When Zetman first came to be announced, I was stoked. As a fan of the manga, I was intrigued by how the creators of Tiger and Bunny would take such an interesting story and animate it without losing the themes and drive of the story. Unfortunately, that’s exactly where it went wrong.
Zetman has a good story, about ‘saviors of justice,’ but that’s as far as it goes. Hampered by a small episode count and a fast-paced writing, it comes out as more of a mess rather than a well constructed story about moral relativity. We have two very interesting protagonists, and how they try and become ‘heroes’ in a nihilistic, gritty city that has monsters known as Players roaming around, with a strange hierarchy and battle of “Players vs Humans” taking place. The first episode does a good job of settling this idea in your head, but as far as the rest of the other episodes go, it’s just clumsy. Scenes are literally just randomly scattered around which creates a large amount of plot points that are either deus ex machinas, or interesting points that are sadly dropped and never expanded on. Even as it slowly builds toward its climax, Zetman still feels rushed and out of place in some areas. This especially, applies to its secondary characters- characters who are incredibly flat and don’t add any sense of depth to the story in the first place. Rather, they are used as tools to rush the story and create awkward romances for the two characters, and as such, you don’t really feel anything toward them. Which leads to even more of a sad mess, because Zetman, for all its worth, doesn’t do too bad with what it works with and the time it has, but when it pulls out any of its trump cards, even those are failures because there’s nothing emotionally accessible about them.
The animation and music aren’t so bad- an aspect I liked about the animation particularly was how detailed the facial expressions are. The fight scenes are not bad, and the music itself is somewhat varied between electronic music and a guitar riff. Thematically speaking, the idea of justice being much more grey than what we expect- especially on the battlefield- is both this story’s weakest and greatest strength. On one side, it does get handled well with the two main characters, but it also hinders the plot because it also paves way for certain character twists that appear out of nowhere and are explained with this ‘morally grey’ card which just doesn’t make sense because there was no buildup toward it in the first place.
Overall? Zetman is a fast paced ride, and if you’re looking for a show that gives you an adrenaline rush with an interesting plot, this might be what you’re looking for. However, if you’re looking for an action show that’s solid and is developed well, this might not just be the series for you.