Oh, Gundam Age, this is the show that Sunrise promised us to be different from ANY other Gundam shows. If I remember correctly, the scriptwriter (Akihiro Hino) of Gundam Age was shocked on Twitter of the raging and negative responses towards the new concept. Well, I wouldn’t COMPLETELY blame that portion of the fans. The show does look CHILDISH in the trailer, but, after the first episode aired, is it? *Plays DUN DUN DUN youtube video*
Aliens are attacking humanity! Well, technically, Man’s enemy is called UE aka Unknown Ennemy…In Dah Name of Lazy Naming!! And we don’t really know if the UE forces are really alien. After the death of his mother during an attack of the UE, Flint Asano, our way too serious main character yet too naive (as he doesn’t know what is a grey zone), has been developing the Gundam alongside the Earth Federation Forces for seven years from the information about the Mobile Suit contained in a Digi-vice or a phone-like object given by the mother. Later on, the UE attacks the Colony and the Earth Feds’ mobile suits are too weak to scratch the UE’s machines. But fear not! Flint enters the Gundam and finally defeats one of the 3 invading mobile suits with a Beam Dagger!
Strike did that already…
So far, the show is not childish at the level of Pokemon. It’s not something for an audience younger than 8 years old, but also not exactly for an audience older than teenagers. Gundam Age has character designs made to attract these younger teenagers or pre-teens. The characters, especially the fat ones, are very reminiscent of Osamu Tezuka’s character looks. The animation style that comes from Gundam Seed is great and mixes well with the characters. The story is also NOT too light. The show does start with the death of the protagonist’s mother, but then again, it’s hard to NOT be indifferent about her death when Flint quickly transitions from his rape face to his rage towards the UE. This is kinda a problem in the show; It is kind of hard for some people to connect with the character’s sight on the terror of war when we, the viewers, don’t see the terror of war. We know people dies, but we just don’t see them dying. When the UE mobile suits are attacking the civilians and are preparing to shoot, the civilians have already disappeared only to leave buildings, concrete and cars to blow up. When soldiers in tanks dies, we never see corpses or body exploding, just metal scraps on fire. Gundam Age is simply using light-toned violence which is not negative, but not positive either.
My real problem is that, for a show Sunrise promised to be DIFFERENT, Gundam Age’s first episode was horribly formulatic and had nothing almost we haven’t seen from another Gundam show. If Moe is trying to attract fans who evaluate a show with a checklist, Gundam Age does the same. Another mother fails to survive. Gundam Age is obviously trying to reference Flint as the NEW Amuro Ray, though not in personality. The scene of Flint’s room was very reminiscent of Amuro’s NERD room. Haro proves to be immortal while the only man deserving to be immortal is Bright Noah. The female lead, Emily, is the new Fraw Bow, except that she won’t be giving her virginity to the new and fatter Hayato, Dike Ganheiru. The Genoace is the New GM; it even has a Beam Spray Gun. The military uniforms and the concept of aliens come from Gundam 00. Flint pulls a page from a Zeon-hating Amuro again by going into the Gundam and from Kira Yamato by saying the same line “Is there a weapon?” and defeating a UE’s machine with a dagger just like the Strike defeating the GINN (the movement was the freaking SAME!!). Aside from the show being a 3 generations story, what else is new? Well, ever since Judau Ashta attended class, a Gundam protagonist who isn’t a spy (Heero) finally goes to school! I guess we also get robotic aliens who are smart enough to kill and blow up his damaged ally in order to keep all important information about them a secret. Also, we do NOT have another freaking obligatory Masked char clone. Luckily, the captain dude (Grudech Ayenor), who looks like Jamil Neate from After War Gundam X who looks like Quattro Bajeena (Char), does NOT display a Char personality as he seems to lack confidence and charisma.
Gundam Age shows again that the departure of Yoshiyuki Tomino didn’t affect storytelling (if anything, it got better), but rather the injection of new IDEAS! There hasn’t been anything new in Gundam for years. And please don’t use tradition as an excuse. I consider terror of war and teenage protagonist as Gundam tradition, but the lack of new Mobile suits and of independence from the older shows really start to get tiresome.
I’m too lazy to even place the picture at the right place…
Is Gundam really that hard to be different? NO! You can have a Gundam show with a main character that isn’t a Gundam pilot and with a Gundam on an antagonist side that is infliciting terror on the weaker side. Now, that would be DIFFERENT. Hell, you might as well clone Yoshiyuki Tomino and make him mix Gundam and the Byston Well Saga to make the biggest clausterfuck mess in anime history. Behold Garzey’s Gundam!! Just imagine a Gundam protagonist spouting weird ass lines similar to “DAMN YOU YAMATOTAKERUNOMIKOTO!!!!” That would be more entertaining than any of the recent Gundam TV series.
If you’re going to use past concepts of Gundam, please Sunrise, bring back the thing that made Gundam great: The SLAP!!
Gundam Age may be the first hint that it may or will be a pain to remain as an Gundam fan. Remakes (i.e. Gundam: The Origins) and OVAs (Gundam Unicorn) do not seem very satisfying to wash out the mouth from crap like Gundam Seed Destiny or Gundam Wing. The main portions of an older audience that will/may like Gundam Age are the people who still like kid shows, which is fine, and delusional Hardcore Gundam Fanboys, who denies that Gundam can be horrible (in other words, the people who liked Gundam Seed Destiny, Gundam 00 The Movie). The show will without a doubt attract new fans. I’m sure after the end of the show some people will start saying some blasphemous comments like “Gundam Age is the BEST GUNDAM EVER.”
If Gundam hasn’t gotten old to you yet, then, by all means, watch it!
Story Prediction: Flint will go rage against the aliens. His son will question about the war. An alien princess will camouflage into a human and Flint’s grandson will fall in love with her to STOP the war and make PEACE! And I bet that a mask dude will appear in one of the 3 shows. I called it.