SSBS – Zoids Chaotic Century Episode 3: Memory

SSBS - Zoids Chaotic Century Episode 3

Plot: Fiona and Van get lost in a sandstorm but are saved by a mysterious drifter with a Command Wolf named Irvine. After sharing a meal and telling Irvine about their situation, they sleep through the night and find Irvine has left.

They reunite with the Shield Liger and Zeke and go on with their exploration. They find some ancient ruins of a fortress from a long-since ended war being guarded by a wounded pilotless Gordos Zoid. Irvine arrives, blowing the place to smithereens in an attempt to acquire Zeke.

Gordos is revealed to be the Zoid of a soldier who used to reside within the fortress yet was left behind when they decided to vacate due to its damaged leg. It vehemently defends the fortress yet again, getting damaged even further by Irvine and his Command Wolf.

Van stops to help do some rough repairs on Gordos before Irvine strikes again. Fiona and Zeke get separated from Van, and he becomes trapped under some rubble, but Gordos arrives to help him.

Back in his Shield Liger, Van faces off against Irvine and nearly loses, but Gordos comes to his rescue, bearing the brunt of another barrage. Irvine, now outnumbered, decides to leave. Likewise, Gordos turns to go back to its post. Despite Van’s pleas for Gordos to not return to the fortress, and driving home the fact that the soldiers he had befriended back in the days of the war were either now dead or at least since gone and never returning, Gordos decides to stay behind and wait for them for as long as it’s functioning.

Breakdown: Irvine was one of my favorite characters, though considering Zoids is one of those shows I followed closely in my younger days but remember barely anything about it now, I guess I’m not surprised to find that Irvine’s first episode is one where he’s an asshole. He had his kind moments, but the majority was assholery.

We’re getting a tiny bit more backstory on the Zoids world today and even a tiny tidbit of insight into Fiona when she finds a pillar with gibberish lettering on it that mesmerizes her. She finds that she can read it, but is only able to decipher ‘Zoid Eve’ before passing out.

The story of Gordos was quite sad, and somehow I’m more bummed out that Gordos actually survived this episode than I feel I would be if he ‘died.’ The thing is, in the end, Van says, with triumphant music playing and sporting a smile, that Gordos will wait for his pilot/these soldiers for another hundred years if he has to, which is a massively weird tone to be putting on this situation.

Why is it a happy or a triumphant thing for this poor damaged Zoid, who was left behind by these soldiers for, quite frankly, dumb reasons (his leg was damaged, yeah, but he was more than functional enough to leave the area if he has been able to protect this area for over 50 years and survive two battles with a Command Wolf.) to decide to live in denial for the rest of its possibly immortal existence waiting for people who could neither be bothered to find a way to bring him with them, come back for him later or died in the war/of old age or something and will never come back? That is insanely sad.

Sure, he’s a Zoid, and I’m sure there’s a forum thread or two dedicated to the idea of Zoids’ souls and if they pass on to some garage in the sky, but I think it would’ve been better and, yes, less sad, if they had him take the blast from Irvine and then ‘die.’ It would finally give Gordos peace and, depending on whatever religion exists in Zoidland, possibly be reunited with his fellow soldiers.

Instead, this poor innocent Zoid is left to his own purgatory until he finally does get taken out by another threat. I would say until he runs out of power, but he’s been in those ruins for over 50 years and still has ample amounts of power to spare.

As a final note, the battles in this episode were more poorly animated than they have been. They mostly amounted to running at each other and having a brief push fight. I laughed out loud during one ‘action’ shot during Gordos’ battle with Irvine the first time around.

They didn’t even animate OR DRAW damage to the ruins as Irvine was blowing shit up every which way. I was starting to think these blasts were really just harmless and it didn’t click for the characters, but one blast blows a wall up and a bunch of debris lands on Van (and he’s somehow entirely unharmed after….) Zoids has never been pretty or nicely animated, let’s just be honest there, but I think we can chalk this one up to being a budget episode.

Final-final note – Fiona, you exited a tunnel, assumed you were safe without noticing the GIANT ROBOT WOLF about ten feet to your right. (Zeke didn’t even notice it when he had the proper POV!) and then when Irvine’s about to attack, acting like you’re trapped, you don’t think to just….run back into the tunnel and go back to where you started? Come on.

Next Episode…..

….Previous Episode


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SSBS – Zoids (Chaotic Century) Episode 1: The Boy from Planet Zi

Zoids 1 title

Plot: Van is young boy who wants nothing more than a Zoid of his own to pilot, just like his late father. After being chased down by some crooked Zoid pilots, a Guysak pilot in particular named Bull, Van becomes trapped in some old war ruins.

He finds a secret passage that leads him to two pods, and he accidentally opens one of them, revealing a baby raptor-like Zoid that he names Zeke. Bull returns to finish him off, and Zeke tries to protect Van to no avail.

Zeke takes Van and flies them out of the ruins, leading them to an old ruined Shield Liger. Zeke amazingly fuses with the Shield Liger, bringing it back to full form, and Van manages to scare off the enemy.

After the battle concludes, Zeke leads them back to the ruins where he prompts Van to open the second pod. Thinking it’s another Zoid, Van excitedly agrees only to find that the pod contains a strange girl.

Breakdown: Zoids was a show that I definitely followed when I was younger. Here’s the thing though, outside of the bare basics, I remember nothing of the story. I remember Zoids, I remember fighting, I remember Van, Fiona and Zeke, that’s about it. I don’t know if that says something about the quality of the show. Hopefully it’s just my crappy-ass memory.

As for this first episode, it’s pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. They establish basically what Zoids are without going into expositiony detail. They introduce Van quite well, and he’s a really likable character so far. You click with him near the end when you see how excited he is to win his first Zoid battle. His relationship with Zeke also starts out pretty strong.

The enemies…..are….the biggest weak point of the episode. The other two, who pilot Command Wolves, are just blah, which is not at all helped by their completely bored voice acting.

Bull, however, is just nearing ridiculously evil. He whines about not getting one of the cool Command Wolves from whoever his bosses are, so he takes command of a stray Guysak, a scorpion-like Zoid, and tries to prove its worth by killing Van….Yeah I’m sure you’ll look so impressive killing a small boy with a 20 ton battle robot. He justifies it by saying he witnessed something or other, but it’s pretty flimsy.

The other weak spot of this episode would probably be the scene with Van’s sister at their father’s grave. It’s just a big fat exposition dump.

The art is usually pretty good, and even the CGI Zoids look pretty nice and don’t clash too much with the traditional animation. However, there are a bunch of scenes with silly and odd facial expressions. Nearly every shot of Bull is a screenshot for the books, and even Van gets some laughable faces.

The music is pretty good, and the ED has stuck with me throughout the years. Something interesting about this series is that, unlike a ton of English dubbed shows, this one keeps the next episode previews, which I greatly appreciate even if they have a habit of spoiling episodes every now and then.

The voice acting, English, is a mixed bag so far. Van’s VA is pretty good, and Bull’s is alright, but the silver haired Command Wolf pilot was just horrible. He could not sound more bored. Van’s sister’s VA also isn’t very good.

All in all, a pretty good first episode that leaves a nice cliffhanger-ish ending to have you chomping at the bit a little to see what’s up with both Zeke and the girl, Fiona.

Next episode, we learn more about the mysterious girl from the pod, Fiona.


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