Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Vol. #07 (of 10) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, May 30, 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...
Key negotiations lead to some very interesting discoveries and we learn once again that when you actually notice the stars, your time is up.
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. This time around it goes to yet another Titan and Yazan gets the cover to himself, though he does share it with one of the new model mobile suits that he becomes somewhat fond of during the course of this volume. 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 artwork related to Zeon, the menu here is a great looking static piece that brings Char in his classic uniform back as well as highlighting Haman and Mineva. 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)
Zeta barrels right along and this volume and we get a number of interesting angles approached and some character development as well. Between the romantic relationships that bloom as awkwardly as they do in every Gundam series and the return of some very old familiar items, this one has some material that just had me giddy.
Kamille seems to be the young stud of the series and is either attracted to a lot of the women or the women have some sort of strange interest in him. Though with some of the choices they have on board these ships it's not surprising they'd go for the younger and less complicated type, but Kamille doesn't really fit that particular trait. His stormy non-relationship with Fa continues to go on here and the two simply just go up against each other more often than not, so even when he does try to do something positive with her it blows up in his face. What's even more amusing is that he tries to complain about the relationship of others and that just cracks up those who hear him since he isn't even aware of his own relationship problems.
The opening episode here convinces me they need a spin-off series called Young NewType's In Love. With the Argama at the Von Braun base for repairs, the Federation types decide once again to try and eliminate them in a nasty way that will only reinforce their image so they send Sara into the neutral base where they're located and she plants a bomb in their air ducts that will cause the entire base to ripple apart in the explosion. Kamille ends up sensing her fairly early on though he's hard pressed to call her a NewType, but it does let him become aware of the plot early on and we get to see just how serious everyone treats this kind of event on a closed atmosphere location. But what's surprising is how long it takes for him to figure out that she might be up to no good and the two practically end up on a date with her blushing about never doing this before.
The area that had me giddy with this volume involves the return of the infamously stupid Mr. Wong as he's on board now as the group is heading to the Axis site in order to open negotiations to becoming allies. The Axis as we learn is a rebuilt fringe group of former Zeon folks who went unnoticed after the war since the Federation didn't really care what happened in space if it didn't threaten them. They've managed to build up some supplies and ships as well as one impressive battleship. As it turns out, the group is being led by the remaining members of the Zabi family so there may be issue there but they need all the help they can get. So when the diplomatic party arrives on board, Quattro aka Char is shocked to find that it's Mineva Zabi, a young girl, who is leading them.
Flashbacks to when he played with her when she was but a two year old haunt him quickly and he can't believe that the others around her are allowing this. We get some interesting bits about his original mission when he left the Axis several years prior but for the most part we get to see how Quattro truly messes up. When he does so, he does so spectacularly. The return of the Zeon in this form is fascinating to watch since it brings back all the old uniforms and equipment. When Quattro and the others have to escape and then fend off yet another attack from Yazan, they have to do so while all dressed up in the Zeon style uniforms and it just has a completely eerie feel to it. I also loved the return of the grand and pompous nature of their architecture, something that's been sorely missing in Zeta as we've dealt with very streamlined designs on both sides. Only the Titans at times have any of this and it's more in their personality than anything else.
All of this leads up to a fascinating end episode that starts the downward spiral pretty hard for what's coming up in the remaining fifteen episodes or so. The return to Earth and things from the past has some of them questioning everything they've thought or done which only makes those who have the iron clad resolve, like many of the Titans, all that much more a strong adversary.
With this volume the lines are now finally drawn and we know where everyone is expected to be. The Titans have shown just how far they'll go now and the colonies have either fallen in out of fear or they're on the AEUG side in order to preserve their way of life. For those wanting something of a feel for the original series, this volume has an episode that pays out in spades and reminds you of the Zeon's former glory which is something of a rush when taken in context of how everything is at this point. Add in the usual array of character issues and mobile suit battles and you get the last volume that's really designed purely for setup.
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