Zetman is one of those series that could have been much better than it actually was. In fact, it had everything in its favor. The premise of genetically modified beings escaping and trashing about around the city, severely endangering humans is nothing new to western viewers, but it’s still something rather uncommon in anime. With a rather refreshing premise, a cast of characters that, due to their circumstances, personalities and upbringing, had plenty of potential to develop and a nice and different artwork, Zetman had the main ingredients for success, right from episode one.
However, it didn’t succeed. The series got worse with which new episode, mainly due to its overly paced story, and tried to do more than what was possible in a the time it had been given. The result is a highly convoluted narrative that requires the viewers’ suspense of disbelief in a rather high number of moments.
Story aside, the characters themselves were a big disappointment. Besides the two main characters, who serve as a contrast to each other and whose views of justice – the main theme in this show – are challenged and change throughout the series, everyone else is as shallow as a cardboard, especially the antagonist (who’d be better compared to a sheet of paper), whose motives are never fully explained and just comes across as being plainly evil. Something worth mentioning as well is the relationship between Jin and Hanako, which ends up playing a big role in the final episode, yet its development is as rushed as one can imagine, and I didn’t really care about it at all, for the protagonist’s feelings failed to evoke any emotion on me. In sum, while two of the characters are indeed interesting from an objective point of view, the lack of development for other characters ends up detracting from any possibility of attachment on the viewers’ part.
Despite all the problems it had, Zetman wasn’t a total waste of time. Both main characters are interesting enough to be worth analyzing, as both have really different views on justice, probably highly impacted but how they grew up and how shielded from the world they were (or weren’t), yet they still respect each other. Kouga, in particularly, stroke me as the most layered character, and watching him develop was probably the highlight of the series for me, despite my preference towards Jin’s personality, views and design.
Overall, Zetman wasn’t a bad watch, and was artistically balanced, as while it didn’t have that great animation or soundtrack, both were above average and served their purpose quite well (I’ll never forget how awful a OP this series had, though). Besides, when compared to the mess that most middle episodes were, the finale was well paced and directed, managing to leave a good final impression. I did love the first episode and this turned out to be way bellow my expectations. It’s a shame something with this potential gets wasted due to an overly ambitious adaptation. Well, it’s not the first one and it won’t be the last series with this problem. It’s something I don’t consider a waste of time, but it’s also something I’d prefer not to have picked up if I knew it’d end up like this.
Dusk’s Score: 6 Meeps out of 10 (Fine)