Mobile Suit Double Zeta Gundam

Title: Mobile Suit Double Zeta Gundam aka Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ aka Kidou Senshi Gundam ZZ
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Sunrise
Format: 47 episodes
Dates: 1 Mar 1986 – 31 Jan 1987

Synopsis: In Universal Century 0088, the Gryps War has finally come to close. Following the structural collapse of the Titans, Haman Karn has reintroduced herself to the political sphere with a new organization: the Neo-Zeon. The remnants of the AEUG must now muster up the military strength to oppose Karn and her puppet regime. However, their ranks are thin, so they now must rely on the young Judau Ashta to pilot the new Double Zeta Gundam.

The Highlights
The First Half: Comedic train-wreck that subverts the show.
The Second Half: Dark, melodramatic and well written.
Animation: For the time, amazing.
Characters: Generally strong, but a few are grating.

Tomino Yoshiyuki approached Zeta Gundam attempting to create an epic drama, and he succeeded. He then approached Double Zeta Gundam attempting to make people laugh… and he succeeded. This entire idea is heavily overshadowed by the minor fact that comedy and war do not mix too well. Gundam ZZ has the potential to achieve the greatness of its predecessor, but it fails because it never generates the momentum it needs to become something truly special.

First impressions are hard to overcome, and this anime makes a very poor one. The first quarter mocks the audience’s intelligence by giving a cast of seemingly incompetent characters. It is irksome to see a bunch of buffoons eating food while they are being shot at, and it is even more irritating to watch characters give soap box rants about honor when they are out to kill people. While the comedy is indeed humorous, the show tries to maintain its dark ambiance along with its pathetic antics. This creates potentially grave situations undermined by misplaced comedy. Due to the poor introduction, it is hard to take the characters seriously for the first half of the series.

The show slowly starts to improve during the second quarter, but the characters do not take definitive roles until the second half. It is not until around episode 20 when the series drops the bulk of its humor. Surprisingly after the comedic antics are dropped, the anime manages to regain face; the characters become easier to connect with, and the drama picks up. The action also becomes more exciting as significant characters start to love, fight, and die. From beginning to end, the aesthetics compliment the fight scenes. The animation resembles something from the mid 90s rather than the late 80s, and the music is also above-par as well. To put it simply, the show metamorphoses into a gritty Tomino Gundam series during the second half, but sadly some injuries cannot be undone.

Do not watch this anime expecting another Zeta Gundam, as the series never reaches the zenith of its predecessor. Also, I recommend not watching it without first seeing the original Gundam and Zeta Gundam; while the show boasts a new cast, the historical references and the cameo appearances have little impact without prior knowledge. If you are able to survive the abominable start of the series, you will find that Gundam ZZ is another above par anime that deserves its place in the Gundam universe, although not quite as high as the stars.

The Rating: 6
6/10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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