Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Vol. #06 (of 10) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, May 29, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, December 14, 2004
What They Say
Universal Century 0087, Seven years have past since the defeat of the Zeon army during what has now become known as the 'One Year War'. An elite Federation military force known as the Titans are tasked with the prevention of further uprising by space colonies orbiting the Earth.
Tragically, the destruction of an entire space colony at the hands of the facist-like Titans threaten to undermine peace between the Earth and those living in space. A civilian, two decorated war heroes, and a powerful new Gundam mobile suit - The world is once again on the brink of war and the future of humanity is at stake...
With the events of the past volume shaking the way the colonies feel about things, this volume gives focus to smaller events but showcases once more just how far the Titans will go.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix for the series is pretty solid and avoids some of the problems found in older shows. To my ears there's no noticeable hiss or other background noise coming through. We listened to both audio tracks over the course of the review and found both of them to be solid in technical terms. We had no issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback either.
Originally airing in 1985, the transfer for this show is presented in its original full frame format. Being nearly twenty years old but being a staple of Bandai's library, the transfer for Zeta looks almost pristine in its nature. Whatever problems we found with what we saw are all source related things and the bulk of it is just due to the time and age of the show. The transfer itself is very clean but there's a fair bit, especially early on, of small nicks and dirt on the cels themselves that carry through. This is basically what you get with older shows like this half the time and it's something that I find that adds to its charm in a way since you know how it was handled and done back then. It isn't something that affects the grading of the video though since it's a source element. Barring that, this is a great looking disc that just shines through.
Released in a slim black thinpak style case, the cover art for this release utilizes the same artwork as the Japanese release bit with a bit of an added border and a more definitive background added to it. The artwork this time is really nice with a good pairing of Jerrid and Mouar together with one of the mobile suits that's rather interesting in design between them. Sometimes you just have to let the Titans have their space. The back cover provides a rundown of all five episodes with episode numbers and titles and a brief summary. The Japanese main staff is covered here as well as the basic technical information that makes up the disc. No insert is included with this release as there is a booklet with the overall set.
Using a static shot of a blue sky background, the foreground has a large cast shot of numerous characters we've not seen since the One Year War with the sun rising over a shot of the Earth in the background. Episodes are available separately with titles and the only other options available are the basic setup and select pieces. A piece of the vocal song from presumably the ending sequence is playing here and overall this is a good looking menu that fits nicely and doesn't feel as overloaded as some of the past Gundam series menus have. Access times are nice and fast and the disc read our players language presets.
This review is of a single volume from the limited edition box set release of this series. As of this writing, there are no known confirmed plans that this series will see a release in individual form. These reviews are being written in this form to allow for greater discussion of the content and to provide a closer look at each disc without having to rush through the overall set. Like many fans, I've been waiting for years myself for this and wish to savor it and not marathon it in a weekend.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As is expected by past experience with Gundam series, this batch of episodes is the same as the previous set in that it does a lot more setup and has some threatening measures taking place but it mostly continues to organize the players into their proper place so that when the big events happen soon, everything will barrel forward faster than believable and it'll be a whirlwind. You can see a lot of the set up fairly easily and in its own way it is vastly interesting to watch things fall into place.
A few tales are told across these episodes that continue some long standing stories and others are much fresher. The Titan side of things focuses along two particular stories that tend to cross only lightly, which is good I think. One of them focuses more and more on the relationship between Jerrid and Mouar as they work much more closely together and their missions become even more critical. For Jerrid, he's still obsessed with taking down Kamille and can't move on past that point until he does just that as he has such feelings that require paying him back for the deaths of his comrades since their first meeting. This conflicts with some of what Mouar tries to impart with him but she's very much bound to him.
The other tale that focuses on the Titan side deals with Yazan. With his not being one of the gifted pilots, he's still able to hold his own against Kamille simply due to his skill alone and he continues to make problems for him. Even worse, he continues to make problems for the Titans that have him cast as the rebellious type that commanders have no problem sacrificing and fellow soldiers have little issue abandoning. He does provide for some very tense battle moments however and he's a nice change of pace from the other Titans that are so focused on their newtype abilities or trying to achieve rank or something. Yazan simply wants to kill and Kamille is his main focus.
On the AEUG side, a lot of the conflict comes from how the relationships are at the moment and mostly it comes in the way that Kamille and Fa find themselves fighting or with Katz. The AEUG continues to be a difficult group because they don't want to be seen as a rebel army or even a real military but they have to fight that way. This leads to bad breakdowns in the chain of command and it leads to situations where people get into bad places. This has happened with Katz a couple of times already and it happens yet again and you almost want to let him get killed to be an example, but you can't kill the young'ns just yet apparently. His actions end up helping out in the end when he takes off without permission but he still is in serious need of a slap.
The relationship between Kamille and Fa continues to be that "she's mad at him because she loves him" kind of thing and with Kamille being oblivious to how feelings work if they're not his own, he misinterprets everything with her. Fa continues to be like this and it leads to her doing things in battle that puts a lot of people in jeopardy but just like Katz, it's the kind of thing that works out in the end. These situations are getting a bit thin in nature and you expect it to end soon and their actions to result in actual bad things happening. Fa's not quite as bad as Katz, but it's also something that's simply emblematic of the time as she's there to represent women emerging into the men's world and being part of the battle. It's interesting to see how this issue, something that's lightly touched in the original Gundam but much more focused here is a complete non-issue twenty years later in Gundam SEED and women are key players throughout that series in a militaristic way.
This volume of Zeta has some good material to it and what I liked the most is that it once again gave us a view of the Titans and showed exactly how far they're willing to go in order to win/end the war. The change in their nature from the presumed good guys against the Zeon to this is one that I wish was given much more scrutiny but with the large size of the organization and the way the Titans have managed to secure positions throughout it, it's not something easily given to a weekly TV series, even one of this length, when the main focus is on the mobile suits and their attempts to save the day. Regardless, this volume is a solid piece that continues to move everyone about to where they need to be for when the real dirty moments arrive.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam