Gundam AGE: Final Review

There’s always that one series I don’t want to write about, I finally finish it and I just want to put it away, but noooooo, I have to write about why I’m glad to see it done. Gundam AGE owes me about a year of my life, 3 arcs and a bulls#@t ending later and I want to repair my phone microwave to send myself a message to never start this series. Despite the few interesting characters and a galactic bromance (that was heartlessly killed off in the final battle), Gundam AGE really was only a giant waste of time.

The plot: what plot? You mean Flit’s lifelong desire to throw giant robots and his son/grandson at an ultimately unfulfilled attempt to commit genocide on a planetary scale? All because they killed the girl he would’ve married instead of the girl who followed him out into space and eventually bore his son (and my favorite space pirate). And then she tells him (nearly 100 years after the fact) that he should forgive the Vagan…that would’ve been helpful when he was coordinating a planet-wide war on these people.

The animation: never improved. Never reach a minimum level of quality for a series about fighting robots in space. And what was the deal with the junkyard-styled , awkwardly structured EXA-DB suits rendered in 3D animation towards the end? Nothing seemed to meet the standards of previous Gundam series, either in design or even concept.

The premise: That sins of our past come back to haunt us and that if you try to select the “best” humans to start a utopia, you’re gonna have a bad time. It’s not a particularly bad premise, if it weren’t so poorly executed. You don’t need 3 arcs to tell the story of one man’s blind racism towards a certain group of people that he one day saves and then becomes a hero.

You’re about 40 episodes too late, Kio…

I keep trying to come up with good points to be fair, but other than Asemu the space parent who left his family to fight the man, Fram Nara, and the universe’s greatest bromance cut short, there isn’t much to say. I think it’s impressive that Kio managed to actually get away with not killing Vagan soldiers, barring that one dickish commander, but it really didn’t matter or leave an impression because I still find X-Rounders to be horribly laughable and a stupid name. I hope to never have to go back to Gundam AGE for anything, much less re-watch it.

Final rating: 50 (Fram, Zeheart, and Asemu kept it from going too low)

Gundam AGE – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Gundam AGE 46: Battle for Eden

Gundam AGE has managed to get me excited, somehow. Maybe it’s the climaxing romance between Zeheart and Fram, or maybe how Kio is this close to being forced to kill. Maybe it’s just that I know Flit is bound for a stress-induced heart attack soon. But I do know that both the Vagan and the Federation are going all-out for a final battle over the Earth Sphere. The Vagan’s Second Moon lies guarded behind the orbital cannon that took out the Big Ring, Digmazenon. And Kio is struggling to avoid using the Gundam AGE-FX’s new FX-Burst mode; though, to be honest, Zanald has been asking for an ass-kicking for a while now (I’d count it as a mercy killing…).

For once, both the Federation and Vagan seem evenly matched as far as suits are concerned. Even the Genoaces can manage enough firepower to combat Vagan suits, and once the Digmazenon is dealt with, the field will be largely even until it becomes (inevitably) a fight for X-Rounders. But, new to the battlefield, Deen has returned. Not sure yet if he joined the fight simply to track Kio down as some thanks for helping his sister (kind of), or if it’s part of some revenge for…I don’t know…letting his sister die happy(ish)?

So with a mixture of anticipation for the ensuing battle and hopes of the series ending soon, I’m eager for episode 47. Odds say that “FX-Burst mode” isn’t as super amazing as they make it seem, and Kio will only use it for a short period of time, and not against Vagan. That giant suit guarding the EXA-DB is still out there, remember?
At least the battle animation has gotten better since the first two arcs.

Gundam AGE – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Gundam AGE 44: The Limits of My Sanity

Less of a review, more of an open letter. I can see where this is going, now that Flit is in charge of what’s being deemed “the deciding battle” between Vagan and Federation, the moral dilemma will reach a climax soon, whether or not you should eliminate the enemy or try to work out your problems without fighting. And the metaphor boss guarding the EXA-DB has made an un-foreshadowed appearance, so either Zeheart will defeat it with the most advanced Gundam suit, or the monstrous, 3D-rendered machine will attack the conglomeration of Vagan and Federation ships conveniently fighting nearby. Leading to a figurative and literal battle between all of humanity and it’s mistake-riddled past…

It’s not that I don’t like the idea, but I can’t enjoy a series that seems to pull plot devices out of its ass just to keep moving forward. Some Gundam series use pre-existing facets of human history to create arcs and plot points, on more than one occasion Soviet-era nuclear devices were involved. You can use these without prior recognition because they already exist, but you can’t (easily) throw in a giant sentinel mobile suit that’s supposedly been orbiting the Earth sphere, guarding the supposedly forgotten collection of ALL of human military data without any hints or clues beforehand…seems like someone would write that down and pass a memo along. Something like “Don’t go to co-ordinates XXX-XXX-XXXX, there’s a big, f***ing robot up there”… And to top it off, the vengeful idiot is in charge of the fate of humanity.

I think Flit should be allowed to just murder all the Vagan in cold blood, it’d be more interesting than him turning over to Kio’s way of thinking. Meanwhile Asemu doesn’t agree with anyone, because he’s a pirate, and pirates don’t agree with regular people. And space pirates don’t agree with other people either, and instead fly around in giant robots.

I just wish Gundam AGE would stop putting mediocre characters through jumpy plot devices to force an ending that could’ve had potential. I’m so far into it now, I’m just waiting for it to end, it seems…

Gundam AGE – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Gundam AGE 41-43: Luna Base, Three Romances Will Form History

Okay, technically 2 romances and 1 bromance. Above the Federation’s captured Luna base, the turncoat Reina Spriggan joins Fram and Zeheart’s fight with “no-kill” Kio and Asemu the pirate king. An X-Rounder test pilot, Reina lost the love of her life in a “training accident”, further evidence of the Federation’s corruption. Since then, she’s vowed vengeance on the system that so needlessly sacrificed the man she vowed to stay with forever. Even though they’re on the same side, Fram and Reina butt heads as the “love yet to be” and the “love lost”. Each vying for their chance at the Gundam, Fram for Zeheart’s recognition, and Reina for revenge.

After (yet again) commanding the Federation front from the shadows through Algreus, Flit embarks in the suped up AGE-1 to join Kio and Asemu now fighting a 3-on-2 battle while Federation forces dredge closer to the base on the lunar surface. Determined to exterminate the Vagan at all costs, Flit tells Algreus to prepare the Plasma Dive Missile, able to obliterate the entire base in an instant. Like most tactical weaponry, this missile isn’t picky about what’s in it’s area of detonation, most likely taking out all the Federation forces on the surface as well as Vagan.

Critical to any Gundam series is the romantic aspect, someone has to die for their lost love, and someone has to save their love-to-be. As the fighting continues, Reina begins to lose control of her X-Rounder abilities, and even takes control of Fram, Zeheart, and Kio’s bits as she lets loose attacking everyone out of spite for Girard’s untimely death. Kio tries to placate her with his “we dont’ have to fight” rhetoric, but, unable to move, all the X-Rounders are useless as Reina goes mad with power. I was hoping it’d be the Ace Pilot’s time to shine, and out-fight the X-Rounder, but it was Flit’s quick shot that was able stop her rampage. Kind of…disappointing, really (I hate giving him credit). But not before the star-crossed lover caused Zeheart’s suit to be damaged, leaving Fram to keep him safe from the premonition she had before the battle.

Back to Flit’s looming threat of Plasma Dive Missiles, Abis gets word of the preparations, and sees through Algreus’s endgame. They have 20 minutes to clear out the base, or die trying. Thankfully, the Vagan had competent command, understanding the value of their soldiers’ lives. Surrendering their officers with the condition that other personel be allowed to retreat, the Vagan return control of Luna Base back to the Federation. And I’m left conflicted, I like Fram, but she’s stealing Zeheart away from the one true bromance…oh, and Vagan’s home base thingy is headed towards the Earth sphere now.

Gundam AGE – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Gundam AGE 38-40: Superior Race and an Approaching Endgame

Kio’s time spent on the Vagan Second Moon has given him much to think about and he now weighs the burden of understanding that the Vagan are just humans looking to live peacefully. The people of Vagan want to escape the Mars Rays that are killing them, meanwhile, Flit puppets the Federation into a no-holds-barred fight to the death with the Vagan and their EXA-DB derived weaponry. Even though Exelcant wants to create a superior race of humans to end the fighting, he’s willing to sacrifice the Vagan people to achieve it. He must also intend on destroying non-superior humans to clear the path in his “Project Eden”, because removing the flaw from humanity is the only way to reach a peaceful utopia, in his mind. Now, in order to return balance to the fight, Asemu aims to help the Federation retake their moon base (that no one mentioned being taken away in the first place), a staging area for Vagan attacks on the Earth sphere.

Combining the EXA-DB and the Gundam AGE-3, Exelcant quickly outdates the Federation’s best suit using the Gundam Legilis, the Vagan’s own Gundam unit. Not even Kio and Asemu together could stand up to this singularly overpowered unit. But using data collected from the AGE-3, the AGE system has quickly whipped up the newest, and seemingly penultimate Gundam model, the Gundam AGE-FX (“Following X-Rounder”, as if naming was just a joke). Using the AGE-FX’s new agility and his newfound determination, Kio manages to fight without killing Vagan soldiers, by severing the cockpits and allowing the pilots to SOS for help. Flit, on the other hand, plans to go all out on the Vagan attackers, and blow the bases off of the face of the moon using very dangerous weaponry.

The generational opinion gap between Kio, Asemu, and Flit is growing wider as Kio is still looking for a peaceful resolution, Asemu looks to simply minimize casualties, and Flit wants to utterly destroy everything that thinks differently from him. I foresee Kio making a solid effort to use his method to end the struggle without unnecessarily killing Vagan soldiers, and Flit decides to blow the shit out of the Vagan-held base. Asemu and Kio will try to stop Flit, if they do, they’ll either alienate Flit from them or say something half-cheesey, half-inspirational to change Flit’s mind after years of hating the Vagan. Eventually Kio will have to meet up again with Deen, otherwise showing him joining the Vagan army is just pointless. I can’t decide if Deen is doing it to fight Kio, or just to meet him again.

The next episode seems to hold a focus on Fram (finally!). I can’t wait to see her in action and possibly some backstory. I don’t know why, but I’m just eager to see more of her, maybe it’s just the mystery of her role in the greater story and her changing ulterior motives. With Exelcant’s own clock running out, I think this story is quickly reaching a close as Vagan and Federation forces finally come to a conclusive head, where the views of three generations will be brought to bear against one another for the future of humanity.

Also, is the new ED some kind of foreshadowing? Or just the usual Gundam-esque graveness?

Gundam AGE – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Gundam AGE 37: Actual Depth, But Is It Too Late?

Kio is disgusted that you’d cover such good themes with such bad character sets and plot devices.

Now that Kio has experienced a day in the life of a Vagan, we now have a nearly complete picture of the motives and methods behind this war over Earth. After reaching a new level of disappointment last week despite still wanting to see the next episode, I’ve reached the conclusion that Gundam AGE has prolific themes, wrapped in annoying characters, a predictable plot, and a sub-par level of animation given past series. All that’s remaining for Gundam AGE is to reveal the dark secret of the Federation that left the Vagan abandoned on a deadly landscape blasting radiation into its inhabitants.

Tell Lu more about these lackluster and predictable events that got you into a Vagan’s shoes for a day.

 

The Vagan’s non-violent attempt to sway the heart and mind of the Federation’s only real weapon against them spits in the face of Flit’s no-holds all-out destruction plan. I’m curious as to how Asemu will react to this. Surely Flit will deny any sympathy Kio has developed for this rogue strain of humanity, but will Asemu learn to accept what Kio has learned, or will he fall way of his father, and resent the Vagan for kidnapping his son (that he abandoned, but whatever).

Behold! A mere fragment of the perfected war technology that the Earthers left in an asteroid…

Using their fragment of the EXA-DB and the Gundam AGE-3, Lord Ezelcant is preparing to unveil a Vagan-model Gundam. With the AGE-3 out of commission, this new supped-up Gundam will most likely go head-to-head with the AGE-2, piloted by the pirate king/absentee father, and the AGE-1, piloted by a senile old fart…I wonder who will win (/sarcasm). Ezelcant has also admitted to testing the Earthers, and with only 6 months to live, is this final invasion another test, or has he already decided the results?

He finds Gundam AGE’s inability to create a more satisfying series disappointing.

I foresee an editorial concerning these themes in future (if I’m not too lazy), because there are quite few here. Even though the Federation ditched all war-based technology and science, which apparently was perfected, the human drive to wage war still continued. Despite the Vagan’s initial crimes, known at the time as the “U.E.”, the desire for vengeance has been watered down through the generations, mirroring public opinions for war and military declining as time goes on and original passions fade. Should be at least a little interesting to write…while I wait out the remaining episodes.

Gundam AGE – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Gundam AGE 36: Look Out For That Plot Point!

Gundam AGE manages to make me (kinda) look forward to the next episode as Kio is taken hostage and the AGE-3 captured by the Vagan. Flit loses his temper and nearly goes on a killing spree as the crew of Diva stand by their captain’s orders to withdraw. Meanwhile, Asemu, space pirate/absentee father, decides to launch his own rescue (but for some reason needs permission from his father to go and save his own son…).

I like Fram…and that’s about it.

So, I guess next episode is when we’ll finally get a glimpse into the Vagan mindset. We’ll most likely be shown why Kio should be sympathetic to them, and then Flit will blurt something along the lines of “They’ve hurt too many people. They should be destroyed.” Gundam AGE is looking very predictable at the moment. I’m really only watching to finish at this point, to be honest. And I want it to finish soon…even though the battle scenes have a bit higher quality animation lately. But slightly better robot fighting can’t make up for a lackluster plot that’s giving me cancer. Also…Kio never called his mom, how unthoughtful.

Gundam AGE – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket