Sunday, March 9, 2008

Why not Gundam Zeta?

Normally I don't pick on the disabled.

But some people seem to really love Gundam Zeta, so I feel compelled to point out something. This show sucks.

Okay, okay. Maybe sucks is too harsh of a word. There are things about Zeta that are interesting. The relationship between Camille Bidan and Jared is one of those things. I've always liked shows that have dueling characters and show both characters being right if you look at the world from their point of view.

And I'll admit the ideas in this show are interesting. I've always liked the tension between Earth and the colonies. I really like the fact that because of the war with Zeon, the Earth has become a dictatorship. I like that the world has come full circle. I even like the idea of super-humans who are trying to figure out what it means to be super-human. That's the thing about Zeta, the actual foundations for an interesting plot are there.

But really that's the only thing good I can say about the show. Everything else is a roadmap of what not to do in a fifty-some-odd episode anime. Take the pacing for example. For the first half of the series, it seems like a race for how many characters can get killed off in two episodes or less. It starts off as, "Oooo, new artificial Newtype is introduced. Camille meets them. They fight. Artificial Newtype dies. Introduce new artificial Newtype." In fact the only villain who seems to last any length of time is Jared, and even he gets the shit kicked out of him more times than I can count.

It gets real boring really fast. But like a masochist, I kept on getting beat around by this series. The second half has the exact opposite problem: nothing ever gets resolved. Essentially an entire crew of bad guys gets introduced and NO ONE DIES. It keeps going on until it feels like there's an entire parade of characters who steal the spotlight from the one or two interesting villains that the show has left. And what makes it worse is that bad guys get resurrected from the dead, just because they realized that they'd chewed through them too quickly in the first half of the show.

On top of all of that, you get super-combining, amazing Gundam stuff, which honestly is a death knell for any "real robot" show. It's not that I mind improved robots. Because I really do like them in say Code Geass. But here they all feel hokey, and even worse, they feel like they were thrown in so some toy manufacturer somewhere could make an extra buck off of the people buying model kits.

Oh yeah, and then there's the rest of the cast of thousands. I'll be honest, I spent most of this show hoping Char would get knocked off. Hell, I spent most of this show hoping most of the cast would get knocked off. The only character who was consistently interesting was Jared. Even Camille got a little stale towards the end.

I won't pick on the artwork or the soundtrack because the show is old. And the fact that they're dated doesn't really mean that much to me. There are plenty of shows with dated soundtracks and animation that are actually good shows.

It's just that Gundam Zeta isn't one of those.

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