After watching the trailers for Zetman, and perusing some of the art from the manga source material by Masakazu Katsura, I was seriously excited to check out a series that looked to be a throw back to titles like Guyver, Devilman and Casshern. Not only did the characters look suitably moody and monstrous (except for the angelic Alphas), but the overall theme seemed to be inline with these legendary series. Unfortunately what we get is a pale intimation which suffers from serious pacing issues and a serious lack of substance.
Rich-kid Kouga and street-rat Jin are best of friends and partners in crime, well, the prevention of crime. Accompanied by Kouga's tag-along little sister, Konoha, they scour the streets, purging the city of n'er-do-wells. Fate draws them apart until the cross paths again as fully fledged fighting machines, the monstrous Zet and scientifically enhanced Alphas. The pair combine forces to do what they do best - bash stuff.
The story starts off promisingly enough with characters who appear to be rather likable in their younger forms, only to grow up into far less palatable young people. Writer Atsuhiro Tomioka seems to have gone to great effort to introduce the bulk of Masakazu Katsura's story into the first few episodes, promising a grand pay-off that never truly eventuates. Some of the most intriguing and seemingly important characters are left unexplained and unfulfilled in the whirlwind final episodes which try to tie up all loose ends with little success.
Perhaps it's my own fault for going into the series with rose-coloured glasses from my halcyon days on but Zetman never really seems to address any of the underlying stories that are constantly hinted at instead settling for being a derivative good guy vs bad guy slug fest. It's not awful, but it's certainly not great either.