So I finally finished watching ZZ Gundam. I started it sometime earlier this year as it one of the few Gundam series I still hadn’t seen. (Still have V, X, Age, and G-Reco to watch)
I had been curious about the events of the first Neo Zeon war as it always seemed glossed over in other U.C. series in favor of the Titans(Gryps conflict) or Char’s Neo Zeon. Gundam Unicorn probably had the most material pulled from ZZ Gundam compared to other shows after it chronologically. So I set out on watching it… And here are my thoughts in no particular order. Obviously, I talk spoilers if you intend to watch it… but let’s be frank, most of you won’t.
- This show starts out way too slow. The first 8 or so episodes of ZZ is all in Shangri-la with the associated kids and the hijinks of each attempt to steal suits from a very badly battered Argama following the events of Zeta Gundam. This is the first real hurdle to get through and it’s no wonder most people don’t make it past this stuff. The Shangri-la stuff should had been 3 episodes at most. As it is, it drags on for too long and the hijinks get tiresome.
- Neo Zeon, or more specifically Haman’s Neo Zeon is full of unstable Cyber-Newtypes and none of them are competent antagonists. I could theorize that part of Neo Zeon’s fall might had been it’s reliance on creating on cyber-newtypes to bolster it’s thin forces. While they were technically capable of killing and causing mass destruction they were all handicapped by personality issues. This sort of thing had been revealed before with the cyber-newtypes of the EF but repeating the same mistakes as your opposition is just plain old stupid.
- On that note, the only actual competent pilots of Neo Zeon were strangely enough normal pilots(The sole exception being Haman, but she’s in her own league). Rakan, Illia, and even some One Year Year vets on Earth were all more challenging foes to the Gundam team than the handicapped cyber-newtypes. Even Illia with an slightly inferior machine holds her own against the Gundam team and even survives the war, though her fate remained unknown after.
- Puru is actually an annoying character. I know she’s cute and all but watch the show. She’s borderline homicidal and nearly tries to kill Judau’s sister in order to take her place. Her near constant antics over Judau serve only as a distraction. I actually liked her clone better; at least Puru Two I could take seriously.
- What the hell happened to the AEUG fleet? In Zeta Gundam, even though the story stuck with the Argama, AEUG still had many other ships and suits at it’s disposal. You can’t tell me that every single one of them was lost in the Gryps Conflict. For the ENTIRE show, it is just the Argama/Nahel Argama versus all of Neo Zeon. Where the hell was the rest of the AEUG forces? Even if they did lose a lot, why didn’t they rebuild, make more Nemo, GMs, Rick Dias’s and ships? It’s just baffling. Sure they made the Nahel Argama, big whoop. It was still one ship that just replaced the Argama. Even Beecha makes a snarky remark at the end about this when the EF/AEUG forces arrive AFTER the battle of Axis.
- The Colony Drop was the most disappointing Colony Drop ever. So, for whatever reason Haman decides it would be a good idea to drop a colony on Dublin. Not long before she had already negotiated an end of hostilities with the EF in exchange for Side 3. What was the logic at play here? The EF already capitulated and her only real foe was the AEUG, well more like just the Argama and a handful of Karaba nuisances. Did that really require a colony drop? And when it actually happened… It was the most disappointing thing. Remember back to Operation British? The colony that was dropped on Sydney took out a chunk of Australia in the process. You’d expect this drop to take out all of Ireland but nope. The colony just sort of comes to rest on top of Dublin and just sits there, slowly crumbing away. It does make for interesting scenery and I wonder if that colony is still there further into the UC just towering over Ireland, but as Colony Drops go, I expected a heck of a lot bigger explosion and destruction.
- Moon-moon. You heard the rumors of a weird side to ZZ and they are true. About roughly four episodes are dedicated to dealing with this space cult that seems paganistic with a mix of new age beliefs. The first couple of episodes are fairly early on after leaving Shangri-la, the other two come close to the end. All of these episodes are weird and just feel out of place. I guess Tomino, or whover came up with this part of the script wanted to explore what would happen to people isolated in space, but this? Really? Apart from Rasara/Sarasa being newtypish, the rest of the Moon-moon stuff is fluff and feels like filler.
- Jumping off that, Haman sneaking on board the Nahel Argama. I still don’t know what she was planning on doing but whatever it was, it was sidelined by more Moon-moon stuff in the next couple episodes. As far stupid plans goes, this one is pretty high up there. There were so many ways this could go wrong for Haman, most notably that Judau could just sense her being there through newtype magic and expose her and capture her. Actually, oddly enough it’s Rasara who finds her with newtype magic and weirdly Judau isn’t able to sense her there but knows the Acguy pilot in the next episode is Haman before even seeing her. (BTW, Haman is a pro with an Acguy) Consistency isn’t a big point in ZZ as you can tell by now. I could also speculate that if Haman hadn’t wasted her time with sneaking onto the Argama and dealing with the dumbass of the Tigerbaum colony that she might had been tipped off to Glemy’s insurrection a bit sooner and things could had turned out differently.
- Bright Noa just stops being captain of the Argama. After the original Argama is left behind on Earth(Presumably a hand me down to Karaba), AEUG built a replacement ship, the Nahel Argama(Which also returns in Gundam Unicorn BTW). The Gundam Team, under threat of being benched for the Neo Zeon showdown decided to just… “take” the Nahel Argama. Bright just lets them go and he essentially disappears from the show and appears again at the end. So basically Bright never commanded the Nahel Argama and instead it was Beecha who became a sit-in Captain of it. He wasn’t a very a good captain to be honest and I’ll never look at the Argama in Unicorn the same way again.
- Taking the La Vie en Rose into combat. Of all the stupid things someone could do, taking a ship construction/repair dock into a combat zone is probably at the top of the list of stupid things to do. Not only is it a giant bullseye, but it doesn’t even have any serious defenses. Sure, you launch the crane arms out and got a lucky hit on the Quin Mantha, but then Puru Two just obliterated the Rose in retaliation. Captain Emary, you are no Bright Noa. Not. At. All. You died a fools death and rightly so.
- Leina Ashta’s being a prisoner of Glemy… or was she? This is probably one of the more confusing plot points of ZZ. At some point in the story, Glemy becomes obsessed with Roux and in his attempts to capture her, he captures Leina instead. Thus starts a long effort by Judau to rescue her which takes way too long and is ultimately unsatisfied. At first Glemy tries the typical villain approach by using her as a hostage for concessions from Judau, but eventually this behavior just… stops. Leina is then treated as if she’s royalty, receiving piano and ballet lessons to pass the time, attends Zeon functions in frilly dresses and even at times appears to command a certain authority over her Zeon “captors”. Must be nice being a prisoner of Glemy Toto. I’m baffled as why Haman even lets this be and even she appears puzzled at times as to why Glemy is still keeping Leina around long after she stopping useful.
- Who puts a Ballet Studio in their military ship? Glemy of course. As daft as he, this isn’t entirely a unique phenomenon to him. Zeon, for whatever reason likes to build elaborate European quarters into their ships. You never see the EF or AEUG bother with this nonsense. It is always Zeon and somehow they have the resources to waste on this stuff. Where are they getting the wood from? They’ve lived on an asteroid for the past 8-9 years and Axis was a bit of a shit hole in the first few years after the One Year War(from what I’ve read). Again, this isn’t limited to just ZZ. Zeon has been doing this in their other appearances and it still baffles me.
- Judau vs Wong. Remember Wong? The AEUG financier who likes to punch kids like Kamille? Well he tried to pull the same shit with Judau but Judau had none of that and promptly beat his ass. Priceless.
- On that note, Judau Ashta is a pretty decent character for a main. Much less whiny than Kamille or Amuro were in their series and actually is a rather clever MS pilot, especially towards the end of the series. It’s said that Judau is probably the strongest newtype in UC Gundam and it shows a bit in his ability to communicate with other newtypes across all of the earth sphere and even raging so hard that he deflects beam attacks with the ZZ. Only Kamille and Haman have done similar.
- Haman Karn is a heck of an adversary when she gets serious. We only get a taste of her skills in the Quebely in Zeta, and for most of ZZ she doesn’t get involved in MS combat but at the final showdown with Judau, she really lets loose and shows she’s probably close to being as powerful as Judau, even newtype raging hard enough to block the ZZ’s hyper mega cannon for several seconds. While she and Scirroco never really went at it fully in Zeta, it obvious now Haman would had overwhelmed him. Her duel with Judau actually ended in a draw with both of machines getting totaled.
- Cameos. While Kamille and Fa are still around a play a slightly bigger role than other cameos, they ultimately don’t do as much as I would had liked. Fa pretty much retires from the AEUG early on to care for Kamille and they… eventually end up in Dublin. Coinwinkydink. By then, Kamille is faring a lot better but is more a Jedi mind reader at that point. He freaks out about the colony drop thing, but afterwards fine. I wonder if he freaked out similarly when Char dropped Luna II a few years later, although we’ll never know. Besides them, we have Hayato and Sayla. Hayato isn’t around for long and bites the dust here. Sayla’s appearance really is more of a cameo and she finds/helps Leina after she was presumed dead and shows up again at the end with a tiny reunion with Bright that alludes to the events of Char’s Counterattack. Sadly this seems to be last animated appearance of Sayla in the UC timeline. (Sure, a visage appears of her in Unicorn, but that was more of a flashback/memory and I don’t really count it as she wasn’t actually there)
- Will the real Mineva please stand up? With a last minute plot twist at the end of ZZ, the Mineva Lao Zabi that everyone had been dealing with all this time, turned out to be a fake, a body double or whatever. Brights says that the real Mineva vanished after the Gryps conflict and Haman put a double body in place to maintain appearances. Ehh? This twist seemed like a very last minute thing to write into the script. Perhaps Tomino didn’t know what to do with the Zabi heir once the events of Char’s Counterattack would come about so she was conveniently removed from the equation. Gundam Unicorn attempts to hand wave away this issue by claiming she was hidden away by the EF… but how or when any of this happened is unexplainable. There are theories that the surviving Char at the end of Zeta, somehow secreted her away from Haman since he had many reasons to do so, but this just a theory. To me, it feels more like a last minute writing decision to avoid a conflict of Zeon rulers in Char’s Counterattack.
- Glemy’s Newtype Corp. I was rather looking forward to the army of MP Quebelys and Purus. By the the time they actually showed up, they were rather underwhelming. They showed up at Glemy controlled Axis… and whatever battle happened there we didn’t really get to see. I don’t know what happened to them after that point but I guess as the Gundam Team was facing Glemy, they took a break to paint their machines purple? They only return in the last episode in newly colored machines and Char Soon just deals with them. They pretty much only served as an excuse to off Chara. Not much to show for anything really.
I think that’s enough. It’s a checked mark and done. The show is a mixed bag overall and as you might had guessed, quite inconsistent in it’s plot. The production of ZZ Gundam, from what I’m aware, suffered two major changes in direction; one from changing the tone of the show to less silly and more serious around the mid-point, and the other was removing Char’s character and potential plot which had to make way fro Char’s Counterattack. Glemy was shoehorned into whatever plot points remained from Char’s alternate course of action in ZZ and the result was a bit of a rushed and chaotic battle of Axis segment at the end. ZZ wasn’t all bad, there were some good moments but it’s not a show I’ll rewatch. I’ll take the cliff-notes version next time.