Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ – Episodes 37 – 47 Review

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Double Zeta reaches its conclusion, and what an odd ride it’s been. After an extremely light-hearted first two quarters and a really downbeat third one, the fourth quarter of the show seemingly tries to balance the two, but doesn’t really succeed. Still, seeing Neo Zeon implode from within was at least fun to watch! So let’s take a look at how the series ends, shall we?

Synopsis:

Bright, Judau and the rest of the crew of the Argama leave Earth to head back into space, following the trail of Haman Karn, who has similarly left Earth after her successful colony drop. With the Argama left behind, they soon inspect their new ship, the Nahel Argama, but how many of the old crew will be allowed to continue the mission?

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

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Glemy grows frustrated with another unsuccessful Ple… Damn weird Gundam names, makes every sentence sound stupid!

Judau Ashta (Kazuki Yao) – Upon leaving Earth Judau was met with a strange feeling, a feeling that his younger sister Leina was actually still alive… with that knowledge he prepares himself to finally put a stop of Haman Karn once and for all…

Roux Louka (Naoko Matsui) – Roux is still singularly focused on the war with Neo Zeon, though she has found herself caring for her fellow crew members more and more with each passing mission…

Elle Viano (Eriko Hara) – Elle has a thing for Judau, but doesn’t know how to approach her old buddy about it. Instead she’ll just keep fighting in the Gundam Mk.II until… something happens, I guess?

Beecha Oleg (Shingo Hiromori) – Beecha is still a little arrogant and a bit of a prick, but he is at least taking the war seriously, as well as his role in it…

Bright Noa (Hirotaka Suzuoki) – Bright is a legend among the AUEG and the Earth Federation, having lead many successful attacks during the last few major wars, and it seems he’s set to captain his third state-of-the-art ship…

Haman Karn (Yoshiko Sakakibara) – Haman is the leader of Neo Zeon who wishes to crush all those whose souls are “weighed down by Earth’s gravity” and command whoever is left, all in the name of the Zabi family.

Glemy Toto (Tsutomu Kashiwakura) – Glemy comes from a rich and influential family, and has a vision that’s at odds with Haman Karn. He now waits for the right time to betray her and take Neo Zeon for himself.

Ple-Two (Chieko Honda) – Ple-Two is a clone of Ple, and due to this connection she keeps seeing flashes of her dead “sister” whenever she’s near Judau Ashta. This makes doing her job rather difficult…

Mashymre Cello (Kenyuu Horiuchi) – Mashymre was once a laughing stock, but now thanks to being heavily treated with Cyber-Newtype technology he is serious and dangerously devoted to the cause, so much so he was the man responsible for sending the colony down towards Earth…

Chara Soon (Hazuki Kadoma) – Chara has also undergone Cyber-Newtype conditioning in order to bring her… odd personality back in line, though it seems to be less successful than Mashymre…

Rakan Dahkaran (Ryuusuke Oobayashi) – Rakan is a Neo Zeon high-up that has sided with Glemy, being on board with his plans to take down Haman Karn and her followers…

Plus more!

The Good:

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The Queen Mansa prepares to destroy Unicron’s eye… by which I mean the La Vie en Rose.

Well, let’s start at the end, which is really the only good bit about these episodes. The final four episodes see Glemy Toto take the opportunity of Haman being distracted to revolt against her, leading to a Neo Zeo civil war to break out. Haman has the two previously comedy characters from the first half of the show, Mashymre and Chara, at her command, while Glemy has the powerful Ple-Two and the decorated Rakan Dahkaran (a name that is always amusing to hear people say out loud…), plus obviously a tonne of nameless grunts each. It leads to some fun, and different, battles to take place, although Judau and the Gundam Team obviously get involved as well.

Mashymre, despite being unbearably unfunny at the start of the show, was quite the tragic figure here, briefly lamenting his role in the colony drop, then eventually being “over-enhanced” and going crazy with his artificial Newtype powers, resulting in his self destructing for no reason. Ple-Two, similarly, is quite the sad story. She started to break down due to the influence of the very much dead Ple, and so Glemy goes into the cockpit of the giant Queen Mansa suit with her to help “guide her”. The two succeed in taking down Elle in the Mk.II and even Glemy’s former love interest Roux in the Zeta, but once again Judau’s influence causes Ple-Two to open the cockpit and disobey a furious Mr. Toto. As Ple-Two jumps over to the ZZ, Roux fires the Zeta’s large laser rifle and incinerates Glemy as he stood in the open, with a tear in her eye as Glemy’s last words were simply “Roux, it was you who killed me?” Now there’s a weird love story… Anyway, Ple-Two instinctively jumps towards the exploding mobile armour to “save” Glemy, and gets critically wounded in the process, so in the end she couldn’t quite break free of his manipulation.

Once the rest of the “small fry” are dealt with, Haman Karn and Judau do battle in and around Core 3 as the former home of the Zeon movement is destroyed by the Axis asteroid. They have a sometimes confusing exchange where Haman seems to be both enraged at Judau and his abilities, as well as glad to be even be talking with him again. She even dies with a smile on her face, proving that in the end there was some … weird Newtype connection between the two that went beyond any hatred the two had for each other on the surface. Judau is saved from the exploding space colony by the literal last gasps of Ple-Two, meaning she at least sort-of redeemed herself in death.

We then fast forward a few months and Judau and Roux have suddenly decided  to take a trip out to Jupiter for… some reason, and the trip will take at least three years. Judau has a quick teary reunion with his sister and then that’s that! The Jupiter thing doesn’t really make sense, but I assume it was written in to excuse why he isn’t around for the big Amuro-Char showdown in the following film. I’ll also say that we see a seemingly recovered Kamille and Fa running on a beach together, so it may have taken a whole other series, but at least they do get a happy ending in the end as well. Overall it’s a fine ending, not amazing, but it was a good watch.

I’ll mention that after Zeta’s ending I don’t mind that Leina was alive after all. Made a nice change if anything! Her being looked after by Sayla Mass was a bit… “for the hell of it”, but hey-ho, why not I guess? We got a fun chat between her and Bright about her brother Char and what he’s up to, so was at least good for that.

I kind of like the idea that after two hard fought wars that ended with big battles, this Neo Zeon war ended due to internal politics causing the faction to implode without the other side having to do anything. It was at least a different climax than the two that came before it.

I’ll also mention a good scene in Episode 44 where Judau and Roux sneak into Core 3 and try to kidnap Princess Mineva for leverage, but eventually Judau gives her back to save himself and Roux (and possibly Mineva herself), but it was good seeing out squeaky clean (well, apart from killing on the battlefield…) protagonist get pushed so far that he kidnaps a child, and nearly gets away with it to!

The Bad:

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You see, it’s funny because he’s a man, not a woman! Hahaha!!!

Episode 37 sees the crew look around their new ship, but the heads of the Earth Federation and AUEG have decided to give Bright a real trained crew rather than the kids that have been doing all piloting, which makes sense and yet no sense at the same time given their prior results. Anyway, after a few confrontations a hole blows open on the La Vie en Rose and Bright goes out and rescues the people blown out into space, leading to Judau, Roux, Elle, Beecha, Monda and Iino, plus some mechanics and other generic staff, to take off in the Nahel Argama… and that’s the crew for the last 10 episodes! Yep, for some reason neither Bright or the AUEG ever send any more troops or experienced leaders to them, leaving f-ing Beecha of all people in charge. Just when the series was leaning back into the more realistic drama, we get a crew literally lead by teens…

Then it gets worse as a series of episodes sees the crew meet back up with Sarasa and Rasara from that crappy lost colony story from earlier in the series. That combines with the classic Japanese trope of men having to disguise as women for “silly shenanigans” to form a rather unfun whole. Haman was disguised as a civilian during this time, but that amounts to nothing… she could’ve planted a bomb on the Argama or something, but nope! She just rode on board, had a wonder around the colony they stopped off at and then had another confrontation with Judau before everyone left. Oh and Mondo, who I never gave a crap about, lost his love of Rasara, but I didn’t care about her either, so… Didn’t care.

Rakan Dahkaran is dull, and Chara was back to being her annoying and obnoxious self, with a new “gag” of returning to her old personality around Judau and pulling the kid’s face into her large breasts out of joy… Hmm… another classic anime trope and all, but… nah, not very funny…

As an aside to the note on the Neo Zeon war ending due to implosion, I have to add that, *ahem*, Beecha’s crew getting involved in the pitch battle between the two sides was beyond stupid, even factoring in their naivety and inexperience. Surely you’d let them tare each other apart and then pick up the pieces! I mean, I know Judau and co. obviously had to be involved, they’re the protagonists, it just seemed really stupid to see them look at their enemy killing each other and decide to steer their ship into the middle of it and pick a side.

Oh and Emary, the AUEG leader of the La Vie en Rose, is killed off in Episode 44, but it came as a relief! Her undying love for Bright despite him being married with kids drove me up the wall… The fact that other characters mention it all the time in a jokey way (“Oh? I’ll tell Bright’s wife and children about that, shall I?”) just made it weird and awkward… plus high-pitched airhead isn’t a great character type in my book anyway…

Overall Thoughts:

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The end of Haman, after two series of appearances.

Gundam ZZ gives us a decent finale, but drops the bar low for the episodes leading up to it. The internal strife and war between Neo Zeon factions was fun, but in the end the series didn’t redeem itself, even after a much better third quarter. A shame, but ZZ’s finale is only okay…

3 Star Watch

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