Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ – Episodes 24 – 36 Review

Gundam ZZ P3

Gundam ZZ finally succumbs to Gundam creator Tomino’s more bleak outlook (at the time) and the fun begins to turn into tragedy. While this quarter of ZZ isn’t devoid of humour, it’s certainly far more in line with Zeta than its first half, and possibly even pushes the “grim reality of war” button more than that did… So let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

The Argama and its crew have arrived on Earth, chasing after the Neo Zeon forces who are trying to end the war by strong-arming the Earth Federation into surrender. The coming battle won’t be easy, and it will certainly come with its fair share of casualties…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

Gundam ZZ P3 1

Reunited at Last! … For a while.

Judau Ashta (Kazuki Yao) – Judau’s mind is still on his sister Leina, who is under the thumb of Neo Zeon higher-up Glemy Toto. That being said, he is still enjoying his time with his friends, even including the childish Ple…

Roux Louka (Naoko Matsui) – Roux is trying her best to be a top pilot for the Argama, taking the Zeta Gundam into battle when needed. The problem comes from the other pilots being unprofessional kids, some of whom treat her as an outsider to their little gang.

Elpeo Ple (Chieko Honda) – Elpeo Ple is an ex-Neo Zeon pilot who is unsure of her past, beyond that Glemy Toto had a hand in it. She is happy to just be around Judau, who she sees as her big brother, and wants no one to stand in the way of their happiness.

Elle Viano (Eriko Hara) – Elle has known Judau for a long time, but she’s beginning to not recognise either him or even herself, as she fights in the war with Neo Zeon in the Gundam Mk.II, a far cry from trading junk…

Beecha Oleg (Shingo Hiromori) – Beecha is an arrogant prick, but at least he’s starting to come around to the idea of being a pilot for the Argama and helping in the war effort, even if he doesn’t outwardly show it…

Bright Noa (Hirotaka Suzuoki) – Bright Noa is the heroic leader of the White Base and the Argama during the last two major wars, but this war with Neo Zeon happening immediately after the last will take its toll on any man. Bright is managing to hold it together though, somehow…

Haman Karn (Yoshiko Sakakibara) – Haman is the leader of Neo Zeon and she has her eyes on both the colony that once housed the original Zeon movement, and on the people of Earth, who she will bring under her control by any means…

Glemy Toto (Tsutomu Kashiwakura) – Glemy is highly ranked in Neo Zeon thanks to his family’s lineage. That being said he can feel his place in the ranks slipping as he continues to fail to get results against the AUEG ship Argama. It may be time to show another card from his hand…

Ple-Two (Chieko Honda) – A copy of Ple with strong Cyber-Newtype powers and none of the original’s child-like innocence. Even Glemy is worried about using her in combat, and will only unfreeze her if the situation is bad enough to risk it…

Leina Ashta (Maya Okamoto) – Leina is starting to wonder if she’ll ever be saved, having to dress and act like an upper-class lady while under the control of Glemy. When the day of her rescue arrives though, she may wish it hadn’t…

Kamille Bidan (Nobuo Tobita) – Kamille is a powerful Newtype who once served as the Argama’s top pilot. His last battle severely damaged his mind, leaving him mentally unaware of a lot of his surroundings. His Newtype powers to connect with people, however, might transcend even his current ailments…

Fa Yuiry (Miyuki Matsuoka) – Fa is looking after Kamile while also serving as a nurse in Dublin, where a lot of Federation Forces have fled to. As per usual though, when you run from danger, the danger often follows you…

Plus more!

The Good:

Gundam ZZ P3 3

This doesn’t look good for the people of Dublin, but it made for a good story arc!

There are two multi-episode arcs that spring to mind straight away. First is Episodes 27 and 28, the two parter called “Leina’s Blood”, where Neo Zeon are trying to woo the people of Earth at a fancy mansion but the Argama crew, and more specifically the Gundam team, arrive to spoil their fun. Judau is finally reunited with his sister but as they try to escape they are met in a stairwell by Haman Karn herself, who points a gun a Judau and claims to be disappointed that the Newtype doesn’t want to join her. She takes a shot, but Leina takes the hit instead, leading to Judau letting out some massive Newtype mental wave of pure hatred so strong that the cold and calculating Haman is left running away in full-blown tears. Judau then tries to rescue Leina and meets up with everyone else, only to find Ple trying to kill his already wounded sister because she’s jealous of Judau’s love for her, which is quite the unpleasant scene given how cute and innocent Ple is as a character normally. Judau manages to calm the situation down and then is forced to go off in his mobile suit and fight off some Neo Zeon suits, leaving the now understanding Ple in charge of looking after the person she just tried to kill (nice idea!)

This leads to a battle where one damaged enemy suit tumbles its way down and explodes on top of the hut Leina was being kept in (while Ple was away re-wetting a towel). Judau confirms he can’t sense Leina any more, and just shuts down, mentally, with Ple getting upset when Judau pushes her away when she claims she can be a new little sister for him. It’s all rather grim, and completely at-odds with the fun and light-hearted tone the series has been presenting, but I can’t say it wasn’t good drama.

Then we get to the four episodes that end this chunk, starting with Episode 33 “Afternoon in Dublin” and ending with 36 “Ple Two’s Descent”. The main story involves Haman deciding to rule via fear by dropping a space colony on Dublin, where a good number of Earth Federation soldiers and officers and held up, including Fa and Kamille. Bright had already taken the Argama there to have a meeting with some Federation higher-ups that doesn’t go well due to their laid back nature about the whole Neo Zeon war, but that’s all soon rendered moot when they’re blown up in an enemy attack, let alone when colony drops. That’s right, Haman actually succeeds in dropping a space colony on Dublin, which is quite the sight to behold, with the Gundam team caught in the shockwave of the impact. Episode 36 is then a battle to both save survivors and for Ple and Judau to fight the newly revealed Ple Two, who is in control of the Psyco Gundam Mk.II. They fight in and around the fallen colony as it sinks and falls apart over what was once the Irish city of Dublin, it makes for quite the visual treat. Anyway, the fight doesn’t go well for Judau, which soon results in Ple sacrificing herself for him, with her presence deeply disturbing her clone as it fades away.

Also during this run of episodes we meet back up with Kamille and Fa, with the former still being mentally damaged (though now able to walk around the place) and Fa looking after him. During Ple’s battle against Neo Zeon that nearly gets her killed, Kamille communicates with the rest of the Gundam team via some powerful Newtype telepathy and guides them to help her. He then freaks out about the colony drop and the large death toll, which is fair enough. Oh, we also meet back up with Hayato, but I’ll get to that later…The episode ends with everyone mourning the dead, which is a  good upbeat note to go out on!

As for the other episodes in between, they were okay, ranged from dull to quite good. Episodes 30 and 31 are a two-parter called “Blue Team”, where some African rebels try to free their city from the Europeans who have taken over, and Glemy Toto, who got separated from his ship, ends up sympathising with them and trying to help. Although willing, they’re ultimately unsuccessful when the rebel leader ends up being okay with teaming up with Neo Zeon and levelling the city instead of taking back in one piece, which doesn’t sit well with a lot of the other troops. Glemy ends up not really giving a crap as he reunites with his crew.

The Bad:

Gundam ZZ P3 2

Roux during her uncharacteristic exodus.

Throughout the first bunch of episodes Elpeo Ple is a really chore sometimes, completely breaking the idea that Judau and the others would actually put up with her. When they’re crossing the desert she uses the last of the drinking water to tip over herself as a quick shower, which is fair enough as a bit of a gag, but this kind of selfish and childish stuff got on my nerves eventually. She does at least calm down in what turns out to be her last few appearances…

Hayato, you know, from the original series as well as Zeta, returns in Episode 35, talks about his adoptive son Katz’s death from the previous series with Bright (and mentions having to tell his wife and other two adopted children) and then mid-battle tries to commit suicide while mentioning being able to hear Katz voice again, before getting angry at Judau saving him. Then guess what? He’s shot down and killed anyway, once again mentioning Katz before dying. What the hell was the point in that? Why bring him back at all, let alone seemingly get across that he loved Katz more than his other children, or his wife? Or did he dread telling them so much that he’d rather die and leave them without both him and Katz? If so, Jesus, that’s a bit strong. Either way, it was an annoying, sudden, unjustified and pointless scene…

Roux is normally the stern but likeable soldier in amongst what amounts to children, but when Judau is moping about his little sister being KILLED, she treats him like he’s being a baby about it, and then soon buggers off and deserts her duty with one of the core fighter planes. Then she reunites with everyone an episode or so later, and there are no consequences. She doesn’t get punished, Judau and co. are just fine with her being back, and she’s on normal terms with them. Bizarre writing.

Episodes 24 – 26 focus on the Gundam team and various civilians struggling with war-related things. They’re not bad mini-stories, but they’re instantly forgettable. Same goes for episodes 29 and 32, just little filler stories.

Overall Thoughts:

Gundam ZZ P3 4

Although introduced late in the series, Ple Two has a lot to offer the ending…

ZZ begins to kick into high gear, realising there is a war on and that the core idea of the first two Gundam shows was that war is a pretty crappy thing, rather than a long string of “fun” gags. The tonal shift is pretty hard, but it works because seeing these characters who were once just goofing around having to deal with a dose of reality helps sell the severity of the scenes. It’s not exactly up there with the original Gundam or Zeta, but there are some great episodes here, it just took them bloody 30 odd pretty poor episodes to get there…

4 Star Watch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s