Zoids Zero Anime Review
ZOIDS - ゾイド新世紀/ゼロ
Zoido Shinseiki / Zero
Zoids New Century / Zero
US Release By
Pokemon with animal-shaped mecha
26 25-minute episodes
2001-01-06 - 2001-06-30
Bit Cloud is some damn bum with the stupidest name ever and a hillbilly truck with an invisibility booster. He lives in a world where, for no reason, teams compete in battles with their zoids. But Bit doesn't do that, instead he steals parts from scrapped zoids and runs off in his invisible hillbilly truck. One day, he's discovered during a battle stealing parts from the Blitz team, consisting of Lina, her brother, and Jamie, a loser who looks like an adult Yahiko from Rurouni Kenshin. Lina's father is the team leader. For some reason which escapes me, they take him on board. He gets in one of their zoids, the Liger Zero, that no one on the team can pilot, and of course he can pilot it. So they go off and do zoid battles, eventually getting tangled up with the Backdraft group, an evil organization who stages zoid battles OUTSIDE THE RULES!!! and their plans to find the Ultimate X zoid (gee, wonder what that is?)
The first season of Zoids had its flaws, and it wasn't great, but this Zoids makes its characterization look like Sugar: A Little Snow Faerie and its story look like AKIRA. It's organized around a tournament, a feat which no show yet other than G Gundam has managed to do with any sort of quality to its name. And neither has this show.
The storyline was pretty much made up as they went along. For a while, all that happens is that the Blitz team fights the next big, bad enemy in each episode. Then the Backdraft group appears and they do the same thing. Then they win the "final," which just sort of pops up out of nowhere in the middle of the show. There's also a lot of Beyblade/Medabots style "Me and the Liger Zero are buddies!" talk, which is coming to the point where it just makes me sick to my stomach. We don't care about the power of friendship and teamwork! Give us a moral we can relate to, like not killing or overcoming difficulty, or maybe even something original! That's great if you want to be friends with a hunk of metal! Now go do it somewhere else!
The characterization is even worse than Zoids, because the archetypes aren't well-done at all. Yes, we've seen gung-ho kids who are friends with their weapons. Yes, we've seen violent and ill-tempered girls. Yes, we've seen dark and tortured anti-heroes. Yes, we've seen losers! Now stop shoving it in our faces! Just go away! Noooo!!!
Since that was what stuck out to me as the worst part of the show, I'm going to do some more ranting about the idiotic morals. How many of you out there have ever actually felt that kind of connection to anything? (Another person, a pet, a toy, an anime, ANYTHING?!?). If you said NONE, you WON! The teamwork and partnership morals, even when well-done like in Digimon, are very hard to relate to because there aren't any connections like that in real life. I'm a hypocrite for saying this, but teamwork and partnership are over-romanticized in anime (actually, I think in Japanese culture period) as some sort of noble trait akin to sacrificing yourself for another or saving hapless kids and old ladies from thugs. So you say "Go here" and they do it--SO WHAT?! You shove a gun to someone's head and say "Go here" and they do it--does that make them your friend and partner? So you've got a big machine and you push the joystick forward and it goes forward. In what way does that make you "friends?" Another is the decency and sportsmanship moral. A fight is a fight. It doesn't involve decency or sportsmanship. A fight and a combat sport are two different things, and combat sports don't involve shooting at each other. If you want to have a battle, just go have a war. If you want decency and sportsmanship, get into boxing! So the Backdraft group doesn't "obey the rules." No, that's not very nice--but LIVE WITH IT!
But sorry to go so far off track. To round things off, I'll say that the animation is exactly the same as Zoids Season One. The character designs are more boring, and who the hell's idea was it to give Lina a pair of tent poles hanging off her back? The zoid designs are exactly the same as Season One. The enemy of the week episodes in the beginning are actually all enemies that were already in Season One, and they didn't even bother changing the names and colors and giving it a few more guns. The fights are also even more boring than Season One, because they involve running in circles around the bad guys and getting shot at, then using a ripoff of Domon Kasshu's Shining Finger with claws.
If you see Zoids Season Two on TV, don't watch it, because you'll be sorry you did. Unless you're under the age of ten. Then you'll love it forever. Until you're no longer under the age of ten.
There is also a corresponding review of season 1
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Notes and Trivia
It's worth noting that the two seasons were initially aired in reverse order on US TV; this season aired first on Cartoon Network, though it was produced and aired in Japan later. There are also two other Zoids spin-off series, Zoids: Genesis, and Zoids: Fuzors.
The original idea for Zoids apparently came from a series of motorized plastic models produced by Tomy in Japan in the early '80s. These were discontinued, but the idea was revived in 1999 and used for the animated series.
US DVD Review
The 2nd season is available on dub-only DVD as simply "Zoids"; the first four discs have four episodes each, and the last two have five. At least some of the discs feature Zoid profiles and chapter marks that let you skip directly to the battles.
No one actually dies, unlike Season One; pretty much anyone can watch.
Violence: 1 - The zoids are always just "damaged".
Nudity: 0 - Towels cover any female nudity (about one instance).
Sex/Mature Themes: 0 - People that simplistically-minded haven't discovered sex or romance yet.
Language: 0 - Nothing at all.
Staff & Cast
English Dub Cast
Bit Cloud: Richard Cox