Reviews: Zambot 3

Super Robot Deconsruction to the Max!

Anyone worth their salt in their knowledge of Giant Robot history will usually say that the first series to give a more realistic stance towards the genre as a whole was Mobile Suit Gundam 0079, and that when it comes to Super Robots specifically, Neon Genesis Evangilion was one of the first and best examples, with Dancougar being a close second. However, what most people won't tell you about is the series that truly started it all; Zambot 3.

Zambot 3, unlike Mobile Suit Gundam, is unabashedly a Super Robot show, but for 1977, it takes the genre in a completely unexpected direction, and for good reason. This series was directed by Tomino, the mastermind behind Gundam 0079, and it shows. What also shows is his memories of the destruction and devastation wreaked upon Japan during the height of World War II, which constantly make themselves known throughout the series. Rather than cities and towns being relatively unharmed, more often than not they are instead completely totaled and demolished, with the survivors having no choice but to form into camps and vainly attempt to seek refuge. The show even has the invading aliens set up Concentration Camps, and as if that weren't enough, well, let's just say that Kamikaze fighters are given a rather cruel twist later on, so much that you WILL shed a tear.

All of this destruction is caused by none other than the battles between the titular Zambot 3 and the Monster of the Week. You see, Zambot 3 is piloted by 3 kids, as you would see in various other Super Robot Shows. The difference is that while the two supporting members of the team are still rather mature for 10-year-olds, our 'hero', Kappei, is what you would expect from a kid in such a situation; he's a naive, cocky, Jerk Ass brat who doesn't know any better despite thinking he does. What makes him bearable is that he does get his comeuppance and HARD, to the point where you almost wished he didn't get it due to the cost of receiving it. Basically, he gains a heavy loss, and it isn't the only one he gets. All of this causes him to mature into a True Hero, or at least a decent human being.

Zambot 3 is an early masterpiece in the Super Robot genre, being both a WWII memoir while also taking many SR tropes to their logical conclusions, and still playing things more straight than, say, NGE. Hell, I actually think it's better than NGE. It's a must-watch.