Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
I normally never watch anime, but the one series I make sure to constantly keep up with is Gundam. There are a few reasons, most notable are that its action is fast paced and its lessons aren’t preachy. Imagination pales in comparison to how they are animated.
With Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans ending, there was little hope for anything else to fill the gaping hole it left. Every Sunday morning was made a bit more colorful with every new episode, but that’s all over now.
In an effort to recapture the feelings of having a show to look forward to, I went on a hunt. The offers were meager as I had already caught up on Gundam: The Origin and Gundam Thunderbolt. What was left? That’s when I heard that the GundamInfo Youtube channel was rereleasing the remastered version of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam.
Before Zeta, I had watched the compilation movies for the original show and most of the alternate timelines. I had never before seen this particular series because the Universal Century timeline is too dense and scared me. With nothing to watch, I had to take the jump. Now was as good a time as any to see what the hype was about.
Most of my knowledge of the UC timeline comes from the wiki page, some video games, manga and anime. As of this time, I’ve only caught up to episode 12, so bear in mind that these thoughts may not feel complete. You should watch Mobile Suit Gundam 0079 before starting Zeta.
Like with most Gundam shows, the plot starts with a young protagonist getting their hands on the eponymous prototype mobile suit. They are then thrown in the middle of a war as the main pivot of the story.
To fully understand Zeta, we need to look back in time. A war between space colonies, led by the Principality of Zeon, and the Earth Federation was the source of conflict in the past. Many people died at the hands of giant robots called mobile suits and other destructive weapons. At one point Zeon even dropped a colony on Earth in an attempt to destroy the federation headquarters. That’s how serious the war was. Australia was destroyed instead. After a year of intense warfare, the conflict was won by the Earthnoids.
Due to the aforementioned colony drop, tensions ran high even after “peace” was achieved. Both sides were angry due to casualties and could never truly forgive each other.
Returning to the present time, new groups emerged from the ashes of the Federation and Zeon.
The Titans who are in charge of hunting down any Zeon remains are the main antagonists for the season’s first half. The interesting part is that they are an offshoot of the Earth Federation, the main protagonists of the first war. This would be like having the Jedi turn around and be the bad guys in a Star Wars movie. Titans’ brutality knows no bounds as they didn’t hesitate to gas an entire colony to quell a protest, killing millions.
The protagonist group is the Anti-Earth Union Group which was created after the gassing incident. They fight to keep the Titans accountable and to eliminate their dictatorship. Interestingly enough, the AEUG is made up of Federation officers dissatisfied with the state of things and Zeon officers posing as Federation forces. The enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that.
The Federation returns as a minor force for the first part, working beneath the Titans. Zeon also returns as a third hidden force as there are mentions of the remains possibly joining one side.
Kamille Bidan is the main character. He initially comes off as annoying and hot headed, which often lands him in hot water. The entire story can be traced back to him overhearing a Titans’ officer saying his name was a girl’s name. Instead of ignoring it, like a normal rational human being would, he instead chooses to punch him. As the series progresses he does mature from a naïve child into a soldier. His development is aided by the countless number of slaps everyone else gives him.
Kamille is joined by the single most important and interesting character of the Universal Century timeline: Char Aznable. Char the main antagonist of Gundam 0079, returns as Quattro Bajeena. His identity is supposed to be a secret some characters suspect, but we as the viewers 100% know it’s him. His mobile suit color scheme and the way he knows information only Char would, gives him away. He initially fought for Zeon to get revenge on their leaders, the Zabi family, for killing his father. Accomplishing his goals, he needed something else to fight for.
As Quattro he becomes a mentor to Kamille, teaching him about the finer points of war and guiding him away from hatred based decisions. He is one of the best, if not the best, pilot in the UC timeline. Lieutenant Bajeena also has great infiltration skills and is a great shooter. He is a natural born leader with high charisma. When compared to Kamille, he is very relaxed and confident in the choices he makes.
These two are joined by the crew of the Argama ship.
There are other returning characters such as Amuro Ray, Captain Bright Noa and other less important people.
The main antagonist isn’t a character as much as it is an entire organization. Some people might argue Jerid Messa is the main antagonist, but the man is so incompetent he barely registers on the scale. Jerid also happens to be the dude who called Kamille’s name girly.
As such, the Titans as a whole are the main villains.
In looking at the art, we have to keep in mind the original came out in 1985.
You’d think the art is outdated and doesn’t hold up right?
Surprisingly the art is really crisp and there aren’t that many recycled frames. The art truly shines when depicting mobile suits. The detail is insane and we can get a really good idea of how the machines work. The animation is choppy in some places but the story grabs your full attention so that it’s not noticeable.
The really enjoyable part is that everything drawn has a purpose.
Based off my viewing of the first 12 episodes, I would definitely recommend you watch this. Be aware that you will definitely need to watch 0079 or the compilation movies to get a better idea of where everyone stands and why the war is happening. I am truly looking forward to every week as new episodes get released.
You can catch the full episodes now on GundamInfo.