Tag Archives: Gustav

Spotlight – Zoids: Chaotic Century – Moonbay

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Here we again return, readers, to the burning deserts of the planet Zi! Although there will be more Zoids posts coming out next year, this will be the final one until 2019. I wanted to cover the main cast for the show before the year was out, so it seemed best to shift my earlier plans around in order to give Moonbay her dues today. There will be more and different Spotlight! articles forthcoming in January, however, so don’t think I have forgotten any of my promises! 😉

That being explained, let’s stop beating around the bush and get to business. First encountered by Van and Fiona in the episode “Sleeper Trap,” Moonbay serves as the mother figure of their group during the first half of the season. In this way she is a little like Star Wars RebelsHera Syndulla. But where Hera is relaxed and laid back, Moonbay is feisty, fiery, and more than willing to tell off her hotheaded young charge, Van Flyheight.

Sharp-tongued and flirty, Moonbay has a good head for business and brooks no nonsense she herself does not commit. Though she can strike viewers as a bit greedy in her business dealings, the reality is that Moonbay is not a mercenary. Because she loves to travel and wants to preserve her independence, she needs to acquire a respectable influx of cash whenever she can get it. After all, it isn’t easy maintaining a zoid or buying supplies that will last over the course of long distance trips.

This is especially true after she hooks up with Van, Fiona, and Irvine, whom you can read about here, here, and here. Once she joins their party, Moonbay has three other mouths to feed and two extra zoids to maintain. Since the distances between villages and cities are rather long, that means more food has to be bought so the gang doesn’t run out of chow in the middle of nowhere.

The episode “Moonbay’s Waltz” demonstrates clearly that Moonbay is not the mercenary she first appears to be. In the course of this episode, Moonbay runs into an old sweetheart, a millionaire known only as McMan. McMan reveals he previously asked Moonbay to marry him, inviting her to a ball to introduce her to his family, but she never showed. Moonbay eventually admits that she ran away because she believed they were so different that a marriage between them would not work.

Thus one can see that the reason Moonbay is always looking for a big score isn’t because she loves money. She could have had more than enough if she had married McMan. The reason she is always bargaining for extra cash or, sometimes, swindling money from someone is so that she can support her footloose lifestyle. Being a carefree “transporter of the wasteland” is what she wants to do, and she will do whatever she must to ensure that she can keep going in this profession. Now that I think about it, she and Lando Calrissian would probably get along very well, not to mention have bucket loads of fun together.

In terms of fighting skill, Moonbay is actually pretty good at hand-to-hand combat. She does not do it often and, in a straight up physical competition, she would lose to a man in a few seconds. But when push comes to shove, she can and will fight. In the episode “Jump! Zeke!”, she took a Republican soldier by surprise, disarmed him, and held his arms pinned to his sides. Since he was about a head and a half to two heads taller than she was, not to mention broader, it is unlikely that Moonbay could have kept him prisoner for very long.

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But as she proved in the next scene, she only had to hold him for a few seconds. What she lacks in terms of physical fighting power Moonbay more than makes up for in her wits. Keeping the soldier’s arms pinned to his sides, she managed to broker a deal to help the Republican Army defeat an incursion attempt by the Imperial Army in the following installment, “The Battle of Red River.” The deal paid well at the same time it got her, Van, Fiona, and Irvine out of trouble for blowing up a Republican sleeper trap. Using her business sense, wits, and the element of surprise, Moonbay hauled the entire gang out of a nasty bit of legal trouble.

These particular skills extend to her piloting abilities as well. Moonbay’s primary zoid throughout the series is her fuschia Gustav which, though it has thick armor, is not much of a fighter. Moonbay was only able to install one set of twin cannons beneath an armor joint between two of the shell’s plates. Though Irvine once told her she should install more weapons on it, Moonbay pointed out that the zoid would be too heavy to travel if she did that. So she sacrificed greater firepower for mobility.

Age: Unknown

As she proved, however, the Gustav can do plenty of damage when no one sees it coming. Using the zoid’s thick armor and hidden cannons, Moonbay could achieve a variety of attacks in combat. These ranged from bowling over two-legged opponents to firing two precise and incapacitating shots into an enemy zoid, disabling it at once. There were other occasions when Moonbay used the Gustav as a shield to protect herself and others from deadly explosions or shots as well.

Moonbay also became an excellent Pteras pilot. (More on that zoid next year – I promise!) She literally learned that skill on the fly, but proved to be a quick enough study that she and her passengers survived the experience. Due to her transporter skills, she also mastered the enormous Ultrasaurus later on in the series. A huge zoid that was basically a walking city/military base, once she was in the cockpit Moonbay grabbed the controls and didn’t let go. Despite constant reminders, she loudly and publicly proclaimed the zoid was “her” Ultrasaurus. Since she was the one piloting it ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, no one could really argue with her on that one.

1983-2010 TakaraTomy ShoPro (Zoids is a trademark of the ...

Moonbay in her “Legendary Fireball” attire.

Though it was only revealed in the standalone episode “Phantom,” Moonbay also had a “need for speed.” She was once a champion racer known as the Legendary Fireball. Eventually, she quit the racing circuit for some unknown reason, only to return to the track briefly in “Phantom.” Due to a mistake during the race she lost the competition and, as far as I know, that was the last time she raced.

When it comes to relationships, in the first half of Chaotic Century Moonbay is definitely the mother figure for the younger members of the gang. This is most apparent in her relationship with Van; as noted previously, she will happily tell him off when he misbehaves or does something foolish. Occasionally she adds force to her lessons, punching, elbowing, or shoving Van around to get her point across. The reason for this is because she is trying to drive home the point that he has to “look after [him]self,” as there will come a time when no one else can or will take care of him.

Age: Unknown

Although their relationship is fraught with these kinds of confrontations early on, the fact is that the two do care about each other a great deal. Moonbay is not one to wear her heart on her sleeve, but she does admit that Van is “a pretty good kid,” and that she admires his determination to succeed no matter what. Even when he is older and more able to manage his own affairs, Moonbay still appears to consider him “her boy.”

This may have been shown best when she interposed her Gustav between Van’s downed Blade Liger and Raven’s resurrected Geno Saurer. Despite the fact that this resulted in a grave wound for her zoid, Moonbay didn’t regret the sacrifice when Van apologized in the next episode. While her reassurances didn’t alleviate his guilt, the fact that Moonbay blew off the severe damage showed she considered it a small price to pay for protecting him.

Her relationship with Fiona was less motherly and more sisterly. During the first half of the series the younger girl’s naïveté meant that she had to be watched over and protected more than a normal girl her age. When not “flying RIO” with Van in combat she remained with Moonbay, who took her under her wing. Slowly, through her time spent with the older girl, Fiona became assertive, gaining a decisiveness she had not demonstrated beforehand. Although she never became as feisty or fierce as Moonbay, the older woman did help instill in Fiona a strength of will that aided her later in life.

Forgotten Toon Girls: F is for Fiona

Moonbay also helped the girl relearn her way around zoids. As the go-to mechanic in the gang, both Van and Irvine relied on Moonbay to keep their zoids healthy. This was due not only to the fact that she was a good engineer, but because she knew a technique that would help zoids to “self-recover” faster than normal. Fiona often helped her on these occasions, giving her the opportunity to become Van’s personal mechanic later on. This skill also allowed her to aid scientists in upgrading his Blade Liger when she was older, which impressed Moonbay a great deal.

Another area in which the two were connected was in the way they worried over their men. As Fiona grew, she worried about Van more frequently because he began facing stronger and more deadly opponents. Knowing worry was useless, despite the fact that she often engaged in it herself, Moonbay did her best to support Fiona and help her relax before every big battle. The two were really close, shown by the fact that the only one Moonbay worried about more than Van was Fiona. If the younger girl was kidnapped or put in danger, Moonbay was instantly on the alert. Though she wasn’t much of a physical fighter, she would do her best to go after and rescue Fiona, no matter the danger to herself.

Finally, with regard to Irvine, Moonbay sincerely respected and liked the mercenary. Throughout the series they flirted with and teased each other; their behavior was so natural that sometimes a viewer could almost swear they were married. Being somewhat older than Irvine, she had more experience in certain matters than he did – namely the management of funds and the foresight necessary to finance a group that included herself, two growing kids, and one eighteen year old man who was used to living and fighting on his own. Where Irvine acted as the voice of combat experience during the first half of the series, Moonbay maintained the group’s social order and discipline. She made sure everyone ate on time, slept on time, and kept a tight rein on the way money was spent.

Moonbay Guardian Force Images

This meant that the two rarely argued or interfered with the other’s role in managing the kids, especially Van. When Irvine told Van off for wallowing in self-pity or blaming everyone except himself for a mistake, Moonbay held her peace and let him do it, recognizing he was more effective in this area than she was. But when it came time to let the boy alone to think things through or to tell him the hard truth about how the world worked, then the mercenary would let Moonbay do the talking since she was the one who had more experience in such matters than he did.

None of this is to say that their relationship was without its rough patches. Irvine had to repeatedly tell Moonbay to jettison her cargo of Imperial ammunition in “Sleeper Trap,” since her pride in never failing to deliver goods to an employer was putting them all at risk. In turn, she had to verbally slap him upside the head after his Command Wolf was wrecked by Raven later on in the series.

These instances of violent disagreement were rare and brief. Moonbay and Irvine made a good pair, shown by the fact that together they “raised” Van and Fiona right. To be perfectly honest, I’ve always suspected that they married after the series ended; they clearly cared about one another a great deal. During battles where Irvine was thrown around or injured, Moonbay often shouted his name, the way that Fiona would cry out if Van was injured. And while the mercenary often stated that Moonbay could “take care of herself” and was “pretty good in dangerous situations,” he didn’t appreciate it when she was threatened.

A future romantic relationship between the two is conjecture on my part, though, since the series leaves their relationship openended from start to finish. But while the writers may not have intended for them to be more than friends, I prefer to think Moonbay and Irvine became a couple at some point. She certainly couldn’t get away with saying she and he were “too different” to make a good match – not after everything they had been through together!

The more I write about these characters, the less I am able to think of actors, actresses, and directors who could ably bring them to the silver screen. It’s more than likely that an attempt to put them in a live action film would fail completely. They’re perfect the way they are.

If a competent, respectful group of creators could be found to make a solid, beautiful film (series) out of the show, then I might be more hopeful. But as things stand I am much happier to have the anime than a film (series).

Which reminds me: if you want to see this great show yourselves, readers, it is available in its entirety on Amazon.com. For those of you who want to test the show out before laying down hard-earned cash for it, check out the English dub of Zoids: Chaotic Century here at www.watchcartoononline.com. Don’t quit if you find the first two episodes a bit draggy and boring; wait until you reach “Sleeper Trap,” “Jump! Zeke!,” and “The Battle of Red River” before you make a decision. I doubt you’ll be disappointed. 😉

‘Til next time, readers:

“See you on the battlefield!”

Moonbay Guardian Force Images

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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

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The Genosaurer

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Liger Zero

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Phoenix

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Jet Falcon

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The Redler

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Some Old Favorites 

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Spotlight: Zoids – The Gustav

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Welcome back to the wonderful world of Zi, readers! This Spotlight! post is focused once again on a zoid from that magnificent planet in the far reaches of the Milky Way Galaxy. This zoid, however, is not used in combat – unless combat is offered to its pilot. It is a transport zoid.

This is the Gustav. Before we go any further, you pronounce it ‘Gus-tav,’ not ‘Goos-tav.’ The latter is how you enunciate the Scandinavian name, but it is NOT how you say the name of this zoid!!!

Another way to remember the difference is, “Must have Gustav.” Must – Gust. Have – Tav. Get it? Great!

All right, now to the zoid’s specs! The first Gustav of any import was the one Van Flyheight’s friend Moonbay piloted throughout Zoids: Chaotic Century. The zoid is based on a snail and so it is not very fast, especially when it is hauling trailers. I have never seen a Gustav hauling more than two trailers; it appears that two is the limit.

You can carry almost anything on the trailer(s), from another zoid to a container full of ammunition. The armor on the Gustav is what weighs the transport down. While it protects the zoid and the pilot against most missiles and ammunition, the fact is that it weighs several tons! This is the factor which lowers the zoid’s speed the most. The trailers and their cargo add to the weight.

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These are the features which relegate the Gustav to transport status and which make it a less-than-optimal combat zoid. Nevertheless, the zoid can enter battle zones. The pilot just has to know what the zoid can and cannot handle as well as think quickly in a combat or high-adrenaline situation. Moonbay was capable of all of this and then some. That girl, as Irvine was wont to say, could “take care of herself in dangerous situations.” Sometimes it seemed that “dangerous situations” were where she functioned best!

That green antenna which you see projecting from behind the cockpit of the zoid is a sensor array. It allows the Gustav to scan the surrounding area, projecting what it sees to the cockpit. If this antenna is shot off, then the pilot for the Gustav loses scanning and visual capabilities throughout much of the cockpit.

The antennae extending from the non-existent mouth of the Gustav are said in one profile to be mine detectors. I never saw them used as such in Chaotic Century or any following series, but the name makes sense. When Moonbay lost her primary antenna in one episode, she still had partially functioning scanners in her cockpit. So it seems reasonable to conclude that these other antennae serve as some sort of sensory units for the zoid, mine detecting being one of the purposes which they can be tuned to perform.

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Moonbay’s Gustav also came equipped with a hidden double barrel cannon, positioned below the antenna and above the cockpit. The rounds were not high yield and would not do much damage to bigger, predator-based zoids. But anything the size of the Gustav that was also lightly armored would not fare well against this intrepid little cannon. It was hidden behind one of the green “joints” keeping the Gustav’s “shell” together, and Moonbay did not use it all the time. But when she used it, she made her shots count!

Unlike most other zoids, the Gustav does not make sounds like a real animal. This is doubtless because snails in real life do not make any noise. They simply slide along the ground. The most noise I recall hearing from a Gustav was the whirring of its wheels.

This means, obviously, that despite being based on the snail the Gustav does not slide like one. It is instead propelled by two large wheels under both sides of its shell, with two or perhaps four smaller wheels beneath the cockpit. In spite of its low speed, the Gustav can be relatively quick in tight spaces. Moonbay, a former professional racer, was able to coax quite a bit of nimbleness out of her Gustav when fighting within tight quarters.

The cockpit for the Gustav is beneath the orange canopy you see on its head. It can seat up to six people, maybe eight in a pinch. The rear seat is a bench seat; the forward seats are bucket seats. The controls for the Gustav can be moved from one of these seats to the next via a track system in the “dashboard” of the cockpit. This means that the pilot of the Gustav need not remain confined to one particular seat. In fact, there seems to be no law confining a Gustav pilot to the left or right front seat. Moonbay is seen in either of the front bucket seats of the Gustav during Chaotic Century’s run. She prefers neither the left nor the right seat to the other, switching between the two for no apparent reason every episode or so.

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Gustav cockpits are not reinforced, as the rest of the zoid is. Why I cannot say; I only know that one well-placed shot – especially from a high-yield round at a rather short distance – will put a hole in the cockpit or obliterate it altogether. This is something Gustav pilots have to keep in mind, though even then it is not always possible to avoid getting hit.

Most Gustavs have armor that is painted grey/silver. The colors of their cockpits are not always the standard orange; Gustav cockpits within all the Zoids’ television series have been orange, green, and blue. Other colors are likely available as well.

The one Gustav we saw which had a unique armor paint scheme was Moonbay’s. This Gustav was fuchsia, a flamboyant color which grabbed the eye and made the transport stand out from the crowd. Moonbay was like that, too. The zoid’s coloration was just another way that she made people sit up and notice her.

Moonbay’s Gustav retained this color until the second half of Chaotic Century, when she used her zoid to protect Van’s damaged Blade Liger. This resulted in an armor patch for the Gustav which was painted white. To those accustomed to the previous color of the armor, the contrast seemed a bit blinding.

Why did Moonbay leave the patch white instead of having it repainted? It was never brought up in the series, but perhaps it was something she considered a badge of honor. She may have kept the patch white the same way a warrior bears an old scar. Having defended Van when he was down, she might have decided that the difference in color could stand as a testament to the strength of their friendship.

Or maybe she just could not afford to get the patch painted. Knowing Moonbay, though, I seriously doubt that theory. She is an expert at making money, by hook or by crook. It is impossible to believe she could not find a way to acquire enough money to paint the patch.

While it is not confirmed, a Gustav that appears to be Moonbay’s – white patch and all – is noticeable within the background of one of the last New Century Zero episodes. It is a brief glimpse which is never explained, but it is nice to think that some heir of Moonbay’s has kept the zoid down through the centuries.

This is not the only time a Zoids’ series has given a direct nod to a previous one; Fuzors and Genesis have zoids from both Chaotic Century and New Century Zero in them. But there is never an explanation of how they come into the series, nor is there a mention of who their previous pilots were. The palpable closeness between Chaotic Century and New Century Zero, however, makes it easy to think how and why Moonbay’s Gustav ended up in Bit’s era. No other hints are truly necessary.

Before signing off, readers, I would like to present you with one last tidbit related to the Gustav. Moonbay liked to sing during Chaotic Century, regardless of the fact that she never could sing on-key. It was often implied that her singing irritated her traveling companions to no end. But I found that her voice tends to grow on you after a while. Though she always sang slightly off-key, I find myself belting out the lines of her song every now and again.

Below is a video of Moonbay’s full-length debut as a singer. Here she is singing her own song – “I Am a Transporter of the Wasteland” – as she pilots the Gustav in the episode Jump, Zeke! :

I hope you liked it at least a little, readers. For myself, I enjoy hearing and singing this song, since it makes me feel like a “transporter of the wild wasteland” myself!

See you on the battlefield!

The Mithril Guardian

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