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


Accel World: Final Review

If this were just a episodic post, the title would be “The demise of that insufferable prick, Noumi”. So glad to see he’s finally been dealt with, and even more excited to see it wasn’t solely the work of Black Lotus. Chiyu reveals her ability’s secret and turns the tables on Noumi, returning Silver Crow’s wings and crippling the bullied bully until he’s a helpless mess pleading for his life as a burst linker. And so, peace is restored amongst the members of Nega Nebulous, for now…

With Noumi’s Brain Burst uninstalled, his memories of acceleration were removed as well. Even though this is the first time this was mentioned, it makes sense as to why the program has remained secret all this time. Without the memory wipe, disowned ex-accelerators would be free to wreak vengeance on his victors in the real world. Though Noumi still creeps me out, I guess at least now he’s not a real threat to anyone. But there’s still that research group using illegal brain implants to cheat the normal operations of the Accelerated World. If Accel World were to continue, I don’t imagine Nega Nebulous would be able to rest for very long until these “researcher” rear their ugly heads again.

With Haru’s fiercest opponent finally behind him, he also manages to fluster Kuroyukihime as well. And for the first time in the whole series, he returns affections towards her and asks her to stay with him forever. That’s romantic and what-not, but I find it difficult to get past the fact that he played the ignoramus for the first 20 episodes…whatever, it’s progress, I guess.

Accel World certainly isn’t the best mecha, sci-fi, action, shounen, or romance (certainly not romance) anime out there, but it does have a few pros to be proud of. The premise is very interesting to me, the ability to “accelerate” is a concept that’s just plausible enough to keep the story both appealing and realistic. The power to increase your mental abilities to near light speed using a neural interface and the prevalence of “social cameras” is also subtle enough to keep the idea that the program is secret viable. It doesn’t offer any physical traits that are noticeable by a non-Burst Linker, while still providing an unheard of advantage to users. Throw in duels for Burst Points that fuel acceleration and you have an underground world of legions and lifetimes inside a world that moves as hundreds of times the speed of the real world and you have Haru’s source of personal growth.

I can understand many viewers’ apathy towards Haru. He’s doesn’t inspire much confidence from the outset, but isn’t that the point of character development? To go from a lackluster character to a matured, more appealing character? Aside from looks, Haru does become more proactive and stops letting what others think about him influence how he thinks about himself. Sure, Kuroyukihime’s affections are irrational and sometimes unjustified, but it’s not like she has very many other people who can relate to her in her quest to reach Level 10.  Haru is relatable to many low-esteem individuals who go to high school, get picked on, see their friends succeed, and find comfort in video games where it’s their minds, not their bodies, being pushed towards success. His character is also very realistic, no one changes from a 3 foot tall, 2 foot wide gamer into a superhero in a single year of high school. If you want to go the extra mile with it, Haru also represents being content with who you are, but I should digress.

For a series centered around an action game, Accel World’s animation leaves some to be desired, but overall gets the job done. I personally don’t like it when the lighting is non-existent, but it does add the darker, more consequential scene effects the series needed at certain points. The real visual talent was in the background design, but that doesn’t really sell a fight when the motions are jumpy or blurred, does it.

I’m looking forward to more Accel World, despite the faults it had. I want to see where Nega Nebulous goes from here and the “researchers” were only somewhat touched on before the final episode. We also didn’t get to see very much in the way of Legion fights other than the short fight with the Yellow King and the few times Yuniko teamed up with Haru and Kuroyukihime. And there’s also the myriad of side characters with more in store (or so I suspect). But I’m also willing to wait for it, Accel World is the sort of series I enjoy, but not raving to see the next episode.

Final rating: 86

Accel World – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Accel World 21-22: Burst Linkers v. Users of Acceleration

Got quite a bit done in this two episodes. The Incarnation System gets a basic rundown, the mysterious Users are uncovered somewhat, and Noumi is slowly getting backed into a corner. With the help of Niko’s maid-servant, Blood Leopard, Silver Crow takes down another visible burst linker, Rust Jigsaw, who’s been intruding Accel World battlefields in Akihabara. Though he managed to slip away, now the whole BG is on the lookout. The whole underground group of illicit linkers is starting to seem pretty small and unorganized, just like they’re a bunch of kids who shared a few tricks for trolling proper Burst Linkers.

While Haru makes strides elsewhere, Taku works on reaching his own incarnate powers. The incarnate powers, as Yukino explains, are derived from the fears and shortcomings of the user. There are four types, and a user can only access two as they relate the user, and the mark of a true incarnate user is a glowing upon activation. But these powers aren’t meant to defeat others, they’re designed to help defeat your own self, primarily, parts of you that are inhibiting you from reaching your full potential. Yukino warns that these powers are only to be used against opponents who also use the Incarnate System. The system also seems to be a precursor to the Calamity Armor seeded inside Haru, and Blood Leopard hinted that they were already aware he had it.

Now to the biggest question: can anyone explain the scene with Chiyu and Haru? Was she coming onto him? Or were the subtleties just lost on me? I really don’t understand the purpose of the stripping. I’m trying to figure out if she was just trying to code something for Haru to figure out so he could get a message Noumi wasn’t letting Chiyu deliver, but I got nothing. Perhaps the simplest answer is best: Just fanservice, nothing more. Either way, now Haru knows about Noumi’s bio-chip, which he caved in on rather quickly. But I don’t see how that leaves an even playing field; worst case scenario, Haru is pinned for peeping, but Noumi is convicted of using illegal tools and most likely cheating his way into school. One of these is much more severe than the other, considering there’s no solid evidence that Haru planted the camera, but was only caught peeping by said camera. I feel like I’m over-analyzing it, so I’ll digress.

Finally, Haru is reaching a climax with his conflict with Noumi. He seems pretty confident and I’m sure he’ll have a few strategies up his sleeve, but you can’t forget that Dusk Taker will be backed up by Lime Bell (unless Chiyu has some betrayal in mind, which I hope she does). Only a few episodes left, and it’s time for all of Haru’s growth to show and for him to man up or shut up. I have hopes for the former.

Accel World – 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

Accel World 19-20: Haru vs. The World

Kuroyukihime wraps up her Okinawa adventure and introduction to the secret organization of rogue Burst Linkers who like backdoors and screwing all the rules (they have Burst Points!), showing that veterans could still bring to bear against the cheating scum. Time to return to the Chiyu cliffhanger, and it seems she’s willing decided to join Nomi…well, didn’t see that coming. And certainly didn’t remember to keep track of the duel timer, I’ve gotten too used to the Unlimited Field, I guess. But it was probably to Haru’s advantage, as the Choas armor he’s been stowing is slowly returning to the field as it feeds on Haru’s anger and frustration.

Even the incarnate system seems to pale in comparison to the Chaos Armor, but I think the new manned-up Haru can prove Accel World history wrong and make it work in his favor, somehow. Anyone else get chills when he dropped that line on the roof? So what if he’s weak, he has morals and he’s willing to take a few hits to stand his ground. That’s f***ing awesome. I just hope it isn’t temporary and he takes this gusto to his rematch with Nomi and plows that treacherous prick in the ground. And I’m hopeful that Chiyu has a surprise on her end as well, otherwise I will be very disappoint in her. (But not in Haru, he’s got my respect now.)

Sorry if it spoils, but I think I know where Sulfur Pot’s reins will reappear. If Haru’s descent into the Chaos Armor continues, I’m curious as to whether Black Lotus could use the reins to control Chaos-Haru when he goes full berserk. That may just rely on the parameters of the item, but with some incarnate system rule-bending, it could work. It’s still early in the development of Nomi and the “other” Burst Linkers, but I already want Nega Nebulous to donkey-stomp these assholes. Their attitudes just kill the spirit of Accel World, from personal strength and dreams deferred to some cheap tool for personal gain and general no-good-ery.

Accel World – 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

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II 5-6: That was a Batman reference, right?

That or being serious is quite an issue these days. Now that England has thrown down the gauntlet and even Tachibana from the Tres Espana is involved, how much longer until Musashi makes it move to reclaim the Deadly Sin Armaments from England? All I can definitively say is that these England Islanders are a weird bunch…if that means anything in the Horizon universe.

Horizon continually proves you don’t need no backstory to enjoy a series set in an unimaginably complex universe. This episode had a lot of info-dump that would’ve taken half a season to build up for any other series. Like the Lost Nobles and mis-enacted history concerning the Fairy Queen, various points leading up to, what I’m guessing is, a falling out between the England Floating Isles and the Testament Union.  But I’m not sure yet why they would attack Musashi students in an effort challenge Tori, the chancellor. Luckily, his date with Horizon went uninterrupted while his faithful followers fought off the barrage of cultural references.

And now that Horizon has agreed to start a world war to selfishly regain her emotions, Tori is firm in his stance to send out Musashi. If it means fewer deaths than a world ending armageddon, I guess a worldwide all-out war could be a positive thing. But I’m more concerned that there’s some sort of character fake out around the Scarred Dame, who supposedly is Double Bloody Mary, currently sentenced to death by execution, per the Testament. I got feels for Tenzou, I really liked the love interest he had going with the Scarred Dame, and now to find out she’s supposed to die…I’d bet he’s going to spend some time rescuing her, with some help from Tori.

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket