Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • 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
  • MSRP: N/A
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Vol. #02

By Chris Beveridge     February 08, 2005
Release Date: December 14, 2004


Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Vol. #02
© Bandai Entertainment


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...

The Review!
Still finding its groove, Zeta Gundam starts hitting more of the back story to this timeline and challenging its characters to figure out what they really want to stand up for.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
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 result is a good looking piece of Quattro in his red sleeveless outfit with a serious look to his face while his mobile suit stands behind him. 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.

Menu:
Using a static shot of a blue sky background, the foreground has a good shot of Quattro with his hair flowing nicely while behind him is one of the mobile suits standing high into the sky. 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.

Extras:
None.

Please Note:
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)
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam continues the grand Gundam tradition in my mind of being a series that has a number of interesting things about it but it still takes quite a lot of episodes before it really settles into a groove that everything seems to be going just right. With this second set of five episodes, more of the back story is given about this particular place in time and events that have taken place off stage so that the younger characters start to get an education but it also does start moving the plot forward more and while I don't think we're near the main story at all yet, it's setting more foundations.

A couple of themes continue to be followed in these episodes as we get the rebel AEUG group heading along its course. The Titan side of things is the area that I continue to find the most interesting though since it's such a dramatic change from what you expect of the Federation forces. While they haven't all been bright shining beacons of purity since the earliest forms of the Gundam world, the Titans here are really turning into a nasty and brutish group of thugs who feel empowered even more by having mobile suits under their command. A new round of recruiting has gone on and with Jerid now in the group, his ego has gone up even more. But he continually gets himself taken down, often by Lila, since he's missing the key thing to being there and not on Earth. While he's great at adapting to new situations, he's not really in the same mindset as the others because he is from Earth and he doesn't belong among them the way a number of them do. Not that Lila's doing all that great herself since she's just serving as back-up for all of this and not really a Titan member herself.

The other theme that's more prevalent is the changes and growth of Kamille as he spends more and more time with the rebels. What tends to be the biggest problem with him is his attitude about things and it gets him into a fair amount of trouble here. Since he's not really in the military, it's given him some leeway so far but along the way here he becomes so critical to the defense of the Argama that he's basically told that he's a member now and has to react accordingly. In his defense, this doesn't really give him the disciplined training he needs in order to understand the role, but he takes it too far. For example, he spends far too much time working on the Zeta Gundam or the Haro he finds instead of showing up late to meetings and gets his head handed to him for it. With someone like Kamille though, outside of getting formal military training this is probably the only way he'd actually learn.

He does have some interesting bits throughout these episodes though. I loved that he was able to bring the Haro back to life and even found data from Amuro that's over ten years old but nobody has any interest in it. Another neat aspect is that although it's far too brief, Amuro does get an appearance here and things look like he's fairly well off – or maybe kept secluded in a rather well off area. There's some chatter that Quattro makes at one point about how Amuro was the hero of the first war but that it's important to note that he's not really been seen since then and that's important. Quattro's working to instill some interesting ideas into Kamille about what's required to be a Gundam pilot of note and to be someone of the same level as his old nemesis in Amuro. Bringing more material in from the One Year War is a real plus as it helps to really build all of this into a real continuity and not just a sequel.

There's a lot of interesting things going on in this volume as the cast continues to grow and spread out. A good deal of it takes place with the Anaheim folks as each side tries to use them for supplies and it leads to some very dogged fights between the two sides. There's also an interesting subplot moving along on the Earth side of things as Reccoa has made her way down there and ends up meeting up with a reporter in the jungle around Jaburo as they discover that the main base there is being dismantled and moved to an unknown location. A lot is going on with both sides of the brewing war and there are so many little signs scattered all over that it's becoming harder for people not to notice.

In Summary:
With another five episodes, we get things moving forward more with the plot but still not with the overall arc really kicking into gear yet. There's a lot of interesting things going on and focusing on Kamille shows just how much growing he has to do and how much hardening is left of him to take place in battle. With as large a cast as it is, almost every conversation has some little nugget that helps expand on things and with people like Emma learning more of what's been hidden from her due to her Titan membership we get to see just how much of a problem the Federation has become since the One Year War. While the show certainly hasn't hit its groove yet, it's providing me with a lot of entertaining episodes and all around good action and exposition.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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