I read a bit of the Zetman manga beforehand, so I had an idea what to expect coming into the anime. That said, the anime did surprise me. I wasn’t really into the manga because it was an American superhero comic book in everything but nationality. The anime on the other hand, I disliked because it was actively bad.
Zetman has all the subtlety of a hippo tap-dancing in a burlesque outfit. Characters may as well hang giant “I WILL DIE AT THE END OF THE FIRST ACT” signs on their chests for all the scarily obvious flags they raise. Except the character in question ends up dying barely 5 minutes after he was introduced, which segues me nicely into my other criticism. The buzz I’m hearing from the people on twitter is that they packed several chapters into this one episode, trying to get an entire backstory out of the way. This left the episode feeling awfully rushed, which only compounded the incredibly obvious plot twists, adding up into this huge wave of dumb gritty action.
Dark and gritty is the recipe for the day. The fight scenes go into stencil outline mode, just to highlight how extra visceral the fights are. My problem with this sort of animation is the characters go all stencily only for fight scenes, where as for the rest of the anime their character designs are rigid. If you’re a sakuga fan, Saint Seiya Omega feels like it blends the character designs with the action much smoother. Also Omega actually looks pretty too, what with all the flashy garish colours, while Zetman’s dark and grittiness make you feel like you’ve gotten stuck in the geometry in a video game.
Even if you just wanted to lose yourself in the gritty atmosphere, Zetman doesn’t feel content to allow you to do that. Again comparing to Omega, that one doesn’t really concern itself with the details of the plot too much, meaning it’s incredibly easy to get a simple grasp of events even when you’re not paying much attention. Zetman hits you over the head with each of its plot developments so you’re forced to face their stupidity. For example, I rather liked the stripper character as she became this surrogate mother for the main character. However this effect was rather ruined when they had to highlight her sex appeal (remember Zetman is for Big Hard Men who like Blood and Tits) and made her press her boobs up against the main character in the bath. It was supposed to be an important bonding scene between the two, but they damaged the entire scene with that.
Maybe Zetman will appeal to you if you’re sick of anime having a sense of humour and want something serious and manly and completely devoid of any sort of fun. Maybe if you get off to severed limbs, and even then it’s so dark that you can barely even make them out.