Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Overall Series Review

Zeta Gundam

Time for a quick (ignoring the large copy and pasted Cast of Characters section…) look at Zeta Gundam’s overall ability to tell a good story. At 50 episodes it’s one of the longer Gundam series in general, but that’s not always a good thing… So, let’s finish this part of Universal Century off, shall we?

Synopsis:

The year is UC 0087, 8 years after the One Year War, and the Earth and its colonies are in dire straights as the Titans, an elite task force of the Earth Federation designed to hunt down Zeon remnants has began to ruthlessly kills anyone demanding equal rights for the space citizens in cold blood, among other horrible abuses of power. A rebel group called the AEUG (Anti-Earth Union Group) are trying to beat them back to Earth, but are having little luck.

Kamille Bidan is a civilian teenager and amateur mobile suit pilot whose parents are engineers working for the Earth Federation and the Titans. While travelling to the Green Noa colony to meet his parents, Kamille is insulted by and strikes a Titans officer named Jerid Messa. Following an AEUG attack on the colony to capture a trio of Gundam Mk-II mobile suits undergoing field tests, Kamille takes the opportunity to steal Messa’s Mk-II to repel the attack and follows Quattro back to the AEUG mothership Argama, starting a journey he’ll never forget…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

Zeta Gundam 1

Hey look, it’s the cast of characters themselves! Well, the good guys (and girls) anyway…

Kamille Bidan (Nobuo Tobita / Jonathan Lachlan-Stewart) – Kamille is a young boy who is training to use mobile suits, and has … a rather large problem with people making fun of his name for sounding like a girls. When I say problem, I mean SERIOUS problem.

Quattro Bajeena / Char Aznable (Shuichi Ikeda / Tom Edwards) – The former Char Aznable is now working once again to fight the Earth Federation, this time under a new name (well, technically that was the case in Zeon as well…), and he’s definitely on the “right” side of the conflict this go around, as the Titans continue to be, quite frankly, evil. His sunglasses means no one can tell he’s Char Aznable, which makes just that tiny bit more sense that Clark Kent’s regular glasses doing the same job…

Bright Noa (Hirotaka Suzuoki / Dave Kelly) – Bright Noa is still a loyal member of the Earth Federation, but as the special Titans force continues to get more and more power and control in the Federation, the more he’s treated like crap. Maybe time for a switch?

Fa Yuiry (Miyuki Matsuoka / Angie Beers) – Fa is a friend of Kamille who cares for him a great deal, but also finds him immature and annoying (and boy is he ever!)

Emma Sheen (Maya Okamoto / Lisa Christie) – Emma currently works for the Titans, but she’ll soon discover the true nature of the group she’s apart of, a truth that may change her mind for good…

Katz Kobayashi (Keiichi Nanba / Sean Broadhurst) – Katz was one of the three orphan children on board the White Base during the One Year War. After the war they were adopted by Hayato and Fraw and have grown up to admire their father’s military ideals, especially Katz. He now hopes he and Amuro can join Karaba together…

Bask Om (Daisuke Gori / Noah Umholtz) – Bask is in control of the Titans’ main forces and is generally a heartless dick. He willingly signed off on a plan to gas thousands of innocent colony folk purely to “send a message”.

Jerid Messa (Kazuhiko Inoue /Ethan Cole) – Jerid is a member of the Titans, and has asperiations to become top-brass. A seemingly random encounter with a boy called Kamille will change his life, and boy… it won’t be for the better by the time his story is told…

Paptimus Scirocco (Bin Shimada / Jonathan Love) – Scirocco is a powerful New Type who has spent a long time away mining the clouds of Jupiter. Technically still a member of the Earth Federation, Paptimus sees himself has far more than that…

Haman Karn (Yoshiko Sakakibara / Valerie Howell) – Haman is the pseudo-leader of the Axis-based Zeon forces, as the actual leader (and last remaining member of the Zabi family) Mineva is still a child. She wants nothing more than the return of the Zabi family.

Reccoa Londe (Masako Katsuki / Meredith Taylor-Parry) –Reccoa is a member of AUEG who specialises in covert infiltration. She plays the tough girl act well…

Amuro Ray (Toru Furuya / Matthew Erickson) – Amuro has been trapped in depression and bound to his house… until now. Along with his old White Base ally’s adopted son Katz (who himself was on the white base as a child), Amuro joins the fight against the Titans…

Four Murasame (Saeko Shimazu / Carol-Anne Day) – Four doesn’t know her real name, or her parents… or indeed anything from before her days as the fourth test subject in the Titans’ attempts to create a Newtype artificially. Her mind is fragile, but one this she does know is that if she fights, she might be granted her old memories back…

Yazan Gable (Hochu Otsuka / Corby Proctor) – Yazan is an ace pilot in the Federation forces, despite lacking in any Newtype ability. He is soon transferred to under Scirocco’s command, but he’s just happy anywhere he gets to fight…

Sarah Zabiarov (Yuko Mizutani / Maizun Jayoussi) – A loyal follower of Paptimus Scirocco, despite her status as a rare Titan Newtype from their labs. She is still young and naïve, but her loyalty to Paptimus is undying…

Rosamia Badam (Kayoko Fujii / Jennifer Bain) – Rosamia is a Cyber-Newtype who is conditioned into believing false narratives. These experiences often leave her with the mind of a child…

Plus many more!

The Good:

Zeta Gundam 2

The Zeta Gundam… from Zeta Gundam!

The overall story I like, with Earth now becoming more like a dictatorship in space, where they won the previous war. The spacenoids fight back via a resistance force known as the Anti-Earth Union Group, or AUEG. It’s a reverse of the villainous space force attacking Earth from the original series, but the addition of a wildcard third faction in the Axis Zeon forces in the final third of the story mixes things up a bit. It all leads to a stunner of a finale, extremely dark but undoubtedly gripping.

A lot of the cast of Zeta Gundam is either boring or annoying, but once again Char Aznable (mostly known as Quattro throughout the story) is a really interesting character. Gone is his revenge plot, he now wishes for humanity to move entirely into space and give Earth time to heal, but he’s stuck fighting the planet’s Titans and general military, leading him to ally with the AUEG. I do like how he’s on the “good side” this time, but actually he’s on pretty much the same side as he was in the original series, it’s just Earth is now the villainous force this time. Bright Noa is once again a steady leader on the good side, and that’s about it for good characters on the light side. The “dark side” on the other hand has some fun villains, with Paptimus Scirocco being a great egotistical lead villain, and Haman Karn being a great foil for Char.

The sad story of Jerid and his constant failure is funny, in a “man, he can’t catch a break!” kind of way. Characters like Emma and Fa on the goodside, and Four, Yazan and Sarah are all plain examples of their character archetypes, but that’s okay. Better than being off-putting.

Then you also get the return of Amuro, who gets to develop a bit further as a man and a soldier, as well as appearances from Hayato and Kai (briefly). It’s fun to check in on the old gang, and great to see Amuro and Char on the same side, with a lot of respect between them after all they went through.

I have to say I love the mobile suit designs this time. The two Gundams are fine, but Char’s golden Hyaku Shiki is always great looking, Haman’s curved and manta-ray looking Qubeley is fitting and stands out, and some of the “grunt” suits like the Rick Dias, Marasai, and the Hizack are all great designs as well. Zeta also introduces the idea of Mobile Armours that actually look like mobile suits, with the Psyco-Gundam, which looks suitably “evil” and “cool” in equal measure.

The Bad:

Zeta Gundam 4

“Wait… Did I forget to actually get into my Gundam?”

Let’s get it out of the way: Kamille Bidan is extremely unlikable during the first half of the series, and only tolerable for most of the other half. He’s fine and even a little interesting right at the end, but talk about too little too late! The only characters more annoying are Katz, who manages to out-Kamille Kamille with his immature out bursts and strops (not to mention naivety…), and Reccoa, whose turn from the AUEG to the Titans never makes any sense and just leads to her spouting nonsense all the time. Oh and a pair of orphan children run around and do “silly” things, which is often at-odds with what’s going on.

Rosamia Badam is annoying as she’s a just a repeat of the same storyline they did earlier in the series with fellow Cyber-Newtype Four. Due to all of this there are a few episodes that just aren’t very fun to watch, I mean there are some great mini-arcs, but there are some poor “filler” as well (see individual reviews for more details!)

The heads of the Titans, Jamitov and Bask, are fun in a “hate and kill innocents for no reason” cheesy way, but really they’re paper villains with no background, which is a step down from the Zabi family from the original series.

Overall Thoughts:

Zeta Gundam 3

A mobile suit! In mid-action! There were surprisingly little of these shots in my individual episode reviews…

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is a good series, held back from great due to a select few annoying characters, with one of them being the lead character himself! It’s worth sticking with it as you do gain a certain amount of fondness for a lot of the cast, and that makes the kill-athon of the final few episodes quite the gripping watch. It’s good, but doesn’t reach the heights of its predecessor.

4 Star Watch

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