It’s been a while since I’ve written anything hasn’t it? I do apologize for that. I’ve letting a lot of the shows I was watching from this season complete their runs so I can just binge them in their entirety. In the meantime however, I have been watching Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, the second Gundam series that was released in 1985. It was next on my list of Gundam shows to watch that I had never watched before and man do I regret that.
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam picks up several years after the end of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series, Mobile Suit Gundam 0079(And to clarify, that show ends with the dawn of 0080, hence Zeta Gundam being several years later in 0087 rather than eight years later.), and stars a new main character named Kamille Bidan, an academy student on the colony of Green Noa who is a Newtype(Though he doesn’t believe it or want to acknowledge it.) and hates the Titans, an offshoot of the Federation that has grown very powerful. He steals their Gundam prototype, the Gundam Mk. II, and proceeds to join the AEUG resistance group where he meets Quattro Bajeena(Whose totally not Char Aznable by the way...) and a host of other characters.
I gotta say the story has been really good so far and has lived up to my expectations of a Gundam series, especially as one of the first few that quite a few of my friends hold in such high regard. I mean there are plenty of mobile suit battles, plenty of politics, plenty of deaths and a lot of destruction, it hits all the notes that I expect. The pacing does seem a tad quick though. Gundam series usually have this sort of rhythm where they start in space, move down to the Earth, and then back into space again before finishing, but this one looks like it’s doubling that up which is... new. I don’t dislike the pace of course, I do like to keep things moving. But I do feel like it should slow down just a tad.
Moving on to the characcters, Kamille is an interesting protagonist. He’s very confused and conflicted while also seemingly throwing a temper tantrum every other scene. He can get kind of annoying at times, but I also understand why he’s like that at times. His parents were always working and cared more about their work than they did him, so he sought comfort elsewhere and is a pretty bitter person because of it. Not only that, but because everyone thinks he’s a Newtype, hes suddenly had these expectations thrust upon him. He’s never been under so much pressure and that causes him to snap from time to time.
And then of course there’s Quattro Bajeena who can be seen as the secondary protagonist of Zeta Gundam. He’s a man with blonde hair, blue eyes, wears a red uniform, his initial mobile suit is red, well, you get the idea. The show throws so many hints at you it’s not even funny. Heck, they pretty much admit in the first episode that yes, Quattro is Char under an alias(Which is funny because Char was an alias.). Despite the fact that he’s supposed to be in hiding, they do a very terrible job of hiding this fact from you. But it also lets you see a different side of Char than you did in the original series. This is Char in a more friendly environment and it shows just what he’s become following the end of the One Year War and the completion of his life’s goal. He’s aimless and is simply fighting for a cause now. Char often reflects on his past and tries to pass on his life lessons to Kamille, putting him in a sort of mentor position and it actually does work pretty well.
But enough with the praise, lets talk about a character than I have no love for at the moment: Beltorchika Irma. She’s just this really needy character and everything is about what she wants. She’s also the kind of person who thinks she understands everything, but is often shown to know nothing. As far as I’m concerned she really doesn’t have much of a purpose in the show. She’s just... there.
The art and animation of Zeta Gundam is a step up from that of its predecessor. Mobile suits look like actual machines now that they have a lot more detail. It’s a lot cleaner too which is nice. The battles are fun to watch though shots do tend to linger just a tad too long, drawing out scenes. But man, gotta love the retro 80's style of everything.
I absolutely love this soundtrack. It’s about as 80's as you can get and the above track, my personal favorite, emphasizes that. I’ve always loved that style of music, but I never know how to search for it. It alludes me and that is annoying.
The sound effects are crisper than the original show, higher quality. They work. Nothing really stands out to me really, it’s background noise that brings everything to life and that is perfectly fine.
Verdict So Far
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, thus far, is enjoyable. I’m interested in where its going and seeing how it reaches the conclusion that I’m very much aware of. I hope that the quality doesn’t degrade the closer it gets to the finish line, which is something that tends to happen with longer running shows. Perhaps I’ll pick up Zeta Gundam gunpla kit this weekend at a local anime convention from my favorite vendor.