Zoids: Chaotic Century is the first of the several Zoids anime, adapted from the manga of the same name. Known simply as Zoids in Japan, it was marketed asZoids: Chaotic Century in English-language markets. Western fans occasionally use Chaotic Century to refer to the first half of the series, and Guardian Force to refer to the post-Time Skip second half, though this distinction was never officially made in Japan. It was played on Cartoon Network in North America, but moved to an early-morning timeslot before it finished airing, and eventually canceled entirely without ever showing the last four episodes of the series, which were delayed due to production issues. The Final Four were eventually aired — on Toonami no less — as a gift to the fans.Chaotic Century's story follows Van Flyheight, a teenager who spends much of his time Hover Boarding around the local desert ruins for kicks. One day, he's pursued by a local bandit and forced to flee into said ruins, where he discovers a set of People Jars in a previously inaccessible part of the structure. In one, he finds a small and unusually intelligent dinosaur-like zoid; from another emerges a young girl, who proves to have no memory of her past but experiences occasional visions of a mysterious nature. Van promptly names the girl Fiona (which she called herself when initially asked her name, but seemed to forget as soon as she said it) and the zoid Zeke (after his father's Command Wolf). Zeke proves to have mysterious powers of his own when he instantly revives an old, abandoned Shield Liger, allowing Van to fight off the bandit and return home.Between being pursued by bandits after Zeke, a valuable "organoid", and Fiona's visions of a "Zoid Eve", Van Jumps At The Call and decides to go adventuring and see if he can find any answers about his new friends. Along the way he meets tough guy Irvine and mechanically-inclined transporter Moonbay, gets involved in the ongoing war between the Helic Republic and Guylos Empire, and gains a rival in Raven, a warrior for the Empire with an organoid of his own. Before things can be put to rest, Van must learn about Fiona's past and how it relates to Zeke and the Sealed Evil in a Can that the Empire's Treacherous Advisor, Gunter Prozen, is trying to harness.Guardian Force picks up after a Time Skip of several years, during which the Empire and the Republic have worked together to form an elite military group: the eponymous Guardian Force, dedicated to ending conflicts before they can become full-blown wars. Van, naturally, has joined on behalf of the Helic Republic; his Imperial counterpart is Thomas Schubaltz, who becomes his partner. The two of them, eventually joined by their friends from Chaotic Century, quickly uncover a plot that threatens the entire world. This time, the mystery revolves around Zoid Eve, and the emergence of several new villains, each with the own organoid. The final conflict, when it occurs, takes place over eight full episodes without running into Ending Fatigue, saturating the series with nearly toxic levels of awesome.
This series provides examples of:
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Alas, Poor Villain: Raven's reaction after the Death Stinger kills his Organoid Shadow, revealing that, out of all the Zoids Raven utilized, Shadow was the only one he actually cared about.
Also, the episode "The Distant Stars" that gives exposition on Raven's backstory.
Bowdlerize: Several scenes were cut from the English dub.
From Chaotic Century: Moonbay tells Fiona to answer the door when they're taking a shower, she gets out without bothering to put clothes on and opens the door to see Van. He runs away blushing with her chasing him.
From Guardian Force: In the episode where Van reunites with Irvine, he's sneaking aboard the Whale King but is caught by a group of guys drinking; also the captain grabs Fiona and points a gun to her head.
When Van and Fiona go to Lumiere Island, Reese shows Fiona a vision where zombies ambush her, Van comes to her rescue but is shot and lies in a pool of blood. Fiona tries to wake him but then she sees her blood-covered hands and screams.
Reese's flashback to her childhood is cut where Nichalo is shot while trying to protect her.
In the beginning of the season when Van's village is attacked, the defeated pilot meets up with Hiltz and he's thrown off a cliff.
All of this is averted in the Chilean Spanish dub, since it was dubbed from the Japanese version, rather from the English version.
Heroic Sacrifice: Dan Flyheight's death while protecting a group of Helic scientists along with Raven and Shadow from Prozen's forces.
Hollywood Tactics: Major battles boil down to either both sides lining up opposite each other and firing randomly until one side runs away, or hordes of weak units swarming a single overpowering opponent and being annihilated for their trouble.
Humans Are White: There are no people of color on Planet Zi (or at least it's hard to tell if they are white or of Asian descent or both due to Mukokuseki). The only brown-skinned character is Moonbay. This is especially jarring since Raven's father said people from Earth migrated to Zi.
Jumped at the Call: Van is more than eager to get into the cockpit of a Zoid and embark on an adventure.
Super Robot: The Organoids and any Zoid they're merged with.
Those Two Bad Guys: The Heaven and Hell Brothers, who show up once in Chaotic Century and again in Guardian Force.
Time Skip: Between Chaotic Century and Guardian Force.
Took a Level in Badass: Over the course of Chaotic Century, Van goes from a lucky kid with an organoid to a capable pilot in his own right. The Time Skip takes it Up to Eleven; by Guardian Force, he's one of the top zoid pilots in the world with formal military training including hand-to-hand combat.
Wave Motion Gun: The Charged Particle Cannon, which is only mounted on the most powerful zoids: the Geno Saurer (and its upgrade, the Geno Breaker), the Death Saurer, and the Death Stinger.
Hope Spot: In Raven's introductory episode, he goes on a rampage, destroying countless zoids. Cue Van's appearance in the Shield Liger! And then Raven proceeds to demolish him, and only withdraws due to orders from above.
Knight of Cerebus: Prozen. The series starts out mostly lighthearted with the only antagonist to appear aren't hugely dangerous and are reasonably likable, and the war between the Empire and the Republic is mostly just referenced in the background. Then Prozen shows up, and the war takes center stage and protagonists are into events related to it regardless of whether or not they want to.
Kid Hero: Van. He's fourteen in the Japanese version, but the dub changes it to seventeen.
Mid-Season Upgrade: Van's Shield Liger being evolved into the Blade Liger. Raven switching out his Zaber Fang for a Geno Saurer also counts.
The Power of Love: A key component in the regeneration of Van's Shield Liger into a Blade Liger and its subsequent kicking of Raven's ass in Chaotic Century.
The Quest: Van and Fiona set out to find Zoid Eve and pick up some friends along the way; however, they get sidetracked all the time and by the time Guardian Force starts, they pretty much put off finding it for later.
Abnormal Ammo: The gravity cannon, as may be imagined from the name, fires miniature gravitational fields at its target; it's later used to shoot Van, Zeke, and the Blade Liger at the True Deathsaurer.
Aborted Arc: Guardian Force left a lot of subplots unresolved and hanging (some of which were leftovers from Chaotic Century).
Awesome, but Impractical: The Genobreaker is the single most deadly non-legendary Zoid in the series, and is tailored specifically to fit Raven and Shadow working in concert. However, it can only stay merged with Shadow (and thus at peak power) for 180 seconds, meaning that if anybody besides Raven piloted it, they'd be screwed.
For the Evulz: This was apparently why Hiltz wanted to resurrect the Death Stinger and Death Saurer.
Full Potential Upgrade: Turns out to be Zeke's unique organoid power; he can boost a zoid's capabilities above and beyond even what a normal organoid-enhanced zoid can do, allowing it to keep up with its pilot.
Heel-Face Turn: Raven pretty much goes through one after Shadow temporarily dies, and Reese goes through one shortly after as well to the point where they both fight against Hiltz and the Death Saurer at Zoid Eve.
Hijacked by Ganon: Big subversion! The final few episodes reveal Prozen to be the Dark Kaiser who was ordering the villains around only for Hiltz to ascend him for the finale.
Mecha Expansion Pack: The Attack Booster of the Blade Liger. Amusingly first tested on Moonbay's Gustav.
Ship Sinking: The Thomas/Fiona ship was sunk in episode 51, after Van went missing after being defeated by Raven. Irvine told Thomas that Fiona loved Van, and after this point, Thomas stopped flirting with Fiona.
Shout-Out / Suspiciously Similar Song: To Jurassic Park (almost to the point of plagiarism when both themes climax); just listen to the Ultrasaurus' theme and then the Jurassic Park theme. Also consider how similar the scenes with the Ultrasaurus first moving and Dr. Grant seeing the living Brachiosaur/Brontasaur/whatever are, especially since the aforementioned themes start playing in both instances.