I remember watching this as a kid, and enjoying every bit of it. Giant, animal-like robots are piloted in team-based battles, fighting for glory and prize money? That’s my kind of show! 🙂
Zoids is one of those shows like the Digimon or Gundam franchises: it has a number of distinctly different shows to its name, which may build on each other, nod to one another, but aren’t actually connected to one another at all. Obviously, I am only talking about this one, here, with the single word as its title.
Partially episodic, but with recurring elements that create a basic, overarching story, Zoids follows the adventures, and battles, of a young man named Bit Cloud. A scavenger of battlefields, Bit barges into a match as it begins, and inadvertently alters the outcome of it. This little twist of fate brings him into contact with the Blitz Team and a most unusual, temperamental Zoid called Liger Zero. An unusual bond forms, and Bit joins the team just in time to help them out. From there, the team fights together, facing an array of capable foes, and coming into direct conflict with the shadowy Backdraft Group.
There’s not much in the way of an overall plot, and yet everything in the climactic finale is set up over the course of the series. It’s one of those series that tells pretty episodic stories, but with frequently recurring guest stars, most of whom return in some capacity for the final act.
What really sells this show are the characters, the battles, and the music during said battles.
Bit, of course, is the usual diamond-in-the-rough rogue with big dreams and lots of guts, which does not always work out well for him. Brad is the stoic, cool-headed lone wolf. Lina is the feisty loudmouth of a girl with big attitude and a love for things that go boom. Jamie is the reliable nerd with an unexpected cool side when he’s flying fast enough, though his tactics tend to never really work. Lina’s father, Dr. Tauros, is an eccentric mad scientist who manages the team. Among their friends and enemies are capable warriors who are so very cool in a variety of ways, and noble warriors who are far too good for the nefarious organization to which they belong, some genuinely dangerous fighters, and at least one rich boy whose fascination with Lina makes him an adorable joke.
The battles explore various niches of possible match-ups, including when they face a skilled sniper, or duel at super-sonic speeds, or face aerial, aquatic, or just plain overpowering enemies, as well as those with special skills in melee combat. The episodes tend to set up how formidable the enemy is, what sort of fight it’ll be this time, and then the heroes have to strive mightily to overcome some sort of severe disadvantage. And you always know when the pivotal moment arrives, because of the soundtrack. A bit stereotypical, perhaps, but plenty of fun. If football matches were half as good as a proper Zoid battle, I would be much more interested in them. 🙂
The characters all shine on the battlefield, but they’re most lovable, in my opinion, in their everyday lives. I think my favorite episode has to be the one where they go to the beach and just horse around. Heh, it’s especially hilarious as the villains in the area have to keep hiding themselves lest they be discovered! I laughed so hard during that!
Zoids is a fairly short, simple, straightforward anime, great for the whole family to enjoy together, provided the whole family is into mostly action and explosions and some lovable heroes. And, yes, it is almost entirely geared towards making these robotic animals cool so they can sell action figures of them forever. Still a fun way to spend a few hours! 🙂
Rating: 8 out of 10.
I actually used to have some Zoids toys when I was little, but never saw the anime.
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