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Kidō Senshi Gundam ZZ
Gundam ZZ is one of the more infamous titles within the Gundam franchise, and for good reason. Following the dark and intense storyline delivered from Zeta Gundam that delivered some shocking developments with remnants of the Zeon Empire taking root and Kamille's comatose state, ZZ attempts to go for more light-hearted and kid-friendly storytelling in its focus on Judau Ashta, a young junk collector recruited by Bright Noa to be a Gundam pilot for the Argama due to Kamille's comatose state. The light-hearted mood for ZZ is felt in much of its first half as slapstick comedy and lack of intense violence are a regular sight for much of ZZ's first half. While the comedy can have its moments at times, it clashes poorly with the dark mood and war themes established from the first two Gundam TV titles. |
From what I gathered of the series history, series director Yoshiyuki Tomino attempted to give the series a more lighter mood and would have eventually had Char Aznable make an appearance as a major enemy threat. But when he got the okay to do production for Char's Counterattack, Tomino changed plans and restored Gundam's normal mood and themes to ZZ's storyline as the show went into its second half. This led the series to take a major improvement in quality as Neo-Zeon leader and main villain Haman Karn became more active in the show's plot and major dramatic events take place from the escalating conflict between members of the Argama and the Neo-Zeons that include the franchise's penchant for killing off major characters. Both sides in the conflict get their fleshing out to show that members among the factions have their redeemable traits and tragic character elements that result from fighting in war with characters such as Haman and Ple. The second half still suffers somewhat with some points where ZZ's comical mood from the first half of the series rears its ugly head and the usual Newtype gimmickry that leads to convenient plot developments when lead characters like Judau seem to be nearly down for the count.
Visually, Gundam ZZ is an improvement over Zeta Gundam as it sports more cleaner lining and details with its mecha and spaceship designs. A number of the character designs, particularly those with Judau's group and some Neo-Zeon members, were made in mind to fit popular 80s trends of the time period such as clothing and hair styles, but look ridiculously outdated to modern audiences. The battle choreography for ZZ is creative and diverse for the most part as characters deploy different types of mecha for varying battle tactics and capacities, and some technologies get deployed to aid in battle strategies such as the dummy asteroids and funnels used by Newtype-powered mecha.
Still for some of the positives offered by ZZ, the series still suffers greatly from the tonal shift that its first half offered up with its lighter mood and slapstick comedy clashing badly with the more serious mood, themes, and story developments established from earlier Gundam titles. While still a necessary watch as the series continues events from Zeta Gundam and has developments that contribute to Char's later actions from Char's Counterattack, I would be hard-pressed to watch it more than once.
Last updated Saturday, August 20 2016. Created Saturday, August 20 2016.