Tag Archives: Shadow

Spotlight: Zoids – The Genosaurer

Image result for the geno saurer

Throughout my Spotlight! posts on zoids, I have been hinting about some of the more powerful “mechanical combat units” which inhabit Zi. I did not want to spoil anything before I had covered the other wonderful and amazing zoids in the series. But by this point, I have almost run out of zoids which I can describe before I turn to these more powerful mechanical animals. The Redler, as I stated, is not an impressive zoid to me, and this signals trouble. If I consider the Gustav a more interesting subject than a zoid that makes up most of the Guylos Empire’s air force, I need to pull out a trump card or two before I lose focus entirely.

It is for this reason that I am going to describe today’s zoid: the Genosaurer.

Now, before we go any further, you pronounce it gene-o-saur-er. I have heard the zoids called everything from gene-o-saur-us-es to gen-o-saurs, and I will NOT accept these as legitimate pronunciations of the species. Please bear that in mind for future reference, readers.

The Genosaurer’s origins are integral to the plot of Zoids: Chaotic Century, and so I will not be saying anything about them here. If you want to know the details, watch the series. I am not giving you any more spoilers than I absolutely have to in this post.

Image result for the geno saurer

The Genosaurer is based on the Tyranosaurus Rex, despite having three claws on each “hand.” The reason it has three claws may be an homage to the Japanese dragon, or it may be due to the fact that the Genosaurer’s claws are attached to cables and can be fired out to grasp another zoid.

I do not know the exact reach of these cables, but I do know that they are strong. When the Genosaurer’s pilot “reels” these cables back into the Genosaurer’s arms, they can drag an enemy zoid, even if it is a Blade Liger, in toward the Genosaurer. Though short, the zoid’s arms are flexible enough that, in close quarters, a pilot can lash out with them and slice through the armor of an enemy zoid.

Unlike most zoids, the Genosaurer’s cockpit is not in its head, beneath those terrifying red eyes. It is in the zoid’s torso or abdomen; the position is relative to the angle of the camera shot, but that is the general area where the cockpit is situated. There is a reason for the cockpit’s position, which we will get to momentarily, readers.

The Genosaurer comes equipped with a double barrel pulse laser cannon on its back and a smaller one just above its nose. These lasers can either bring down an opposing zoid or they can do a fair amount of damage to it. The zoid’s teeth can also be used offensively. The Genosaurer’s frame is strong, allowing it to bend over and pick up a smaller zoid in its mouth. It is also strong enough to raise its head with said struggling zoid between its teeth and close its jaws on the part of the zoid it is holding in this manner. When the pilot does this, it is bye-bye time for an opponent.

The zoid is also strong enough to go toe-to-toe with an Iron Kong and match its physical power. And the Genosaurer’s tail is a weapon in its own right. Since the zoid is so maneuverable and flexible, its pilot can swing in close to an opposing zoid and slap it with the appendage to send it rolling across the battlefield. The Genosaurer is also capable of kicking a downed zoid across the combat zone. This means it can step on a downed zoid repeatedly and suffer no damage, though it will severely damage or destroy the enemy “mechanical combat unit.” Never underestimate those legs, readers.

Part of the reason for the zoid’s speed is that it has boosters in its heels and along the backs of its legs. This allows the zoid to make great time across long distances; with the right pilot, the Genosaurer could travel from Guygalos, the capitol of the Guylos Empire, into Republican territory in a few days or even a few hours. This means that it can outmaneuver most of the zoids it encounters on the battlefield. Only a Command Wolf, a Lightning Saix, or a Blade Liger can come close to or match the Genosaurer’s speed in close combat.

But the Genosaurer’s most fearsome weapon is lodged in its mouth. Before I describe this gun, readers, please view the videos included below:

When you see the Genosaurer lock down to the ground with its footlocks (those silver “fourth toes” at the back of each foot), the fins in the tail pop out, and the gun slides forward from the back of the zoid’s “throat” – get out of Dodge. The white light that coallesces in front of this gun’s barrel is a ball of charged particles, which can be fired out as a stream for a few seconds. This stream of charged particles will incinerate whatever and whoever is in its path. This is the reason why the cockpit is not in the zoid’s head; there is no room for it and the gun in such a limited space.

Only Van’s Blade Liger could deflect the charged particle stream after its shield had been modified, first with the Liger’s own extended blades, later with tweaks to the zoid’s shield itself. Other shields were no defense against this gun, as Van found out when his first zoid, the Shield Liger, was destroyed by a charged particle blast. Zoids without shields are utterly unable to defend themselves against this gun. Even air zoids like Redlers cannot outfly this deadly stream of “fire breath” that the Genosaurer can emit at will.

There is a catch, however, to using the charged particle cannon, one which I have already touched on. The charged particle cannon’s recoil is so great that the Genosaurer must use those “fourth toes,” known as footlocks, to anchor itself to the ground. Otherwise, the power of the blast would send the Gensaurer skidding backward, and it might throw off its aim as well.

The second weakness of the charged particle cannon is that the Genosaurer cannot turn its body when it fires this gun. The footlocks hold it in one position; try to turn the zoid, however slightly, while you are firing this cannon and you will break at least one of the Genosaurer’s ankles.

You may wonder how I know that this zoid is capable of so much, readers. The answer is only one word: Raven. Van’s archnemesis, Raven piloted two Genosaurers during Chaotic Century’s run. And as I have said elsewhere, Raven was the Winter Soldier of zoid pilots. If you thought he was scary in a Zaber Fang, then let me tell you that you have not seen him scary until he took the controls of his first Genosaurer.

And after that, he only got scarier.

Though the Genosaurer’s color scheme looks purple to us, the characters in Chaotic Century call it black. Raven’s first Genosaurer had the black/purple color scheme with lighter purple highlights. His second Genosaurer was darker and had red highlights in place of the purple ones. There is a reason for that, readers, but I will not tell you what it is just yet. I am saving that story for later.

Also in Chaotic Century, we saw Reese acquire and use a blue Genosaurer. While most of this zoid’s equipment was virtually the same as the weaponry used by Raven’s Genosaurer, Reese’s zoid had a more powerful laser attached to its nose in place of the pulse cannon on the noses of Raven’s Genosaurers. Her Genosaurer also had lighter blue, or perhaps indigo, highlights. Most of Reese’s attire and equipment was blue, so this made sense. In the case of her Genosaurer, however, the color gave the zoid an almost feminine cast.

But the black color scheme for this zoid is predominant, showing up again in New Century Zero when a team of unscrupulous pilots were given three Genosaurers by a member of the Backdraft Group. (For some reason, the translators had them pronounce the name gene-o-saur-us-es, which was very irritating.) The only other color variant for the Genosaurer was seen in an episode or two of Zoids: Fuzors. That Genosaurer had the regular black armor, but it also had yellow hightlights in place of the expected purple or red. I do not know if that qualifies as intimidating, exactly, but it will certainly get your attention, readers.

This is all that I have to say about the Genosaurer. I do not want to spoil too much about Zoids: Chaotic Century and the other series until I have to. And I will have to, soon enough. Aside from Zoids: Fuzors and Zoids: Genesis, I can describe almost all of the zoids we see in Chaotic Century and New Century Zero in a handful of future posts. Sadly, we are coming up on that ending sooner than I wanted. I will be able to stretch it out for a while, but eventually, there will not be anymore Spotlight! posts about a zoid here on Thoughts on the Edge of Forever, for the simple reason that I will have described every one which I know about.

This is the reason why I keep encouraging you to watch the TV series, readers. You cannot get all of your answers from me if you want to discover the wonderful world of Zi. I will have nothing more to tell you after a point, and you will have to either watch the series to get your zoids fix or forget that they even exist. I would prefer the former to the latter, but the choice is yours, not mine. I can only offer what I know to you and hope I whet your appetite for the adventure.

Until next time, I will “see you on the battlefield!”

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Quotable Quotes #12

I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does the much better. – Plutarch, Greek essayist

Love is love’s reward. – John Dryden

There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice. – Mark Twain

Life is too important to be taken seriously. – Oscar Wilde

Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination. – Voltaire, French philosopher

The silliest woman can manage a clever man; but it needs a very clever woman to manage a fool. – Rudyard Kipling

It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves. – Francois de la Rochefoucauld

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. – Buddha

It is not length of life but depth of life. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. – Oscar Wilde

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spotlight: Zoids – The Organoids

Irvine's Command Wolf 2

Organoids: the most mysterious of all the zoids on Zi. I promised in my last Spotlight! post that I would describe just what an organoid was. I shall now endeavor to fulfill that promise.

Organoids are six to seven foot tall zoids. Somewhat larger or taller than a big man, they are physically stronger than most men. They are dragon-type beings with three claws on each “hand” and foot. Most organoids have head frills or horns of some kind, though there is one organoid who lacks these. He therefore strikes Western viewers as Tyrannosaurus-type, not dragon-type.

Organoids are exclusive to the Zoids: Chaotic Century series. No subsequent series has them. In Chaotic Century, they are originally thought to be “nothing more than…childish legends.”

Nevertheless, there are those on Zi in Chaotic Century who do believe the legends and spend great time and effort searching for organoids. Why?

Organoids were/are the personal companions to the Ancient Zoidians, a humanoid species which once inhabited Zi and whose survivors are almost indistinguishable from humans. The primary purpose of an organoid, however, is to increase a larger zoid’s power; drawing out the larger creature’s potential for the pilot to utilize.

This is achieved by the organoid fusing with the larger zoid. For an idea of what this entails, check out the video below:

To fuse with a larger zoid, every organoid glows, then launches into the air, usually by means of boosters installed in their backs. The glow must be some form of “phasing,” a time when the organoid is briefly intangible, in order that it may pass through the armor of the pilot’s larger zoid.

Organoids stimulate the evolution of larger zoids when the creatures’ pilots reach a skill level those zoids cannot keep up with. Depending on the leap in skill level, the evolution can take a few days or a month. At the end of that time, the zoid bursts out of the organoid-induced cocoon (which is usually formed out of light), ready for battle and very capable of keeping up with the pilot’s new skill level.

Also, when the zoid the organoid is fused to is destroyed, the organoid will bail out, taking the pilot with him. Sometimes the pilot is found standing next to the organoid, almost totally unhurt. In times of great danger, however, the organoid opens up its own body and uses it as a temporary stasis pod to protect the pilot. Depending on the circumstances, this can be very draining for the organoid, which may have to rest up for a bit before it can become active again.

The organoid’s ability to strengthen larger zoids, giving them more power and drawing out their full potential, makes these small zoids highly sought after by governments, bandits, and others who have a vested interest in control of others. Van and his friends had no end of trouble due to the fact that Van had an organoid. Many wanted to steal the little zoid from him, not realizing that organoids are loyal to only one person, two at the most. And their loyalty must somehow be earned; stealing them is not enough. You have to gain their trust and respect.

“Okay, back up,” I hear some of you say, “I thought zoids were dumb mechanical animals. Now you’re telling me these organoids choose their owners?”

Yes, I am. Because unlike most zoids, organoids are not dumb. Their speech mainly consists of growls, gestures, snarls, or roars, but it is possible for humans to communicate with and understand an organoid. Therefore, they are more intelligent than regular zoids.

We are only introduced to four organoids in Chaotic Century. Each organoid has its own personality and effect on the events of the series. With that in mind, I will now list these four organoids for you, readers. First up:

Zeke

Zeke

Zeke is the first organoid we meet. Silver with fuchsia eyes, Zeke lacks the head frills and horns of later organoids. This makes him more reminiscent to Westerners of a Tyrannosaurus Rex than dragon-type, as the translators for Chaotic Century and doubtless the Japanese story tellers and voice actors referred to him. I believe that he is called dragon-type in the English translation of the series because he has three claws on each “hand” and foot. Japanese dragons have only three digits on all their claws; Japanese lore holds that when dragons migrate away from Japan, they gain more claws. To me, this is the reason Zeke is referred to as a dragon-type zoid in the series.

Of all the organoids in the series, Zeke is the friendliest and kindest. He and Van meet in the first episode, where Van discovers the organoid’s stasis pod and inadvertently opens it, releasing Zeke. Zeke is nervous upon meeting Van, and when the fourteen year old approaches him to make friends, Zeke smacks him upside the head with his tail.

Van does not lose his temper over the blow, however, shrugging it off and saying that Zeke “has to prove he can take care of himself.” This reaction convinces Zeke that Van is not a threat. But when a bandit enters the building, searching for Van, he spots Zeke in the process and things get dangerous. The bandit demands Van hand Zeke over to him but, armed only with a live electric cord, Van attacks the zoid the bandit is riding in to protect Zeke.

Zeke is quick to return the favor when Van is thrown against the wall. This is what kicks off the friendship between the two, and their bond remains strong throughout the series. Zeke obeys Van, who always refers to him as his “best friend.” Zeke is also the only organoid who is consistently shown to be male. Van never says “it” when talking about Zeke, always saying “he,” “him,” “his,” etc. Many other characters, before they get to know him, call Zeke an “it,” though he never takes obvious offense over this.

Zeke is also shown to be protective of Van, the first episode being proof positive of this. Zeke considers Van his best friend as much as Van thinks of him as such. The two talk often – though naturally, we in the audience only understand Van’s half of the conversation.

There is one other person Zeke will take orders from, his Ancient Zoidian partner Fiona. Fiona, physically the same age as Van, is discovered in a second stasis pod in the same place where Van finds Zeke. However, she has no memory of her past, only remembering the name “Fiona.”

For that reason, Van dubs her Fiona. Throughout the series, Fiona exerts almost as much, if not more, control over Zeke than Van does. Her and Zeke’s bond is almost like that of siblings. Organoids were the constant companions, as far as we know, for all Ancient Zoidians. It therefore makes sense that Fiona would be more able to influence Zeke in some situations than Van could.

Like Fiona, Zeke starts out as something of an innocent. He is easily distracted by almost anything. A running gag in the series is his interest in moths and butterflies (he has been shown chasing the latter around from time to time). He is also the only organoid revealed to have a sense of humor, laughing when Van or one of his friends gets into a scrape. He is also the only organoid I know of who is ticklish.

Zeke can also be embarrassed, though this last does not occur often. This mood is demonstrated by beads of sweat on his head, sheepish growls, and occasional ducks of the head, as if he wants to hide his face in mortification.

Unlike Fiona, at least for the majority of the series, Zeke is also a capable fighter. He will jump to her and Van’s defense on many occasions, and has been shown to be protective of those close to them. This is demonstrated most notably in the second episode of the series, when he helps rescue Van’s older sister, Maria.

Of the four organoids, Zeke is the least threatening and most friendly. In combat or during tense situations, he is a stoic member of the team. At other times, he is as playful and oblivious as a five year old and quite as capable with children as any of the other characters. In some cases, he is even better with children than other characters are.

Shadow

Shadow the Organoid

Shadow is the second organoid seen in Zoids: Chaotic Century. Black, with blue eyes, four horns projecting from the back of his head, and with two large, bat-like wings in place of the traditional boosters, Shadow is the exact opposite of Zeke. This is because he belongs to Van’s archenemy Raven, who is the complete antithesis of Van and the Winter Soldier of zoid pilots.

Shadow never laughs, only growls with pleasure after taking down an opponent or causing some kind of damage. More so than Raven, he seems to enjoy the destruction he wreaks on others. This has been shown to disturb Raven, whose primary desire is simply to destroy zoids.

Like Raven, Shadow is a savage in a fight. Though he never clashes with Zeke in direct combat, I would say the odds of such a battle are not in Zeke’s favor. Shadow can take down armed adult men in seconds, and destroy zoids in less time than Raven. Also, Raven does not rely on Shadow much in a fight, whereas Van is initially very reliant on Zeke in a combat situation. Both boys have the raw potential to be great pilots, but Raven is the only one of the two who had official training before the series began.

Because of the difference in their skill levels, Shadow is more independent than Zeke. He usually sits on the sidelines to watch Raven battle; when Raven decides the organoid needs exercise or, when Van later proves to be more able to challenge Raven’s skill, then he calls on Shadow to fuse with his zoid.

Despite the fact that Raven appears to consider Shadow as nothing more than a tool, it is eventually revealed that their bond is deeper than even Raven suspects or knows. Shadow is quite protective of Raven, even willing to die for him. Though bloodthirsty and happy to cause carnage in battle, Shadow is quite loyal to Raven and sees him as more than a master or source of fun. He really does consider Raven his best friend, though it takes Raven much longer to return the favor.

As a way to explain this, I will tell you how Raven became Shadow’s master. Shadow was initially a wild organoid, wilder than Zeke or any other organoid in the series. It took something on the order of five men to bring him, struggling all the way, into the room where Raven was waiting.

In order to tame him, Raven tackled Shadow to the ground and wrestled with him, until the organoid realized he had met his match. After that, he stopped struggling and allowed Raven to rip his collar off. He followed Raven wherever the other went after that.

It may be this wildness which is responsible for Shadow’s love of battle and destruction. Like a tamed wolf, he is loyal to Raven and obedient to him. To all others he bares his teeth and snarls, or ignores them as inferiors. They are nothing, Raven is everything. Also, battle is a constant in the wild. Half-feral as he is, Shadow would respond to a fight or challenge to battle with the instincts of a wild animal. He is only docile to Raven; to all others, he is a wild and dangerous creature not to be approached on even a dare.

A fit companion for Raven, I have to say.

Ambient

Ambient

Ambient is a red organoid with green eyes. He has five horns projecting from the back of his head and a small, hook-shaped spike on the bottom of his chin. Also, like a Stegosaurus, he has four silver spikes on the end of his tail. These are flexible, and he will not hesitate to use them in a fight.

Ambient is partnered with the mysterious red-haired, green-eyed Hillz. Hillz’s mission is hidden for most of the second half of Chaotic Century, and so I intend to reveal as little about it as I possibly can.

Ambient is even more bloodthirsty than Shadow, and twice as dangerous. He is less wild and more controlled than the black organoid, however. Therefore only by his actions in combat do we understand him any better.

He seems, like his master Hillz, to hold all those around him as inferiors. He only meets Zeke directly once, when the latter bulldozes into Ambient to save Van, caught in combat with the deadly red organoid. But Ambient has traded angry growls with Shadow, and it is clear that the two have no love for each other.

The only thing Ambient desires is destruction. Anything that furthers those goals is quite acceptable. He does not seem to take pleasure and joy out of much, except for the “honor” of being “chosen” to – well, that is telling too much.

Ambient’s power is to tap directly into a zoid’s core and draw out its full potential instantly. This is the power of most organoids, apparently, but Ambient appears to be especially proficient in this area. He is not an organoid to be trifled with, nor should he be challenged by just anyone. He is too dangerous for that.

Specula

Specular the Organoid

The one organoid consistently called “it” throughout the latter half of Chaotic Century, the timbre of Specula’s growls suggest to me that this organoid is female. Taller and thinner than most organoids, Specula has blue armor and gold eyes. Specula has one horn projecting from the back of her head, with two silver horns on her cheeks which are reminiscent of an insect’s mouth pincers. Having seen her do battle with Shadow, a shorter organoid, I can say with all surety that Specula is not physically a match for many other organoids, though she can certainly overpower humans.

Specula’s mistress is Reese, a blue-haired, blue-eyed psychic with a special grudge against Fiona. Why? Well, you will have to watch the series to learn that!

Specula shares Reese’s psychic talents and can even increase them. Reese takes great pleasure in using her telepathic talents to manipulate others; a joy Specula seems to share. This earns Reese the moniker “the Blue Devil” in the series, and for a while she certainly lives up to this name!

Later, after Reese recovers from injuries sustained in battle, she believes Specula is dead until the organoid puts her head through a hole in the roof and gives an affectionate growl to say hello. So it appears that Specula does have some warmth in her, but that it is stored up and directed toward Reese alone.

Interestingly, Specula’s name is Latin. It means a variety of things, including “summit” and “bit of hope.” But you will have to watch the series to know why I mention this!

Specula, like all organoids and their chosen partners, is shown to be protective of Reese. When Reese needles Ambient, the organoid is not pleased and shows his anger by growling. Specula responds in kind, rumbling a warning in no little anger at the red organoid. Strong or not, she will defend Reese to the bitter end.

The Gojulas

Well, readers, this has been a rather long post! I will sign off for now but be back with another zoid soon enough, I assure you! Until then –

I guess I’ll catch ya later!

The Mithril Guardian

Zoids: “See You on the Battlefield!”

Zoids Chaotic Century

Helloo DiNozzo.

No, I have not rescinded my punishment for your paying me with the smaller Klondike bars from the squad room vending machines.  It is just beginning.

I’ve even made a name for this punishment.  You know how they have National Sibling Day, National Speak Like a Pirate Day, National Chocolate Day, etc.?  Well, I’ve started something similar….

Torture Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo Week!

What are you complaining about?  This is like Garfield’s National Fat Week celebration.  And it has your name in it, for cryin’ out loud!

So, let’s get to business, shall we?

You’ve been to the desert.  I know you have; I saw that particular case – the woman with the uranium paint.  You really ought to take horseback riding lessons, Tony.

That aspect aside, do you know what I like about deserts?  Not the ones with endless sand dunes but the ones with high canyon walls, narrow arroyos, and plains of red sand?

What I like about this kind of desert is it makes the world appear wide open.  It feels like you can go anywhere.  No foliage blocking your view, no high rises hemming you in on all sides, nobody telling you to hurry up or slow down –

You don’t seriously think I’d go into a desert without water, do you?  I’m not that much of a tenderfoot, DiNozzo.  Unlike you, that is.

What, you may ask, makes me look at deserts this way?  The answer is the Japanese cartoon series Zoids: Chaotic Century.

Yeah, I knew you would say that.  Be quiet and let me talk!

Written and drawn in Japan, the series of sixty-seven episodes (yes, 67 episodes) takes place “in the far reaches of the Milky Way, on the planet Zi.”  It was eventually translated into English in Canada and played on Cartoon Network in America in the early 2000’s.  It focused on the adventures of fourteen (mistakenly translated as seventeen) year old Van Flyheight.

Van is a headstrong young orphan in the care of his older sister, Maria, at the start of the series.  He wants to become “the best zoid pilot ever” because of the example of his dead father who was a zoid pilot.  Van regularly sneaks away from his village, the Wind Colony, into the nearby desert.  One such trip – the first episode of the series – begins with him being chased into a long-ruined military base by a hotheaded bandit about three years his elder.

What this young bandit, Bol, is trying to prove matters little to Van.  His problem is getting back to the village without the knucklehead following him.  Or acing him out when he attempts to escape.

Trying to get away, Van is instead chased further into the ruins where he discovers a small zoid in some sort of stasis pod.

Okay, wait.  I can see that I’m going to have to play dictionary and give you the definition of a zoid.

A zoid is a mechanical animal about two or three stories tall (on average) with hidden weapons in its body.  A zoid is pilotable; that is, a human can pilot or ‘drive’ it.  Usually the cockpit for a zoid is a cab situated in the forward part of the zoid’s head.  As with height, this feature also varies from zoid to zoid (some have the cockpit in their chests).  Most often, though, it is in the head.

The zoid Van discovers is a dragon/T-rex type nearly six or seven feet tall.  No cockpit on this guy!  (He and similar zoids are referred to as ‘dragon-type zoids’; this may stem from their three claws on each ‘hand’ and foot.  Only Japanese dragons have three claws which is why these zoids would be referred to as dragon-type in this series.  At least I think that’s the reason for this description.)  With pink eyes and silver armor, the zoid is initially not friendly to Van since it considers him to be a threat.

However, Van’s good nature soon leads the zoid to realize Van will not hurt him.  Van dubs this small zoid Zeke, after his father’s white Command Wolf.

Ugh, DiNozzo!!!  A Command Wolf is – obviously! – a wolf-type zoid.  Sit down and let me finish!!

As I was saying, he names this small zoid Zeke after his father’s white Command Wolf.  The two are on the way to becoming fast friends when Bol literally barges into the room in his continuing pursuit of Van.  Spotting Zeke, Bol decides to take him and sell him “for a small fortune.”

In order to protect his new friend, Van attacks the blue Guysack (scorpion-type zoid) that Bol is piloting.  Quickly overcome, Van believes he is finished when Zeke intervenes –and takes a beating for his bravery.

Things look pretty bad.  But Zeke has some special talents that neither of the boys is aware of.  Escaping Bol with Van on his back, Zeke finds a wrecked Shield Liger (lion-type zoid) outside the ruins.  Dumping Van in the coverless cockpit, Zeke glows white, jumps into the air, and then ‘fuses’ with the Liger, “bringing it back to life.”  (Yes, zoids are living creatures,  Tony.)

In the Liger, Zeke’s power and Van’s own natural piloting skills allows the two to drive Bol and his partners off.  After the bandits leave, though, Zeke returns to the ruins.  There Van discovers a second stasis pod adjacent to Zeke’s destroyed casing.  He opens it, expecting another small zoid (called an ‘organoid’ because of the ability to merge with larger zoids) to pop out.  Instead, when it opens he finds a girl of about his own age inside.

I might add that, mysteriously, she and Zeke share the same eye color.

Taking her back to the village, Van learns the girl has no memory of anything – not trees, not fruit – except the name ‘Fiona.’

Guessing this is her real name, Van calls her Fiona.  Some time after this, the bandits attack the Wind Colony to get Zeke.  Van again defeats them and drives them off.  But with the possibility the gang may return in the future to harass his village, Van leaves home to protect the townspeople from these aggressors.

Out in the wide world, Van quickly makes friends and enemies through his strong belief in “the difference between right and wrong” as well as his naiveté.  Among the traveling companions he acquires is the transporter Moonbay, a sassy, independent young woman roaming the desert.  She carries cargo for whoever will pay her a large sum.  Another member of the company is Irvine, a young mercenary who travels with them initially only to steal Zeke.  Republican Captain Rob Herman (who arrests Van after an encounter with ‘sleeper’ Guysacks gets the bunch in trouble) also comes to respect the hotheaded youth.  (No, he does not travel with Van’s group.)  Many other characters also learn to count Van as a friend.

Van’s strongest opponent is Raven, an Imperial soldier his own age.  A master pilot, Raven is a terror in battle and a scourge to the Republican ranks – so much so that even the Imperials do not trust him.  Hating zoids and practically everyone else, his abilities are sharpened to a fearsome degree when his black-armored, blue-eyed organoid Shadow fuses with his blood-red Zaber Fang (a Saber Tooth Tiger-type zoid).  Van and Raven battle several times because of these opposing natures: Van’s love of zoids and his friendships versus Raven’s hatred of these machines and condescension toward everyone.

Although Raven is Van’s most deadly enemy, he does encounter others.   The villains include all kinds, from low-brow bandit riff-raff to the Regent of the Guylos Empire.  Van and his friends soon find themselves deep in adventure and peril.  The underpinning theme of the series is Fiona’s mysterious past, her capability to communicate with Zeke, and her ability to read the writing of an ancient civilization that once thrived on Zi.

Fiona’s past coming back to ‘haunt’ her, and by extension everyone she cares about, eventually takes precedence in the series.  When the credits role in the last episode, Van has achieved his wish and become “the greatest zoid pilot ever.”  Zi, just like its deserts, is once more open to adventure for all.  I like to think Van and Fiona have a lot more fun after the screen goes black, as is proper for any series.

Zoids: Chaotic Century seems to take a lot of elements from Star Wars, with the addition of other, less noticeable themes and motifs.  The most prominent idea, and this is what really makes the show, is that the pilots have to fight to ‘reach their full potential.’  Every zoid has the capability to be a stronger and greater creature, a capability that is usually accomplished in battle.  This is impossible, however, without the proper pilot.  Only as a team can both the pilot and the zoid achieve their ultimate potential.

Watching Van get there is a thrill and a million, DiNozzo.  You have got to take a look at the series.

Altogether Chaotic Century is a very well thought-out, well-executed show.  It is no wonder it had three sequel series (Zoids: New Century Zero; Zoids: Fuzors; and Zoids: Genesis).  Chaotic Century is so detailed that it demands more stories from Zi.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe these three series lived up to Chaotic Century’s legacy.  But that’s a topic for tomorrow in this stellar Torture Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo Week.

In parting, I will say only this, Tony:  “See you on the battlefield!”

Later,

Mithril