What the heck is Zillion doing here on the Robotech 2012 Blog?! While I am reading the Robotech novels (before watching the show or reading the comics) I got a little lonesome for some Anime. This last week I began cleaning out some old VHS tapes I had in the entertainment center and lo and behold what should I find but my Zillion tapes! I thought this would make a nice quick break and give me some much needed classic animation while I am busy reading during the week.
Being the much eager Anime fan I got this set plus the movie 'Burning Night' and utterly failed to get past the 2nd episode. That was 20+ years ago... It's time to put things to rights and watch the whole damn thing.
My enthusiasm is much higher now that I am into 'older' Anime series. I do like the flashy new stuff but the totally hand drawn classic anime holds a special place in my heart. This should be fun.
Episode 1 "They Call Me J.J."
What caught me by surprise when I first watched this episode was the much more adult stuff in it. There is some mild cussing and a lot of people dying... alot. There are even babies getting jacked in this show! It was nice that Macek didn't try to edit this to death.
Since this was an OAV (Original Animation Video) it looks better than the regular TV stuff since it was shorter and they had more money to produce nicer animation. You will also notice animation looks very Macross Saga too. That's because Studio Tatsunoko did this.
The enemy in this series (the walking battle suits) look a whole lot like the Invid's Organics... a WHOLE lot. Infact I am willing to bet they are designed off of them.
You will recognize a lot of Robotech voice actors in this. Back in the day there was a smaller circle of voice actors to choose from so most anime back then shared a lot of the same people.
The White Knights are told early on that there is only a limited amount of Zillion energy but they shoot with wild abandon.
Episode 2 "Hang Fire"
The Noza (the almost faceless enemy) are pretty cool looking but you don't ANY personality out of them (since they have a mask-like face).
The schematic of the Zillion guns show a 'black box' that scientist can't figure out. On the display screen it lists the black box as 'unfathomable'... lol.
What the heck is that floating thing that hangs around Amy?
Apparently if you want to be a White Knight you will need to learn how to drive a motorcycle with a side-car thingy.
This was such a waste of an episode! What the heck happened here? There was this massive Noza invasion of a power plant and in the end the White Knights only had to deal with like eight of them! Suddenly that's all, the episode is over! There was no real story development here at all, just some pretty animation.
Episode 3 "Split Second Chance"
Some of the laser sounds from the first of this episode sound pretty cool.
As soon as the massive reinforcements showed up, flying in tight formation, I saw the result coming a mile away!
Was it really necessary for JJ to backflip to get out of his pilot's seat?
Champ is the only thing that keeps JJ alive. He is the voice of reason and often saves JJ's ass.
There's an eclipse on Maris every freakin' fifteen minutes!
The Noza's leader's eye blink (kinda) when he is giving orders to his cannon troops. This must mean it's not a mask but his actual face.
So JJ and Champ just jump out of the sub on the motorcycle, take their time aiming, shoot, and Apple catches them again on the top of the sub... man, those are some heroes!
Episode 4 "Target, The White Knights"
JJ is butt-naked at the first of this episode!
That Noza ugly-ass survellience bird is here again. This is the most unpleasant looking creature in the galaxy.
While JJ's hormones are getting him into trouble that flying ball thing is finally put to use.
Well, now that the plot has been setup and there was plenty of pre-action stuff, the rest of the episode should just fly by without much more plot or character development. lol.
Champ makes a big deal about not using their guns so the Noza won't know they are there but then immediately uses it.
Apparently Apple is a perv too.
Episode 5 "Judgement Call"
This is the last of the US adapted episodes (besides the 'Burning Night' special).
That cat thing that the scientist has sounds so pathetic... poor thing.
Champ is the one always getting shot and hurt.
That cat thing is hiding in Apple's bosum... yuuuum.
Well, that's all for the regular released US episodes. If you are interested in wanting more YouTube is the place to go. I think I'm gonna pass. I can see why the US released didn't do so well. The episodes are too self insulated, no real running story arcs or anything. They were $15 for each episode back in the day so I can see people giving up pretty quickly on this set.
OAV: Burning Night
This is the 45 minute OAV I assume was released after the series completed.
To start with the White Knights have apparently become a band since the last time I saw them (with Amy on Keytar).
Champ looks like he belongs in Duran Duran.
Apple has become useless. She used to be such a ass kickin' fem fetale. Now she is just a helpless girl.
The action in this show takes place in some place called the 'zone'. It looks like an old run down crap-hole and some big time family runs it. I don't know if they are a port from the show or a new creation from the OAV.
The team is working at that bar they started the show in (even their boss is reduced to being a bartender). After they defeated the Noza (which apparently left Maris one big junk hole) the White Knights were just abandoned to obscurity.
The Zillion weapon systems were used up during the Noza wars so the teams are reduced to normal weapons to go in a save Apple.
When JJ tries to stop the wedding it plays out like that scene from Wayne's World 2 where Wayne is banging on the glass wall above the ceremony.
Apparently the old woman controls dead Noza like zombies. They jump around like the living dead in Chinese ghost movies.
In closing, Burning Night is pretty but pointless (as was much of the regular episodes). The money was there but the story lacked. There doesn't seem to be much point in it.
Overall Zillion (in all it's forms) suffered from lack of story. There needed to be story arcs and an overall story line that actually meant something. This is the big difference between Zillion and Robotech is the story. There is a main storyline and several arcs where there doesn't seem to be anything like that in Zillion... pitty. It's not too much of a mystery why the series only 5 episodes here in the US. Along with a less than exciting storyline and Carl Macek ripping young kids out of $15 per episode Zillion flopped fairly quickly.
There were some Zillion toys released in Japan back in the 90's. Apparently they were very rare since the only set I saw (from which I got these pictures) was from a very expensive Ebay auction. They look pretty cool. There was also a game gun for the Genesis system.