Tag Archives: Lena Toros

Spotlight: Zoids – The Gun Sniper

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Are you ready to do battle on the desert sands of Zi again, readers? All right, then, here we go! Today’s zoid is one of my favorites. This would be the Helic Republic’s raptor-type, multi-use Gun Sniper.

Its cockpit, as you may have guessed if you have kept up with my other zoids’ posts, is under that orange canopy on its head. I have yet to encounter a Gun Sniper with more than one seat; every last one of them is a single-pilot zoid. With a lightweight frame and armor, plus high maneuverability, the Gun Sniper is one of the few two-legged zoids I would take if my preferred four legged “mechanical combat units” were not an option.

Gun Snipers get their name from their main weapon. This is a sniper rifle that is hidden within the zoid’s tail. From a high vantage point or even on the horizontal, a Gun Sniper can swing around, lock into place with its large toes, and then straighten out its spine so it is level with the ground.

When it does this the pilot’s seat extends into a flat board and flips over, allowing whoever is in control of the Gun Sniper to assume a prone position. They can then take the controls for the hidden rifle, line up on their target, and fire. Usually, their enemy is down for the count after the first shot.

For accuracy and efficiency, Gun Snipers are really hard to beat. Naomi Fleugel from Zoids: New Century Zero made a name for herself in the prize fights by taking down her opponents with a single shot. When the battle would start she would retreat to a sniping vantage point, wait for her challenger(s) to walk into her line of sight, and take them down with one round.

In Chaotic Century, three precisely placed shots from a Gun Sniper’s tail were able to pierce the shield of Van’s Blade Liger, destroying the generator for the shield on the its back. When you want precision, stealth, and speed, the Gun Sniper is the zoid for you, readers.

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Most Gun Snipers are painted grey, but they can have different color schemes. Naomi’s Sniper was painted red, in order for it to match her hair and her costume. This did not make her any easier to spot, though; even with a coal-red paint job, she could hide her Sniper so well most of her rivals had no idea where to start looking for her.

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Naomi Fluegel’s Gun Sniper

The Gun Sniper is a very adaptable zoid. It can be modified to store missiles in its shoulders and typically comes with mini-machine guns on top of its forearm claws. (It’s a Republican zoid – of course they found ways to stash extra weapons inside the Sniper’s chassis.) Besides these light modifications, the Gun Sniper can have missile packs attached to its back and hips, as well as large Gatling guns situated on its hips and shoulders. There is, typically, a radar dish situated between the zoid’s shoulders in these cases as well. Lena Toros went this route, loading her Gun Sniper down with enough firepower to make it a walking gun show display. I never, ever saw her use the zoid’s built-in sniper rifle.

One of the unfortunate side effects of adding so much ordnance to the Sniper is it limits the zoid’s mobility and speed. Even though most of these extra weapons are lightweight and meant to accent the Sniper’s alacrity, they do tend to get in the way. Lena’s Gun Sniper could not make as good time at a dead run across the ground as Naomi’s could have, from what I saw of it. Another problem encountered by saddling the zoid with extra weapons is the temptation for the pilot to carpet bomb his/her enemies rather than take them out in a more economical manner.

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For instance, Lena loved blowing the countryside to pieces. She would laugh maniacally as she fired off her “Weasel Unit Total Assault” during a battle. She managed to take out run-of-the-mill fighters with this tactic but against smarter, stronger, and more able opponents, the only thing she destroyed in this manner was the ground.

Plus, she never seemed to learn to run, dodge, or duck, all maneuvers the Gun Sniper is very capable of performing. Instead of making herself a moving target you had to chase, Lena would simply stand still, like a fixed weapon, and shoot. And shoot. And shoot. And shoot….

You could tell pretty early in some battles when Lena was going to be the first Blitz Team member taken down. On average, Brad and Bit would both stay standing in a fight longer than she would, with few exceptions – inside and outside of the arenas.

Not all the Sniper pilots in Chaotic Century avoided this fate, either. In Supersonic Battle, Van Flyheight and Thomas Schubaltz were able to take out five Gun Snipers with relative ease. This was partly because they were the better pilots, but it was also due to the fact that their enemies remained standing in one place, shooting every cannon they had at them, instead of making themselves harder targets to hit.

Of course, since they were fighting the battle from the confines of someone’s palatial front lawn, the Gun Sniper pilots had less room to maneuver than Van and Thomas did. I guess that makes their staying in place understandable, if not praiseworthy or desirable.

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It is also worth noting that while a Gun Sniper is fixed in the “sniping” position – that is, it has its tail gun lined up for a shot and its toes are locked into the ground – it is basically a sitting duck. The process of lining up for a shot does not take more than a few seconds, making the Sniper able to attack before an enemy can strike (most of the time). But when coming out of that stance, seconds truly count. Unless the pilot is really good or has a friend with a different zoid backing him up, his Sniper will be taken down quickly if it is locked into firing position when he is attacked.

Still, the positives for this zoid outweigh the negatives. The Gun Sniper was so effective on its own that the Republic began forming military units of them. They were never a zoid to sneeze at or disrespect, and I have to say that I think they were right up my alley, readers. Hopefully, this post has at least made you curious to see them in action yourselves.

Before you go, I invite you to have a look at these Gun Sniper memes. I am pretty sure most of them were made at Lena’s expense. ;D

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“See you on the battlefield!”

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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

Zoids: “Ready….FIGHT!”

Zoids New Century Zero

Hey, DiNozzo….

Guess what today is!

Yes!  Get the man a prize!  It is the second day of Torture Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo Week!!

So what’s today’s subject?  (Stop yawning, Tony, or I’ll call Gibbs.  And I mean it!)

Today we focus on Zoids: New Century Zero and Zoids: Fuzors.  Technically, Zoids: New Century Zero is an immediate sequel to Zoids: Chaotic Century.  This twenty-six (yes, DiNozzo, 26) episode series aired in Canada and the United States ahead of Chaotic Century.  I have no idea why.  *Shrug*

In New Century Zero, the governments of Chaotic Century are never mentioned.  The group keeping the peace here is the Zoid Battle Commission.  In this series, zoid pilots compete in large, open land areas for prize money and prestige.  Most pilots form a team of some sort, while others work solo.  These last are called mercenaries.  (Don’t ask me why.  It makes no sense unless it’s because these pilots are willing to change teams for any large sum of money.)

The antagonists of the series are members of the Backdraft Group, a shadowy organization trying to usurp the Zoid Battle Commission’s power.  They are doing this because they consider the Commission to be promoting weak battles.

Honestly, I don’t quite blame them in this assessment.  But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

New Century Zero concentrates on the adventures of Bit Cloud, a young man who routinely scavenges the sites of these battle competitions (at the start of the series) for useful parts.  He does this in the hope of using the better pieces to one day “build [his] own zoid partner.”  On one such expedition he witnesses the Blitz Team (composed of Leon and Lena Toros, with the mercenary Brad Hunter) get walloped by a team of three yellow Zaber Fangs called the Zaber Tigers.

In this first episode we learn that the Blitz Team has been on a losing streak for a while.  If this ‘battle’ the audience first sees along with Bit is meant to be an indication of how badly they were performing, then the Blitz Team was in a very sorry state.

While Leon has promise as a pilot and Brad is a fair fighter, Leon’s younger sister Lena is as trigger-happy as it is possible to be.  The only zoids she’ll pilot are the ones that have the most guns, and she is constantly pestering her father (the manager for the Blitz Team), Dr. Toros, for more ammunition.  As for Dr. Toros, he’s a man with wild bouts of eccentricity that are supposed to serve as comic relief.  All of this contributes to the Blitz Team being unable to win more than one or two battles, which means they’re always on the verge of going broke.

In the battle that Bit witnesses, things only get worse.  Leon’s Shield Liger is totaled and Leon himself ends up with one arm in a sling and a bandage around his head.  The battle is called to a halt and postponed until the next day.  The one ray of hope for the Blitz Team is that, before he tripped up, Leon managed to bring down one of the Zaber Fangs.  It looks like the final half of the battle will be a fair fight.

Sure….

Now enter Bit, who comes poking around the Blitz Team’s warehouse that night for more parts, only to get caught and tied up.  Lena ends up babysitting him through his ‘prisoner’ dinner hour in the hangar.  While she’s there he asks her about one particular white Liger standing nearby.  Lena explains that it is called the Liger Zero.  Since white ligers are rare, her dad snapped it up.  But the zoid is more than useless according to her because it will not accept any pilot her father has pushed into its cockpit.

Later on, after Lena has left and the lights have been turned off, Liger Zero wakes up and frees Bit.  It then offers Bit a ride.  Interestingly, the Liger seems to be possessed of a sense of humor.  He takes Bit on a wild run through the desert and, when Bit finally gets him to stop, the two are in the middle of nowhere with the sun high in the sky.

During the Blitz Team’s rematch with the Zaber Fangs, Bit comes back in time to join them.  The Zaber Tigers are cheating by having their pilot with the damaged Zaber fire from a nearby cliff with a sniper rifle.  Bit takes him down after Lena is decked in the middle of the competition.  However, to help the Blitz Team, Bit has to register with them, something he does right from the Liger’s cockpit.

Yeah, you’re right.  The team takes a while to warm up to him after this, especially Lena.  But with the dough rolling in from the fights he participates in, even she thaws to Bit.

Throughout the series Bit fights beside Brad and Lena, and occasionally the Team’s fourteen year old strategist, Jamie Hemeros (who spends most of his time off the field).  Leon leaves the team almost as soon as he’s healed, becoming a much better pilot from that point on.  He does not rejoin the team after this, though he does drop by to offer advice (or a fight) from time to time.

Because of the power of the Liger Zero and the turnaround in the Blitz Team’s fortunes, the Backdraft Group takes an interest in them.  Realizing that a zoid as powerful as the Liger could be the weapon they need to finally defeat the Commission, the Backdraft Group repeatedly tries to steal him from his rightful owners.  And before you ask, they bungle every attempt, often miserably.

On the whole, this series is not as good as Chaotic Century.  The reason I say this is because the fighting skills of many pilots in the series are substandard.

Bit’s skill mostly comes from the Liger Zero, which is later revealed to have a built-in organoid system or “black box” that lets the Liger memorize an opponent’s pattern of attack.  Once this is done, the Liger decides on a more effective counterattack and acts on it.  Such a rare zoid is called an Ultimate X in the story.  Although Bit does have a good ‘battle sense’ and treats the Liger as a partner, after a point the audience is left wondering just how much of his prowess is actually the Liger’s ability to learn.

As I mentioned before, Lena’s battle tactic is to blow her opponent straight to kingdom come.  So she gets very angry when her target doesn’t stay still long enough to get shot.  Several other minor characters share her nearly insane attitude, which leads to predictably boring battles throughout the series.   Jaime’s piloting is marked by nervous reactions or extremely foolish charges.  Even though he’s a good kid, Jaime is much better at giving the team tactical pointers than he is at fighting.

Brad is the only member of the Blitz Team who shows any real piloting skill.  He excels in sniping and close combat, and can often be seen chiding Lena for her overuse of her weapons.  While Leon eventually does become an amazing pilot, I’d bet money that Van or any of his friends could put him down with very little effort.  On the positive side, I’m sure Leon would be willing to learn from them.  The same could be said of Brad.

I have a similar attitude toward the few other pilots in the series with good skills, such as the sniper pilot Naomi and the Lightning Saix (cheetah-type zoid) pilot and team leader Jack Cisco.  But either of them against the crew, bad or good, from Chaotic Century would get whipped so fast it would make their heads spin.  Unlike Leon and Brad, these two may be more inclined toward vengeance than learning from their mistakes.

The one pilot in this series who shows anything near Chaotic Century skill is the young boy who appears in the last five episodes of the show.  And sadly he’s the Backdraft Group’s secret weapon.  His name is Vega Obscura, and his main objective is “to be in some really great battles.”  It’s never clarified whether or not he shares the Group’s views.  For the most part he seems to be genuinely interested in nothing more than a good fight.  And while Vega also pilots an Ultimate X zoid, the Berserk Fury (a Tyrannosaurus Rex-type zoid), he proves in his second appearance (via a video game) that he has great potential as a pilot.

I’m inclined to think he might be related in some way to the Chaotic Century terror Raven.  However, I’ve never been able to find any confirmation of that.  It’s mostly conjecture on my part, based solely on his physical appearance and astounding fighting skills, not to mention the similarities between his zoid of choice and Raven’s.  (Raven eventually had to find a new zoid when his Zaber Fang was destroyed.  I am not telling you how or what he got instead, Tony.  That would spoil it!)

All in all, I feel that New Century Zero falls far short of the mark that its predecessor set.

Now you’re going to wonder why I said that I would also talk about the sequel series Zoids: Fuzors.  This series is a lot like New Century Zero, which is why it’s part of my note.  Fuzors is set in a future at least several hundred years after Bit’s time.  The government in this series has again shifted, though it is similar to Bit’s.  Now the government is centralized in some place called Blue City.  Once again the protagonist for this series pilots the Liger Zero, the same zoid Bit had.  This pilot, however, is younger than Bit and goes by the name RD.

Hey, I didn’t write it!  Sit tight and let me finish!  (And no, Bit and RD look nothing alike.)

Blue City is home to the same type of battles that Bit participated in, except these are often confined to arenas within the city.   The series never finished its run in the U.S., but it had twenty-six (26) episodes, too.  (When you’re talking about zoids, I’m beginning to think that twenty-six is not a good number for them.)

There is one big difference between Fuzors and New Century Zero.  In Fuzors, certain zoids can combine with other zoids.  For example, the Liger Zero combines with two different bird-type zoids on different occasions in the series.  Combining in this manner increases the zoids’ power in battle, making the Liger twice as powerful as he was before.  And twice as desirable as he was in New Century Zero.

Yes.  Once again an underground conglomerate begins trying to get as many Fuzors and pilots as they can under their control.  Fuzors shows RD and his team as the only ones actively working to stop them.  At the same time, RD is also on a quest for a zoid called the Ultimate Zoid, which his father was pursuing when he disappeared.   So it could be argued RD is searching for his father in this story, too.

As with New Century Zero, I couldn’t help but feel that Fuzors fell short of the mark.  The zoids were good, as always, but the idea of fighting for near meaningless profit and glory simply doesn’t jive with Chaotic Century’s “Battle to reach your full potential” motif.  The lack of a strong overarching plot, which was present in Chaotic Century, was also a stone around the necks of these two sequels.  The writers may have felt that way, too, since neither series lasted more than twenty-six episodes.

What about the third sequel series?  Come on, DiNozzo.  I’ve about yapped my jaw to death here, and you want me to talk some more?

Aha!  So I have managed to rope you in!!…..  Flustered attempts to proclaim your innocence will get you nowhere.

And don’t worry.  This is Torture Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo Week, remember?  I’ve got all of tomorrow to tell you what I know about Zoids: Genesis – which isn’t all that much, I admit.  And when we’re done with that – ooh, the possibilities!!!

So, are you ready?

Then…hang on to your cover!   (Remember, you’re part of the navy!!)

Later,

Mithril

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