Once more this blogger brings you to the burning deserts of Zi, readers! Today’s subject is not a zoid, however. No, today we are looking at two of the best characters in Zoids: Chaotic Century. These would be none other than Rosso and Viola, the bandits who became guardians of peace and justice.
If you are scratching your head over that statement, I will do my best not to spoil too much of it for you. This is a transition that should really be viewed for its full impact to have any meaning. For this reason, the discussion today will focus on the characters’ introduction and the lead up to the moment where everything changed rather than on their relationships with other cast members in the story.
All right, down to business. Rosso and Viola appear in the second episode of Chaotic Century as the leaders of the Desert Alca Valino Gang. Viola is reading their subordinates – Bianco, Nero, and Boll – the riot act for being defeated in battle by a village boy in the opening installment. The three have limped back to base following their confrontation with Van and are trying to justify their loss to the novice pilot.
Viola isn’t having any of it, but Rosso takes the three men’s story as the truth. Intrigued by their description of Zeke, he realizes that the boy has an organoid in his “posession.” So he orders Viola to take the other members of the gang to steal Zeke so they can sell him to the Imperial Army in order to “regain [their] former position. Then [they] won’t be stuck playing games out here [in the desert].”
We never learn just why Rosso, Viola, and (presumably) the rest of the group were kicked out of the Imperial Army. Their skill as pilots certainly was not an issue. Given what is said in the show, it appears that Rosso and his most loyal officers were booted from the Army for offending a political bureaucrat or somehow disobeying the top brass.
Again, this is never confirmed in the course of the series. It is all conjecture on this author’s part, based on the hints dropped the English translation of the show. Since the two bandits do not appear in the manga at all, there is no other source of information to confirm or deny this theory. (Recently, I discovered that the manga and the anime for Zoids: Chaotic Century tell two completely different stories. Though several characters are the same, others either do not appear in the anime or are unique to the manga, and vice versa. Fans thus consider the two story lines to be set in alternate universes.) The hints in the series are just mysterious enough for viewers to come up with several reasonable guesses as to why the Imperials kicked the Gang out of the army.
In order to return to the Army, Viola leads her men in an attack on the Wind Colony, Van’s home town. When the hero’s big sister, Maria, insists he and Zeke left earlier, the bandit does not believe her. She kidnaps the younger woman in order to force the villagers to hand the organoid over.
Van, understandably, is not willing to go along with this. Escaping the village, he rescues Zeke and frees his sister. In the process he defeats the bandits once again. Realizing the others were telling the truth and that Rosso was right to believe Zeke was an organoid, Viola sounds the retreat.
After this battle Van, Fiona, and Zeke leave the Wind Colony to protect the village from repeated attacks. For seven to ten episodes after this, the Desert Alca Valino Gang more or less follows the two and their new friends across the lawless countryside. Though they do not actively pursue them, they do run into each other rather frequently.
Rosso and Viola also play a role in the growing unrest between the Helic Republic and Guylos Empire. Hired to attack an Imperial battalion to trigger the Battle of Red River and renew the war between the two countries, the Gang is hung out to dry by the officer who requested their help when the skirmish fails to spark a war. Desperate to avoid prison, Rosso decides to go after Van in a last ditch effort to capture his organoid and sell Zeke to the Imperial Army. He essentially hopes to buy back his former rank and save his and his people’s skin.
The plan, of course, fails. Rosso is arrested and sent to military prison, leaving Viola bent on vengeance for her lover’s incarceration. Her own plans are derailed, however, when she finds that Van has stopped off in her old village and become friends with her baby sister. In order to prevent her younger sister, Rosa, from learning the truth about Viola, Van lies and makes himself out to be the villain. This leaves the woman who wanted to kill him deep in his debt and with a new outlook on life.
More befalls the bandits in the course of the show, but to reveal all of that would be telling. 😉 All I can say is that the two make an excellent couple. Rosso trusts Viola as his second-in-command not only because he loves her, but because she can mentally and physically keep up with him. Both bandits are also proficient at infiltration, shown when they steal into the Imperial palace to execute a kidnapping, and they are master tacticians.
The two compliment each other very well. Rosso is a good leader, able to direct his followers and Viola from behind or at the forefront of the battle. Using the nose horn on his Red Horn, he shattered the energy shield produced by Van’s Shield Liger, and his skill with the Iron Kong was amazing. While she lacks the physical and piloting power to attack an opponent directly, Viola was quite capable as the pilot of her Redler and showed her own strategic abilities in zoid combat on several occasions.
But it was when they were given command of the prototype Storm Sworders that the two really came into their own. This was more noticeable for Rosso, whose skill took an enormous leap forward. As I said in the post on the Pteranadon-type zoid, he controlled the Sworder in a manner similar to a samurai wielding his sword. Having been the pilot of an aerial zoid for far longer, it is possible that Viola was already at the height of her ability. The fact that she was easier to take down in a Storm Sworder makes this seem fairly likely, indicating that she may have had further to go to achieve complete harmony with her zoid.
To be perfectly honest, Rosso and Viola are two of the main reasons this blogger recommends Zoids: Chaotic Century so highly. Their story, which is not in the manga at all, is one of the best side arcs in the entire series. Although it got a bit sappy in a couple of places, their romance was handled well and their character growth is one of the things this author enjoys seeing every time she re-watches the show.
Normally, I would say more about their relationships with other characters in the story, but that would be going into spoiler territory for these two. Suffice it to say that Van has a greater effect on Rosso and Viola than the other way around. If they had not met and been bested by him, then neither would have become the guardians of peace and justice they were later in the show.
That’s not to say the two bandits had no effect on the hero. Without their initial, selfish desire to take Zeke, Van might have left the Wind Colony later than he did. The two were the catalyst which drove him to seek adventure beyond his home. If not for that, we never would have had a series in the first place. And later, when they become heroes in their own right, it is made clear that Van respects and counts the two as friends.
Rosso and Viola would be hard for Hollywood to cast based largely on their looks. I cannot think of any Hollywood actor who could conceivably fit the role of Rosso, though there are some actresses who could be done up to resemble Viola fairly easily. If – and that is a big if these days – a competent director, writer, cast, and crew could be found, then translating these two bandits and the rest of the characters to the silver screen would be possible. Unfortunately, though, that does not seem likely to happen.
On the bright side, if you are interested in “meeting” these two heroes, you can either buy the DVDs on Amazon or watch the show for free here. Though the first few episodes may not be impressive, if you give the series a chance it will more than reward you for your patience. But don’t take my word for it – check out Zoids: Chaotic Century see for yourself how good it actually is!
Catch you later!
The Mithril Guardian