Zoids: Chaotic Century and Guardian Force.
Hello, my name is Pepper and I will be reviewing this anime series (Dubbed Version).
I may be guilty of a small nostalgia filter as Zoids has had a special place in my heart (flashback to chibi-Pepper turning on her newly built Ultrasuarus) However I have it on DVD and watch is often. Now: Onto the review.
Chaotic Century: Boy finds robot, boy gets giant robot, and boy makes excuse to have an adventure. Adventure develops into a rather good story.
It stood out among many "kids cartoons" anime series because although it had a typical Empire vs. Republic "Rebels" war going on, no one side was presented as evil, both armies had their sympathetic characters and their villainous characters. The protagonists didn't have any bias for or against either side after meeting imperials and republicans (not that sort..). It was a neat story with an abandoned arc but not too many questions left over. The animation was decent and the characters developed quite well.
Guardian force is set an unspecified length of time after the end of Chaotic Century, war is over, rebuilding efforts, and reconciliation etc but some unsavoury sorts are causing trouble. Our protagonist has just finished taking some badass levels and joins an Interpol like unit to help stop the trouble makers. Continue to teaming up with old friends and bumping into old enemies.
One issue is that the episodes can sometimes be formulaic: A crime is committed, GF dispatched, crime uncovered, baddie stopped, Big Bad implicated. End. It stood out in that two of the main villains were redeemed rather well, plot wise, even in a mildly believable way.
For a series made to sell plastic model kits, its got a good plot, great characters and decent (for its time) animation.
I also have to say: Anything that held my pre-teen attention in a toy shop for the length of an episode must be doing something right. Anything that can then grab my attention beyond nostalgia a few years later is great.