Title: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam aka Kidou Senshi Zeta Gundam
Format: 50 episodes
Dates: 2 Mar 1985 – 22 Feb 1986
Synopsis: The year is Universal Century 0087. After the tragic One-Year War, humanity has once again settled into an unstable sense of peace. In order to maintain this status quo, the Earth Federation has given a special military division, the Titans, the authority to monitor the colonies. This division uses any means necessary to force compliance, whether it is propaganda, forceful censorship, or genocide. In order to combat the Titans’ tyranny, the Anti-Earth Union Group (AEUG) has assembled a group a dissidents and amassed the funds and weapons to wage another war. The AEUG’s ranks are significantly bolstered when a Newtype named Kamille Bidan joins the fray in a Gundam.
Animation: Superb for the 1980s.
Characters: Ambitious, dynamic and quirky.
Story: A massive collection of self-interests and conspiracies clashing in the battlefield.
For those of you who wonder just why the Gundam franchise has lasted so long, look no further than Zeta Gundam. Despite its age, the show is still revered by much of the Japanese anime community, and the fame is not without substance. This series is, without a doubt, one of the original’s greatest incarnations as well as the milestone that solidified the franchise for the ages.
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam uses a similar plot structure as the original Mobile Suit Gundam, but the story is crafted with the hands of experience and maturity. Gone are the loose strings and redundant plot devices. The show has a tight script helmed by a dynamic cast. The characters are both calculating and political, but they are hindered by emotions. They know what they want and how to get it, but they never are truly satisfied. As circumstances change, people die, moral stigmas emerge and characters lose sight of their initial goals and unwittingly become pawns of other, more ambitious individuals. The continuous, almost episodic, string of fights set the stage for the all this drama to play out.
For a production of the 1980s, the animation is remarkable. The colors may lack the distinct clarity of modern productions, but the motions are fluid and almost never redundant. The music also gives the show a boost with its forward, bombastic nature. In the end, the only “flaws” the show has is its heavy reliance on the back story of its prequel, Mobile Suit Gundam, and its cliffhanger ending that feeds into is sequel, Mobile Suit Double Zeta Gundam.
Every self-respecting fan of the mecha genre should watch this anime. Heck, I would also give an enthusiastic “a-okay” to those impartial or even slightly adverse to the genre. It is a classic that sparked a phenomenon that is still burning strong. For those still skeptical because of the show’s age, I must remind you that all great stories are timeless and Zeta Gundam is no exception.
The Rating: 9
Reviewed by: Shadowmage