental Gelade, and Buso Renkin, which were all pretty good series.
SOUND: The one flaw I found in this series was the soundtrack. It lacked depth and feel. Was it still good, yes. It just didn't to the series justice.
CHARACTERS: The characters in this series were great. You could feel their pain and see their suffering and joy. The just captivated you and brought you in. The best characters were the two main ones Van and Fiona and their story was just wonderful.
OVERALL: Zoids is 24th favorite anime series out of about 250 series/OVA/movies I've seen. It's a great series, not quite a classic, but still great. A series everyone should watch.
Seriously, how do I keep coming back to these Studio Xebec shows? They've produced so much over the years, and some of it is actually decent, but not this one. Zoids (Chaotic Century if you're American) had a huge amount of potential, but was completely watered down with flat visuals, a bloated cast of shallow characters, and way too many episodes of what amount to filler.
This show had all the ingredients to be one of my favorites. It follows all of my stupid rules to make a great mecha show:
-It keeps the same theme song throughout
-There's a robot battle in every episode
-The robots are in
CG, which is dank as hell!
-They play the theme song at the climax of each episode to reinforce the hype
But none of this could keep me from being bored out of my mind within the first 30 episodes.
I started this show on January 1st, and finished on May 6th. That's 126 days, so 67 episodes/127 days gives just over 1/2 an episode as a daily average. Even giving myself the advantage of watching every episode at double speed, I could not bring myself to watch more than that. Let me not understate how bad that is--I have watched far worse shows at a religious one-a-day pace just to end the pain, but I was so disinterested in this show that I couldn't be arsed to spare 12 minutes a day for it.
Let's examine why this might be:
The direction is beyond uninspired. Every shot is framed well enough so the kids at home can keep up with what's happening, but forget about going above and beyond to add any visual intrigue to the show. The standout eyesores for me were the establishing shots which far outstay their welcome, and are almost unbearably slow even at double speed. The art style, which leans towards realistic proportions, does not lend itself to having expressive characters. Sure the characters are on model very consistently, but half the time they look like cardboard cutouts with a terribly drab and muted color palette. This style may have been a choice to fit with the more rigid lines of the Zoid designs, but they really shot themselves in the foot by taking away the one means by which their boring characters might have had a small amount of visual flair.
These boring characters are all pretty one dimensional. At most a character will have one defining trait, and receive little to no character development throughout the entire run of the series. I can recall maybe one or two episodes focused on developing a backstory or exploring character motivations for each of our main cast. That's one or two episodes out of almost 70. A great majority of episodes do nothing to challenge our characters on a personal level, and just involved the aforementioned regularly scheduled robot battle. The antagonists show similar levels of depth, and are really only relevant to the story if they have a powerful Zoid.
What really confounds me is that they had a lot of great ideas to work with and could have told a gripping story. In episode ONE we establish our heroes are looking for an ancient artifact/location called "Zoid Eve" that seems like it could drive a long running mystery plot, only to be cast aside and never mentioned for a vast majority of the episodes. There is a planet-wide military conflict that our characters become wrapped up in, but almost no focus on what motivated the war or its repercussions on the people of each nation. Near half way through there is a time skip, and it does nothing significant to grow or change our characters. Don't forget that they're on a planet crawling with giant robot animals that they go out of their way to show are sentient, but never pause to make our characters wonder about the morality of people's relationships with Zoids by taking the Pokemon route.
So who should watch Zoids? If you're looking to commit long term to an easygoing shounen series with abundant robot battles, Zoids is a good candidate for you. Those looking for anything of substance should steer clear.
*NOTE: This review contains some minor spoilers, but I will do my best to keep it brief, concise, and to the point*
STORY: In the first half of the series, Van Flyheight is a zoid pilot who comes across a mysterious type of zoid known as an Organoid who he names Zeke, as well as a young girl named Fiona in pods found in mysterious ruins. Upon finding the two, Van finds himself the center of attention of bandits and soldiers alike who are after the Organoid's strange powers. Van and Fiona come across other characters and find themselves in the middle of a war, and
have to do what they can to help bring peace to land and end this war. Zoids does a relatively decent job of keeping tone shifts frequent without overexaggerating it, often having serious moments albeit with light-hearted comedy when the mood needs to be brought up. The flow of the story feels natural, and feels neither rushed or slow. It has a nice, even pace that the viewer can easily enjoy. 9/10
ART: The art direction that Zoids took was aesthetically pleasing all around. Characters were detailed enough that they didn't stick out too much, but also were not too detailed to the extent that they distracted from the environment. It felt as though environments and characters had about the same effort put into them, so that neither were too distracting. Obviously, the Zoids were what the majority of the focus was put on, most likely being what most of the budget was used for. The zoids were rendered with high quality, and it shows. If anything in particular needed the most focus in terms of art, it was definitely the Zoids, and it shows. That being said, the only real flaw I can see with them is that some animations were clearly recycled throughout the series, but it's not incredibly noticeable so it isn't really that big of an issue. 9/10
SOUND: As much as I personally enjoy the soundtrack, I do have some issues with it; the main problem I have is that the soundtrack can often times sound a little repetitive while other times is a little too scarce. There's nothing wrong with having certain audio tracks be more common than others, but eventually it gets to the point where some tracks sound as though they're heard in almost every episode. I felt that there could have been a little more variety in certain places, and that occasionally, certain tracks did not fully fit the mood. Yet in other situations, the soundtrack did its job very well, helping in creating the particular mood of a scene. I felt that the type of music used did fit the overall environment of the show, using both fast paced action-themed music for fighting, and softer, more melodic music for scenes involving development of characters. 7.5/10
CHARACTER: In Zoids, the characters can really be hit or miss. Some aren't as fleshed out as others, but the main cast is fleshed out enough that the viewer cares about them and wants to see them succeed. Van Flyheight is the most developed character by far, as the second half of the series, Guardian Forces, focuses on how much Van has matured since the first half of the series (there is a small time skip in between), and they really emphasize just how much he's changed, going from often being a jokester kind of character to a more serious character who cares about protecting those dear to him. The show also does a nice job in creating sympathy for certain characters who start off as villains but have a change of heart as the series progresses. Unfortunately, while Zoids does a great job in developing the main protagonists, the show falls a bit short in terms of the main antagonists, who sadly fall into the usual trope of being evil for the sake of being evil. That being said, they are not part of the main focus of development to begin with, and while it would be nice to see them developed more, at the very least the main and supporting cast have enough development to keep the viewer caring for them. 8.5/10
ENJOYMENT: The biggest part of enjoyment typically comes from watching the Zoid battles throughout the series. They have a mix of fast paced action and often strategic ways of fighting, appealing to more than just one audience with the way the battles are handled. There is drama involved, but it is not shoved in the viewer's face. There is a nice, even pacing between the fighting and story elements, so neither feels overdone. Light hearted moments in the show are welcome when they are as the action and serious tone will bring characters back to reality. The show has a nice, enjoyable pace from start to finish, introducing slight changes in the second half so as not to be repetitive. 9.5/10
OVERALL: Zoids: Chaotic Century/Guardian Force gives off the feeling of being along for an adventure. It develops its characters enough to make the viewer care for them, and want to see them get to the end of their journey. You follow them along, and through thick and thin, they keep fighting, and the journey goes through various types of drama and has an adventurous feel. A lot of the series is about the maturity of Van as a character too, and you see him grow from a young boy to a man who fights for what he believes in. You also see the evolution of how the likes of Fiona and several other characters develop throughout the series, and by the end, their relationships feel genuine. The characters feel like those who can be related to by the viewer. It has all the feelings of an adventure, from humble beginnings to the maturity one gains from it.
Final Score: 10/10 : Would recommend to any anime fan.
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