Gundam AGE – 01
OP: 「明日へ」 (Asu e) by Galileo Galilei
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「救世主ガンダム」 (Kyuuseisha Gandamu)
“The Savior, Gundam”
So what’s this about being disappointed with Gundam AGE before it even started airing? I get the feeling people were confusing character designs — a stylistic choice — with production quality, just because Sunrise has gone back to the franchise’s roots. Well, I personally love it, as it really feels like Gundam AGE has brought back Gundam’s “boyish charm”. By that, I don’t only mean how the story stars a young protagonist in Flit Asuno (Toyonaga Toshiyuki, who humorously enough was associated with another “AGE” in Onii-chan no Koto). That sentiment also encompasses the opening theme by Galileo Galilei, the inclusion of a Haro, the uncertainty seen in Flit’s character, and his heroic-like struggle against an overwhelming oppressive force, Unknown Enemy (UE). Unlike the recent Gundam 00 and Gundam SEED, the white mobile suit with its trademark V-fin antenna and red tongue isn’t portrayed as a completely overpowered unit, but rather as the only thing that can even match up against UE.
It’s been fourteen years since they first appeared, destroying Flit’s Ovan space colony and killed his mother Marina (Tsunematsu Ayumi, Marina Ismail in Gundam 00), and only now has mankind been able to destroy a single enemy unit. That’s a pretty stark contrast to when Celestial Being cracks Trans Am or Kira/Athrun cracks SEED Mode and wipes out everything in sight. In short, Gundam AGE feels like a return back to the start of the Universal Century timeline, both in terms of style and progression. At the same time, I anticipate that the century long war will escalate as Flit gets older and the entrusts the Gundam to his descendants, Asemu and Kio, just like it did in the UC timeline with Amuro Ray in the original Gundam and his return in Char’s Counterattack. That was “only” a fourteen year time frame and the technology already advanced so much, so I can only imagine what will happen in Gundam AGE over the span of a hundred years.
The mere thought of that gets me excited just much as I am about seeing Flit turn the tides of the war with his Gundam. It’s worth noting that he wasn’t planning to pilot the Gundam himself since he’s an engineer, and was going to entrust it to Largan Drace (Hatano Wataru), further emphasizing the reluctant pilot theme that’s been a mainstay in the franchise. The difference with Flit is that he has a resolve quite unlike all the Gundam pilots before him. Not only is he driven by the loss of his mother and the AGE Memory Unit she entrusted to him, but he’s also up against a “potential” alien enemy — something that was only recently introduced to the franchise with Gundam 00′s movie. Of course, I haven’t ruled out the possibility that UE is actually a secret human organization with advanced technology, seeing as they were quick to scan Flit’s Gundam and destroy their damage mobile suit so that information about it couldn’t be reverse engineered, but even if that’s the case, it’s not quite the same as a war between mankind. In Gundam AGE’s Advanced Generation (AG) timeline, all the fighting after mankind immigrated to space is supposedly over and UE has appeared as a new threat that mankind is united against.
In any case, I really liked this first episode’s quick introduction to Flit’s character, showing what drives him to create the savior for mankind and introducing some characters that we’ll be following for his generation of the story. I’m already pretty convinced that his childhood friend Emily Amonde (Endo Aya) will become his future wife — especially when Asemu has blond hair — which leaves their friend Dique Ganhale (Oohata Shintarou), Emily’s grandfather Vargas Dyson (Bandou Naoki), and Yurin Leshell to round out Flit’s close friends. The trembling Deputy Commander of Alinston base and soon-to-be captain of the warship Diva, Grodek Ainoa (Touchi Hiroki), can probably be considered a “main” character too since he’s listed only after Flit and Emily in the credits, leaving the rest of his crew from ace pilot Woolf Enneacle (Ono Daisuke) to Millais Alloy (Shimamura Yuu) to round out the Earth Federation side of things. Overall, a good start to the latest iteration of Gundam. I’ll be looking forward to Sundays more this season.
ED: 「君の中の英雄」 (Kimi no Naka no Eiyuu) by 栗林みな実 (Kuribayashi Minami)
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