Zoids: New Century/Zero

Alt title: Zoids: Shin Seiki/Zero

TV (26 eps)
3.733 out of 5 from 3,539 votes
Rank #2,769

On the planet Zi, Zoids are no longer used for military combat; instead, they are now being used for sporting events known as Zoid battles. The Zoid Battle Commission oversees these battles, enforces the rules, and declares the winners. In the midst of fierce competitions, one team aspires to rise to the top: the Blitz Team! With the help of Bit Cloud and his Liger Zero, the Blitz Team will compete against not only regular foes, but also the talented Harry Champ and the criminal organization known as the Backdraft Group!

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I had a few doubts so far about the Zoids franchise. I watched Zoids Genesis (the latest as of yet) a few months back and it was TERRIBLE! Yet, it had the highest rating of all 4 Zoids series. So, I give the franchise a second chance and watch the previous series, which also has the second highest… Now I am sure. Zoids SUCKS ASS! STORY SECTION: 3/10 In a world were mechanical animals of an old era of war are now used only as sport; a boy pilots one of them and teams up with other pilots in order to win tournaments and protect the people from warmongers… That is pretty much the story. The usual sports, tournaments, competitions; but with animal mecha and a pseudo-serious mystery in the background. It’s hardly called a story, as the only things that change are just more pointless upgrades and character coloring. CHARACTER SECTION: 3/10 - Like the story, the characters also have a description of two lines long each. You will hardly remember their names and refer to them as simply the blonde pilot, the brunet pilot, the tsundere pilot, etc. None of them have a strong presence or a different goal in the story, other than playing games and goofing around. - Some characters are given a slight development but as I said, it’s nothing great that will keep a veteran viewer interested. ART & SOUND SECTION: 5/10 -All character figures, backgrounds and visual effects are drawn too plain and un-imaginary, thus becoming boring quite fast. -The really cool-looking 3D Zoids have interesting mecha designs but also get boring after watching them fight with erratic movement and simple attacks. -Typical J-pop and action themes. Nothing to remember after you finish (or stop) watching it. Voice acting and sound effects were decent to hear.The producers must have focused all the attraction of the series on the mecha. “Hey, throw some cool mecha on the posters and there will be plenty of kids that will buy it” is what they were thinking. Who cares about the simple story and the run-of-the-mill characters if it sells because of the cool mecha, right? It worked a zillion times before, why should this one be an exception to the old marketing trick? VALUE SECTION: 1/10 This series has nothing new to offer. It’s feels like a silly excuse to waste your excessive money on. I recommend watching something else, leaving this toy-advertising franchise as a last resort. (I don’t hate plamo. I just find them too expensive and time-consuming to bother with these days.) ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10 - Since the story is two lines long, you can expect a really simple plot, 26 episodes of practically repetitive fights and really slow progress. Not much of an ending either. Very simple and predictable as a story. There are plot twists but nothing great that will keep a veteran viewer interested. - There are billions of series and games with a similar premise. Youth used SUPER-MEGA-AWESOME-SPECIAL weapon that everyone is after, villains with similar weapons attack, trains to become the best in something, goes to beat the main bad guy’s weapon. You get really bored with the same old 80’s toy-advertising theme, after the 1000th time. - Being a children’s series, there is not much violence, bloodshed, nudity and the sort that usually attracts the average viewer. Playing too much on the politically correct side, the series fails to be attractive to a more mature and demanding audience. VERDICT: 3.5 / 10 The accused is found … GUILTY! … For trying to sell us a typical story at high prices, by disguising it handsomely.


Anyone remember Zoids? The show about a mech combat sport that was on CN's Toonami block? Actually, the one that was first dubbed in the US was actually the second series, New Century. The first season, Chaotic Century, would have to wait a few years for its US release. I guess companies thought a tournament show would be more fun for kids that a show about war. As a kid, I took a...kinda passive interest in the series. I mean, I watched it sometimes when it was on, and I enjoyed the robots (I actually had a Liger Zero toy when I was young), but it never really grabbed me the way other anime on Toonami like Dragon Ball did. So, watching some episodes again after fifteen-or-so years, is it worth remembering, or just one long, boring toy commercial?The premise is a simple one: In the future, there's a combat sport where teams battle using animal-themed mecha known as Zoids. The team we follow is the Blitz Team, which is headlined by their uber-powerful zoid, the Liger Zero. Admittedly, the set-up actually is competent, if a tad cliche: Bit Cloud, after being caught stealing Zoid parts from a battle by the Blitz Team, comes across the team's Liger Zero, who previously allowed no one to pilot it. It's a decent enough set-up that, to its credit, does provide some context as to why Liger chose this schmuck as its pilot: they're both super competitive and have a wild, go-get-em spirit. Sadly, over the course of the next few episodes, the flaws become all-too apparent. Given the premise as a competition-based battle anime, you can expect a certain formula: each episode, the team faces off against a new rival team. Frequently, a Team Rocket-like criminal syndicate known as the Backdraft Group will show up to fight using dirty tactics, but this doesn't really change things much, seeing as they aren't much tougher than anyone else in spite of breaking the rules. Naturally, this comes with themes like teamwork and the bonds they form with the zoids they pilot, particularly that of main character Bit Cloud and his zoid companion, the Liger Zero. And, frankly, this relationship didn't really do much for me. The bond between a human and his battling companion is one that's become a staple in anime, with shows like Digimon and Pokemon at the vanguard. The difference being, whereas the creatures in those shows had actual personalities and emotions that allowed us to identify with them, the liger has nothing past the first episode. Occasionally it growls, and gets angry to remind people that it is, in fact, sentient. Were its CGI model not so dang cool, there'd be no reason for me to give a shit about that dull fighting robot. As for the humans, well, let me introduce you to the Blitz team, who we follow for twenty-six episodes. There's the aforementioned chosen pilot of the liger zero, Bit, who's a goofy, careless idiot. There's Brad, who's a lone-wolf mercenary who constantly reminds everyone that he doesn't really care about anything but money. And their young tactician and flying ace, Jamie, who's a whiny, useless twerp, all of whom work for their manager, Steve Toros, a hyperactive man-child who constantly squanders their hard-earned cash. Oh, and the chick, Leena. Oh God, Leena. Why do these shows feel the need to make their lead females so 'feisty?' Being loud and abrasive make make a more 'forceful' teenage character, but it does not make them more likable, especially considering she rages at people for petty misdemeanors like scoring the winning shot in a match instead of her. Hell, at one point she goes into a psychotic rage and actually tries to MURDER Harry, the guy who spends the series pining for her, all because he stood her up on a date (because he was KIDNAPPED, btw). And it's not like they even have any real chemistry, since most of their interactions consist of barking commands or just providing commentary on the current situation. The only semi-interesting characters come from a few of the villains, like the cool-as-ice mercenary pilot Jack Cisco, who actually gets a bit of character development, and the Backdraft group pilot of the elephander zoid, Stoller, who slowly comes to realize he doesn't fit in with their unethical methods. The dub can't be faulted, as they do a surprisingly decent job lending personality to its central cast (and Death Note fans will reognize Harry as Brad Swaile, who would go on to do great work as Light Yagami). But even the highly talented cast can't salvage individuals who range from passable to 'go die in hell.' Without any real story or characters to latch onto, the entertainment value of Zoids rests on the battles. To their credit, animation sudio Xebec does decent work here: the design of the Zoids are all cool and distinct, and the CGI used in the battles holds up surprisingly well. Granted, the budget limitations of these battles are apparent, as there are instances of re-used animation (Liger's signature move, the strike laser claw, for instance), and major moments of action are obscured by dust or flashes of light. But when the action is there, it looks pretty cool, even if the character designs aren't of the same caliber, with some rather odd fashion choices (Leena spends the series wearing a pair of antennae on her head). Likewise, the soundtrack does a decent job getting the pulse racing, although once you realize that the same exact theme plays in nearly EVERY SINGLE battle, it loses a lot of its juice. What's not cool, however, is the repetitive nature of the battles themselves. The first one sets the standard for all of them to follow: Team is outmatched, then Bit and his Liger Zero save the day. And if even the liger is outmatched, the team must hold off the enemy while he goes to equip one of the three armor mods that give it enhanced speed, firepower, etc. If the enemy is fast, outmaneuver it with the Jager. If the enemy is tough, meet it head on with the Schneider (my favorite is actually the Panzer, which was rarely used - for good reason, seeing as it made the zoid virtually immobile). Occasionally, one of the other pilots will be allowed to take the spotlight, but given that you more or less know what to expect from the first time you see their zoid in action, they don't do much to spice things up. Even the Backdraft Group, with their dirty tactics, fail to add much tension; with only one exception, the team doesn't lose any of their battles. Sure, it's fun to see the Blitz Team kick ass the first few times, but by series' end you'll have long since grown bored by it. In lieu of all my negativity, I'll go on to say that Zoids isn't the worst anime out there, or even the worst mecha battle anime. I could certainly see why it was popular back in the day; viewed in small doses, as daily TV viewing, there's certainly some mindless fun to be had watching giant mecha blast each other in CGI battles. But on just about every other level, it's a disappointment. If you're at all interested in some mecha action, there are a handful of episodes I can recommend, like episode 13, where the normally useless aerial pilot Jamie finally gets a much-needed moment of badass. Otherwise, there are a billion better mecha anime out there. For teamwork done right, there's the American series Voltron: Legendary Defender, and for tournament-based mayhem, there's the much more self-aware Mobile Fighter G Gundam. 

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