Anime Quick Information
|Average Rating: 6.66|
Paranoia Agent's review
Paranoia Agent scored this with 4/10. Disagree?
The Steel Dragon Society, an all powerful, underground Chinese organization is in pursuit of world domination. After 15 years in hiding and now under the reign of Empress Yuratei they unleash the Hakkeshu, a faction of deadly mecha capable of causing huge destruction. Before their evil machinations can be set in motion they must recapture the fabled Zeoraima, stolen from them 15 years before by a renegade scientist, it is now in the hands of the Japanese government. Masato Akitsu is kidnapped and forced to pilot Zeoraima in a bid to subdue the escalating threat of a Hakkeshu invasion. Why was he chosen? What is his mysterious connection with Project Hades and just why does he find piloting the Zeoraima so familiar?
Promising the same no holds barred eighties exuberance of such minor league masterpieces as Detonator Orgun and Dangiaoh I expected Zeoraima to be a worthy addition to Manga Ent.'s already bountiful back catalogue of nostalgic greats. Two hours and four episodes later my burgeoning optimism had turned to sour disappointment, with its uneven jumble of incompetent storytelling, cringe inducing melodrama as well as some of the sloppiest characterisation this side of a Hollyoaks omnibus, Zeoraima failed to engage my interest on any level.
Showcasing an errant disregard for the barest of character development Zeoraima's anaemic cast fail to elicit even the plainest sentiments. This is only compounded by the fact that Masato, the guy we should be rooting for is a whinging, apathetic psychopath whose penchant for wickedness makes the villains seem cuddly in comparison. His emotional struggle at the centre of the tale comes across as a forced attempt to instil the series with profundity, instead his Shinji-like hissy-fitting is more likely to draw laughter than concern.
While I like my anime with a sprinkling of ambiguity Zeoraima's labyrinthine storyline and diminutive episode count make it confusing for all the wrong reasons, having to fit so much story into such a meagre running time means the show is plagued with lengthy stretches of exposition, which despite their best efforts do nothing to alleviate the pervading air of confusion. The Steel Dragon Society want to enslave humanity yet there actions are never given the slightest explanation, beyond their names and goals virtually nothing is revealed about them. And that's my main criticism, how can you enjoy a series that devotes itself to cringe worthy histrionics and patchy exposition whilst it should be concentrating on providing an interesting story and a group of characters worth caring for, the simple fact is you can't.
They say every cloud has a silver lining and whilst I'm tempted to cite Project Hades as the exception to the rule it does have one thing going for it, giant mecha mayhem!
Zeoraima throws up a weird and wonderful assortment of mecha for our delectation, each possessing some frighteningly cool attributes, Taiha the Wind can throw hurricanes at his foes and Rose Cestlavie can unleash blasts of tremendous strength after supplementing his power using lunar satellites. As you can imagine these epic powers make for some truly apocalyptic battles, craters are gouged and cities levelled, rarely do you see mecha carnage with such vicious scope making for an exhilarating and fun addition to an otherwise unremarkable show.
Produced around the late eighties, the video suffers from some murkiness and persistent grain but this is forgivable considering the age of the print.
There were no encoding problems that I noticed; black levels are rock solid and with the odd rainbow not withstanding this is another accomplished transfer from Manga.
With my speaker set-up not feeling too well at the time of going to press I can't comment on the quality of the 5.1 and DTS sound mixes (in English and Japanese no less, well done Manga), the 2.0 has good clarity and little if any directionality, it does a serviceable job but could have benefited from a bit more bite to really sell those explosion-heavy action sequences.
I tried to enjoy Zeoraima, I really did, but ultimately it just left me dazed and confused. Suffering from a half-baked narrative, laughable characterisation and lack of a comprehensible plot, it amounts to nothing more than a middling curiosity.
|Score:||4 out of 10|
|Review By:||Paranoia Agent|
|Date Published:||Mon, 27 Jun 2005|
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