Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (機動戦士Ζガンダム Kidō Senshi Zēta Gandamu?) (aired 1985–1986) is a television anime, part of the Gundam series and a sequel to the original Mobile Suit Gundam. The show was created and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, with character designs by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, while the series' mechanical designs is split amongst Kunio Okawara, Mamoru Nagano, and Kazumi Fujita. The series was originally aired by Nagoya Broadcasting Network (and its sister ANN stations), rerun on the anime satellite television network, Animax, across Japan and later its respective networks worldwide, including East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and other regions.
Between 2005 to 2006, the series was reproduced and compiled into a movie trilogy, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation. Though still directed by Tomino, it involved many changes in the original storyline.
Set in a fictional universe in the Universal Century year 0087, eight years after the story told in Mobile Suit Gundam(0079), a group called AEUG secretly emerges from the Earth Federation and Zeon remnants. Their primary goal is to put an end to the actions of the Titans, the elite taskforce of the Earth Federation which was originally established to hunt down Zeon remnants but ruthlessly kills anyone demanding equal rights for the space citizens.
The story of Zeta Gundam is told through the viewpoint of Kamille Bidan, a civilian teenager and amateur mobile suit pilot whose parents are engineers working for the Earth Federation and the Titans. While traveling to the colony Green Noa to meet his parents, Kamille is insulted by and strikes a Titans officer, Jerid Messa. Following an AEUG attack led by Quattro Bajeena on the colony to capture the newly developed trio of Gundam Mk-II mobile suits being tested in Green Noa, Kamille takes the opportunity to steal Messa's Mk-II to repel the attack and follows Quattro back to Argama, the mothership of the AEUG. When the Titans take civilian hostages -including Kamille's parents- in an attempt to force the return of the stolen Gundam Mk-II's, Jerid, unaware of the hostage plot, mistakenly kills them, leading Kamille to join the AEUG to fight against Titans.
As the war escalates, Kamille encounters people from all sides of the conflict, including brainwashed artificial Newtypes of Titans and the giant corporation leaders of Anaheim Electronics who are secretly funding AEUG. The AEUG eventually launch a full-scale attack on the Earth Federation's assembly at Dakar, leading to an Earth Sphere civil war. Quattro reveals himself to be Char Aznable and presents evidence of the Titans' tyranny including using a nerve gas called G3 on a defenseless colony. The Earth Federation court soon rules the Titans' actions to be illegal and backs the AEUG in hunting down Titans leader Jamitov Hymem.
After losing the support from the Earth Federation, the Titans turn to their original enemy, remnants of the Principality of Zeon now known as Axis Zeon, in an effort to form an alliance to regain control of the Earth Sphere. Axis Zeon's leader Haman Karn contacts the AEUG, using the civil war of the Earth Federation at hand to politically ask for the control of Side 3, the former Zeon colony.
Axis involvement and Jamitov's assassination by the Jupiter fleet's leader Paptimus Scirocco soon lead to a battle to gain control of the colony headquarters of the Titans, Gryps, which has been modified to be a colony laser. The war ends when Kamille, piloting the titular mobile suit Z Gundam, kills Scirocco in battle and the AEUG sinks Scirocco's flagship and most of the Titans' fleet.
The series concludes with both the AEUG and Earth Federation, after suffering considerable losses over the course of the war facing the full force of Axis Zeon, leading into Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ.
In celebration of Gundam's 25th anniversary (and also the 20th anniversary of Zeta Gundam), the 50-episode series was compiled into a movie trilogy called Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation. According to Tomino, the movies were created to fix some of the problems he identified in the television series and to bring it into a 21st century context for a new generation now experiencing the increasingly commercialized series, such as Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. The first movie, Heirs to the Stars, opened on May 28, 2005, followed by Lovers on October 29, 2005, and Love is the Pulse of the Stars on March 6, 2006.
The compilations digitally remastered the television series of Zeta Gundam with new footage. Around 33% of "Heir to the Stars" was remastered footage, with 70% for "Lovers" and almost 80% for "Love is the Pulse of the Stars". However, several major plot events from the TV series were either edited or removed to allow the films to flow more smoothly, unlike Tomino's previous Gundam film compilations. Likewise, the fate of some characters in the television version were entirely changed, notably Kamille's — in the original, his final battle renders him into a vegetable state, while he remains physically and mentally fit by the end of movie trilogy. In addition, mobile suits belonging to the Gundam timeline, but designed after the television broadcast of Zeta Gundam, were also placed into the movies.
Shigeaki Saegusa's musical score from the TV series was reused for the films, with the addition of new songs by J-pop artist Gackt. A music video for the first film's opening theme "Metamorphoze" featured Gackt singing inside a mobile suit cockpit during battle.
Majority of the original TV voice cast returned to reprise their respective roles. Yō Inoue, who died in 2003 - was posthumously credited, as an archived recording of her voice was used for a cameo appearance of Sayla Mass in the third film. There were some changes to the voice cast - namely Yukana replacing Saeko Shimazu as Four Murasame, Satomi Arai replacing Miyuki Matsuoka as Fa Yuiry, and a few others. This change sparked controversy among fans, who suspected that Yukana used her relationship with sound director Sadayoshi Fujino to land her role.
North American release
In 2004, after almost 2 years of delays and failed television and merchandising deals, Bandai released a limited edition Zeta Gundam boxset with dubbed English and original Japanese audio tracks. The English dub was done by Blue Water Studios based in Calgary.
Due to Bandai not having rights to the theme songs outside of Asia, the opening and closing sequences were altered. The English subtitles were criticized as inaccurate and appear to be based on the script for the English dub, rather than a direct translation of the original Japanese script. Bandai corrected the subtitles to a properly translated version for later DVD releases in 5 cases with 2 discs each. The box-set includes pencil sharpener collectibles and a 48-page booklet and poster. Each DVD in the Bandai Region 2 release contains five episodes.
In 2006, Bandai Entertainment acquired the rights to the US release of the "A New Translation" movie trilogy, originally slated for release on June 22, 2010 but was later changed to July 6.
Soundtrack and Scores
Majority of the series' background music were written by Japanese composer Shigeaki Saegusa. The melodies of the two opening themes and sole ending theme were written by American pop singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka. "Zeta - Toki wo Koete" was based upon the song "Better Days are Coming" from Sedaka's 1972 album Solitaire, while "Hoshizora no Believe" was adapted from the song "Bad and Beautiful" from the 1976 album Steppin' Out. Additionally, "Mizu no Hoshi e Ai wo Komete" was derived from an unreleased song entitled "For Us to Decide". These songs do not appear on the US DVD release.
- Zeta - Toki wo Koete (Z・刻をこえて Zeta - Transcending Times?) by Mami Ayukawa (Eps. 1-23)
- Mizu no Hoshi e Ai wo Komete (水の星へ愛をこめて From the Aqueous Star with Love?) by Hiroko Moriguchi (Eps. 24-50)
- Hoshizora no Believe (星空のBelieve Believe in the Starry Sky?) by Mami Ayukawa
- Gin'iro Doresu (銀色ドレス Silver Dress?) by Hiroko Moriguchi (Ep. 20)
US DVD songs
- Zeta no Kodō ~ Zeta Gundam (Ζの鼓動～Ζガンダム Zeta's Pulse~Zeta Gundam?) by Shigeaki Saegusa (Opening)
- Gurīn Noa no Shōnen ~ Arata na Sekai (グリーン・ノアの少年～新たな世界 Boy from Green Noa ~ A New World?) by Shigeaki Saegusa (Ending)
Heirs To The Stars
- Metamorphoze by Gackt (Opening)
- Kimi ga Matteiru Kara (君が待っているから Because you're Waiting?) by Gackt (Ending)
- Mind Forest by Gackt from his "Crescent" Album (Ending)
Love is the Pulse of the Stars
- Love Letter by Gackt (Insert song that starts shortly before the end credits and continues as they start to roll)
- Dybbuk by Gackt (Ending, plays after Love Letter)
All of the songs in the compilation movies are compiled and released in Gackt's tribute album 0079-0088.
Since its original run had ended in 1986, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam has received universal critical acclaim and has had a significant influence on science fiction anime since then, particularly in shaping the Real Robot and Mecha anime genres. Zeta Gundam is today still regarded as one of the best series in the Gundam franchise. The Nihon Review gave Zeta Gundam a score of 9/10, stating that it is, "without a doubt, one of the original’s greatest incarnations as well as the milestone that solidified the franchise for the ages." They concluded that it is "a classic that sparked a phenomenon that is still burning strong" and that "all great stories are timeless and Zeta Gundam is no exception."
The review website Mania.com gave the anime an overall 'B+' rating, regarding it as "one of Yoshiyuki Tomino's greatest works." They stated that the "lack of an A/A+ is that this is recommended for fans who are already familiar with the Universal Century storyline," recommending that audiences view "the original movie trilogy" first before watching Zeta Gundam. The reviewer Chris Beveridge of Mania.com gave certain volumes of the series a full 'A' rating, describing the last ten episodes as being "the huge payoff episodes" where "you can almost feel the characters being rushed around a bit and moved through the paces. But at the same time, it all comes so fast that it's simply enjoyable to watch so much happen and change so quickly."
During its original run from 1985 to 1986, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam had experienced the highest television viewer ratings in the history of the Gundam franchise. According to Japan's Weekly The Television magazine, the viewer ratings of Zeta Gundam averaged 6.6% and peaked at 11.7% during its original run.
- Kidou Senshi Z-Gundam: Hot Scramble, a part-FPS part-platformer Famicom game based on the series was the first console Gundam game.
- Anime News Network - Seiyuu Change Enrages Fans
- "Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam". The Nihon Review. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
- "Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Limited Edition Box Set". Mania.com. June 7, 2005. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
- Chris Beveridge (May 31, 2005). "Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Vol. #09". Mania.com. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
- Official Websites: Anime, A New Translation I II, III, GundamOfficial
- Anime Academy Review: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam at the Internet Movie Database
Mobile Suit Gundam
|Gundam metaseries (production order)
1985 — 1986
Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
|Gundam Universal Century timeline
Gundam Sentinel (novel), Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ