The first season of Zoids Chaotic Century was really well done; there was plenty of interesting characters, developed character arcs, reasonably good animation. Everything in the first season flowed really well and the logical progression of the series culminated in a fantastic final few episodes. The rest of the series I wouldn’t say is quiet as good as the first half but I still like it a lot and it remains a classic nostalgic anime from my childhood. In fact pretty much the only anime I watched as a kid. I watched it many times because I always thought I had missed the last few episodes, as it turned out cartoon network never aired the last four episodes (which is obviously just like the first season are what the entire preceding story had led to ) a fact that was endlessly frustrating. It wasn’t until recently I actually did catch those last few unseen episodes.
Season two” Guardian Force” is a bit of a mixed bag but still ultimately satisfying. The story picks up 10 years after Vans defat of the Deathsaurer and the death of General Prozan. The world has been at peace for some time and with that time all of our friends have split up. Fiona is still searching for clues and answers to her past specifically the Zoid eve, Van has just finished his final day of training after joining the republic’s Zoid army, Moonbay has not been heard from in a while and Irvine is more or less off doing his own thing. After a plot is revealed that someone wants the civil war to continue, a joint task force is set up by the Gaigelos Empire and the Republic to investigate and patrol the border looking to stop those who want to stir up trouble between the two nations. Van who meets a mysterious man is recruited into the guardian force and after meeting up with Fiona the two set off to begin the new adventure with Zeke in tow.
There are plenty of new characters to round out the old faces who do pop up eventually. A few great villains return, and a few more are part of the overall conspiracy. Most work really well but there is one guy who takes an over the top romantic interest in Fiona. She needs to end up with Van so stay away! There are lots of new locations that are drawn wonderfully, fleshing out the plot well. And many new Zoids make appearances most notably the Deathstinger which is a really cool scorpion thing and a Genobreaker Raven uses which is incredibly scary evolved version of his older Zoid.
The first half of season 2 takes forever to get moving and unfortunately most of the episodes are self-resolving episodes where not much of the plot is moved forward. Mostly the first 9 episodes or so it’s just Van, Fiona, Zeke and the Blade Liger dealing with border pirates. After seeing Van take on Raven these chumps are boring. Story wise nothing starts going until the mysterious man finds a derelict Raven wandering on his own and “awakens him” by giving him an incredibly deadly Zoid with two objectives, kill as many zoid’s as possible(for the zoid core) and Kill Van. I love this character he is very cunning and conniving and is the perfect overall villain follow-up to Prozan. He has a plan an incredibly deadly plan and he is the kind of person you can’t predict until it’s too late. It’s really great to see Raven again back and even more deadly than before to match Vans increased skills as a pilot. When the mysterious man’s plan starts coming together (in the last 15 episodes) is when the series gets really good.
The characters all develop really well and many of the choices they need to make are much more complicated as the series goes on. In fact the wholes series gets more complicated, Zoids are killed, people die, cities are burned, Ravens tragic backstory is exposed and even becomes an antihero to compliment Van, and the Zoid eve is uncovered(but not until those last unaired episodes grrrr). The battles get more intense the Zoids get more deadly. The last story arc is simply amazingly tragic and apocalyptic, it treats its set up maturely and doesn’t back down from complex story decisions. The last half of season two is much better than anything else in the series but the first half drags in comparison to the rest. The combination of compelling characters great sets ups and follow through, excellent animation, big moments, and battles this anime is very entertaining.