The Backdraft is the main antagonist force in the Zoids: New Century anime series.
The Backdraft Organization (also known as Backdraft Group) is a shadowy criminal syndicate that rules unsanctioned battles. They are ruled by the mysterious "Committee of Seven", with an unnamed Count residing over it. They oppose the Zoid Battle Commission as a matter of principle, and use their own Judges, called Dark Judges, to hijack legal Zoid battles.
They win over competitors by offering very large amounts of prize money, usually measured in multiples of regular prize money (that would be given from fighting in a sanctioned battle). However, in return, participants that lose must forfeit all their Zoids. Teams that do not participate in battles are often attacked anyway, to show that the Backdraft always get their way.
The Backdraft is apparently funded through gambling, with battles being rigged to maximize bets. An example of this is episode 12, when the safety feature on Bit Cloud's Liger Zero was removed for no reason other than maximizing the potential profits.
While the Backdraft use illicit moves to spice up battles, it is mentioned in episode 13 that they "do not think of themselves as criminals". The amount of illegal moves they use varies greatly depending on the situation and the combatants involved. Some battles featuring Polta and Altile show excessive, underhanded tactics, while others featuring Stoller and Sanders are more honorable. During the first engagement of the Elephander, the Backdraft imposes a handicap on their own Zoid to make the fight fairer, and hence attract more betting.
According to the New Century DVD special features:
"Little is known about the Backdraft except they are in opposition to the Zoid Battle Commission and seek to destroy them whenever they get the chance. Overseen by a committee of seven mysterious members and chaired by "The Count" they illegally interrupt matches and challenge a team to an unauthorized battle. The challenged team has little choice but accepting the challenge with promises of an enormous amount of prize money if you win. But if you lose, they will take all of your Zoids and leave you with nothing."
Initially shown in episode 4, the Backdraft attacked basically at random, involving the Blitz Team inadvertantly when Leena accidentally flies over their forces, who shot her down and kidnapped her. They then extort the Blitz Team into a battle, but are ultimately defeated, both in combat, and by Leena herself, who overwhelms her guards and escapes on her own. In this episode, the Backdraft used illegal weapons, fielded more Zoids than the opponent, and, in general, disregard fairness or norms in order to win the battle.
Their next appearance is in episode 6, where Sanders uses the Elephander to try and beat the Blitz Team, but apart from setting up a dome over the battle field, use no illegal maneuvers or dirty tricks, instead simply relying on the overwhelming power of the Elephander to make money on their battle.
After this battle, the Backdraft grew interested in the Blitz team, as they see their victory over the Elephander as a highly significant win. This is because they thought the Elephander to be an "Ultimate X" Zoid, but upon its defeat, begin to consider the Liger Zero as one instead. They put this to the test, sending the Fuma Team against them, but once again, the Blitz Team is victorious. Now assured that the Liger Zero is an Ultimate X, they proceed to steal it, once again pitting it against the Elephander--this time, in a one-on-one duel, without the Liger's CAS options.
While the Liger is soundly thrashed, the Hover Cargo is able to interrupt the match and deploy the Schenider unit, and it and the Elephander are both taken out (resulting in a draw). Immediately after, the Zoids Battle Commission deploy the Blitz Team and trick the Backdraft into a battle, and, with the deployment of the Raynos, are successful in exacting revenge on the Backdraft's Zabat squadrons.
Later, there are several developments. Firstly, the Blitz Team are inadvertently involved with the Backdraft, who, targeting Naomi's team, rather than their team, interrupt a battle between Bit Cloud and Leon Toros. The next development is when Dr. Laon joins them in order to get his revenge against Steve Toros. During this battle, Pierce defects from the Backdraft. After this, Stoller steals the Elephander and defects, challenging Bit to a legitimate Zoid battle, and inadvertently causing the Backdraft and the Blitz Team to come into conflict. The use of the Liger Zero's Panzer armour obliterates the Backdraft's forces.
Some time later, Brad Hunter finds Laon's Shadow Fox, and promptly joins the Backdraft. This is short-lived, as he essentially steals the Zoid and returns the Blitz Team. In retaliation, Dr. Laon kidnaps Harry Champ and tries to use him as a hostage to extract his revenge against the Blitz Team using the Fuma Team, who's Warsharks he had upgraded. This goes horribly wrong, as Leena, rather than being paralysed by love, is enraged by Harry's kidnapping (as Harry's kidnapping meant she was stood up on a scheduled date with him), and blasts him, along with the Fuma team, ending the conflict.
From this point on, the Backdraft's focus shifts to the Berserk Fury.
Altile, ridiculed for his belief in the existence of the Ultimate X, is assigned to finding one, a job they don't honestly expect him to achieve (even joking about taking bets on his success or failure). He does succeed, though he is once again shunned, with Vega Obscura being given the Fury, and Sarah, his handler, is given control over all its actions. Here, she places Vega into the Royal Cup, as the Backdraft Group launches a coup d'etat against the Zoid Battle Commission by using a Charged Particle Cannon to wipe out their Judge Satellites, with the intent being to completely usurp control of all Zoid battles for their own evil purposes. Enraged by his sidelining, Altile gives the Fuma Team three Geno Saurers and tells them to defeat the Fury. They fail, and the Fury nearly proceeds unimpeded to the Royal Cup's finish line. But just before the finish line, the Fury halts and retreats on its own will, actively seeking a rematch with the Blitz Team, or specifically, their Ultimate X, the Liger Zero.
The battle is heated, but ultimately ends when Vega ejects from his Zoid, which had gone rampant during the fight. This rendered the Backdraft's illegitimate attempt to win the Royal Cup thwarted. Furthermore, the timely appearance of a colossal ZBC Judge Satellite in response to the Backdraft's greedy plans, resulted in the obliteration of the Dark Judge Satellites.
Thus, with the series' end, the Backdraft is totally and thoroughly defeated, although the ultimate fate of the organization itself is unknown.
- The Count
- Fuma, Ehga, Koga, and Negola
- Dr. Laon (joins midway through the series)
- Major Polta
- Stigma Stoller
- Vega Obscura
- The red beads found on the various Backdraft member's clothes appear to loosely indicate rank.
- While many characters are defeated by the Backdraft, the most notable loss is Harry Champ. In episode 9, he loses all his Zoids, an immense number (previously stated as being "everything from a Cannon Tortoise to a Gojulas"). He receives Iron Kongs from his sister Mary, and for the remainder of the series alternates between these and his custom Dark Horn. It is unclear if this is an animation oversight, or if he obtains new version of those Zoids.