Zoids: Fuzors

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Zoids: Fuzors
Fz ENG Title.jpg
Directed by Kouji Makita
Broadcast by Cartoon Network
Episodes 26
Original run 2003

Zoids: Fuzors (ゾイド・フューザース) is the third Zoids anime series. To date, it is the final Zoids anime to have been aired in english. The premise was once again retooled; instead of focusing on war or a tournament, Fuzors is more of a cop show blended with a traditional super robot narrative, focusing on smaller conflicts in an urban setting backed by a technological revolution and a political conspiracy. It exists in a standalone continuity, with no explicit connection to any of the previous shows, though fluff text included on the boxes of the Japanese Fuzors model line attempts to retcon it into the Three Tigers era of the Battle Story.

Overview

Technological Revolution

Jumping on the Bandwagon

An Invisible Enemy

Clipped Wings

Mid-Season Upgrade

Political Conspiracy

Taking Back Blue City

Production

The Liger so nice they used it twice

Fuzors premiered in North America on Cartoon Network, on October 4th, 2003. Only the first 13 episodes were broadcast before the show was cancelled, though it continued to be rerun up to episode 6, after which it was pulled from the network entirely. As there was a three-year gap between New Century and Fuzors, a new production crew was assembled for Fuzors. This resulted in inferior animation (comparable to that seen in the early episodes of Chaotic Century) and a different visual style. Though both series use a combination of traditional animation and cel-shaded computer animation, the CG models in the previous Zoids anime featured a darker colour palette and bolder shading that more closely matched the traditional animation; in comparison, Fuzors used crisper lines, softer shading and a brighter colour palette, giving the Zoids a more shiny, metallic appearence but also making the CGI much more obvious. Fuzors was scored by Tetsuya Komuro, who had previouly done music for the 2001 remake of the classic anime Cyborg 009. This soundtrack is sometimes falsely attributed to 2AM, who performed the Japanese intro and ending.

After Blue Water Studios' stint voice acting for Chaotic Century, The Ocean Group returned for the English dub of Fuzors; it featured better voice acting than Blue Water's Chaotic Century dub, but terrible direction and scripting, with certain lines bordering on nonsensical or not even matching what was happening onscreen. Fuzors was aired in North America and Australia before it was premiered in Japan. The Japanese version features a newly animated opening and ending sequence, eye catches, and new scenes that were not present in the original English version. The entire second episode was remade from scratch, featuring significantly improved animation, but a more ludicrous plot.

Characters

Mach Storm

Peace Keeping Beureau

Savage Hammer

Black Impact

Dark Assasins

Gravity Zoid Pilots

Richter Scale

Misc Antagonists

Zoids

Zoids that are introduced in Zoids: Fuzors include:

Episodes

Home Video Release

US/Canada/Mexico

Fuzors saw no DVD release in North America (most likely due to the series' cancellation there). However, a handful of episodes were released by Hasbro for their VideoNow PVD disc player. Unlike the New Century PVDs, the Fuzors PVDs were in colour.

Australia/New Zealand

Released by Magna Pacific; region 4/PAL. The only release of Fuzors in English, it suffers from poor quality all round. The discs contain no extras other than a Zoid "profile" (a picture or two and sometimes stats), and the video itself is blocky and full of ghosting. Even the summaries on the backs of the DVD cases are full of misspellings, often using Japanese terms that were changed in the dub.

A number of episodes also saw single release on mini discs.

Japan

Released by Avex Group in 2005; region 2/NTSC. The quality is noticeably better than Magna Pacfic's release. Each disc contains a number of extras, mostly in the form of model sheets and animations/animation models for Zoids featured in the series.

  • Volume 1: Episodes 1-2. Contains a creditless version of the opening titles.
  • Volume 2: Episodes 3-5. Contains a creditless version of the ending.
  • Volume 3: Episodes 6-8. Contains a promotional video for Fuzors.
  • Volume 4: Episodes 9-11. Contains part 1 of various CG models used at the ends of TV airings.
  • Volume 5: Episodes 12-14. Contains part 2 of said models.
  • Volume 6: Episodes 15-17. Contains part 3 of...yeah.
  • Volume 7: Episodes 18-20. OH LOOK IT'S PART 4
  • Volume 8: Episodes 21-23. Contains a creditless version of the second version of the opening titles.
  • Volume 9: Episodes 24-26. Contains a collection of all the eyecatches used throughout the series.

Response

Fuzors aired during the decline of the Zoids franchise in the US and Canada. With the model line petering out and following low ratings for Chaotic Century on Cartoon Network, the deck was stacked against Fuzors from the beginning. Rushed into production and shunted to a crappy timeslot at 8:00pm during Cartoon Network's "Saturday Video Entertainment System" block, Fuzors was barely promoted, suffered low ratings and was cancelled along with the model line after its thirteenth episode, only completing its run in Australia and Japan.

The reaction from the western fandom was mostly negative. Fans complained about the premise, sloppy animation, inconsistent characterization and cheesy dialogue, while lamenting that it was a stand-alone series instead of a sequel to New Century and accusing it of "killing the franchise". Though a minority within the fandom consider the show to have redeeming value thanks to its plot and character development, Fuzors is easily the least popular of the four anime series. To this day, Fuzors remains controversial among the fanbase, having long since replaced New Century as its go-to bashing target.

The Japanese fandom's response was more apathetic than vitriolic, and the show came and went with little fanfare or acknowledgement. None the less, it seemed to do well enough to warrant the production of a fourth and final anime: Zoids: Genesis.