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Meioh Project Zeorymer (冥王計画ゼオライマー) AIC/ARTMIC/YOUMEX/Toshiba EMI, 1988-1990 U.S. Manga Corps., 1994, 2003 (out of print) Directed by Toshihiro Hirano (Fight! Iczer-One, Dangaioh)Running Time: 30 minutes per episode Rated 16-Up for graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations and strong language. Cast (Japanese) Toshihiko Seki (Legato in Trigun, Rau in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED) as Masato Akitsu Chieko Honda (Elpeo Ple in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Kurumi in Kimagure Orange Road) as Miku Himuro Hideyuki Tanaka (Riding Bean, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust) as Oki Mayumi Shou (Mia Alice in Dangaioh, Hitomi in Appleseed) as Yuratei Hirotaka Suzuoki (Bright Noa in Mobile Suit Gundam, Kaifun in Macross) as Taiha Kaneto Shiozawa (Vampire Hunter D OAV, Shin in the original Area 88) as Saiga Yuko Sasaki (Miranda in The Venus Wars, Kourin in Twelve Kingdoms) as Tau Rei Sakuma (Kazumi in Gunbuster, Nina in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083) as Aen Sho Hayami (Max in Macross, Wolfwood in Trigun as Ritsu Masako Katsuki (Lucette in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083, Emeraldas in Harlock Saga) as Rockfell Tessho Genda (Sanders in Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, James in ZOE: Dolores, i) as Gisou Mahito Tsujimura (Jihl in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Tsukamoto in 801 T.T.S. Airbats) as Lurahn Issei Masamune (Chief in You're Under Arrest) as the narrator Synopsis Tekkoryu (Hau Dragon) - a secret Chinese-based organization bent on world domination. After the rise of their new leader, Yuratei, the Tekkoryu come out of hiding and unleash the Hakkeshu - a band of giant robots with lethal weaponry and equally skilled pilots. Before their quest for domination, the Hakkeshu must recover one of their own mecha: Zeorymer of the Heavens, stolen from them 15 years ago by a turncoat member along with the frozen embryo of a genetically engineered pilot. Caught in the crossfire is Masato Akitsu, a teenager captured by a Japanese organization and forced to pilot Zeorymer. Teamed with a mysterious girl named Miku Himuro, Masato must use Zeorymer to battle each of the Hakkeshu's mecha; at the same time, he must figure out why he was chosen to pilot the mecha and why he is able to adapt to it so easily. Story: B- After Dangaioh left us with a cliffhanger ending (I refuse to consider Great Dangaioh canon), I was unsure if I could trust another Toshihiro Hirano title. Then, I picked up Hades Project Zeorymer. It has a rather dark storyline using realistic giant robots and a protagonist with a personality disorder. Masato starts out as a kid that's so pessimistic, you'd think he's Shinji Ikari in another form. Then, when he's piloting Zeorymer, he becomes a maniacal psychopath bent on total destruction of his enemies. The plot and character development really build up on episodes 1-3. Unfortunately, it all falls apart on episode 4 with revelations leaving you asking what the hell just happened. And then the series ends on a rather sour note. Despite all this, Zeorymer is well worth watching. Hirano just needs to learn to end his anime titles properly. Animation: A Ah, nothing like some grade-A cel animation. For a title that's nearly two decades old, Zeorymer boasts some excellent animation and awesome mecha designs by Hideki Kakinuma (Bubblegum Crisis, Gall Force) and Kimitoshi Yamane (Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne), as well as some outstanding character designs by Michitaka "Kia Asamiya" Kikuchi (Silent Möbius, Martian Successor Nadesico). Zeorymer, Rose C'est la Vie and Lanstar are some of the sweetest robot designs this side of The Five Star Stories. Soundtrack: B Eiji Kawamura's (Black Jack) musical score has its moments, especially the battle themes. But for the most part, it doesn't warrant a soundtrack purchase. The ending theme reeks of Engrish. Sub vs. Dub Central Park Media's current DVD release features an all-new English dub, which sucks like every other CPM dub. Just give me a folding chair and a moment alone with the narrator. DVD Extras: B+ Two years ago, when I originally posted this review, I used the NuTech Digital DVD for reference. That disc set was merely a hard-subbed transfer with average video and sound quality. Today, we have CPM's new-and-improved DVD, featuring improved picture and sound, optional subtitles and extras like a photo gallery, line art and character/mecha descriptions (images & text with audio only). The Bottom Line If you're a fan of old-school '80s mecha, you owe it to yourself to pick up Hades Project Zeorymer. It still stands on its own against most of the newer mecha titles. Links AIC's Official Hades Project Zeorymer Homepage (Japanese) Reference Anime News Network