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Anime / Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ

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The protagonists.
"I'm Judau Ashta, currently skipping school!"

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ (Kidou Senshi Gundam Double Zeta), is the third series in the highly successful Gundam anime franchise. A direct sequel to the vastly popular Zeta Gundam, Gundam ZZ marks a major departure from the tone of its predecessor, despite being (unusually for a Gundam series) a direct sequel.

With the resolution of the Gryps Conflict, the Titans have finally been defeated, but the AEUG was badly battered in the process. In the aftermath, Haman Karn's Neo-Zeon movement is the strongest force in space by virtue of having sat out the worst of the fighting in the previous conflict, and as such, she decides that it is time for Zeon to rise again, forcing the weakened Earth to have to fight the now restarted One Years War.

As a result of the damage suffered in the final battle of the Gryps Conflict, and being pursued by Neo-Zeon forces, the surviving crew of the Argama is forced to seek shelter in the Side 1 Colony of Shangri-La. There, a small band of children who scrape by on salvaging war debris notice the landing, and decide to try stealing a mobile suit so they can sell it for scrap. While this is going on, a surviving Titan and a Neo-Zeon ship attack, forcing Judau Ashta, a member of the salvage gang, to take over for the non-functional Kamille as the pilot of the Zeta Gundam to keep the fighting from destroying the colony.


Picking up mere days after the conclusion of Zeta Gundam, Gundam ZZ's first half is rather light-hearted and generally upbeat, especially after Zeta's Darker and Edgier story. According to reliable reports, it was an attempt to restore Gundam's reputation as a children's series and family entertainment, and its director Yoshiyuki Tomino is said to have made it as a reaction against the incredibly bleak ending of Zeta Gundam.

However, the series eventually undergoes Cerebus Syndrome and becomes much more serious. This is at least in part due to the fact that, partway through the production of ZZ, Tomino received permission to make Char's Counterattack, thus necessitating major changes in the plotline of ZZ. The series eventually ends in typical Gundam style, though without repeating the ending of Zeta Gundam.


Gundam ZZ was also one of the mainstay titles of the UC Gundams when it comes to Super Robot Wars, though after a while it faded from prominence, disappearing from the "regular" roster after Alpha 3. During the announcement of Super Robot Wars Z2, Terada let it slip that Bandai and Sunrise have something big in mind for ZZ, but what exactly this meant wasn't known. As it turned out, ZZ made its triumphant return in Super Robot Wars OE (though with OE's episodic nature, ZZ only joins in near the middle), letting the SRW fans know it still had a place in Banpresto's hearts. It later made another comeback in Super Robot Wars V, and more or less returned to its mainstay status for games of the "International Era" (V, X and T).

Gundam ZZ is available on subtitled DVD's from Rightstuf.

This contains examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Somewhat less common than in most Gundam shows (few of the AEUG's aces survived to appear in ZZ, while Neo-Zeon never had many aces in the first place), but by the end of the series a new crop of them has risen up so that they can wipe each other out in the final battle again. Also amusingly played with somewhat with Judau and his buddies. While they grow to be aces in the end, the first time any of them pilot a mobile suit, they can do little but flail around.
  • Adults Are Useless: Team Gundam tends to think this, a mindset likely started by how their parents left them to raise themselves, without leaving them an allowance that would meet the cost of living in Shangri-La, forcing them to skip school and work the junkyards to make ends meet. It doesn't help that on the Federation side, pretty much every adult older or more senior than Bright is useless, at least as far as prosecuting the war against Neo-Zeon is concerned.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: A majority of the villains undergo this.
    • Mashmyre Cello dies fighting against the enemies of his beloved Haman his powers melting down. Even his enemies can't help but respect him.
    • Lance performs a Heroic Sacrifice protecting his commander Chara from a sneak attack.
    • Glemmy Toto is finally defeated with a shot from the Zeta Gundam's rifle. In death he admits that he's glad that it was Roux who pulled the trigger, his longtime crush. Even Roux glumly agrees.
    • Nee ultimately is killed because he Can't Catch Up, the high amount of psychic empowered Newtypes leaving him in the dust and when he and Chara face down the blasts to protect Haman she blocks it with her powers and he's killed.
    • Chara Soon faces down all of the empowered Ple Clones dying with her mind grounded and her lust for battle at its height.
  • Almost Kiss: In Episode 22, Haman was about to give Judau a kiss when her soldiers interrupted.
  • Anti-Villain: Mashmyre Cello and Chara Soon.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Possibly. In episode 33, Bright says that Dublin "used to be part of Britain". Which it didnote  — until Ireland achieved independence in 1922, which is pretty distantly past now, never mind two hundred years hence. Since Bright's purpose was most likely to give background on the "old world", i.e. pre-UC, it may well be that Sunrise's staff believed Dublin was part of the UK in the real world.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The colony drop on Dublin. For something so massive as a Space Colony to strike the Earth and yet it just flattens the single city it impacted with hardly any damage done to neighboring areas is more than a little strange. Stranger still, the colony itself survived the impact fairly intact with it sticking out of the ground as a 36 kilometer tall tower with a slight inclination and yet doesn't tip over or is crushed under Earth's gravity.
  • Ascended Extra: Since ZZ is an immediate follow-up to Zeta a couple of ideas introduced in the former series are expanded upon in this one. Axis Zeon is the most prevalent with its turn as the central antagonist fleshing out its soldiers rather than just its leadership.
    • With the death of most of the supporting cast in Zeta, Torres, a fairly minor member of the Bridge Staff, gets upgraded to a Mauve Shirt in this one, and even his backstory receives some minor focus.
    • The La Vie en Rose was introduced in Zeta as a one-off supply ship and it sees a lot more importance in this series as a major support vessel for the Argama and Nahel Argama.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Gundam ZZ itself has a built in Wave-Motion Gun with a tremendous energy demand. After firing it, Judau's lucky if he can squeeze another minute of life out of his beam sabers. After that, he's kaput.
    • Even more Awesome, but Impractical, in that said Wave-Motion Gun is mounted in the head, which is usually one of the first parts to be shot/cut off, unless a Mobile Suit is completely destroyed. Whoever thought of mounting such a powerful weapon in the most exposed part of the machine clearly didn't think it through properly...
    • Everything about ZZ Gundam, really. Its weapons are powerful, yes, but it's a complete energy hog (the Hi-Mega Cannon is just the worst of this). It can transform and separate into three separate planes, but the combination of those two systems leaves the entire thing structurally weak and prone to malfunctions (not to mention the dangers involved in trying to combine or decombine such a weapon during a battle). It's also a maintenance nightmare with all its non-standard parts. No wonder the design was never mass-produced.
  • Ax-Crazy: Ple is repeatedly proven to be a psychopath as are several other previously harmless villains.
  • Back for the Dead: Hayato only appears in 2 episodes for this series. The first is a brief cameo while the second (and only major appearance) ends with them dying.
  • Badass Crew: the kids slowly grow into one.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": The people of Moon Moon won't let the Argama into the colony unless they dismantle their "giant god", so Judau de-combines the Double Zeta, betting that it'll satisfy them without actually rendering the machine inoperable. To help sell it, his friends sob melodramatically and wail over the loss of their "god".
  • The Baroness: Haman Karn.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: Amuro and Char show up in the credits but never appear in the show itself. This was because their arc ended up getting moved into Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack.
  • Beginner's Luck: Hilariously played with when Judau first pilots Z Gundam. The first battle between him and Mashmyre is basically the latter getting so confused with Judau's flailing around that he let down his guard and got his mobile suit's arm cut off. The second fight's almost the same.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Haman and Mashmyre.
  • Beam Spam: A few of the suits on the Neo-Zeon sides of the conflict, the Geymalk and the Queen Mantha, are probably the trope codifiers. Prior to their appearance, most Real Robot anime had mecha that weren't that overpowered in regards to "being stuffed with beam cannons", and the few that had tremendous firepower (like the Psyco Gundam line which was introduced in the previous series) had other drawbacks to compensate. Not these two, however. The Geymalk has twin beam cannons in its' shoulders, five in the chest (four in the pectorals and a high-mega cannon on par with the ZZ's in the center of the chest) , two more in the thighs and two beam mittens each with four smaller beam guns, plus the mother and child funnels. The Queen Mantha has six mega beam cannons around it's body, three more in the head and funnels in many, many numbers.
  • BFG: The ZZ's double-barreled suit-powered beam rifle certainly counts. Then there's also its Hi-Mega Cannon, which is arguably the most powerful suit-mounted beam weapon ever used by a Gundam (or possibly any mobile suit period) in the Universal Century. Its power is about the same as the ones carried by battleships, or more.
  • BFS: The ZZ's hyper beam sabers; both in size (as long as the Gundam itself) and in power. Suffice to say, the ZZ is rather big on lots of things...
  • Big, Bulky Bomb: When the ZZ is strapped with bombs because Beecha thought it would be a good idea to try to humiliate Judau so that he could look better.
  • Bird Run: Ple does this while running around in Axis. Also a known Memetic Mutation. PURUPURUPURUPURUPURUUUUU!!!
  • The Bus Came Back: Characters who leave in series make major returns later on while characters from the previous series also make major returns after long absences.
    • In terms of Mobile Suits, the Gundam Mk. II and Hyaku Shiki were both rebuilt after being destroyed in the Zeta finale. When the Argama finally gets resupplied the suits are delivered to them.
    • The Psyco Gundam Mk. II is recovered from its fatal sortie back in Zeta and throughout the series Neo Zeon makes reference to their plans for it. It finally appears in person in "Kamille's Voice."
    • Hayato and Sayla both return when the group arrives on Earth.
    • Fa leaves in the episode "Sayonara Fa" (the stress of combat getting to her and Kamille's condition requiring her assistance) and returns 23 episodes later in "Dublin Afternoon".
    • For his repeated failures, Mashmyre leaves the Endra and the series, in the episode "Leina Vanishes." He returns 25 episodes later in "Nahel Argama."
    • Sarasa and Rasara are left behind in the Moon Moon Colony in "The Phantom Colony Part 2." They return 24 episodes later in "The Second Coming of Sarasa."
    • Chara Soon is left on the Moon after her escape in "Cecilia the Crybaby, Part 2." After being rescued and having undergone the Cyber-Newtype process she's redeployed in the Motherland and appears 21 episodes later in "The Girl from Core 3, Part 1."
    • The final episode brings back Haman's Qubeley for the first time since Zeta Gundam.
  • Call-Back: The Tigerbaum arc retreads many of the goofier aspects of the first half of the series, complete with the dreaded Moon-Moon people, a gang of kids trying to steal the Gundams, Mashymre's return to prominence and even classic mobile suits from the original series to underscore the theme of revisiting the past. This is all in aid of showing off Judau's Character Development, underscored by Haman and Sarasa's comments about maturity and loss of innocence.
  • Cargo Cult: The Moon-Moon people and their Gaza-D worship (or at least a reasonable facsimile of one).
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Occurs in the final episode, with the AEUG and Federation fleets arriving shortly after Haman has killed herself and the Nahel Argama crew has narrowly secured Judau's escape from Moussa. Judau is not pleased in the least.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Most people consider it a case of Growing the Beard, though.
  • Char Clone: ZZ is the only televised UC Gundam series to not have a dude with a mask running around, due to Char's absence. Elements of your standard Char Clone can be found in Glemy and Mashymyre, though.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Beecha and Mondo go through a phase where they have this.
  • Chucking Chalk: After Beecha finally drags his toches to class, he start to sleep there. The teacher gets pissed at him and throws a piece chalk, which misses him. Than she shows a slightly nasty grin and throws, much to the shock of the class, a flower vase at him and actually hits him.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Emily Ounce, when off-duty. She drops it off later. Also, Ple.
  • Cloning Blues: Ple-Two, who is much less of a Genki Girl than her original.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: At one point, when the location of the Argama is fortuitously revealed to him, the Wrong Genre Savvy fruit-bat Mashmyre deduces that there's a traitor aboard the Argama. He's Right for the Wrong Reasons; he thinks that it's because his chivalry and nobility on Shangrila Colony won someone over, but actually it's because some of the kids dragged along on the Argama want to get the hell out.
  • Les Collaborateurs: When Neo-Zeon arrives on Earth, the Federation's top leaders bend over and join them at a party, trying to cut the best deal they can with their new spacenoid overlords. Leina calls them out on this.
  • Colony Drop: The Dublin drop is the first one, chronologically speaking, since Operation Stardust; production-wise, it's the first one witnessed in its entirety. It is a Gundam series, after all.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: For the Shangri-La kids. Despite the show's light-heartedness, it's not always terribly optimistic.
  • Cool Bike: The Mega Rider, a Sub-flight system that Judeau and the gang use while on earth. The Zeta and ZZ straddle it like a giant hoverbike.
  • Cool Ship: The Argama, a holdover from Zeta Gundam.
    • And then its successor, the Nahel Argama, which is, by design, a Call-Back to the original White Base.
  • Combined Energy Attack: During the final battle, Kamille Bidan gathers the spirits of the dead to reassemble Judau's ZZ Gundam, then empower his High Mega Cannon for a massive attack against Haman Khan. It still isn't enough to defeat her.
  • Combining Mecha: The titular ZZ Gundam.
  • Compensating for Something: Haman immediately gets the impression that Mayor Stampa's mural of a large mobile suit implies something about himself.
  • Continuity Nod: The series features a number of them.
    • Stampa's mobile suit collection has a number of nods to the OYW's suits that weren't animated like the Zaku Tank or the Zogok. Stampa himself pilots a Z'Gok from the original series.
    • Neo Zeon's mobile suit design invokes the famous suits of the original Zeon in part to drum up patriotism for the old guard. The Zaku III, Dreissen, and ReGelgu are all descendants of the Zaku, Dom, and Gelgoog series respectively.
  • Cult Colony: The people of Moon-Moon, who believe in a simple life in the moon's light, worship deactivated mobile suits, and are led by a pair of Creepy Twins. Also a Wacky Wayside Tribe...the first time they're introduced.
  • Cyber Cyclops: As usual, most Zeon mobile suits.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Hayato comes Back for the Dead, but still manages to receive quite a bit of character focus in the episode, more than they had in Zeta. They reflect on their times in White Base and the death of his adopted son, Katz.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: The head mounted High Mega Cannon.
  • Deflector Shields: Not possible with technology, but several Newtypes can create mental force fields capable of deflecting or reflecting enemy attacks.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The Gaza Storm technique uses a smokescreen so that enemy mobile suits can't find the suits using this strategy. Unfortunately, the creators forgot that since Minovksy radiation makes non-visual sensors useless, the smokescreen means that they can't find the targets they want to shoot either.
  • Driven to Suicide: Haman Karn chooses this over the alternative, despite Judau begging her not to. She actually seems offended by his reaction.
  • Easter Egg: So blatantly obvious it borders on a Shout-Out. The first resupply crates the Argama receives all have the Bandai logo prominently stamped on them.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Zeta Gundam picked up a few quirks from having a powerful Newtype flying it for so long - among other things, it reacts... poorly when a pilot it deems unworthy gets in.
  • Enemy Civil War: Glemy Toto starts a coup against Haman in the last stages of the story, which proves to be Neo-Zeon's undoing.
  • Ephebophile: Canonically 14-year-old Judau is pursued by 22-year-old Haman and has grown to be a sort of Memetic Mutation. Extremely hilarious when you consider the fact that Char is a Memetic Molester.
  • Enemy Mine: Defied, then Double Subverted. Judau refuses Haman's plea to ally with her against Glemmy Toto, but the Nahel Argama still focuses on fighting their mutual enemy anyway, and their forces generally avoid clashing unless Judau's specifically launching an operation against Haman's assets.
  • Evil Chancellor: Haman Karn serves as the dubious regent of the Axis Zeon.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: One of the reasons Haman is so curious about Judau is because he's genuinely idealistic and selfless; having been a Misanthrope Supreme for so long seeing someone genuinely good is mind boggling.
  • Evolutionary Levels: A shot in the OP shows a series of beings from primordial slime to Amuro Ray, Kamille Bidan and Judau Ashta.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Whilst the Earth Federation was already a bit iffy in Zeta Gundam (they did, after all, create the Titans), this is the show where they finally stop giving a damn about their citizens, leaving the AEUG and Karaba to fight Neo Zeon alone.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Actually closer to Trying To Steal The Cockpit And Sell It For Scrap, but the end result is the same. Also happens literally sometimes.
  • Fashions Never Change: Totally The '80s.
  • Foil: In the last episode, it's hard to look at Leina and Judau happily reuniting and not draw parallels with about Sayla and Char's much more strained sibling relationship. Both cases involve a sibling not being sure the other is alive but whereas Judau never loses hope that his sister is alive, and the two are overjoyed at their reunion, Sayla has made clear one episode earlier that it would be better for the world if Char is dead. He isn't.
  • Future Spandex: Ple Two, although not too noticeable since she doesn't have a figure to begin with. If she did, it would likely be similar to a Plugsuit.
  • Gambit Pileup:
    • Judau's infiltration of Axis to rescue Leina becomes an outright circus once Ple, Beecher and Mondo, and Glemmy all set off their own plans in complete ignorance of each other. In complete ignorance of sanity, too.
    • When Judau is joining forces with the rebels in Side 3, Glemmy launches his attack on Axis at the same time, accidentally providing cover for Judau's move.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: The series staple returns.
    • While this show isn't as big on "correcting" people as a part of military discipline, the Gundam Team and others often try to slap some sense into each other.
    • The show also plays around with this trope a few times. When Fa slaps Judau for being ungrateful, he tries to punch her out, and when Judau slaps Sarasa when he thinks she's delusional she has him restrained and slaps him twice.
  • Glass Cannon: The ZZ Gundam, which combines enormous firepower with structural weaknesses that the AEUG spent pretty much the entire Neo Zeon War trying to fix.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Leina Ashta gets this treatment from Glemmy. Considerably creepier since she's ten. Note that he wasn't dressing her up in fetish clothing, just fancy dresses of the sort a high-class girl would be expected to wear, so not quite as creepy as it sounds.
  • Groin Attack:
    • In episode 3, Judau and Mashymyre are dangling from an MS and kicking at each other. Mashymyre manages to land a two foot kick straight into Judau's groin.
    • In episode 7, Judau scuffles with Yazan and kicks him in the groin. It hurts, but Yazan just grabs his leg, trapping him until Roux begins firing on their position.
    • In episode 16, Judau is delivering a speech while standing on a handrail. Elle, who's annoyed with him for calling Beecha and Mondo traitors, comes up and smacks one of his legs so he slips and lands crotch-first on the railing.
  • Growing Up Sucks: A major theme, thanks to combining a Coming-of-Age Story with a generous does of War Is Hell. Sarasa Moon says it best:
    "In becoming mature we take on a kind of darkness and lose something beautiful within ourselves."
  • Gut Punch: The first half episodes of the show skews heavily towards comedy and slapstick, with ridiculous villains like Mashymyre and Chara that pose no real threat. Then Mashymyre gets Put on a Bus and Cecilia's Heroic Sacrifice kills Gottn and strands Chara on the moon, and the series immediately reverts to the regular Gundam heavy war drama.
  • Honor Before Reason: Judau starts acting like this in the second part of the series, to not have to kill people when he could help it.
  • Human Shield: An unorthodox heroic version. Beecher captures the Core Fighter, with Roux in it, and uses it as a shield against Glemmy, knowing that Glemmy won't have the will to shoot Roux. Roux is not amused.
  • Hypocrite: Haman gives a speech to the Federation leaders chewing the Earthnoids out for polluting Earth, while making no mention of the ecological damage caused by Zeon dropping multi-million ton space stations onto Australia and Kansas, or taking any note of that when she drops a third one onto Ireland.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Even invoked: If a character is a noob at piloting a mobile suit, fear not: undergoing simulation training will turn them into aces afterwards (see Beecha, Mondo and Iino for one).
  • Improbable Age: Judau Ashta is officially 14 during the story. To put this in perspective, he's already living without adult supervision, and working full-time to support his little sister. Before he gets embroiled in a war and becomes a Gundam pilot.
  • Info Drop: Gundam 0080 and Gundam ZZ provide Info Drops for fans trying to figure out when exactly the Universal Century takes place. The former has a newspaper that reads "Monday, 14 January 0080", while the latter has Axis proclaim itself Neo Zeon on February 29th 0088, which means 0080 is a leap year in which January 14th falls on a Monday. The original series and Zeta Gundam both suggested that the calendar changeover happened in 2000, but these pieces of information were quietly retconned out in the Compilation Movie versions.
  • Interservice Rivalry: As often happens with Zeonic forces, the various commanders of Neo-Zeon at best don't get along and at worst are at each other's throats, often to the point of shooting each other down over leadership squabbles. This is before Glemmy launches a full-scale Enemy Civil War.
  • It Gets Easier: Fourteen year old Judau can't even close Zeta Gundam's hatch in the first episode. By the eleventh episode he's already killed six people. True to form, his killing of enemy soldiers is given almost no treatment at all.
  • Joisey: Shangri-La is basically Joisey IN SPACE!!
  • The Juggernaut: The Quin-Mantha, an unholy, perfected union of the Titans' Psyco Gundam and Neo Zeon's Qubeley. To make matters worse, it's fast, too. Fortunately for the heroes, the pilots are considerably more fragile.
  • Karma Houdini: Some of the stuff that Team Gundam pulls would be grounds for a court-martial and a firing squad if they had been done by professional soldiers rather than kids. Beecha and Monda are the worst offenders, but they're hardly the only ones.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • A weird case with Cecilia. She herself is a fairly good person at heart, but the story arc dealing with her is the point when the series stops fooling around and starts to be a serious tale by killing her off along with the series' Goldfish Poop Gang. The worst thing? None of the main characters know about it (except Judau, who keeps quiet about it).
    • Haman Karn also tends to make things a lot more serious whenever she's on-screen... provided it isn't one of Cello's self-indulgent imaginings of her, that is.
  • Last-Second Chance: Judau offers this to Haman after fighting her to a draw. Haman will have none of it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Neo Zeon ends up falling from power in a similar way to how it gained that power in the first place. They won the Gryps conflict by outlasting the AEUG and Titans who's forces decimated each other enough for Axis to win. The Neo Zeon war sees a Federation victory by them waiting until the Zeon infighting ends up destroying most of their forces.
  • Latex Space Suit: The pilot suits, as normal for a Gundam series. It should be noted, though, that UC Gundam Normal Suits prior to F91 are a lot bulkier than what most people are used to in fiction. The thickness of the material is probably about 1/4 or 1/3rd of the space suits NASA uses today, and it's definitely not latex.
  • Lighter and Softer: The first half, especially when compared to its predecessor.Tomino would say in later interviews, he saw that Zeta was dark and depressing and felt that anime should be happy and uplifting, so he deliberately made the start of ZZ silly to counteract Zeta's dark ending). The latter half is more serious, but there's still some campy moments.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Plenty, though the gold medal goes to Glemmy's final superweapon, the Quin-Mantha. It's basically a super-Qubeley, a towering, Nigh-Invulnerable behemoth with the firepower of a battleship squadron and the manoeuvrability of a suit half its size. The heroes only manage to beat it by convincing one of its pilots to switch sides and sniping the other one while he's outside the cockpit.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • Gundam ZZ can accomplish this, as can certain Neo-Zeon mecha (especially the Zssa, which is basically a walking block of missile launchers).
    • Taken Up to Eleven with ZZ's Mecha Expansion Pack, the Full Armor mode, where each plate of armor hides additional missiles.
  • Meaningful Name: Mashmyre's initial mobile suit, the Gallus J, is named for the priests of the Roman goddess Cybele (for whom Haman's mobile suit Qubeley is named). Especially appropriate to Mashmyre given said priests were all eunuchs.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The last story arc combines this with Enemy Civil War. At one point, La Vie En Rose goes in to temporarily ally with Chara Soon's forces against Glemmy, while Judau tries to infiltrate Core 3 and kidnap Mineva Zabi.
  • Mildly Military: Even more than usual. Bright has completely given up on trying to slap sense into the Gundam pilots or maintain any kind of military discipline, instead just trying to keep his teenage Newtype charges pointed in the right direction. And he doesn't particularly mind when they run off with the Nahel Argama. The Nahel Argama, meanwhile, has no discipline at all to speak of and The Captain, Beecher, gets no respect at all.
  • Mood Whiplash: Twice, once when compared with Zeta Gundam, and once when its Cerebus Syndrome kicks in.
  • Mythology Gag: As with the two shows before it, ZZ has an episode named "Reentry to Earth". However, unlike the first two shows, ZZ's "Reentry to Earth" actually only leads up to the actual "Reentry to Earth"-episode. It seems like Bandai got the titles swapped around a bit...
  • Named After Somebody Famous: One very obvious example in Episode 25 - a skilled Zeon desert commander named Rommel. Pretty much the only thing he doesn't have in common with Erwin is his callousness towards his subordinates.
  • No Delays for the Wicked: Neo Zeon's efficiency (or, at least, outward appearance thereof) is what gets the Earth Federation's leadership to side with them.
  • No Sympathy: Roux starts yelling at Judau when he's in the middle of a Heroic BSoD over his sister's apparent death and just wants to sit alone in the Core Fighter's cockpit. Even Beecher thinks she's going overboard.
  • Passing the Torch: Captain Bright leaves Beecher in command of Nahel Argama, and later departs in the launch for logistical reasons. He isn't remotely surprised or displeased when the Gundam Team steal the ship; at this point, they can use it better than the AEUG hierarchy could.
  • Poor Communication Kills: If Judau and Glemmy had been able to communicate about Leina's injury, they might have been able to cooperate and get her to a doctor instead of fighting each other and dropping a mobile suit on her house. She survives either way, but man, Judau, talking would have helped.
  • Put on a Bus: Several characters from this series and previous leave, often for extended periods of time. Most come back later on.
    • Fa Yuiry departs from the cast in the episode "Sayonara, Fa."
    • Mashmyre Cello is reassigned from the Endra after one too many failures and leaves in "Leina Vanishes."
    • Chara Soon escapes from imprisonment and disappears in "Tearful Cecillia (Part II)."
    • Amuro Ray is noted to have departed for space in the episode "Falling Sky." Unlike the other characters he does not return in the series (nor does he appear in person).
  • Recap Episode: The first episode is one, providing background on the first two series, some high profile mobile suits, and ending with details of the first story related episode of the new series, which is episode two.
  • The Remnant: Lots of 'em! The most clear-cut example is the group of Zeon soldiers on Earth (who have been hiding out in the desert for eight years after their side lost way back in Mobile Suit Gundam[!]), but Axis/Neo-Zeon were originally Zeon soldiers who fled to the asteroid belt rather than surrender. In a rare heroic version, the Argama and crew are the remnant of the AEUG as a whole, who suffered a Pyrrhic Victory at the end of Zeta Gundam but continue to fight against Neo-Zeon.
  • La Résistance:
    • The AEUG, sorta. After Zeta they had the theoretical support of the Earth Federation, but by that point the Federation didn't have much support to give, so they're still largely on their own against Neo Zeon.
    • The Blue Team are freedom fighters trying to kick the "French" (their word for the Earth Federation, It Makes Sense in Context) out of Africa.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: When Chara watches Ple Two interact with Rutina, and later sees Rutina interacting with Judau, she thinks that Glemmy is behind some kind of scheme. Glemmy is making his move against Haman, but Rutina and Judau have nothing to do with that.
  • Running Gag: Hatches always getting stuck open in the middle of a fight.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: Judau's surname is "Ashita", which has created some problems on forums such as GameFAQs. Apparently Bandai got around this by removing the "i" from the official translation.
  • Serial Escalation: The Gundam was a Humongous Mecha. The Zeta Gundam was a Humongous Mecha that turned into a plane. The ZZ Gundam is a Humongous Mecha that turns into three planes. Luckily, the madness stopped here, unless you count the Nu Gundam's fin funnels.
  • Shipper on Deck: A darker-than-average example. Later in the series, the Argama crew began to seriously consider the pros of a Judau/Haman relationship... because they were quite aware that she was a ruthless and exceptionally dangerous dictator, and would happily take any weapon they could get to stop her.
  • Shout-Out: Judau's outfit in the latter half of the series looks surprisingly like a popular Shonen Hero of that time...and his haircut doesn't help. If you hadn't guessed, he looks like a young Kenshiro. A Delorean can been seen in the background of the streets of Tigerbaum.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • Haman tries to get Judau to join her. He refuses even though "she smells nice".
    • Later averted, to underscore Judau's Character Development. At one point, when Judau rejects her latest recruitment speech, he takes the time to listen to her point and respond calmly, instead of shouting at her and running away.
  • So Last Season: Generally averted. There are several mobile suits shown that date back to the One Year War, but they tend to be piloted by experienced aces who can fight on the same level as the Gundam Team despite their obsolete gear.
  • Space Amish: For a period of a few episodes, the heroes found themselves on a colony that had suppressed all technology — despite being a space station. If you're wondering how that worked, they had a small, trusted council run basic maintenance, whilst otherwise trying to keep their lifestyle as low-tech as possible. Despite the obvious drawbacks, it worked out pretty well for them.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Worse than most Gundam series, due to its initial lack of an official English translation. The worst offender is Elpeo/Elpie Ple/Puru/Pull. Supposedly, her official Japanese-English rendition of Elpeo Ple is a play on the name of a magazine featuring small girls called L People (ie., change the spacing in her name and it becomes El People). Gundam Unicorn seems to have cleared this up: her name is pronounced "Elpie Pull" in English. Fitting, as it retains the pun. The spelling remains a bit contentious (as some advocate leaving it "Elpeo Ple" to match sources, while others want to just straight up spell it "Elpie Pull" for the sake of clarity). Three decades of fandom inertia for "Puru" (and her famous Bird Run featuring her going "puru-puru-puru-puru", which only really works with Japanese phonetics) doesn't help matters, either. Official and semi-official sources don't always help with a solid answer, either; it's usually printed "Elpeo Ple" when anglo-roman letters are used at all, but at least one contemporary magazine featuring official art did in fact spell it "Elpeo Pull"!
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: As opposed to instantly learning how to effectively pilot a mobile suit like Amuro and Kamille, Judau starts out (with comedic results) as a pretty terrible pilot and has to grow into being an Ace Pilot.
  • The Starscream: Glemmy Toto is one of Gundam's classic examples. He starts out as a comparative nobody, but absolutely wants to topple Haman in the way she toppled others and by the end is a nightmare almost nobody save Judau can stop.
  • Stealth Pun: Double Zeta's upper body is formed from a space fighter called the Core Top.
  • Strategy, Schmategy: In Judau's first fight with Mashmyre, he's literally just hitting buttons and trying to make the Zeta go. Accordingly, through Beginner's Luck, he pulls off moves that make Mashmyre think that he is a formidable veteran fighter.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Saegusa manages to survive all of Zeta where most of his compatriots didn't. And then is promptly killed by Yazan in the very first episode.
  • Super Weapon Surprise: The aforementioned Space Amish station happened to have a leftover mobile suit that was later used in battle. It's humongous.
  • Terraforming: The ecological situation on Earth has become bad enough that humanity is now having to do this to its own home planet. For instance, Europe is now covered in artificial rainforests to compensate for rampant desertification.
  • Terrible Trio: The series utilizes two.
    • The 3-D team consisting of Dale, Denue, and Danny; a deadly trio who pilot the Jamru Fin Mobile Armor.
    • Late in the series Chara forms one with her two guards Nee and Lance. While still fairly capable they are much more prone to Team Rocket-esque antics and comedy relief.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. When it becomes obvious that even with her Psychic Powers, Ple is so unstable that she's more trouble than she's worth, the first thing the Argama crew do when they get back to civilization following the Africa arc is to get her into therapy. The city is destroyed and Ple dies before the therapy has a chance to go anywhere.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: A couple of examples:
    • How Judau kills Rakan. It involves a dozen or so missiles, a beam rifle to the face, and finally slicing his suit into little pieces with the ZZ's beam sabre. Given how hard to kill the guy had been in their previous encounters, it was probably necessary.
    • Obliterating Glemmy with the Zeta's beam rifle, meanwhile, was definitely not necessary (he was on foot at the time), but it was the closest weapon to hand.
  • This Is Reality: The opening theme song is "Anime Ja Nai!", meaning "It's Not a Cartoon". Probably meant to be ironic, since ZZ was, prior to the creation of G Gundam, the absolute cartooniest entry in the Gundam saga.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Stampa Halloi, ruler of the Tigerbaum colony thinks he's well guarded with a bunch of working mobile suits just sitting around... before learning firsthand that those kids on the Nahel Argama are career mechjackers.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Emily again... firing on an enemy that was retreating is a good way to convince them they should kill you.
  • Took a Level in Badass: A non-character example - the AMX-011 Zaku III, one of the deadliest mass-produced suits of the Neo Zeon War. Yes, really.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: No, it is not. Many battles feature the Neo-Zeon troops shouting "Shoot that thing down before it forms the Gundam!", and the Gundam Team often has to cover ZZ while it's combining. Some battles are dragged out because the Neo-Zeons are being successful in not giving Judau a moment to breathe and get the transformation going.
  • Transforming Mecha: And plenty of them, from the lowly Gaza series to the ZZ Gundam itself (which is both this and a Combining Mecha - it can turn into between one and three planes, depending on the pilot's choice).
  • Unfriendly Fire: Illia shoots Lt. Satou in the back of his Schuzrum Dias, killing him, because of his insubordination. She blames it on the Nahel Argama for his death in order to rally his squadron in a counterattack.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Mashmyre's Flash Backs to his meetings with Haman have her acting gentle and loving, complete with Gaussian Girl effects. What we actually see of Haman, however, implies that Mashy's memories are colored by his one-sided attraction to her.
  • Unstoppable Rage: After Leina gets shot, Judau's sheer fury is enough that every vaguely Newtype-sensitive person in the city feels it, and Haman (who's at ground zero) runs for her life.
    • To put this in some perspective, Haman is probably at least Judau's equal if not superior in terms of overall power. Judau's just that angry.
  • Villain Song: The second opening doesn't bother hiding the fact it's being sung from the perspective of Haman about Judau.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The Gundam Team spend more time bickering amongst each other than they do fighting the enemy. Iino, as the Only Sane Man, is mostly exempt; Judau tries to stay above the fighting, but often causes it.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe:
    • Arguably the 'Moon Moon' colony. They don't even have post-feudal tech!
    • Tigerbaum Colony also qualifies - a fully-functioning Hongkong-styled colony ruled by an Adipose Rex who's main concern is abducting women for his harem, ultimately proving a minor threat despite maintaining a number of combat-ready mobile suits... as decoration!
  • War Is Hell: As usual for a Gundam series. ZZ makes it part of its Cerebus Syndrome - things get less and less fun and silly as the Neo Zeon War takes its physical and psychological toll on the characters, and despite a happy(ish) ending, it's clear that the survivors are going to have some lasting scars.
  • Weak, but Skilled: On the one hand, Rommel's unit are Oldtypes who are fighting Judau in the Zeta with outdated Zaku mobile suits. On the other hand, Rommel's unit are veterans of the One Year War who know how to fight intelligently; even as outdated as they are, the unit still manage to put up more of a fight than any previous opponent. (It helps that Judau has never fought in a desert before.)
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Judau and Iino have to do this in an attempt to infiltrate Tigerbaum. Results in moment when Judau is turned away because he's "ugly," and subsequently pretends to cry about it. Iino, on the other hand...
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Cyber Newtypes — particularly noticeable in this series, where we see a few characters both before and after their "enhancement".
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Arrow, of the Blue Team, kills one of his allies when the latter tries to shoot Judau, thinking that he's a civilian.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good: Judau says this almost word-for-word to Haman in their final duel.
  • Zeerust: The bizarre 80's clothing.


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