Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Spotlight: Gundam Age

Super Pilot Passing Through

Welcome all, to the second Spotlight!

Now I feel I should say this before starting. I tried really hard to avoid serious spoilers the first time, but I still ended up spoiling a little of the story. 

It’s kind of inevitable really what with the name being Spotlight and all. It means I am shining a light on something. I’m going to try to not spoil anything vital when I do these, but you can still expect some light spoilers.

With that said, let’s start!


If you have watched Gundam before you know what this is going to be like. There are space colonies. There are giant robots. There is a war. Quite likely between Space Colonies and Earth. That’s kind of how Gundam rolls.

The “twist” this time is that the enemy is Aliens. Humanity is under attack by a mysterious Unknown Enemy/Vagan.

If you have watched Martian Successor Nadesico, you know right away the aliens aren't.

The Story

Again if you have watched Gundam before, you more or less know what you are in for. Much like Seed it draws some elements from the original Gundam. You have a kid with little to no piloting experience using the titular Gundam. You have a White Base equivalent and you have space battles with giant robots.

The twist or hook of Age is that it has Three Protagonist. Gundam Age tries to tell the story of a 100-year war through the eyes of the Asuno family (The Gundam Pilots). This means that in one anime we have three different arcs, each with a different protagonist.

We start with Flit, the young protagonist and genius engineer whose colony gets attacked by the Vagan one day. We follow his struggles.Then later on move to his son Asemu and finally Asemu’s son Kio.

Hazard will admit this was an interesting idea. It promised a lot of things if pulled off right.

How It Managed

Kind of alright, I guess?

Gundam Age comes up short in a few ways sadly. I’ll skip the art issues entirely because plenty of people have talked about the art style already.

Flit’s arc promises quite a few things but it also fails in a number of ways. Mainly the Vagan. For a large part of the arc, the Vagan are shadowy bad guys, a mystery. 

A Gundam show cannot have shadowy bad guys.

It can However Have Pirate Gundam
Gundam runs on conflicting ideologies. Gundam runs on Man vs Man. The enemy has a face. The enemy has goals. From Ramba Ral to Patrick Colasour, a Gundam Antagonist/Villain/Opposition must have a face. Sometimes the guy is noble. Sometime the guy is a victim of war. Sometimes the guy is just a jerk.

In any case, he comes with a face, even if that face is a stylish mask.

The mystery of the Vagan, sadly, undermined the first arc as a Gundam show.

The second arc does a much better job, almost too good maybe. Asemu is a conflicted teen that tries to live up to his father’s image with varying results. He has to deal with the fact that he is not a badass X-Rounder (The Newtype of Age) and with Zeheart.

The rivalry between Zeheart and Asemu is one of the driving forces of the second arc. The enemy has a face this time and it is a Char clone to boot. 

While Asemu is the new, young, slightly hot headed soldier, Zeheart is the highly capable, highly valued Vagan soldier. Zeheart is greatly dedicated to the cause yet he struggles to deal with the fact that he and Asemu have somehow become friends as a result of an infiltration mission..

They are both flawed young men that are struggling to find themselves in the middle of the whole mess. It does a really good of putting the war at a more personal level.

Super Space Pirate Pilot!
Almost too good. Hazard was really disappointed when Asemu’s arc ended. All that character development had finally paid off and I was ready to watch Asemu end the war by himself. Only, he doesn't because 100 year war and it was Kio’s time.

Kio’s arc… is not really that memorable. Don’t get me wrong I liked the character, but there was no driving rivalry like before. In fact the rivalry between Asemu and Zeheart is still very much alive. It takes away from Kio’s story because Asemu and Zeheart are just more interesting.  Doesn't help that Kio’s story is not only his story but the story of how the three (Flit, Asemu, and Kio) end the war.


Gundam Age is not perfect. It has its flaws. It tried to do something really cool and didn't quite live up to that potential.

As a Gundam show, you can skip it. You are really not missing anything. Yeah, I shouldn't say this in a Spotlight, but it is kinda true.

If you just want to see some giant robots fight, then by all means watch. Or just watch Asemu’s arc which is the strongest in my opinion.

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