Zoids chaotic century is one of the few animes I love, the chaotic century arc lasts the first 34 episodes of the series, but the arc has two very clear parts this is a review of the first part. The Zoids themselves are giant living robotic animals fitted with weapons that can be piloted by those skilled enough to survive. The story takes place on planet Zi where a war has been waged between the Gigalos Empire and the Helic Republic. The action begins during a shaky cease fire between the nations in an outskirt town of the Republic. We meet Van Flyheight, a precocious driven young kid whose father was killed in the war, as he’s being chased by bandit mercenaries through a desert littered with dead zoids. He manages to escape them by hiding in a temple left over from the time of the ancient Zoidians. While hiding Van finds a secret room with capsules, after defrosting them a small zoid emerges from the first one. It’s a zoid type he’s never seen before and he decides to name him Zeke. After making friends with each other Zeke emits a glowing light and flies into the core of a dead Shield-Liger zoid after several moments the Liger is resurrected and Van uses it to fight to the bandits.
From the second capsule a beautiful girl emerges who doesn’t remember anything about herself or why she was in this secret room with Zeke. The only thing she remembers is the phrase, “Zoid Eve”; Van decides to give her the name “Fiona” and decides to help her recover her memories. They decide to start by trying to find the Zoids Eve, wherever or whatever it is. This basically lays the premise of the series even though this is only the underlining plot. Each episode is generally self resolving and usually is packed with action and zoid fights. The group will encounter a problem or find someone willing to pay for their protection and by the end the general plot is also furthered slightly as we get several more hints and clues about the mysterious Fiona. Sometimes Fiona gets visions of her past and she sees a huge dark force in a burning city after viewing an ancient carving.
The first 16 episodes the trio start the adventure by heading the capitol of the Helic Republic where they hope to get a look at research dedicated to ancient Zoidians. Along the way they run into a transporter named Moonbay and a mercenary named Irvine who recognizes Zeke for what he is an orginoid, an extremely powerful and rare zoid that hasn’t been seen since the time of the ancient zoidians. Orginoids can fuse with the core of a zoid and improve it in unknown ways. Irvine challenge Van to a duel for Zeke and after several episodes Irvine becomes impressed with Van and joins the group if only to get Zeke to join him. The series really picks up when the war breaks out again and the group is drafted by the Republic to run jobs along the border to delay the impending invasion. The best couple of episodes deal with the defense of the biggest republic base and the desperate attempt to defend it from the grasp of General Prozan of the Empire. It’s a pretty insane battle and since it’s the last line of defense for the capitol there’s a lot of tension. The final few episodes deal with the invasion of the capitol. After all is said and done the group gets a major clue leading them to believe they might find some answers for Fiona in the Empire.
I really like the progression of the series the same threat is never repeated. In the first episode the threat is the bandits, in the second there is an entire gang of Zoid pilots, in one while traveling through a weird valley all their zoids functions go bad. In another there’s an entire armada of sleeper zoids attack the group while they are resting at a temple. My favorite villain is definitely a terrifying Zoid pilot named Raven. Raven becomes Van’s rival throughout the series as he is by far the most skilled pilot whose only goal seems to be destruction, Raven also has an orginoid but he’s so good he barely uses it, that’s how you know he’s a badass. In a particularly awesome scene you see Raven kill an entire base full of Republic Zoids even though his Saber Fang zoid is barely functioning and only has 3 legs. The animation is an acquired taste, it has the classic look like Dragon Ball Z for the most part but all the Zoids are 3d computer animated and until you get used to that its kind of awkward. You see plenty of different Zoids in the series all are modeled after animals but the stronger ones are modeled after dinosaurs. I always liked the dragon zoid and the Iron Kong zoid best. The characters are all interesting and Van’s progression as a pilot is well done. Initially he is terrible and Zeke does most of the fighting but eventually he grows. The plot, the war, the characters, and the action all combine to make an epic series. This show is almost impossible to find but if you do absolutely watch it.