The year 20XX. Humans called ＜Concodes＞ and ultra-high-performance AI called ＜Codeman＞ team up as buddies to compete in the card battle game ZENOZARD. People are going wild with excitement at the world championships, THE ZENON. One day, Sota Azuma, an average high school student, is challenged to a battle by a mysterious woman, Eilietta Lash. She reveals that she’s a Codeman and that her intent is to team up with Sota and participate in THE ZENON. Sota reluctantly agrees. Sota and Eilietta’s first opponent turns out to be the super-famous player Shion Saionji, who attends Sota’s school, and her buddy, Ash Claude.
This episode was available on YouTube as part of a promotion for the upcoming series. I didn't expect much and I must say I didn't get much at all. Story is your typical, many times recycled card game with semi-decent characters but not much else. This episode felt very rushed, chopped up in places (I still don't see how the first scene ties in with highschoolers battling alongside AI). They don't explain why AIs are wandering around, you don't find out what the purpose or the rules of this game are. All you get is a main character with a dark secret (which turns out not to be so dark and is delivered in a very underwhelming way). Animation was okay for the most part. Then came the CGI. (I would like to apologize to Colossal Titan here, you were beautiful) Voice acting was fine, there was some pretty neat dubstep invovled (I don't see the purpose of it but it was there). Characters, as I said, were decent. There's the typical main character, his AI sidekick, his best friend, a mysterious high schooler who tries to get you acquainted with the rules (and fails) and a very mysterious man in the shadows who, I assume, is going to be the main antagonist. Overall, if you like Yu-Gi-Oh and such you might enjoy this. But, it feels like a cheap low budget knock-off so don't expect too much.
Zenonzard looks like a promising series based on Episode 0. The premise is set in a futuristic world where, apparently, a card game has surpassed the popularity most popular games of our days. The card game is played in a virtual battle. There isn't much to talk about the story more than this as this is just an itroductory episode. The animation is interesting and fun. Character design manages to look fesh. However, most anime fans will be put off by the CG. The sound design and soundtrack was easily the most attention drawing feature of the episode. The music during one of the battle scenes was very good. Sota, the main character, is given a well enough background story. He is accompanied by an AI robot or codeman named Eili. Most of the episode revolves around these two going through them meeting and getting to know each other. All in all, Zenonzard The Animation Episode 0 has piqued my interest for its upcoming 2020 show.