In Universal Century 0088, the Anti-Earth Union Group (AEUG) has emerged victorious in its war with the Earth Federation's Titans at the cost of devastating losses. Neo-Zeon, the third faction in the war formerly known as Axis Zeon, remains as powerful as ever. Led by Newtype Haman Karn, Neo-Zeon has been implementing plans to take over both Earth and the space colonies.
The AEUG flagship Argama heads to the Side 1 colony Shangri-La for repairs. Living in the colony is Judau Ashta, a 14-year-old junk dealer who is struggling to make enough money to put his younger sister through school. Upon the discovery of an escape pod containing a former Titans pilot, Judau and his friends are quickly led to the Argama in hopes of stealing a mobile suit which they can sell for a fortune. However, with the arrival of a Neo-Zeon ship seeking to defeat the Argama, Judau and his friends are dragged into to a conflict that will bring them across space and Earth.
This is a direct sequel to Zeta, but not only as that, I think of them as one big series itself despite the opposite nature of the first half ZZ that no reviewer should over look when reviewing this anime. Apparently some of the audience, executives of Sunrise and Bandai, and Tomino’s wife thought that Zeta was way too dark and gritty which is something many fans thought was what made that series distinguishing. Plus Tomino even felt bad about the nature of Zeta and thinks anime should make people happy. Then again, he was going through a depression. While with the first half of
Double Zeta, he makes it very campy and childish. It’s pretty bad to the point where it has driven fans away from the show. Granted it is annoying, sorry to bring this as a spoiler, but it eventually goes back to the dark and gritty nature of Zeta, which I thought was enough to redeem itself. Thankfully this transition gives opportunities where the characters will develop and they become likeable. But I think you should understand Tomino’s mentality and approach to things to truly appreciate the story and characters.
The contrast of this anime is a little brighter and the designs are more neon in a very 1980s manner. Especially the hair styles and costume designs. It’s just more childish to truly make it more cartoony in comparison to Zeta and thus being more kid friendly. And of course some of the battles in the beginning are more comedic and ridiculous and untradtitional of what you can say is Gundam, though not as cheesy or over the top as G Gundam of course. But it’s nice to see that the Zeta Gundam, and other suits from Zeta are still in use and present, but they don’t have the same charisma which is a bizarre way to describe it as they did in the first season. But I do think the Double Zeta is pretty nifty and it’s bulkiness and style brings another kind of likeable distinction mostly because it’s different. But the battles eventually go back to the quality it had in Zeta and what most hardcore Gundam fans would like.
Some of the music is also of course more campy and childish though it still retains some of the background music from Zeta Gundam. The first opening theme, Anime Janai is very ookie and geeky, but despite that, I naturally have to agree that it did compliment the nature of the series at that time, but still went well with the presented imagery. But the 2nd opening theme, Silent Voice where the series gets better is more traditionally of something you’d rather hear in anime. It’s very high spirited and intense and energetic.
The seiyuu cast is still top notch. Yao Kazuki, the voice of Jedau sounded a little old for a 14 year old and the childish nature of his character. He was also the voice of Iketani of Initial D, Takeda from History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi, and Fei Long in Street Fighter II V. It’s hard to take him seriously in a more comedic role and as an early teenager. And I enjoyed the voice of Sakakibara Yoshiko as Harman. She had a passion and charisma to her character as well as this intimidation to her voice. So I got nothing much to complain in the voice acting department.
Just like One Piece, this series takes a while to get into and get into a certain pace to truly appreciate it. I don’t think the initial episodes despite how insulting it was after going through Zeta should not refrain you from watching the whole series since it does redeem itself. I was only able to survive and enjoy the series because I gave it that chance. Afterall, this isn’t Gundam SEED Destiny, which is what I personally found as the worst Gundam series of all time and got progressively worse. Anyway, I say this is something more for the likes of dedicated Gundam fans, and not necessarily for casual anime fans. Just give this series a chance.
When people think of the phrase “worst Gundam anime”, there are usually a few choices that tend to stick out in fans’ minds, including the likes of Gundam SEED Destiny and as of now, Twilight Axis. Among such lists, you might sometimes see Gundam ZZ being thrown around, and it’s very understandable as to both why one would give it such a label and as to why one would defend it as something that becomes good over time. Regardless, most fans who see it tend to agree that the first 20 or so episodes of ZZ are terrible,
hindering what they consider to be an otherwise fine enough installment.
Gundam ZZ is a case of “too little too late”. While the latter half on its own is a decently serviceable installment in terms of quality, with a few surprisingly good moments, the former half is probably the worst I’ve seen of the franchise to date. It is genuinely terrible, insufferable even. It would take a lot for me to find the series remotely tolerable after 22 episodes of intense suffering on my end thanks to absolutely abysmal characterization, franchise betrayals, and many more grievances that utterly destroy this first half, and while the second half is fine enough, “fine enough” doesn’t cut it when trying to salvage an otherwise 1/10 series, especially when after episode 36, the second half stops being “fine enough” and goes back to being horrible, as if turning over a new leaf was a ruse. This is Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, the black sheep of Early Universal Century and the bastard successor to Zeta Gundam. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Part 1: Brutal downgrades of old characters and what ZZ does to Zeta
It's easy for some to look at the show and say “the second half makes the show decent though the first half is bad”, and that only really works if the first half isn't insanely horrific and if the second half is really, really good. Neither is the case, and the first half of this show is either a doubt the absolute worst this franchise has to offer, even now when comparing it to Twilight Axis and SEED Destiny. The thing is, at least those don't go out of their way to piss all over their predecessors.
Say what you will about Zeta Gundam, you cannot deny the growth some of the characters had over time. That makes it all the more infuriating when important characters such as Fa Yuiry and Yazan Gable get nerfed ridiculously, losing to and all around being completely outclassed complete newbies like Judau Ashta early into the show. Fa became a competent pilot at the end of Zeta Gundam and Yazan was one of the scariest, more formidable forces of that show too. To see them become bad pilots is aggravating and beyond nonsensical.
Hell, the very second episode starts off with a middle finger as well. Note that I said second episode since episode one is a weird recap of 0079 and Zeta with Char Aznable doing some Mobile Suit quiz for some reason. It has apparently been two weeks since the end of Zeta and the beginning of ZZ if what I was told was correct. Knowing that: how is Yazan still alive? To be honest, they didn't exactly make any fanfare of his supposed death in Zeta but there was no way he could've survived the attack he was faced with that destroyed his Hambrabi. Here he is, passed out in his escape pod, seemingly not having eaten any food or drank any water, which is impossible for a human to survive. Also, within this time, the Argama seriously couldn't find a single hospital or colony at all for Kamille to rest in? Oh, and instead of being reduced to a childlike state without memories of the series like at the finale of Zeta, he now can't talk and is barely even conscious enough to transfer his newtype powers to Judau. Way to be inconsistent right out the bat!
Haman Karn was the most charismatic, commanding, intriguing, and intimidating character introduced in Zeta Gundam towards the later part of its run. She was as evil as she was cool and sexy. Here she does retain a lot of that, but she is far more vulnerable, particularly around Judau. Episode 27, in particular, made it much harder to take the character seriously as a badass threat. They do try again towards the final 7 episodes, and it does work, but even still, she won’t be as much of a powerhouse on screen after episode 27. She doesn't have it the worst in terms of downgrades, however, and we already discussed Fa. The only major character left to discuss in terms of that is Captain Bright, but I'll save him for when I discuss the new characters, especially since the one responsible for his downgrade is only notable for that.
The downgrades aren't just in terms of the returning characters either: the visuals animation and especially the music took a hit as well. ZZ has far less of the impeccable shading often present in Zeta Gundam, though for a long (for the time) anime beginning weeks after another long one by the same studio, it still holds up well minus a few egregious errors like one particular clip with the Hyaku Shiki in episode 23. There is unfortunately some more reused footage than Zeta, which has very little, but most of it is for the transformation of the ZZ and whenever a Qubeley (or anything directly part of the Qubeley line) launches its funnels. The character designs are also slightly inferior, especially thanks to a certain character I’ll cover. Even still, it's clear that the production values here are a bit lower than previously, as understandable as it is, especially when the new mobile suits introduced on the whole still look very good, especially the one introduced in episode 37.
The music however cannot be forgiven. In terms of the old tracks, they are rarely used effectively since 80% of the time, they do not remotely fit the scenes in ZZ, unlike in Zeta where they complimented nearly every action scene. The new OST is pretty mediocre on its own with fewer scenarios that could hope to compliment them in this show. Even worse is later down the line when those new tracks stop fitting most of the scenes present in the show altogether whereas some of the worked constantly in the first half of the show, as bad and repetitive as those tracks are. The OST is just as repetitive as before but now nothing works so it just becomes much harder to tolerate the repetition. If there is one improvement, however, it would be the OPs (“Anime Ja Nai: Yume wo Wasureta Furui Chikyuujin yo (アニメじゃない-夢を忘れた古い地球人よ-)" by Masato Arai” and #2: "Silent Voice (サイレント・ヴォイス)" by Jun Hiroe) and EDs ("Jidai ga Naiteiru (時代が泣いている)" by Masato Arai and "Issenmannen Ginga (一千万年銀河)" by Jun Hiroe) with the OPs being decent if going on for too many episodes, and the EDs being just meh. That isn't remotely enough to make up for the brutally lackluster, ill-fitting, and repetitive OST.
Part 2: Irritability of the humor, stupidity, and cast of the first 24 episodes
Excluding the admittedly odd recap first episode, the series starts off...not half bad, actually. Episode 2 is a decent enough episode minus the bullshit I mentioned earlier. The humor that would characterize the rest of this anime was controlled and not horribly in our face just yet, especially when there was major consequence involved. Killing off even one of the minor Zeta characters (Saegusa) so early was risky though. We meet the new guys, and there is one hilarious reaction joke regarding Captain Bright connecting the dots about Judau. Episode 3 doesn’t start off half bad either, especially since the humor was still pretty funny. Then, something happened. Mashymre appeared. Then we get the bad attempts of humor that dwarf the series, repetitive as hell humor on top for that, and the fact that it becomes basically a Saturday morning cartoon. This is Universal Century Gundam. I get that Tomino wanted to make sure this installment at least started lighter than the constantly heavy and unhappy Zeta, but its like they went to the other extreme. It’s mainly due to the horrible new cast, which I’ll get to.
The sappy drama that occurs occasionally regarding Fa, or the MoonMoon people is just pathetic as well. To be fair, episodes 18 and 19, where Ple (or Puru) is introduced, are decent episodes with better action and less stupidity but episodes 20-22 ruined that. There are so many individual moments in the first 24 episodes that are so wrong that I’d need to compile a list of them, not including the bits I mentioned earlier, assuming I was able to track down everything I’ve said over those episodes, such as retarded character decisions in episode 11 and 12, not using mobile suits that are perfectly functional and available for them (MK.II in episode 13), not shooting or attacking enemies that are in front of them because the writers want to keep their protagonists alive (episodes 16, 27, and 38 but there it was shooting an ally that was shooting an enemy), Shinta and Qum announcing their plan in front of a bitch they don’t want to know heard their plans (episode 18), and so, so much more. Plus, the entirety of the MoonMoon arc and Cecilia arc (the first time the show tries to go back to the darker, more melodramatic tone of Zeta) is stupid. Oh yeah, this show has story arcs, and they're rather hit or miss.
The new cast is absolutely abysmal, and this will take quite a while to get through. The od cast got fucked and these new guys are among the worst new casts in the franchise. Let’s start to the top for this first half only, with Judau Ashta. He starts out completely insufferable. Imagine Kamille Bidan but unjustifiable and more than willing to attack even those who aren’t being assholes or otherwise very harsh to him (even resorting to attacking Fa when she slaps him for being a cunt to his sister in episode 6). He and his friends are total shitbags to each other, though around the time he stupidly gets Leena kidnapped by Glemy and soon after, meeting Ple, he actually becomes remotely tolerable and responsible. Still, the damage is insane, too much to be easily rectified. Beecha and Mondo start off as just the worst. They’re cowardly, traitorous sellouts willing to actually kill Judau over some cash, and they’re just supposed to be seen as troublemaker friends and not complete and utter scum. Needless to say, I hated them the most out of the entire group. Lino is basically this powerless, wimpy character and faint voice of reason, so he’s basically just kinda there. Roux is the most tolerable (and attractive) of the bunch but is basically the lancer of the group...full of lancers...huh. Elle is kinda a bad character who really is just the amalgamation of many of literally every other member of the group’s traits so of course she sucks. Lastly, there’s Leina, Judau’s little sister who is basically a damsel in distress and a nag. Of course she sucks...
The antagonists don't fare much better, especially in the first half. We start off with Mashymre, who is a complete pathetic tool and cartoon of a character. It’s not a stretch to say that in the first half especially, he is a one-dimensional Saturday morning villain who is all about chivalry for his lady, in the most repetitive gags in the franchise. It was funny seeing Judau call him pretentious though and I did grow to empathize him for one reason I’ll get to. Glemy doesn’t start off that much better, just being kind of a typical nobleman character meant to teach Leina “some manners” and become a pathetic loser around Roux. There’s this fucking fatass named Guzin who is both a Saturday morning villain and an obnoxious scumbag, and that combo works horribly and I wish he was dead. We never see the fucker after the crew leaves Shangri-la anyway, and it’s pathetic that Yazan had to work with him; how far the man has fallen…
Here we go. Rev up that harsh DOOM 2016 music and put it on full blast because here’s where I get truly violent! Remember when I said I empathize with Mashymre? Well, he said a line about wishing death upon this character. CHARA SUNE!! FUCK CHARA SUNE!!!! This bitch, this whore, this harlot...his Jem and the Holograms reject BIMBO…deserves all of my hate! Never have I met a character so insufferable and brutally inconsistent in my life, and she is definitely a contender for the worst character in Gundam history! She has no concrete personality beyond being an insufferable cunt whose sex appeal is flaunted to obnoxious degrees. I get why that is but not only does it never make any sense (apparently some cyber newtype bs and I’ll get to why all of that falls apart soon enough) but she flip-flops constantly with no real catalyst for it beyond Judau towards the end. The worst has to be her insufferable and wince-worthy behavior when piloting a mobile suit and I am glad she disappeared for a good 20 episodes after episode 21 because I could not stand her for any second she was on screen. Fuck you, Chara Sune, for single-handedly making most of the 2nd quarter of the show impossible to bear! I’m glad she's dead! Plus, her voice was horrific and the acting was equally terrible; who hired her seiyuu and who was their seiyuu?
The only other character left is Emary and her only character trait for a large majority of this series is being super lovestruck over Captain Bright, who has a wife and kid, and he gets really awkward around her. This is all she serves in the narrative for most of the run of the show and it looks bad on such a good and prominent character like Bright. What happened to Bright, man? Not only this but he is decidedly less harsh and strict with the new guys than he was with Amuro or Kamille, despite them being way worse than those two, and it hasn't been long since he had been with Kamille. Another way of being less dark and heavy? Fuck off, ZZ, you take that back after 19 episodes anyway.
Part 3: Quarter 3 and what it improved/did right
There is much debate as to where the show started getting consistently better. May say episode 19, some go 23, but to be perfectly honest, I’d say 28 was when the show started getting consistently good episodes. This means that while the third quarter is decent, it takes a good way into that quarter for consistently improved quality. For the sake of semantics, I’ll start at the episode where the Argama crew first land on Earth: episode 23, which is roughly the halfway mark.
23-27 is sort of a mixed bag. 23 and 24 are decent episodes and show that these cretins can be a functional and tolerable unit, especially episode 23. 25-27 is why I don't cite 23 as the changing period and instead cite 28. 25 is a decent skirmish with a few slip-ups but 26 makes 25 look stupid since while in 25, the crew engage in their first desert battle against veteran soldiers of the one-year war and win without too much trouble, one girl in a Gelgoog in 26 gets the crew’s balls rocked. 27 is where I couldn't take Haman nearly as seriously anymore when Judau pulls some crazy newtype bs out of his ass and Haman pusses out of shooting him (she had a lot of opportunities too since she came with intent on shooting him). 28 was the first good episode since 23 since Leina “dies” (I'll touch on that bullshit later); not only do I not like her but it was a real interesting and dramatic moment for the cast at large, even if they do not progress much as characters beyond a few patched up melodrama bits and Judau becoming more responsible.
The Blue Corps and Dublin arcs are actually good. Around this time, even a few episodes earlier, ZZ became a conventionally enjoyable series, though not exceptional. The stories make actual sense for most part until episode 36, characters such as Kamille and Hayato return and are still engaging, and we actually see characters grow and see the main team actually have some semblance of teamwork, which some people pride this group on (despite them almost never having any remote semblance of teamwork or camaraderie at all throughout the show). They also develop Glemy’s darker more manipulative and ambitious side and even capitalized on his lovestruck loser side for better comedy, as well as using it against him. The action scenes were cooler too. What these arcs, in particular, did especially good is getting us to have a reason to care. We care about the Blue Corps and how Glemy gets sucked into the incident, as well as Kamille, Hayato, their situations, and the colony drop, off of which were some of the highlights of the Dubin arc, which, barring the final part of that 3 episode arc, was the best part of the show. If the show were more like this, it would be a decent, maybe even good show, since 9 of these 15 episodes were actually good. All of the antagonists I hated were gone for these sets of episodes and Glemy became a formidable and interesting villain, exploring more of the whole Ple stuff introduced short after Ple’s introduction in episode 18, even if little makes sense (I’ll address all of the newtype and cyber newtype stuff that would become the biggest problem of the second half when I get to part 5, as that is where it’s at its worst). Killing Hayato after he ends up knowing what happened to Katz was an unfortunate move though.
Ple is one of the only decent characters of the show and while we see her in the first half and get to know that despite being this unfortunate cyber newtype, she’s just a kid at heart, it’s here where she becomes more prominent, though more annoying in the leary part of this quarter. Even many of the protagonists get sick of her shit, though it’s not so easy to stay mad at her when she still has competence and is a kid, especially after Lina’s “death”, where she has his arc about trying to fill the void Leina left after trying to usurp Leina for so long. Shame it doesn’t get a proper conclusion and everything this show had going for it that was established with these episodes gets fucked, especially since Ple dies in a bullshit way after Ple-Two becomes a thing and Mashymre comes back (admittedly cooler than before but still a bad, one-dimensional character) in episodes 36 and 37.
Part 4: Before I knew it, the first half of quarter 4 betrayed me
Leina lives...and the emotional impact of episode 28 dies. Just...why? How? Oh, and now she’s a newtype even more powerful than Kamille since she can communicate from...somewhere on Earth whilst the crew she is communicating with is in space. Oh, and for some unknown reason, they made Beecha captain instead of Judau, the one man with more leadership qualities than the rest of the group. It's interesting that Beecha thinks that something is wrong with Judau in either a mental or emotional way and they probably would've been interesting if that were the case now that there is no one left to fill Judau’s “Leina” void even remotely, now that Puru is dead.
For some reason, Mashymre has a new crew with Illya and other people and they battle Judau and co.of course but the dumbest thing in episode 38 happens just like in 37 with the Leina stuff. This one Zeon guy has disobeyed an order but is still completing the objective and is not even a second away from shooting the bridge of the Nahel Argama, and his superior, Illya, kills him. It's obviously a retarded way by the writer(s) to keep the protagonists alive but believe me; it gets worse. Episodes 36-38 have has some dumb shit happen, some of which were especially bad but they weren't enough to make me rescind every positive thing I've ever said about the third quarter of ZZ, until I get to the Rasara arc. The Rasara arc (episodes 39-41) is hands down the worst piece of Gundam fiction I have ever encountered! Each episode in this arc is worse than the last and it feels like some of the worst of what the already abominable first half of this show provided, and barring what it does to Mondo, this arc is completely pointless. It's meaningless and all it adds to Mondo is sadness that only really has any relevance to anyone in episode 45, but I'll get to the laughable final 5 episodes later. For now, how about we rip this arc apart for betraying me so!
Somehow, Haman disguises herself and is now in a refugee ship that her forces attack in an attempt to lure the Nahel Argama. How did they know they were coming? Don't say “Haman can sense Judau” since that's an automatic two-way street for the both of them and Judau can't sense Haman, even when he is touching her and she gives off her newtype vibes and speaks to him! This is episode 39 and it's pretty bad, but it's definitely the best episode in this arc. Oh, did I forget to mention that the MoonMoon tribe from the god-awful MoonMoon arc just randomly pop into the arc and stay with the crew for the remainder of it? Why?! No one liked the MoonMoon arc! Even worse, Sarasa of that arc notices Haman and bites her as having an evil suspicious aura, re no one questions/interrogates her! How stupid are these people?! Then episode 40 rolls around and we get introduced to the absolute worst character in the second half of ZZ: Stampa Halloi! He is just the worst: some fugly fatass generic dog of a man, and barring being a complete fucking coward, this is his only character trait! He is worse than Gemon! He is Chara Sune levels of bad! Thank fuck he’s only here for two episodes, and hopefully, he died when Mondo stabbed his mobile suit! We also get introduced to some troublemaking punks that end up being a parallel to the protagonists in their own introduction, but nothing is done with it; they don't even stay once the arc is over, and once everyone meets Stamps and fight his goons, and Judau finally recognizes Haman from her voice, how do they escape? I'm serious. How? Because fuck it, that's why!
Then episode 41 begins, and it is...unspeakable. Anyone who has made it this far knows that Mondo loves Rasara, so what is the right thing to do? Kill her off of course! I mean, there are interesting ways to do that to make him grow, but here’s where things get fucky: she was getting a bit weak at the beginning, and when Stampa is chasing Mondo in a mobile suit, he dived down, and she dived down on top of him to protect him from harm; she somehow died almost immediately afterwards. Sure, rubble falls down around then, but none of that hits either of them! And then her body looks like it has taken a beating on the front, for no reason! As bizarre and stupid as Puru’s death was, at least it had a catalyst! This? No! Not one thing that could lead to her death here. It's not like she was fatally ill or anything, so how the fuck did she die?! Then an action scene begins and for anyone who could ever enter, their beam weapons were covered up entirely and not allowed to be pulled out, and it keeps that tradition during the fight scene...until Illya and Beecha use their beam sabers, contradicting all of that. Thankfully Mondo finally stabbed Stampa’s mobile suit, possibly killing him...only for it to not explode. Fuck it, I'm done, this arc is over! It was an exercise in punishment, suffering, and the utmost betrayal, and every second of it was as bad, if not worse than every single insipid episode that came before! This arc and this show can rot in hell, and anything and everything good about the previous episodes has been utterly obliterated!
Part 5: Glemy’s revolt, the mishandling of the newtype concept, and the glorious retardation of the final 6 episodes
The final 6 episodes of ZZ are an exhibition of glory, both in terms of how epic they were and how monumentally imbecilic they were. These episodes are gloriously bad due to the brutally terrible foundation for these episodes and the fact that there are integral parts, scenes, and explanations missing here, mainly for two specific things that utterly decapitate these episodes: Newtypes and Glemy’s revolt. Let’s do Glemy’s revolt first since there are fewer things to talk about as to why this fails massively.
We do in fact see that Glemy had ambitions of usurping Haman to rule Neo Zeon. Problem is: we don't see how his rebellion starts. We don't see how he is able to convince a myriad of soldiers under his belt or otherwise, to go along with him instead of Haman. Given that this is the impetus for the conflict of the final 5 episodes, in particular, ignoring something so important to this part of the plot is quite a bad move. Hell, they could’ve skipped the Rasara arc entirely to focus on expanding on this much-needed origin of rebellion, especially since there are only minor inklings of potential for this revolt prior to Glemy’s next appearance which is to effectively begin it. This intertwines with the next thing that kills the rest of this show. It’s finally time for the climax of this review; it’s high time I talk about: the Newtype shenanigans.
Where do I begin? There is so, so much to cover here. How about starting with Chara, just to get the dead bitch out of the way. Oh yeah, she dies retardedly in the final episode while shouting her name triumphantly. Apparently, there is something wrong about her and how she is a cyber newtype to the point where this is used to explain all of her inconsistent behaviors throughout her appearance in episodes 10-21 and the final 6 episodes. Obviously, it doesn’t fly since she has no concrete personality this cyber newtype stuff is supposed to deal with barring her being a demanding bitch...which she is no matter what unless she’s smothering Judau in her bosom. A similar treatment is given to Mashymre after his departure around episode 12 and I don’t know why. We don’t see how he keeps getting roided, and we only ever see one newtype facility and that was for the purus that I’ll cover after this. Zeta bothered to show some of that shit, why not ZZ? He even has this happened between episodes of this section of the show offscreen. This is important and compromising information that we are missing out of. He overloads and commits the coolest act in this entire show and the most epic suicide in all of anime, if not all of fiction. The only thing I know to remotely rival this is the famous scene from Independence Day with the guy that crashed into the mothership. It's ineffective, sure, but he does it with such gusto the tits cool regardless, and literally, everyone takes notice.
Speaking of Ples, before I dive into this particular shitsow, how about I say that Ple-Two is a decent enough character who goes through the typical “choose between brainwashing and freedom side while your head hurts” plot. Also, she is literally fucking impossible, her and the Ple army. Did they simply create Ple clones or something? We don't know. How come Haman knew nothing about any of this? No spies or mandatory reports? Somehow Ple (and eventually Judau) can channel newtype energy so powerful as to deflect beams entirely, and that literally makes no conceivable sense ever, and fuck episode 36 for including such faggoty retardation. Ple-Two controlling her mechs with her mind makes sense; RC control of them with her mind (aka doing it outside of the mech, like remote control with her mind) is a stretch, especially for giant mechs and those other shooting funnels being controlled all at once.
In general, they keep adding new, absolutely stupid bs to the newtype business and even among that, it's wildly inconsistent at times. Also, somehow Judau does the same bullshit Kamille did at the end of his series which was always baffling and stupid because the final few episodes of Zeta were also retarded but this is next level shit. The last two episodes are especially riddled with stupidity however and make for a laughable bad finale. They also add forced romantic stuff between Beecha and Elle (who had no inkling of it and when Beecha said he was trying to be nice to her, everyone in the audience should call bullshit when they were all jackasses, especially him, Luke when he and Mondo tried to actively get Judau killed in the first half) for no real reason other than trying to make us feel happy and go “what a long way these guys have come” (though the second time they try that tactic, this time with the final episode with Judau and then saying one more goodbye before he faces off Haman was good). We don't how how Leina survived that incident in episode 28 of a mobile suit crashing and exploding into her shack where she was resting, setting the whole thing on fire (Sunrise…) but apparently now she’s with Seila Mass...who just happens to be on Earth somewhere and we don't even know where. Also, Ple-Two dies in the final episode (or at least passes or and is never seen again but come on, that's most likely death) and no one gives a fuck. Haman dies in a retarded way as well, and Glemy’s death scene makes no sense either both in terms of the Gundam that killed him and the fact that after Ple-Two rejected him to go with Judau, she jumps to save him as he disintegrates and his Mobile Armor blows up and she dies soon after (why?). Oh, and nothing is resolved about this war other than the two tyrants dying but that's apparently good enough for this anime...bleh!
So that was Mobile Suit ZZ. A broken, stupid, largely insufferable mess of a series that took far too long to only temporarily become remotely decent, all the while downgrading everything positive about Zeta such as the visuals to some extent and especially the music. What a chaotic shitshow. The only reasons this isn't the worst in the franchise are that Twilight Axis exists now, almost ⅕ of this series was good and some parts weren't all that terrible, but when over half of your series, especially in the first half, is a 0/10, then there really is little hope for salvation, since it not only compounds every issue Zeta (an infinitely better anime) had but had its own heap of issues to fill a space colony.
To be honest, I see little reason to watch this unless you really want to complete every Gundam anime out there, as it's among the worst-written of them all. This is also the longest anime I've completed that I personally detest. As bad as SEED Destiny and 00 Second Season are, I don't outright hate them like I do with this one. It is one of two in this franchise I actively despise thus far; ZZ is truly the most loathsome this franchise has ever been. Now, with all that said, I bid you adieu.
It gets a lot of bad press. "Worst Gundam Ever" is a common phrase when ZZ comes up in conversation. However. I'm going to go and stand out on a lonely, creaking limb and say I liked it. Say I liked it better than Zeta. Now let me tell you why...
The main difference between Zeta and ZZ is that a majority of the main characters are teenagers. Judau Ashta - the protaganist and pilot of Gundam Double Zeta - isn't interested in piloting or fighting at all in the beginning. When the badly damaged Argama lands at
their colony, he and his friends are simply interested in the Gundam for its scrap value, as they have been left to fend for themselves while their parents have presumably gone off to (or died in) the war. His younger sister Leina worries about him sacrificing his education to earn money and doesn't like him hanging around with the somewhat inscrupulous Beecha and Mondo. Along with feisty girl Elle and unassuming Ino, Judau and his friends get caught up in the activities of the Argama during their attempts to rob it, and form the core of the series from beginning to end. While it's hard to warm to them all at first, you can't help but feel happy for Beecha as after doubts about the war and attempted defection, he finds his calling as a Captain rather than a Mobile Suit pilot, or get caught up in their personal battles when grief causes Mondo to have no thoughts except revenge.
The idea of the Cyber-Newtype is carried on from Zeta in the guise of Elpeo Puru. A young girl similar to Four Murasume and Rosamia Badam, Puru can go from child-like over dependance on Judau to ace pilot bent on destroying him. My main problem with the cyber-newtypes in Zeta was that firstly I felt that having Four, Rosamia and Sarah was overkill, and that they could have been combined into one memorable character. Secondly I never really felt very much for them (which also made it hard to empathise with why Kamille did) as they never got much screen time. Puru however spends a lot of time with the main characters during the middle of the series which gives her character a chance to develop much more than Four or Rosamia did.
Haman Karn is back again as the main antagonist of the series, along with the new characters Glemy Toto, Mashymyre Cello and Chara Soon. Mashymyre is the first foe Judau and friends face - initially almost a comic relief character, a chivalrous villain who refuses to play by anything other than the rules for the sake of his hopeless infatuation with Haman. Indeed, this is really the only thing which saves the untrained (and inept) Judau from death in the early episodes. Later we see a different side to Mashymyre when he is the architect of a colony drop on Dublin. Chara follows a similar (but more sympathetic) path - possesed of particularly overt sexuality she is always a source of humour, but there is also the feeling that something is not quite right in her mind - a personality split which makes it equally likely she will behave in a fun-loving or cruel manner. Glemy Toto, Judau's main nemesis, we see first as he too naively enters his first Mobile Suit battle, and watch as power gradually comes to corrupt him utterly. Sadly he never gets the kind of character development or sympathetic scenes that Jerrod Mesa got in Zeta, which makes him a weaker character as we never really learn what (if anything) drives him to make the decisions he does.
I enjoyed Zeta Gundam, but I often found myself picking holes. The most pervasive problem I had was the short lived and duplicated storylines. For example; Someone develops feelings for an enemy. Someone is kidnapped. One episode later they escape. Wait, they've been captured again. Kamille meets Four. She's gone. Here she is again... etc. With ZZ some of the same ideas are there, but they are slowed down to a speed which actually allows for some character development. Leina is kidnapped by Glemy and is gone for 10-15 episodes, and Puru joins the Argama and stays for a good 20. Chara and Mashymyre dissappear completly to be returned towards the end only when they are relevant, they aren't kept around needlessly or killed off and replaced with yet another generic villain.
As with all Gundam series, ZZ has it's tragic moments. But it picks them carefully and neither milks them for pathos nor glosses over the characters' emotions making them seem cold. People suffer, some moreso than others and some cope with loss better than others. The ::slap:: "get over it, this is war!" attitude to emotion seems to have gone - indeed Captain Bright even says at one point, when berated for the fact that the main characters still behave like kids; "I gave up trying to make them anything else." Which seems to be as much a lesson that the writers of ZZ have learned as he has.
I can understand why people react badly to ZZ at first. The first few episodes on the Shangri-La colony have a lot of humour in them - they don't take themselves seriously and even gently parody ideas from previous Gundam series. Quite a contrast to the dark final episodes of Zeta, but Tomino has said that it was his intention to cheer the audience up, as he felt that more of the same would depress them. And that's perhaps it, the fact that Double Zeta feels more hopeful than it's predecessor, not afraid to have a little fun along with the war and the tragedy, has endeared it to me.
The black sheep of Gundams UC timeline starts off horrible with its comedic approach, but almost reaches Zetas quality of dramatic storytelling in its last third. Especially the second half makes it a must watch for any Gundam Fan, as important political UC relevant events take place. If you want to have a complete understanding of the UC timeline ZZ is quite important to watch (Haman Karn is one of the most intimidating villains in the franchise). The cast of likable characters makes it also very enjoyable.
Art Animation 7/10
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