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Finally, a series that combines CG with handdrawn animation well.
Zoids, as it is currently known in the US, is actually the second series of the Zoids franchise, which stemmed from a popular line of toys. Zoids, produced by Tomy, were assembled models of gigantic fighting robots that resembled animals. The series focuses on these battles, which are officially regulated by robot judges. The concept vaguely resembles that of Pokémon, but with fighting robots, instead of animals. The main character of the series is Bit Cloud, a former junk worker who ends up joining the Blitz Team, and receiving the zoid Liger/Zero, rumored to have strange powers. He goes through many battles, both against other teams in official battles, and also against zoids sponsored by the treacherous Backdraft Group. The zoids, and other mechanical things like the judges and satellites in this series are all computer-generated, but made to resemble standard animation through shading. The zoids are often presented in the standard anime framerate, but occasionally are given a much higher and smoother one. I'm personally glad that they use the standard framerate, because you can sometimes forget that they are computer-generated. And though there are times you can tell they are just made of polygons, most of the objects are too detailed to let it slip through. The series itself is decent, though with too little character development for some. However, there is complete continuity throughout the series, building up to the "Royal Cup" at the end. There are plenty of comic moments to be had, and the series is generally light-hearted. No one ever dies in the series, and zoids are never destroyed, just wrecked up. This doesn't keep the series from presenting exciting battles, however. Although most of the battles are formulaic (the opponents attack, beat on the Blitz Team, Bit retreats and turns his Liger into one of his other three forms, then comes back and beats the other team), they rarely disappoint.
One of the highlights of the series is its music. There aren't many themes, but they do manage to capture the spirit of the battles taking place.
Zoids is an above average anime series, combining the charm of Pokémon, and the excitement of robot battles. It's also worth checking out just for the wonderful CG animation.
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