"Zoids CC" Vol. 5 & 6: Mobilize the Great Beast
Every good tale has a beginning, middle, and an end. We’ve already seen the beginning as well as the middle, now we have come to the end. Well, to the end of Zoids: Chaotic Century anyway. Despite what the cover will tell you, everything after this is a completely different series. But that’s for a different section. For now I’ll focus on the exciting conclusion of the Republic vs. Empire war, which shows off several new Zoids and even some new villians.
Episodes on Vol. 6 (Beast):
#31: The Three Guards
#32: The Doom Machine
#33: The Battle for Survival
#34: The Capital Ablaze
#35: The Secret Mission
When we left our heroes, Rudolph, Irvine, and Moonbay had been captured by Stinger and Prozen’s goons; Van was presumed dead; and Fiona was with Zeke inside the Shield Liger remains, which are now a whirlwind of light. Of course, Van isn’t truly dead (we still have ten episodes left), and he valiantly attempts to free his friends from Stinger’s grasp. However, Irvine is paralyzed and Rudolph can’t handle the Command Wolf just yet, meaning that our heroes have very little to fight with. And as if that weren’t enough, several more Prozen assassins are trying to stop our heroes from reaching the capital of the Empire, Gygalos. If they don’t arrive at the capital in time, Prozen will unleash a new and powerful Zoid known as the Deathsaurer, which has enough power to destroy entire cities in one blast!
This is what the previous four discs have been leading up to: the final showdown between Van and the Deathsaurer. We get several brand new Zoids in these volumes, including the Deathsaurer, the Storm Sworder, and the biggest of all: the Blade Liger. Vastly improved over the ugly Shield Liger, the Blade Liger is much faster, stronger, and cooler than the Shield Liger in every way. It’s easily my favorite Zoid in the entire series, and the fact that it uses two swords as its primary weapon just adds to the coolness. It also makes the battles much better, as the Blade Liger allows Van to make wall-jumps, run around enemies, and generally become more manuverable. Just the appearence of the Blade Liger elevates the series greatly, even if the action isn’t quite as awesome as in Zoids: New Century.
Believe it or not, there’s more than just the Blade Liger’s awakening to look forward to in Volume 5. Most of the secondary characters get some nice character development, as Fiona somehow regains part of her memories. Also, the Imperial soldier from Disc 4 returns, we get a brief look into Irvine’s and Moonbay’s past, and we see the debut of the Aero Balone, self-proclaimed protector of Prince Rudolph. While the first two episodes are easily the best on the disc, the last two don’t dip either, as they feature some nice high-flying action and an interesting battle with classical music. Episode 27 is decent, but not all that impactful aside from one of Fiona’s many jokes. The other episode, “Run, Wolf!” does delve into Irvine’s past, which was a blank slate before this, but the episode is rather forgettable, especially with its deus ex machina plot devices.
Volume 6 is about as good as is gets. Though it starts out with another filler episode, it also leads into the three-part finale where we find out exactly what Fiona remembers about her past (including her original name) and witness the final battle (for now) between Van and Raven; we also get that penultimate battle against the uber-powerful Deathsaurer. As awesome as that battle is, the battle between Van and Raven is much better, featuring each Zoid destroying weapons left and right and some very clever battle tactics. The final two episodes are the start to the sequel series Zoids: Guardian Force. Van has become a professional soldier and travels with a grown-up Fiona to protect the weak from evil. Van’s new training is obvious, and he’s able to pilot his Blade Liger better than ever. His training also allows him to see through deception much more easily. This is overall a more mature version of our hero. And the new villian, Hiltz, is pretty interesting, though mainly because he also has an Organoid.
As you all should know by now, the series combines 2D and 3D animation, with the characters and backgrounds mostly in 2D and the Zoids themselves in 3D. The blend works out very well and gives the series an added punch. Transfer is as good as the previous discs, so if you liked the animation and the transfer before, you’ll continue to like it here, especially since the creative staff does more with the animation (what with the Blade Liger, Storm Sworders, the new Zaber Fangs, and the Deathsaurer).
You’d expect from a series such as this a soundtrack filled with techno and rock music, but the majority of the music (including the Japanese theme song) is more reminiscient of country, which gives it a laid-back feel. This is an interesting choice and helps the series stand out. The disc features the same audio set-up as previous discs, so, unforutnately, there is no Japanese version, nor is there a booming 5.1 Surround soundtrack. Still, for what it is, the audio works.
Extras are exactly the same as on previous discs. There are profiles on Rosso, Viola, Prozen, the Storm Sworder, and the Deathsaurer. The insert also shows off all fourteen volumes of the manga, which is overpriced ($10 for those dinky little things?), but features some changes and new characters.
If you’re a fan of previous discs of Zoids: Chaotic Century and can put up with the dub-only format, you’ll love these discs. The series continues to get better and better, and if you’ve never seen it before, this would be a good pick-up. It won’t set you back much and it makes for a fun way to waste some time.