Tag Archives: Favorite Zoids

Spotlight: Zoids – The Helcat

Related image

Welcome back to the deserts of Zi, readers! Now you know that I have returned in truth, for only the Mithril Guardian could afflict her long-suffering followers with another post about an obscure mecha anime. Rejoice, for you are not following a hacked blog..!

Okay, enough with the hyperbolic preamble. I have seen a lot more Zoids posts here at WordPress, which tells me that the franchise has returned to public knowledge. So, although I am not a fan, it appears thanks are owed by this blogger to the writers who came up with the latest Zoids series. Kudos, Zoids: Wild. You brought interest back to our favorite planet in the far reaches of the Milky Way. The story is not what this author would consider entertaining, but at least it succeeded in renewing curiosity about the larger world of this mecha anime. I can be happy about that. 🙂

Today’s zoid is from the Guylos Empire. Known as the Helcat, this panther-style mechanical combat unit is “the ultimate stealth zoid.” The cockpit, naturally, is situated in the zoid’s head. The green band that wraps around its “face,” where its mouth should be, is the visible part of the canopy. Once inside, the electrical imaging device in the cockpit will activate, giving the pilot a green tinged one-hundred-eighty degree view of the field.

A typical Helcat’s armaments belie its deadly potential. Normally, the Helcat’s only weapons are a small, double-barreled cannon on its back and a mini gun of some kind between its forelegs. There are is another, lighter type of gun attached to each of its shoulders and hips occasionally, but too many more weapons would weigh the zoid down and increase its noise output. With light armor, weapons, and speed, the Helcat is a combat unit that can fire quickly before ducking back into the shadows to escape larger zoids.

The zoid has other assets, though, and they are like no other. Equipped with a cloaking device known as an optical stealth unit, the Helcat can easily blend in with its surroundings. The zoid can also erase most of its own footprints and reduce its heat signature significantly. It also has muffled joints which make it hard to track by sound.

Combined with its cloak of invisibility, these devices make the Helcat almost undetectable. The muzzle flashes from its cannon do not give away its position reliably, since the pilot can move across the battlefield with relative impunity due to being largely invisible to the naked eye. And since Hel Cats are always deployed in groups, there are often several muzzle flashes appearing across the combat zone. Choosing one and hitting it is nearly impossible for an opposing pilot, even when he chances to spot the Cat’s outline against the background scenery.

This is one zoid that can give the best of pilots a hard time. Unless the Helcat’s cloaking device shorts out, or the opposing pilot sees the zoid’s outline against the terrain and keeps it in sight long enough to attack, it is impossible to track and hit this mechanical panther. If the Empire or a particular pilot enjoys the elements of surprise and bewilderment, this is the zoid for them.

Of course, the Helcats do have their vulnerabilities. Aside from the potential malfunctions with the optical stealth unit, a pilot in Zoids: Chaotic Century developed a handy technique to deal with the Cat. By using a computer to track the acoustic signals – i.e. the sounds Helcats cannot help but make, even with their muffled joints – he was able to pinpoint the position of every Cat on the field.

Helcat | Zoids Wiki | Fandom powered by Wikia

Also, the Cat’s speed and agility do not protect it from larger, faster zoids’ head on charges or higher caliber weapons. The Helcat is designed to bewilder and surprise an enemy, not beat it in a competition of speed and skill. There is a reason they are often deployed in large numbers, after all; a battalion of cloaked Helcats stands a much better chance of taking down opponent(s) than a single or small group does. Unless their target is totally unprepared, has no military training, or a zoid with even lighter armor, the Helcat will not stand a chance against him in a direct confrontation.

Still, despite these restrictions, the Helcat is an extremely versatile zoid. For a pilot who fights by relying on deception by fooling his target’s eyes, this Imperial mechanical combat unit is his best choice, bar none. Though eclipsed by the Shadow Fox in New Century Zero and rendered unimpressive by the technology in Zoids: Fuzors, in Chaotic Century no other stealth unit on Zi can compete with the Helcat.

That’s not to say that the Helcat is indefatigable. While Chaotic Century gave the zoid one of its best showings, it didn’t provide viewers with a demonstration of what the Helcat could really do. Most Helcats arrived on the scene only to be dispatched relatively quickly, which is a shame. I would like to see what a Helcat was truly capable of in the right hands.

Zoids: Chaotic Century Episode 51 | Zoids Wiki | Fandom ...

Teevrol and his pilot, Niccolo

Usually, the Helcat is painted red and black, the preferred colors of the Imperial Army. There have been other color choices, however. One Helcat in Chaotic Century was a white/grey/powder blue named Teevrol, who could move about on his own, though he was too attached to his young pilot to leave him. In Zoids: Fuzors, a black Helcat appeared, but it was defeated quickly in both episodes where it showed up.

All in all, the Helcat is not a zoid to shun. With its optical stealth unit, muffled joints, and ease at avoiding detection, it really is the cream of the stealth zoid crop. And while it never got to show its true colors on screen, it is still a mechanical combat unit I would sincerely like to pilot.

Besides, who can say no to such a cool Cat? 😀

See you on the battlefield, readers!

The Mithril Guardian

ZOIDS 023 Hellcat (japan import): Amazon.co.uk: Toys & Games

Advertisements

Spotlight – Zoids: Chaotic Century – Van Flyheight

Last year I promised that I would begin doing Spotlight! posts about the characters from my favorite Zoids series, along with articles about the “mechanical combat units” themselves. Today, I am making good on that promise; here we will discuss the hero of Zoids: Chaotic Century – Van Flyheight.

Van is fourteen at the start of the TV series (the translators in Canada mistakenly have another character in the show say he is seventeen). Raised in the farming town of Wind Colony, Van’s father died five years before the series begins. Imperial soldiers came to the Republican colony when Major Dan Flyheight and a group of Republican soldiers were nearby. The commander of the Imperial division threatened to burn the village to the ground, but Dan Flyheight and his white Command Wolf, Zeke, took the entire unit down single-handedly.

So at the beginning of the show, Van is being raised by his older sister, Maria, in the Wind Colony. Every chance he gets, he sneaks away from her to explore the ruins of nearby military bases. Judging by their appearance, these bases long predate the current war in the show. Van does this to seek adventure and scrounge for scraps of salvage, despite his sister’s constant warnings that this is dangerous – not to mention her insistence that he do his chores.

Image result for zoids van flyheight

Van Flyheight

But come on, what fourteen year old boy who wants to be the greatest zoid pilot ever is going to listen when his big sister tells him to do boring chores? As the village priest tells her, “You can’t stop the boy from wanting to find a zoid of his own.” And that means she cannot stop him from running off to the desert.

Open, energetic, and easily excited (or offended), Van once again escapes his sister to go exploring in the first episode of Chaotic Century: “The Boy From Planet Zi”. But he gets more than he bargained for when a bandit named Bole begins chasing him in a newly acquired blue Guysack (scorpion-type Republican zoid – more on that another day).

Van escapes Bole by the skin of his teeth, hiding in the ruins. Then Bole’s compatriots/babysitters, Bianco and Nero, come to dig their young charge out of the rubble. Before they do that, they shoot at the ruins to trap Van inside so he cannot go running off to tell the villagers he saw them. That would bring the Republican Army down on the Desert Alca Valino Gang, and none of them want official trouble.

Inside the ruins, Van notices a heretofore hidden door which is now askew. He goes down the path to find a secret room with two green stasis pods inside. Accidentally opening the first, he encounters and befriends Zeke.

Image result for zoids zeke

Van Flyheight and his organoid, Zeke

More information about their first meeting can be found here and here, readers, if you want to start watching the series. Even all these years later, I absolutely love this show, and Van is a big reason why.

Despite the fact that he starts out reckless, hotheaded, and callow, Van quickly wins a viewer’s affection with his willingness to pick himself up and dust himself off. His kind, selfless nature make up for his naïveté and impulsive behavior. Over time he matures into a stronger boy, eventually becoming a great young man you still want to cheer on.

While it seems like mere luck that Van lives long enough to become the “greatest zoid pilot ever,” there is actually a lot of raw talent backing him up. Van has the potential to be a great pilot right from the start; he is perceptive, inventive, and quick-thinking. All he needs to learn at the beginning of his career as a pilot is how to put that together with his fighting skills instead of charging blindly into a battle.

It must be said that no one viewing the show would love zoids very well without Van Flyheight. A boy “with a strong fascination with zoids,” Van loves the mechanical animals almost as much as he loves those who are related to him or who are his friends. The entire reason he and Raven, his archnemesis through most of the show’s run, begin their feud is because the latter takes pleasure in brutally destroying zoids.

Image result for zoids van vs. raven

Raven vs. Van Flyheight

And when I say brutal, readers, I mean brutal. Van rightly calls Raven’s attacks evil, but we would not really notice how evil they were if not for our hero’s instinctive reaction to Raven’s fighting style. This brings another characteristic of his to light; much like Captain America/Steve Rogers, Van has a heightened sense of right and wrong. He may not be able to explain how he knows the difference between good and evil on occasion, but when he sees some wrong being committed – no matter how small it may be – he instantly recognizes it and acts to correct the transgression.

Of course, some will ask how I can say this, given Van’s penchant for sneaking away from his sister and disobeying her. First, it is important to remember that I did not say Van was a saint. I said he was good – about as good as Captain America, though he may be a few bars lower on the scale. Besides, avoiding chores does not make anyone a criminal-in-training; it certainly seems that Van was obedient most of the time. And who knows where we would be if he had not snuck out to play in the desert every once in a while? Zi would be worse off if he had stayed home, I can assure you!

This exemplary standard of goodness in Van has a profound effect on those he meets. They are impressed, either immediately or over time, by his innate goodness, his determination, and his no-quit attitude. We see this most in the first adult friends he makes outside Wind Colony: Irvine and Moonbay.

Related image

Irvine

Irvine and Van meet in the episode “Memory.” A wandering mercenary who fights or “protects” for money, he is in the area when Van and Fiona get lost in a sandstorm. On the hunt for an organoid to increase his power and strength, Irvine decides to try and steal Zeke from Van. You would think this would make them enemies and, for a while, they certainly are not friends.

But Irvine is not yet so far down the Dark Path that he is immune to Van’s inborn decency. Before you know it, he is traveling along with Van, Zeke, Fiona, and Moonbay. Though he says several times he is just waiting to find an opportunity to steal Zeke, it quickly becomes apparent this is no truer than Han’s statement in A New Hope when he says he is only interested in the money. Van’s goodness awakens and enhances Irvine’s, bringing it to the fore and making him a better person. The two eventually become brothers – not just in the sense of being fellow pilots of high skill, but in the fact that they watch out for, care about, and protect each other.

Moonbay fills the role of mother for Van in the beginning, a little like Hera Syndulla does for the crew in Star Wars Rebels. But where Hera is calm, cool, and very hard to ruffle, Moonbay can and will raise her voice in fury when someone ticks her off. Like Irvine, she has also become jaded by “real life” and she has a mercenary streak. More than once we see her wheeling and dealing on the side to earn more money than others think she needs. Van only directly confronts her once during one of these deals when she almost pulls a genuine swindle, telling her that he “can’t explain it using big fancy words but… [he] sure know[s] the difference between right and wrong!”

Image result for zoids moonbay

Moonbay

In reality, Moonbay is not much of a mercenary. She just loves traveling, which means that she needs enough money to support herself – not to mention the rest of the gang while they are roving along with her. As a disciplinarian, she is able to get more and better results out of Van than Maria for the simple reason that she is not his older sister. She treats him like the kid he is and tells him off when he deserves it – sometimes with a punch, if she feels he has earned one. At the same time, Van’s goodness keeps Moonbay honest and makes her strive to be better, even if she won’t necessarily admit that out loud.

Zeke remains Van’s best friend and fellow combatant throughout the series. The two are devoted to each other, almost like twin brothers (as opposed to the older brother/younger brother relationship Van and Irvine share). Much like Van, Zeke seems to be possessed of an inherent gentleness and goodness. Where others might have beaten this out of him, Van’s natural kindness enhances Zeke’s and keeps him innocent.

Image result for zoids fiona

Van and Fiona

Finally, we come to the relationship Van has with Fiona Elisi (Alicia?) Linnet, the Ancient Zoidian girl he finds in the same ruins where Zeke is hidden. When Fiona is released from her stasis pod, she initially has no memory of who she is or where she came from. She cannot remember her real name (Elisi Linnet), only the name “Fiona.” Despite being irritated by her constant questions in the first two episodes, Van immediately works to help Fiona, taking her to his village so she can be safe.

Image result for zoids fiona

While they start out as friends, over the course of the show the two obviously fall in love. Though we only see them kiss once (when Fiona has to talk to Van via a psychic image and/or hologram), the rapport between the two is not that of a brother and sister or of two friends traveling together. It is most definitely romantic, and in the best kind of way. This is made blatantly clear in episodes such as “A Voice from Afar” and “New Liger,” where Van can hear Fiona’s voice in his mind. The two early on show signs of developing a romantic bond, which seems to be the basis for the psychic tie that arises between them.

But the relationship which has the most profound impact on Van’s character is one we never see. This is his bond with his father, Major Dan Flyheight. Though we never watch them interact on screen, Van’s dedication to becoming “the greatest zoid pilot ever” is due entirely to his admiration of, and his love for, his deceased father.

Related image

Dan Flyheight

We only see Dan Flyheight once in a flashback in the episode “The Distant Stars.” However, that brief glimpse shows us where Van gets not only his piloting skills, but also his kindness, gentleness, and strong sense of right and wrong. Dan’s last words – his last thoughts – are for the two children he will leave behind, showing that the strength of Van’s love for his family and friends was learned at his father’s knee. He even names his best friend Zeke after his father’s zoid. In a world where the power of the father is laughed off and derided as unnecessary, Van proves the exact opposite with his fond remembrance of the father he lost too early.

The plot for Zoids: Chaotic Century is the joys and travails not only of a boy becoming a man, but of a page becoming a knight. Van is needed now more than ever for viewers, boys and girls both. Girls will learn what really makes a man by watching this series, while at the same time boys learn the virtues which will be their guides and friends throughout their lives.

Related image

If, as is possible, someone intends to make a film (or a series of them) about Zoids: Chaotic Century, they HAVE to get Van Flyheight right. If they do not do that, then the movie(s) they make will be worthless, or very close to it. Along with Captain America, Aragorn, Optimus Prime, and Sir Galahad, the one character in the universe who you CANNOT mess with is Van Flyheight, readers.

But you do not need to take my word for it; just visit the posts I have about the show to see what will be lost if Van is not brought to life properly. Or, better yet, hunt down Zoids: Chaotic Century’s eleven DVDs on www.amazon.com and watch the show yourselves. If you hate it, I will be surprised. If you love it – welcome to Zi, readers! We’re happy to have you on the battlefield!

Catch ya later! 😉

Related image

A New Gallery of Images from Zoids

Welcome to another post about ZOIDS, readers!!! Because my last post on the subject had lost some of its photos (they’re back now), I thought I would do another post showcasing images of my favorite Japanese “mechanical combat units.” And this time, I have added some videos, too. 😉

If you like these pictures, feel free to look up my other posts on my favorite series, Zoids: Chaotic Century, which is discussed at length here.

See you on the battlefield!

The Mithril Guardian

The Gustav

Image result for zoids gustav

Image result for zoids gustav

Related image

Related image

Image result for zoids gustav

Related image

The Genosaurer

Related image

Related image

Image result for zoids gustav

Image result for zoids geno saurer

Image result for zoids geno saurer

Image result for zoids geno saurer

Liger Zero

Image result for zoids Liger Zero

Image result for zoids Liger Zero

Image result for zoids Liger Zero

Image result for zoids Liger Zero

Image result for zoids Liger Zero

Related image

Image result for zoids Liger Zero

Image result for zoids Liger Zero

Related image

Image result for zoids Liger Zero

Image result for zoids Liger Zero Falcon

Phoenix

Image result for zoids phoenix

Related image

Image result for zoids phoenix

Image result for zoids phoenix

Jet Falcon

Image result for zoids jet falcon

Image result for zoids jet falcon

The Redler

Image result for zoids the redler

Image result for zoids the redler

Image result for zoids the redler

Related image

Image result for zoids the redler

Image result for zoids the redler

Related image

Some Old Favorites 

Image result for zoids the zaber fang

Image result for zoids the zaber fang

Image result for zoids the zaber fang

Image result for zoids the zaber fang

Related image

Image result for zoids the blade liger

Image result for zoids the blade liger

Image result for zoids the blade liger

Image result for zoids the blade liger

Image result for zoids the shield liger

Related image

Related image

Image result for zoids the shield liger

Image result for zoids the shield liger

Image result for zoids the white shield liger

Related image

Image result for zoids the lightning saix

Image result for zoids the lightning saix

Image result for zoids the lightning saix

Image result for zoids the shadow fox

Image result for zoids the shadow fox

Image result for zoids command wolf

Image result for zoids command wolf

Image result for zoids white command wolf

Related image

Image result for zoids irvine's command wolf

Image result for zoids desert command wolf

Spotlight: Zoids – The Liger Zero

First of all, I would like to extend a humble thank you to those who have dropped by to check out the Zoids posts I have written. I started writing them because I love zoids and could find very little about them on WordPress. They are a niche series and market, and this means they are not particularly popular. But every time one of you clicks on a post about a zoid, I feel that I have connected, however briefly, with another fan of this amazing Japanese series.

Today’s zoid is not from Chaotic Century, my favorite series, but from two of the series which followed it. This zoid is the Liger Zero, the main or “hero” zoid in Zoids: New Century Zero and Zoids: Fuzors.

The Liger Zero is a cat-type zoid. With a body more streamlined than the Shield Liger’s or the Blade Liger’s, it does not immediately strike us as lion-type. Since ligers are the offspring of male lions and female tigers, it makes sense that all Ligers in the Zoids’ franchise would resemble lions. Other cat-style zoids in the stories are too different from lions for me to believe that good ol’ Liger here is anything but lion-type.

The Liger Zero’s cockpit is in his head, behind those glowing orange eyes. Liger Zero – or Liger for short, according to his pilots – is a very rare type of zoid. He is one of the few Ultimate X zoids on Zi. What is an Ultimate X? Well, according to New Century Zero, Ultimate Xs are zoids with built-in black boxes known as organoid systems. The writers chose this gimmick for their pilots instead of using an actual organoid running around by the pilot’s side to make them and their zoids more special.

This organoid system allows each Ultimate X to learn and adapt to an opponent’s moves. Once defeated, the zoid’s organoid system analyzes the battle to learn which maneuver brought it down. When an Ultimate X engages a previous foe who defeated it in a prior battle, it strikes in the opponent’s documented weak spot or retaliates with a more powerful move of its own.

This makes the Liger a very cool zoid, but it also means that the bar for the pilot he chooses does not have to be particularly high. Yes, I said the Liger Zero chooses his pilots. He has an organoid system built into his zoid core, and as my post on the organoids of Chaotic Century pointed out, organoids can choose their “owners.” The Liger works on the same principle; he is not dumb – as in mute – as most other zoids are.

New Century Zero, as I stated in the post Ready, Fight!, revolved around battles between prizefighters that were largely mediocre. Only a few characters in the show actually had the potential to become champion fighters, and they were held back by their lack of real competition. In my opinion, the pilot for the Liger Zero in this series was not one of these potential champions. Bit Cloud was funny and perceptive, but he did not have the fiber necessary to become a star pilot in the true sense of the term. Most of his success, I would say, is due entirely to the Liger’s ability to learn and make up counterattacks on his own.

In the course of New Century Zero, the Liger Zero’s white armor could be removed and three other armors put on in its place. The picture below gives you an idea of what these armors look like:

All four of these armors had specific uses. The first armor was the white “basic unit” plating. This had no weapons except for a double barrel gun set between the Liger’s forelegs. Though Bit added a sniper rifle to the Liger’s back while he was “wearing” this armor in the second episode of the series, the weapon was later removed. The Liger’s greatest asset while wearing the “basic unit” armor was his Strike Laser Claw attack. When Bit gave the word as the Liger charged forward, the zoid’s forepaws would begin to glow with bright yellow energy.

Once within striking range of another zoid, the Liger would leap and pull back one of his paws – left or right, it did not matter which. Both paws were charged with energy, but the Liger could only strike with one paw at a time. In this way he – and all other Ligers – resembles a real lion. Lions can only raise and strike with one forepaw at a time. They cannot use both in a lion-to-lion battle, perhaps not even while hunting. They can only strike with one forepaw.

The Strike Laser Claw, as I said in the post about the Shadow Fox, can easily cut through the “skin” of lightly armored zoids. Zoids with moderately thick armor can be taken down by this attack as well and, though it will not finish larger zoids with thick armor, the Strike Laser Claw attack will still do noticeable damage that can lower their combat ability. Bit ended several of his initial battles by using the Strike Laser Claw maneuver to finish off an opponent. This was the beginning of the Blitz Team’s winning streak.

Related image

The next armor, also from New Century Zero, was the Jaeger armor. This armor was blue with white highlights and it was very aerodynamic. Light though it was, it could take a decent amount of damage in close quarters fighting, mostly because the zoids it was designed to fight were lightly armored as well.

The Jaeger armor’s primary purpose was to boost the Liger’s speed. This it achieved flawlessly, allowing the Liger to keep pace with Jack Cisco’s Lightning Saix. While Bit used the Jaeger armor on other opponents from time to time, its main purpose was to even the fight when the Blitz Team was scheduled to do battle with Cisco and his Lightning Team. The Jaeger armor did not come equipped with any weapons save the boosters on its back. When the Liger wore that armor, he was the weapon.

Image result for Liger Zero Schneider

The third armor for the Liger Zero was the Schneider armor. Orange with blue and white highlights, the Schneider armor came equipped with seven blue blades. Two were attached to the Liger’s sides and would fold up on his back, like a Blade Liger’s blades. Bit did not usually rely on these; his main attack when he put the Liger in the Schneider armor was the Buster Slash.

The Buster Slash was accomplished by the Liger extending five blue swords from his “mane.” These would flip forward to surround his head. One blade flipped down from the Liger’s forehead while four others would fold forward from his “cheeks.” These, like the blades on the Liger’s back, would charge with energy as the Liger ran toward his opponent. One hit with this maneuver was generally all Bit and the Liger needed to bring down a competitor.

The Schneider’s Buster Slash feature was a very powerful attack. Only a couple of zoids and their pilots were ever able to defeat it, and because of the Liger’s “black box,” their victories were short-lived. Bit and the Liger would eventually overcome a number of these defeats by using the “Seven Blade Attack.” Lowering the five forward blades, the Liger would then lower and extend the two swords on his back. These he would point forward from his sides, as a Blade Liger does when he is “shooting from the hip.”

This would allow the energy flowing through all seven blades to merge into a crackling, shield-like sphere of blue energy covering the front half of the Liger’s body. If the blades did not defeat an opponent, then the overwhelming energy produced by the seven charged swords would. Though Bit rarely used the Seven Blade Attack – and I doubt his true piloting ability – I have to admit this Attack was a beautiful thing to watch. It caused massive damage to opposing zoids and ended the battle with finality. The Schneider armor did not come equipped with any guns, just as the Jaeger did not. Aside from their built in weapons, the Liger could still use the Strike Laser Claw while “wearing” the Schneider or the Jaeger armor.

The fourth armor more than makes up for these armors’ lack of firepower, not to mention the “basic unit” armor’s small chest cannon. The fourth armor, known as the Panzer unit, was camouflage green and loaded down with guns. Lena must have envied Bit for this armor; he never had to reload it, so Dr. Torres was never pestered by anyone but his daughter for more ammunition and artillery. Bit was quite satisfied with what the Panzer already had.

Image result for Liger Zero Panzer

The Panzer armor came equipped with two Hybrid cannons, each of which had two muzzles. These were mounted along the Liger’s sides and reached from his shoulders almost to his hips. The recoil on these cannons was so great that the Liger would go skidding backward several hundred feet after firing them. Meanwhile, missiles of every stripe and size that could possibly be inserted within the armor lay in wait for Bit to fire off his “Mega Bomb” attack.

When Bit fired the “Mega Bomb,” these missiles streaked out of hidden compartments throughout the armor. Using this attack, the Liger could destroy multiple targets at once, or almost obliterate a single opponent in one fell swoop. For gun and ammunition enthusiasts, the Panzer was the cream of the Liger’s crop of alternate armors.

Despite the power of the Panzer armor, Bit rarely used it. Because it held such arsenal, the armor was very heavy. It severely limited the Liger’s mobility. Combine this with the immense power the armor had to draw from the Liger for it to function, and it meant that the Panzer armor would make the Liger’s systems overheat to a dangerous degree. If Bit did not jettison the armor a few minutes after using it, he could very well kill the Liger.

And so, after using the Panzer armor in combat, Bit would have to jettison the Liger’s fourth skin on the battlefield. Heat shimmers would rise from the Liger as he stretched and shook off the sense of confinement. This was no big deal if the Liger had just dealt the final blow to his challenger. But if he had not done this, then he and Bit would be left completely vulnerable to attack. Without his armors the Liger Zero is literally naked; stripped bare with no defenses except his Strike Laser Claw. And even that may not work without a set of armor on his chassis. So while the Panzer was a great asset, using it carried too many risks most of the time. This was Bit’s reason for holding the armor in reserve after refusing to use it for most of the series.

The next two alternate modes the Liger Zero possessed were used in the Zoids: Fuzors series. I did not particularly enjoy Fuzors for the simple reason that it involved more meaningless prize fights with characters that had little talent for actual combat. Plus, the series ended mid-way through here in the States, and so I never saw the show from beginning to end.

I was also somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of separate Zoids fusing together. It felt a little too much like they were taking a cue from Transformers, where two Autobots or Decepticons could combine into one fighter. The organoids fusing with a larger zoid never bothered me; maybe because they did not change the zoid’s outward appearance on most occasions. But actual zoids in Chaotic Century and New Century Zero had never combined into one “combat unit” previously. I cannot say precisely why, but the concept never did sit well with me.

This is why I do not remember much about the two alternate modes of the Liger Zero in Fuzors. The first alternate mode was the Liger Zero Phoenix. A zoid which had never been seen before and which was something of a legend, the Phoenix was a wild zoid who did not usually mingle with the tame or piloted zoids.

Image result for Liger Zero Phoenix

Liger Zero Phoenix

Despite this, she eventually decided to partner with the Liger Zero and his pilot RD. That is correct, I said she. Throughout the series the Phoenix was referred to time and again as “she”, the first combat zoid ever to be declared female. The Liger Zero was always spoken of in the male sense, as were several other zoids in Chaotic Century. While the organoid Specula was called “it” a number of times in that series, I personally considered her to be female. The Phoenix’s gender was therefore not terribly surprising or upsetting for me.

I do not remember too much of the Liger Zero Phoenix’s capabilities in battle. I think the combined power of the two zoids allowed the Liger some limited flight capabilities and I believe it super-charged his Strike Laser Claw attack. There was also a lot of fire in the arena when RD had Liger Zero and the Phoenix combine into one; she was the bird of fire, after all. I think she may have added some flames to the results of the Strike Laser Claw attack.

This partnership did not end well. In one battle, RD got in over his head and the Phoenix was destroyed. At least, her zoid form was. You know the old legend about how the phoenix is reborn from the ashes, right? Well, after Phoenix’s death, RD went into an emotional tailspin. On his journey to find meaning in his life after getting his partner killed, he met a young, dark-skinned, dark-haired girl named Venus. She was a bright, chirpy little thing who was wise beyond her years and had feathers in her hair.

She also had the ability to commune with zoids, something RD discovered when he woke up to find her conversing one-sidedly with the Liger. (Liger’s growls do not translate into English, readers.) With Venus’ help, RD found a new Fuzor partner for the Liger, the Jet Falcon. The two combined into the Liger Zero Falcon and were a pretty impressive team – by Fuzors’ standards. I am not up to speed on their capabilities, but they were not to be sneezed at, from what I recall. And the Jet Falcon was referred to in the male sense, in case you were curious.

RD and Venus parted ways after this, but when they did he noticed that one of the feather’s the girl wore had fallen on the ground near his feet. Picking it up, RD was surprised to find it looked like a phoenix feather.

Related image

Liger Zero Falcon

This is as much proof as we ever get that Venus was in fact a reborn Phoenix, but in human form. I cannot say the idea is terribly unappealing; it was one of the few things I liked about Fuzors. After all, the legends never say whether the phoenix is reborn as a phoenix, and the Japanese writers obviously decided to have some fun with this assumption on the part of viewers. It was a very innovative story device, in my opinion. Color me impressed.

Well, readers, this is all the info I have on the Liger Zero. If you want to know more, check out Zoids: New Century Zero and/or Zoids: Fuzors. If you would rather skip watching the series, try the Wikipedia files on them instead. Neither of these series were my favorite show, and I must admit that I rank Fuzors even lower than New Century. But this is not the fault of the zoids, and they are always worth watching, even when their pilots are not.

So, in the spirit of the Zoidian desert, readers, I will “see you on the battlefield!”

Spotlight: Zoids – The Lightning Saix

Here we are “in the far reaches of the Milky Way” galaxy again, readers! Today’s post is about one of the most amazing zoids on Zi – the Lightning Saix!

Why is this zoid so special? Look at the video below before you take my word for it!

Is this zoid cool or what?!

The Lightning Saix is a high speed, high performance zoid built by the Guylos Empire in Zoids: Chaotic Century. Capable of reaching 305 kilometers per hour (202 miles per hour), the Lightning Saix’s intense speed is really tough on the pilot’s body. The first pilot for the prototype Saix passed out during a demonstration of the zoid’s abilities. And that was with a buffer installed that powered down the Saix to keep it from going as fast as it could run!

Based on the cheetah, the Lightning Saix’s bare capabilities are on par with those of the Republican Command Wolf. However, the Saix is much faster and more dexterous. Its lithe frame and agility make it an excellent close combat zoid, able to hit an opponent and dodge away before the other zoid and pilot can retaliate. The only zoid which can “dance” with a Lightning Saix is a Storm Sworder. While the Storm Sworder is flying at Mach 3.2, it outstrips the Saix. But if the two zoids get into close combat when the Sworder is flying at lower speeds, you are in for one spectacular supersonic battle!

The Saix, like the cheetah, has claws which do not fully retract. Once the zoid is ready to run, the claws extend. They are sharp, able to cut through the light armor of smaller zoids or the stronger armor of intermediately outfitted opponents. The Saix’s teeth are also able to pierce the lighter “skin” of other zoids.

The Lightning Saix is not a brawny creature. Just like a cheetah, its best asset is its speed. It cannot wrestle in the dirt like a Blade Liger. That would be disastrous for it. The Saix is best piloted by someone who can shoot from a distance and who knows how to strike hard and fast, then run like lightning to get away.

Obviously, though, the zoid is armed. You cannot fail to see the double barrel cannon on the Saix’s back, readers. This is a Vulcan laser gun. It is very effective on lightly armored zoids, or “combat units” with somewhat thicker armor. But the Saix will definitely not be competing in the Highest Yield Explosive Shells Competition. The lasers, like the zoid, are meant for quick-strike fighting. If you need more weight and strength during a battle, then you are going to need something other than a Lightning Saix.

The Lightning Saix is a very fast zoid. It can cross land faster than any other “mechanical combat unit.” The only land zoids which have been modified to keep up with a Saix (to the best of my knowledge) are the Blade Liger and the Liger Zero. In Zoids: Chaotic Century, Van Flyheight’s Blade Liger underwent some booster modifications which allowed it to keep pace with the Lightning Saix.

In Zoids: New Century Zero, the Liger Zero had a set of blue armor, called the Jaeger (or ‘Hunter’) armor, which allowed the zoid to travel at the same speed as the Lightning Saix. This armor was not the Liger Zero’s primary or “basic unit” armor. The Liger Zero’s armor can be changed, allowing the Liger to achieve certain characteristics in combat against specific opponents. The Jaeger armor was one of those three ‘special suits,’ as it were.

There is one last thing you must know about this zoid, readers. One last secret talent of the Lightning Saix. When traveling at speed, the Saix is impossible for most other land zoids to catch. This is when military bases deploy their anti-zoid measures – missiles that will home in on the zoid and destroy it before it can escape the perimeter of the base from which the missiles were fired.

When these missiles are fired at the Saix, the zoid is usually going at a lower speed. It gives the missiles just enough rope to hang themselves. Then it kicks into a higher gear, going faster than the missiles. The zoid also activates some holographic technology and systems embedded in its body. Combining the holographic tech with its high speed, the Saix is then able to create the illusion that it has abruptly vanished.

As you can imagine, this does not go over well with the missiles. They were chasing a target one minute, the next, it disappeared from their radar. The computers in the missiles freeze up as they try to figure this puzzle out. This means the missiles fly skyward in confusion, where they overload and blow up as their computers fry, unable to process their target’s disappearance. Anti-zoid missiles fired from other zoids have a similar reaction, usually.

Once the missiles are gone, the Saix lowers its speed and turns off the holo emitters. Abracadabra, allacazam, and hey, presto! – the Lightning Saix is back in plain view for everyone to see!

Talk about “catch me if you can,” huh, readers?

Most models of the zoid have green eyes, under which their single-seat cockpit is positioned. The one notable exception is Irvine’s Lightning Saix in Zoids: Chaotic Century. But I am not telling you why his Saix had orange eyes. You will have to find that out for yourselves!

As a last note, Irvine was the first pilot for a Lightning Saix in Chaotic Century. In Zoids: New Century Zero, we had three Lightning Saix pilots. Jack Cisco was the first Saix pilot the Blitz Team encountered. He later formed a team of the cheetah-type zoids, adding the sisters Chris and Kelly to back him up in the prize fights. They named their squad, rightly enough, the Lightning Team.

The three also demonstrated a new tactic in the battles they participated in. Jack led the charge and the sisters fell in line behind him, allowing them to build up more speed as they stayed in his draft. This tactic was very effective the first time around, allowing Cisco and the sisters to whip Bit Cloud and his friends.

The second time, it did not go so well for the Lightning Team. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you. Never use the same tactic twice on the same opponent, readers. And definitely do not pull the same trick in the same battle more than once!

Catch ya later!

The Mithril Guardian

Spotlight: Zoids – The Dibison

Welcome back to Spotlight! And yes, this is another post about a zoid. Yeah, yeah, so what if the series has been off the airwaves for the last ten or more years? It is still a good series!!!

All right, down to “tacks of brass,” as North put it in Rise of the Guardians. Today’s zoid is the Dibison. The Dibison is a buffalo-type zoid. That is, it is designed to resemble a North American buffalo. Before I get to the zoid’s stats, here is a video of the Dibison in action for you to watch:

Impressive, isn’t it?

The Dibison is a heavily armored yet maneuverable zoid. Most of the zoid’s armor is concentrated on its front half, like most of a real buffalo’s weight is in the forward half of its body. This means that the zoid can, like a buffalo, charge forward and slam into an opposing “mechanical combat unit.” Oh, and those horns on the Dibison’s head? They are called the Twin Crasher Horns. They are as deadly as they look. The horns are strong enough to pierce Iron Kong armor in the right situation, and a pilot can use them to pick up and toss lighter zoids sky high – where they are easily shot.

You may also notice, readers, that this zoid has a three barrel cannon on its chest between its forelegs, just as the Shield Liger and the Zaber Fang have between their forelegs. The Dibison, like the Shield Liger, was built by the Helic Republic after that nation’s long war with the Guylos Empire came to an end. It would seem, however, that the Republic is still determined to pack as much firepower into their zoids as possible, despite the cessation of hostilities between the two nations.

Some things never change. 🙂

The cockpit for the Dibison is in its head, behind those angry orange eyes. If you are curious about those strange silver boxes on the zoid’s “cheeks,” they are eight shot missile pods. They are not to be laughed at, readers – unless you want to eat your laughter when the missiles hit you. Though I have never seen (to the best of my recollection) a Dibison using its hooves on another zoid, I imagine the appendages would bring down an opponent with finality.

Unfortunately, the two zoid pilots I have seen in a Dibison’s cockpit do not favor such creative tactics – not for the most part, anyway. Lieutenant Thomas Richard Schubaltz and Blitz Team member Lena Toros each piloted a Dibison. Thomas was the pilot of the Dibison in Zoids: Chaotic Century, while Lena had a bison for her first few episodes in Zoids: New Century Zero. Later, Lena exchanged her Dibison for a Gun Sniper loaded down with an excessive amount of artillery.

Both Thomas and Lena favored the Dibison for its most noticeable weapons: the seventeen shot assault cannons embedded in the hump on the zoid’s back.

These cannons are deadly, especially when fired all at once (Thomas called such a shot a “Megalow Max”). The seventeen shot assault cannons are, arguably, the Dibison’s main weapons in combat. Though the bison was built to be a multi-use zoid, the pilots in its cockpit almost always favor using the cannons in every battle they participate in. Here they are, sitting in a zoid with the ability to do so much – and yet they insist continually on using the cannons first and foremost in almost every battle.   It never occurs to them, apparently, that one of the smaller cannons, the horns, or a hoof would do the job more neatly. No, they believe that the best way to win a battle is with their finger pulling back the trigger.

I guess this penchant for using the cannons is understandable. At least it seems so, given that the two pilots I have seen in a Dibison each have a thing for pyrotechnics, explosions, and a wide field of damage. If all one wants to do is blow the surrounding countryside and everything in it to kingdom come, then the Dibison is a good zoid for the job. As long as you have ammo for the cannons on the zoid’s back, you can shoot just about everything on the battlefield you want.

But if that is the case, then you had better hope no zoids charge into you or otherwise attack your bison. However good the Dibison is as a fixed weapon, its front heavy armor lowers its speed significantly. The Dibison is maneuverable, but only up to a point. That hump will not bend after a while, and the bison is not nearly as quick and nimble as the predator-type zoids naturally are. In close combat, the Dibison has a good reaction time. But it cannot turn, duck, or lunge on a dime like a Liger, a Command Wolf, or a Zaber can.

And because the weight of the Dibison’s armor makes it so much slower than predator-style zoids, if you have to get out of Dodge in a hurry, you really have to push the bison to get going. It is not a long distance sprinter; it cannot lope, only huff and puff to keep the faster zoids ahead of it a few bison lengths away. This can be a severe disadvantage in a battle, and it is the limiting factor for the Dibison that weighs most on my mind.

Admittedly, while I am not a fan of either Thomas Schubaltz or Lena Toros, Thomas’ skill with the Dibison far outstrips hers. Lena is, in some ways, a certifiable nut job. She loves ammunition and guns. Throughout New Century Zero she is constantly begging her father, Dr. Toros, for more munitions or bigger cannons. And when she is beaten by a more nimble opponent who uses their zoid’s weapons and abilities in a conservative manner, her reaction is to yell and scream childishly.

Usually she promises that she will get her revenge, or screams that the battle was not a fair one. Well excuse me, aren’t we mature? Her battle tactics are determined by her pride, which says she does not need skill to win an engagement with another team, just an endless supply of ammo.

Yeah. Sure. You would think she would have learned a thing or two after being dumped on her tail every other episode in New Century Zero. But noooo, not Lena Toros! She is the best there is – when no one is cheating her out of her rightful winnings, of course! (*Insert irritated eye roll here, please, readers.*)

While Thomas also has an excessive love of blowing things to smithereens, he has successfully used his Dibison in close combat situations several times. I have to give credit where credit is due, and the fact is that while Thomas Shubaltz is annoying and something of a snob, he is not a horrible pilot. He is not one of the best zoid pilots out there, in my opinion… but he is a competent one. Until I see better, he is the one Dibison pilot I can point to as an example of how the zoid ought to be used in combat.

Well, readers, I have to sign off for now. Tune in next time for something new – hopefully!

See you on the battlefield!

The Mithril Guardian

Spotlight: Zoids – The Storm Sworder

I have never seen a swan in flight, readers. I have seen swans, but I have never watched them fly. I have no idea if they are poetry in motion while in flight; they are beautiful “baubles” on a lake. I only know that the ones I have seen are gorgeous creatures, and I wish I could see some again.

Why do I bring up swans? Check out the video below before you read on:

Beautiful, aren’t they?

These magnificent zoids are Storm Sworders. The fastest aerial zoids on Zi, the Storm Sworders were developed by the Helic Republic during the last days of their war with the Guylos Empire. Lightweight and able to reach Mach 3.2, Storm Sworders are the equivalent of American fighter jets. They are poetry in motion during flight – and during combat.

Storm Sworders come in two varieties: the white, “older” model Storm Sworder was the first type built. Lightly armored so that it can reach Mach 3.2 and keep together at that speed, these Storm Sworders are nimble Pteranadon-type fighters. They are single-pilot zoids with a back seat, making Storm Sworders capable of carrying two people. In a pinch, four rather small people can fit in the cockpit, which is behind the Sworder’s orange eyes.

Storm Sworders come equipped with missiles attached to their wings. These can be fired off like jet fighter missiles to strike down enemies ahead of or around them. Faster than anything else that flies, the Storm Sworder can outmaneuver every other aerial zoid in seconds. They can twist and turn, tumble and rise far faster than any other air zoid.

For close combat, Storm Sworders have a pair of blades or “swords” in their wings. (You didn’t think they were called “Storm Sworders” just because it was a cool name, did you?) Extended and charged with energy, these swords will cut through other zoids like a knife through butter. Most other air zoids have no prayer of avoiding a Sworder’s blades; they are simply too slow to dodge them.

Storm Sworders are also equipped with mini-machine guns behind the claws on their wings. The claws flip down to lie flat against the wing, the gun barrels pop out, and budda-budda-BOOM! ‘Nother enemy down! In addition to these weapons, Storm Sworders have something called “sword missiles.” These are long, thin blades which can be fired from the forehead area of the Sworder, as well as from the “wrists” of the zoid’s wings. Most pilots do not use these missiles in battle.

The zoids also have a blade, or sword, hidden in the “crest” on their foreheads. This flips up and is charged with energy to cut through an enemy the same way as the “wing swords.” All this makes the Storm Sworder one giant rapier, which can be piloted through the sky – to deadly effect!

The second variation of the Storm Sworder is the Triple S. Short for Storm Sworder Stealth-type, the Triple S is painted black and has the ability to remain undetected by radar. Otherwise, it is the same as the white, “older” Storm Sworders – just more sneaky. Of course, a Triple S that is “painted” by the enemy so radar can pick it up is in big trouble. But if you are not prepared for a Triple S to show up, you will not have the chance to “paint” it to see it on your radar.

A pilot for the Storm Sworder has to learn to manage the intense speed at which the zoid travels. Mach 3.2 is fast, readers! It is “tough on the body,” and a pilot incapable of taking the stress is not going to last beyond his first flight. This is also true for the zoid’s agility and nimbleness. Though such maneuvers cannot be executed at Mach 3.2, the zoids will still be carrying momentum from traveling at that speed when they get into a dogfight. The pilot has to be able to withstand the force of travelling at Mach 3.2 and be able to handle the zoid when it drops down to its lower speeds. Otherwise, the pilot’s a deader.

Rosso and Viola, characters from Zoids: Chaotic Century, are the best Storm Sworder pilots I have ever seen. (Actually, they are the only capable Storm Sworder pilots I have ever seen.) Of the two, Rosso is the better pilot. This is an interesting twist on the story, because Viola was the one who initially piloted flying zoids.

Rosso’s great skill with his Storm Sworder seems to come from his special attunement to the zoid. He lectured one pilot – twice – about the need to “guide your zoid with your spirit, pal! With your spirit!”

Almost every main character in Chaotic Century has a special bond with their zoid, the way Western cowboys bond with their specific or favorite horses. Rosso is one of the characters whose bond with his “mechanical combat unit” is the most noticeable and poignant. Rosso is tall, muscular, and would give Robin Hood’s friend Little John a run for his money. Yet he pilots the swan-like Storm Sworder flawlessly, as a samurai would wield a katana.

I wish I could take piloting lessons from this guy, readers. I really do!

The Storm Sworder is the pièce de résistance of aerial combat zoids. This is definitely a zoid I wish I had, for the simple fact that I would love to fly that high and that fast!

May the wind be at your backs, readers!

The Mithril Guardian