At its most beautiful…
It seems so fitting that it all ends with a joyous imouto reunion and Jupiter.
So, I’m all done with Gundam ZZ, and, well, that was an experience indeed. There’s not much left to say that I haven’t said already, as the final episodes of this show proceed in much the same fashion as all their predecessors have – goofily, ham-handedly, stupidly, etc. I was pleased that to the very end they remained committed to the nonsensical, as well as the bewilderingly abrupt. And how could I possibly be dismayed at an ending that sends Judau off to Jupiter?
Yes, Jupiter. Right toward the very end there is a throwaway comment from someone about humanity not being able to get past the asteroid belt, and this seems to ZZ’s way of setting up for Judau to go to Jupiter. It seems to be an AEUG mission, which makes Judau’s dedication to doing it pretty hilarious since the scene immediately preceding that news is Judau being super angry about AEUG not showing up in time for the final showdown. But, hey, Jupiter! He’s been angsting over his imouto being dead and then dreaming of seeing her again when he becomes convinced she’s alive (Newtypes!), but, NO WAY, JUPITER, even though it means not seeing precious imouto for three years. Oh well.
But, let’s also go back to AEUG showing up late. There’s also the issue of, well, what now? Ok, Haman Khan’s Neo Zeon/Axis is defeated, got it. Glemy’s break-aways are defeated (thank fuck). But… wait, that couldn’t’ve been all of it, right? There’re more forces out there, right? That was not nearly a large enough battle to settle it all! The whole “off to Jupiter” thing seems to imply that the issue is settled, but… augh. Oh well. It doesn’t make much sense, but, hey, ZZ’s gotta ZZ, right?
Something else which I found mightily funny was the way the characters were suddenly paired off. There really wasn’t romantic tension amongst the kids, with a few exceptions across the entire show that were more tell than show, but here in the last frame Elle, Beecha, and Judau have apparently been in the lowest key love triangle ever for the whole show. Er, sure, ok. And maybe Roux has had the hots for Judau, too? Well, they seem to be paired off together since they Jupiter it up while everyone else stays home, but it isn’t made clear at all. Mondo gets stuck being the guy whose love interest was fridged, and Iino isn’t paired off in any fashion at all, which just further supports my theory that he’s gay. (Doesn’t it figure, though, that the one decent teenager of the lot ends up without any romantic prospects at all, living or dead? Poor Iino; at least Mondo got to have someone even if it was only for a little bit.)
I know I said in my previous ZZ post that it was easier to overlook the matter of why the show exists at all since it is part of a much larger franchise, but as the credits rolled, I did wonder what the point of it all had been. I am aware of the commercial point of it, yes, but when I survey the story itself, the questions of “why” and “so what?” hover at hand. What does ZZ add to Gundam, or to the genre at large? What ramifications do the events have here for anything else that happens in UC? From what I’m aware of, apparently what happens here doesn’t have any ramifications for the rest of UC, so much so that the Zeta compilation movies culminate in such a way that ZZ doesn’t have to exist between Zeta and Unicorn. From my knowledge of Unicorn (which I own but have to watch still), too, ZZ doesn’t matter at all. I’m unsure if it’s that Zeta ends in a way that makes ZZ’s opening episodes noncanonical, and so the entire thing is noncanonical, or if it’s just that ZZ ends up being a series-long equivalent of the Popular Shounen Franchise Movie, i.e. it’s there if you want to watch, and it is canonical, but nothing that happens matters a bit to the rest of the continuity. I bought the Zeta movies online after Christmas, so I’ll theoretically know soon enough.
As for what ZZ added to the mech genre, or had to say about it, well, there isn’t anything that it does that is unique. Given Tomino’s intention in creating Gundam in the first place, it comes off as a weird regression to the sorts of things that troubled Tomino about the genre in the first place. (Again, though, why it happened isn’t actually a mystery, hence “comes off as”.) In a lot of ways, ZZ feels like a much dumber, goofy Zambot 3 – the three-part mech is the most obvious similarity, but the periodic outbursts from the young portion of the cast over their being used in a war begun by adults brings to mind the way in which Z3 cast the “kids save the day with giant robots!” trope in sinister light. (When you step back for a moment, ZZ’s central conceit is itself fairly sinister – a military vessel picks up a bunch of orphans and presses them into service as pilots of giant robots in deadly battles. Put like that, doesn’t it sound like something that had potential?) Of course, the problem is that ZZ is too addicted to foolishness like Chara Soon blithely mashing other members of the cast into her breasts*, and has no ability to maintain its stabs at something more serious for more than perhaps ten minutes at a time.
And what did I gain by watching it myself? I have no idea. I don’t feel like I wasted my time by watching it (see: Argevollen), but that isn’t quite the same as saying that I’ve gained something in viewing it. I can now add it to the list of Gundam series I’ve watched; I can use it as part of further evidence of my bizarre approach chronologically to watching the franchise. I can also say that it isn’t even close to being the worst mech show I’ve watched to completion, although two of the three mech shows that beat it out are Tomino babies as well (Victory, Brain Powerd) (it is roughly on par with Aldnoah.Zero, but I got a lot more enjoyment out of Aldnoah.Zero’s first season than I did out of ZZ; Argevollen is worse). I am glad that I watched it, and I think I did enjoy it at points (mostly when Chara Soon was on-screen), but… yeah. ZZ Gundam.
At least the ending was perfect! The titular mech completely destroyed and Judau on Jupiter? That’s how you know we’re totally done with these kids!
But some parting screencaps (they’re not even in order):
So I guess TL;DR, all that matters is imouto. And Jupiter.
* These scenes really need to be seen to be understood because they are actually quite funny since Chara smooshes the faces of people like Judau and Mashymere into her chest in a way that suggests that to her it’s like breathing or blinking – something done without any thought. She also doesn’t notice the discomfort or reactions of those she’s smooshing, nor of anyone looking on.
P.S. – The only death that afected me at all was Chara Soon – can’t believe that they killed her! I was super pissed! She was the best character in the whole damn show! At least she got a great death scene…