Day three of Torture Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo Week STARTS NOW!!!!
Are you ready, Tony?!
I won’t be too long. Genesis was the one zoids series that managed to slip under my radar. While it did make it to Cartoon Network’s Toonami, I somehow managed to miss it. Not that I mind.
The few episodes I did see of the series were on the Internet. And my one problem was that I couldn’t find one episode of the series in English. Not one! I know that it was translated into English, but I couldn’t find those episodes.
I had to watch those few episodes in Japanese. Thankfully, someone had added subtitles to them, so I wasn’t totally lost. But I will warn you right now: DO NOT watch a show with subtitles unless you are prepared to miss some of the action.
On the bright side, the introductory song sounded great in Japanese. I’m not sure I want to hear it in English; that would probably ruin it.
Back to the show. Zoids: Genesis is set even further into Zi’s future than either New Century Zero or Fuzors. In this series a manmade ecological disaster has rocked Zi and the people are nearly wiped out (the zoids mostly survived). When things settle down, the survivors slowly begin their re-colonization of Zi. One nation is based in a huge floating crystal called Sora City (yes, more than one person lives there, Tony). Another is based on the ground in the city of Iron Rock. The last substantial civilization is based nearby, in the kingdom of Digu. (Digu eventually evolved into Digald.) There are also a myriad of villages and smaller kingdoms scattered across Zi.
Yes, DiNozzo, Digald is the aggressor in the series. Hold your horses, okay?
Because of the devastation caused by the disaster, Zi remains hard to inhabit without these huge, treelike structures referred to in the story as Generators. The Generators (built by the people of Sora City; more on that in a minute) somehow make large areas of Zi habitable for its people. These Generators also provide a substance called Reggel which acts as fuel for almost everything – including Zoids.
The series starts in a little seaside village where the young hero, Ruuji Familion, lives with his family. In the first episode we see him helping his father and other village men raise a strange Liger from the ocean floor. Once they’ve opened the cockpit, several of the men hop into it in an attempt to awaken the zoid. But none of them can activate it.
Ruuji’s younger brother asks why he doesn’t give it a try, and Ruuji gently reminds him that he has tried to awaken other zoids before. Having met with failure every time, Ruuji prefers not to be hurt again.
Yes, Tony, that is about to change. At mid-day, the peaceful village is attacked. Bio-raptors of Digald (zoid skeletons filled with some sort of liquid that serves as a body) tear into the village to conquer it.
The leader of the battalion, Major Zairin, exhorts his soldiers to take the town quickly. He and his men are all in these balloon-type suits, the only way that they can control their zoids – the Bio-zoids don’t really have anything like a cockpit. My guess is that the substance that serves the Bio-Raptors as a body doesn’t mix well with the human body.
Ruuji’s father and several other men scramble into their zoids to face the attackers. But their defense is absolutely pitiful, and not because they lack skill. The only zoids they have other than the dormant Liger are two centipede-type zoids and a Cannon Tortoise-style zoid with double shells. (Yes, a Cannon Tortoise is a turtle-looking zoid. Will you stop interrupting?!)
Anyone who has seen almost any zoid battle can tell you that if you are fighting with a Cannon Tortoise, odds are you will lose. These zoids are slow because of their heavy armor, which isn’t much protection in a bombardment from zoids with better weapons. It is especially not useful when those other zoids are in close proximity to the Tortoise.
Ruuji’s father manages to live through this encounter, but his zoid (the Cannon Tortoise) is knocked over. He’s out of the fight because the Tortoise is too heavy to regain its feet quickly. The centipedes are stepped on and it appears that the village is done for.
That’s when Ruuji, trying to help, ends up in the Liger. Wonder of wonders, the zoid activates and Ruuji intuits its name: Murasame Liger.
Despite his shock at finally being ‘chosen’ by a zoid, Ruuji wastes no time. A large blade which the villagers consider a relic of their ancestors and which is kept in Ruuji’s house suddenly springs through his roof to attach to Murasame Liger’s back. With this new weapon, Ruuji charges into the fight.
Zairin is at first pleased by this. Apparently conquering has become such a common outcome to all Digald assaults that he’s begun to find fighting boring. He mentions that he’s been looking for a challenge and wholeheartedly engages Ruuji, who has already downed some of the slower Digald pilots.
But Ruuji has none of Zairin’s experience and goes down. Disappointed, Zairin is about to finish the job when two interlopers – one piloting a red Sword Wolf and the other piloting a white Lancestag (moose zoid with a lance in one shoulder) – drive at him and the remaining soldiers. This unexpected attack forces Zairin and his men to pull out of the village.
The brief interlude allows the two pilots to introduce themselves to the villagers. The Sword Wolf pilot is the dispossessed king, Ra-Kan, of a small, unnamed nation. The Lancestag pilot is his cynical but feisty niece Rei-Mii.
Ra-Kan tells the villagers that the attackers were after their Generator. He says that if the Digald soldiers take the village they will run the Generator on ‘high,’ or at full capacity, in order to produce more Reggel. To get away with this, they will subsequently enslave the village.
At this point Zairin returns. Though Rei-Mii and Ra-Kan join Ruuji to fight against the Digald battalion, both are quickly put down. In one-on-one combat, Ruuji forces Zairin and his soldiers to leave. But a parting shot from Zairin meant for Murasame Liger misses and clips the Generator, damaging it. This puts Zairin out of sorts since getting the Generator was his primary goal in attacking the village. Now it may be useless for anything.
Back in the village, a minor panic ensues. When the people calm down, Ra-Kan says that unless the Generator is repaired the fish will die, the people will forget how to work the land, and the village will fall into nothing. When someone asks if he’s sure, he replies that he has seen it happen many times before. Wherever Digald’s forces conquer, the Generators eventually fail or are destroyed and the people who relied on them die.
Ruuji, feeling responsible for this turn of events because the shot was meant for him, decides to travel with Ra-Kan and Rei-Mii to find a Generator mechanic.
This is about where I left off watching the series and instead skipped straight to the end, which I’m not going to reveal. Come on, DiNozzo, would you tell me the end of your favorite James Bond movie? No, you would make me watch it.
Okay, okay. I’ll mention a few more details that I’ve gleaned from the Internet regarding Zoids: Genesis. Ruuji ends up getting a gang together, just as Van did. The group includes Ra-Kan (de facto leader, father-type figure for Ruuji); Rei-Mii (she develops a crush on Ruuji despite berating him many times for his mistakes in battle); Kotona Elegance (assassin, thief, and former heir to the throne of Iron Rock); Thunder Garaga (a freedom fighter against Digald and a muscular man with a hot temper); Ron Mangun (expert tactician and secret agent of Sora City; works with Garaga to keep him from getting killed); and Seijuurou-san (a skilled swordsman and pilot who left a culture which fought zoid battles in an arena because he accidentally killed his student, a young boy like Ruuji).
Together, this band fights and eventually overcomes Digald, saving Ruuji’s village at the end of the series.
Oh, right, I was going to tell you about the Generators. These were built by the people of Sora City so that Zi would one day be inhabitable again. However, the Sora City inhabitants got so comfortable in the sky that they decided to stay there. The remaining survivors on the ground then congregated around the Generators and were able to start rebuilding. Does it make sense now?
Although this series goes back to Chaotic Century’s more adventurous spirit, ditching the prizefighting battles (Genesis lasted fifty  episodes, still lower than Chaotic Century but higher than the other two sequels), on the whole I didn’t enjoy it that much. This is due primarily to Genesis’s darker and grittier plot. Where Chaotic Century was upbeat and fun Genesis is dark, gloomy, and depressed.
My other complaints in regard to Genesis, though, are nitpicker’s points from a dedicated fan. For starters, having the zoids require refueling was annoying. Previously, all a pilot had to do was give a zoid a little break in between fights and the creature would keep running like a champ. In Genesis, the characters frequently have to worry when their zoids begin to run low on the oily substance in the series known as Reggel.
On top of this, several zoids in the series don’t even appear to be zoids. Seijuurou’s Zaber Fang-like zoid is covered in wires and so skeletal that it’s hard to tell what kind of cat it is. The same goes for Ron Mangun’s panda-type zoid, the Bamburian. Never mind that the machine is based on a giant panda, it’s got so many lines plugged into it that I’m surprised anyone could tell it was supposed to be anything but an overgrown ball of wires.
The Bio-zoids were also a minus in my book. These machines lacked the physical resemblance to animals most other zoids have and which makes those zoids so beautiful.
In one way, I appreciate the Bio-zoids. Skeletons filled with some sort of jelly, they are symbols of the corruption and greed of the Digald ruler. But as zoids, they are utterly contemptible. They bear no resemblance to the creatures I have enjoyed watching for so long, and that is a sour disappointment to me. But their purpose is accomplished as evil creatures serving an evil use.
I also found the underlying theme of the Generators irritating. How is Zi supposed to be capable of supporting life without these aids in a future series? The Generators destroy any sense of normalcy for potential shows new writers may want to put in circulation. Such new series would not have to include the Generators but some writers may feel inclined to do so. To me, the Generators were more of a hindrance story-wise than a help.
So my verdict for the show is “interesting but not enough to capture this viewer’s ongoing enthusiasm.” New Century Zero, Fuzors, and Genesis all keep zoids in the public consciousness, and that’s a very good thing. But none of them equal Zoids: Chaotic Century in either plot or style, which would have been a better aim for the writers.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still hopeful that there will be another zoids series as good as Chaotic Century some day. That day just isn’t here yet.
Now, for tomorrow’s subject in this Torture DiNozzo Week… Hmm.
It is so much fun hearing you moan. See you!