Zoids: Chaotic Century is the first of four Anime series based on the Zoids range of mecha model kits produced by TOMY. The series was animated by XEBEC, and aired from 1999-09-04 to 2000-12-23 on TBS. Although the first series to be produced for the franchise in Japan, Chaotic Century was the second series to be dubbed and aired in Western nations, following Zoids: New Century Zero. Chaotic Century is the name given to the first half of the Anime series, in Japan Guardian Force was released as a separate Anime, where as western nations received both series as one continuity.
Zoids: Chaotic Century is set in the far reaches of the Milky Way, on the Planet Zi. On Zi, there are metallic life-forms known as Zoids, which possess powerful fighting capabilities. Throughout the recent history of the series, Zoids have been used as weapons in an ongoing war between the Helic Republic and Guylos Empire.
The setting of Chaotic Century is a few years after the most recent war between the Helic Republic and the Guylos Empire. The two nations are currently observing a ceasefire, although ambushes and minor assaults are initiated by both sides, and tensions are high after it is revealed that one or both sides may have access to the ancient technology of the Ancient Zoidians.
The series follows the story of Van Flyheight, a teenage boy who discovers a mysterious girl named Fiona (Fine in the Japanese version), and an Organoid named Zeke (Sieg). Van discovers that Zeke has the ability to merge with a Zoid, increasing its fighting power, and with that skill, Van and Fiona set off to discover the secrets of Fiona's past. During their travel, they meet up with a transporter named Moonbay, and a mercenary named Irvine, who initially thwarts their progress, but eventually begins travelling with them. As they travel across the Helic Republic, a new war breaks out, with the group of travellers being caught in the middle of it.
Differences between the storylines
Although there are many similarities between Chaotic Century and the 'New Battle Story' accompanying the New Japanese Release, the two storylines are considered to be inherently different, and are believed to occur in alternate continuities. Listed below are the main differences.
- The Zoidian race, known as the Ancient Zoidians in the anime, were wiped out long before human colonists discovered Zi. The event that wiped out the Ancient Zoidians was not the destruction of Zi's third moon by a comet, but the creation of the Death Saurer.
- Both the Guylos Empire and the Helic Republic are based on the Central Continent. No mention of the Zenebas Empire or the Dark Continent of Nyx is made, although Prozen does imply in passing that other continents exist.
- The "Guardian Force" never appears during the Battle Story.
Prior to the series there was a prolonged war between the two factions, the Guylos Empire and the Helic Republic, which ended in a ceasefire. Not much is stated about the war other than that Van's father fought and died in it. The series starts with Van being chased by a group of bandit Zoid pilots and ends discovering the organoid Zeke in some ruins. Zeke revives an abandoned Shield Liger, which Van uses to fight off the bandits. After that, he discovers the girl, whom he dubs "Fiona", in the same ruins that he found Zeke in, although she has no memory of who she is. When Van returns to his village, the bandits return and try to capture Zeke. To keep his family and frineds safe from the bandits, Van leaves the village and sets out to travel the world with Fiona. During that time in some more ruins Van hears Fiona speak of something called Zoid Eve, which becomes Van's ultimate goal throughout the series.
The war flares up and Van, along with Fiona, the mercenary Irvine and the transporter Moonbay, ends up warding off some Emperial attacks on Republican forces. After that, Van, Fiona, Irvine and Moonbay attempt to stay out of the war. However, Van ends getting involved somewhat when he meets the Guylos ace pilot, Raven, whom he quickly forms a grudge against after witnessing Raven's brutal behaviour. Although he attempts to fight Raven, he proves no match for him their first battle. Van later challenges Raven again and loses once more. In the battle, Zeke suffers near-fatal damage, though Van manages to save him. During this time the Imperial army manages to march farther and farther in Republican territory but are eventually stopped by the deployment of the Republic's new Gojulas. Van and the others eventually reach the Republic's capital in hopes of finding information about Zoid Eve, but only end up getting caught up in the Empire's assault on the city. During the siege, Van is finally able to defeat Raven.
The war is stopped when the Empire's crown prince Rudolph orders a ceasefire, although his advisor, Prozen, refuses to give up on conquering the Republic, and so attempts to assassinate the prince. His attempt is foiled by the bandits Rosso and Viola who kidnap the prince in an attempt to blackmail the Empire. During this time, Prozen finds the remains of the Death Saurer, attempts to revive it, and also creates the Genosaurer for Raven to use. Raven uses the Genosaurer to destroy Van's Shield Liger, but was unaware that Zeke and Fiona revived the Shield Liger as the Blade Liger. During this time it is revealed that Fiona is actually an "Ancient Zoidian", that is, a member of a race that existed long before humans came to the Planet Zi. Rudoulf, separated from Rosso and Viola after a fight with Raven, joins Van and his friends who try to take him to the Empire's capital Guygalos to stop Prozen from taking over the Empire and restarting the war. During this time, parts of Imperial army (both those loyal to Prozen and those that were manipulated into fighting) try to stop them. Eventually, Van faces Raven again, with the Blade Liger eventually managing to defeat the Genosaurer. Although Rudolph is returned to the capital, Prozen attempts to use the revived Death Saurer to take control, which goes on a rampage and almost destroys the capital. Although the forces of the Empire and Republic that are powerless to stop it, with Van's help, they are able is able to destroy the Death Saurer and (apparently) kill Prozen in the process. Rudolph is then crowned the emperor and peace finally starts to settle between the Empire and Republic, but Van and Fiona don't take part in celebration and instead leave to find Zoid Eve.
- Main article: List of Zoids: Chaotic Century characters
- Van Flyheight [バン・フライハイト] is a teenage orphan of the previous war between the Republic and Empire. Van is a bit dense to start with, but is loyal to his companions and has a good heart. His open nature means that many people are attracted to him, and he enjoys a good challenge. After finding Fiona and Zeke, he becomes a Zoid pilot, who utilizes a Shield Liger, a lion type Zoid that can deploy a shield in front of itself. It later evolves into a Blade Liger, which gives it a pair of laser-edged high density steel blades capable of cutting through all but the densest of enemy armor. He would go on to become one of the greatest Zoid pilots Planet Zi had ever seen. Voiced by: Daisuke Kishio and Matthew Erikson
- Fiona [フィーネ・エリュシーヌ・リネ] is young girl awakened from stasis by Van. She suffers from severe amnesia, so they set out to discover her past. As her memories return, it is learned that Fiona is actually Elisia Linette, one of the last members of the Ancient Zoidian race. Her driving goal is to discover something known as the 'Zoid Eve', supposedly the source of all Zoids' power. Voiced by: Makiko Ohmoto and Carol-Anne Day
- Zeke [ジーク] is an Organoid, a small Zoid imbued with many powers. Awakened by Van, Zeke is named after the Command Wolf piloted by Van's father, who died during the previous war. Zeke's primary ability is to fuse himself with another Zoid, increasing its combat potential dramatically. Zeke is able to use this ability to resurrect destroyed Zoids, and to evolve Zoids into more powerful forms. Voiced by: Takuma Suzuki and Dave Pettitt
- Irvine [アーバイン] is a mercenary initially interested in capturing Zeke. He later joins Van and Fiona after losing the desire. Although cold-hearted in appearance, Irvine shows a soft side on more than one occasion. He is a skilled pilot, who uses a modified Command Wolf with a powerful long-range beam cannon, though he also briefly pilots a Gojulas. Voiced by: Keiji Fujiwara and Mark Gatha
- Moonbay [ムンベイ] is a trader, who often smuggles weapons using the Gustav, an armored insect Zoid capable of pulling 250 tons of cargo. She is a free-spirited individual, who is not afraid to speak her mind. Voiced by: Kumiko Watanabe and Onalea Gilbertson
- Raven [レイヴン] is pilot for the Guylos Empire, adopted by Prozen after his parents, Zoid researchers, are killed by Ambient. He is selected for his prodigious piloting abilities, which are complemented by the Organoid, Shadow. Raven is extremely anti-social and reserved, and holds a deep dislike of all Zoids. He considers Van to be his rival, and swears not to rest until Van has been killed by his hand. Raven pilots a Sabre Tiger until it is destroyed, where it is replaced by a prototype Genosaurer. Voiced by: Mitsuki Saiga and Scott Hendrickson
- Gunther Prozen [ ギュンター・プロイツェン ] is the main villain of the series. He is the Regent of the Guylos Empire, an Admiral in the Guylos military, and the second in line for the throne of Guylos. Prozen arranges for Prince Rudolph, next in line for the throne, to be kidnapped and assassinated so that he can seize power after Emperor Zeppelin's suspicious death. He plans to use the Deathsaurer to take total control of the world. Voiced by: Houchu Ohtsuka and Dave Kelly
- Doctor D. [ドクター・ディ] is a self-confessed mad scientist once employed by the Republican Army as a Zoid researcher. He is considered Zi's foremost expert on anything Zoid or Organoid related, and enjoys hanging around with Van and his group. His attitude and demeanor irritate Van, but Doctor D.'s knowledge comes in handy on several occasions.
- Prince Rudolph Zeppelin III [ルドルフ・ゲアハルト・ツェッペリンIII世] is the grandchild of Emperor Zeppelin. Rudolph is placed into the care of Van by Rosso and Viola, former waste land bandits. Van agrees to help return Rudolph to the Guylos Empire capital, Guygalos, and to teach the boy how to pilot a Zoid properly. Although Rudolph's identity is initially kept hidden from Van and his friends, Doctor D. soon reveals the truth about the Crown Prince. Rudolph is an eager, friendly person, who wishes to be able to emulate Van in piloting skill. Rudolph is quite naive and prefers reasoning over fighting, even with Raven and Prozen. He also deeply cares for the Guylos empire and hates seeing others around him hurt. Voiced by: Tomoko Ishimura and Elinor Holt
- Karl Lichen Schubaltz [カール・リヒテン・シュバルツ] is one of the Guylos Empire's greatest and most revered Zoid pilots, serving in the position of Major and commander of the 4th Land Battalion of the Guylos Empire, then later, Colonel for the First Panzer Division. Schubaltz is an honorable fighter, and wishes to see peace between the Republic and Empire as opposed to total destruction of both sides. He both loathes and distrusts Prozen, though he unable to do anything to stop him. He pilots several Zoids throughout the series, including a Dark Horn, a modified Sabre Tiger, and a modified Iron Kong. Voiced by: Yuji Ueda and Jonathan Love
- Rob Herman [ロブ・ハーマン] is the commander-in-chief of the Red River Unit at the Red River base bordering Imperial territory. He is also the son of both the Republic's former and current Presidents, but he is a humble soldier who does not appear to rely on the influence of his family in order to benefit himself. Instead, he prefers to perform his duties and to earn his rank in the army on his own. In fact, it is to be noted that in one of the episodes, it is hinted that he is so detached from his familial ties that he has not called his mother, the current President of the Republic, "Mom" in several years, instead addressing her by her proper title as any other soldier would. The Zoids he has been seen piloting most often are a Pteras and a Gordos. He has also been seen piloting a Gojulas and a Shield Liger from time to time. Voiced by: Jin Horikawa and Kurtis Sanheim
The most common Zoids seen throughout the series are Van's Shield Liger, Irvine's Command Wolf and Moonbay's Gustav. The Helic Republic is most commonly seen using Command Wolves, Godos, Gordos, Shield Ligers, and Gojulas, while the Guylos Empire seems to favor Zaber Fangs, Redlers, Rev Raptors, Molgas, Iron Kongs and both Red Horns and Dark Horns.
- Main article: Organoids
Organoids are rare types of Zoids that are barely left over from the Ancient Zoidian's reign on Zi. There are only four known to exist by the end of the series, one of which was destroyed and rebuilt, while another one was completely destroyed in the last episode.
- Main article: List of Zoids Chaotic Century/Guardian Force episodes
In Japan, there are different censorship laws to English-speaking nations, as such, several scenes present in the Japanese version were not allowed to be broadcast on most foreign TV networks. These scenes were cut out or shortened during localisation, to remove drug references, violent scenes (blood, etc.), and any implied nudity or sexuality.
- Episode 1: Fiona isn't wearing any clothing when Van opens up her pod. (Wires are shown covering her. In the English dub, she is covered by steam, although in one of the episode's introduction, this scene is shown.)
- Episode 8: Fiona and Moonbay are showering. (Scene was shortened in the English dub)
- Episode 29: Twice, Karl Schubaltz gets a gun pointed directly at him. Prozen steps out of a bath and puts on his robe while talking with Lieutenant Harden.
In the Western dub, there is only one opening and ending theme, both of which are modified versions of certain background music tracks used throughout the series. The following full-voice songs were featured in the Japanese release only.
- Wild Flowers by Ramar
- Song for... by Dear
- Chase by Develop=Frame
- Into Yourself by Transtic Nerve
- Your Song by Earth