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Gundam AGE – 18

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「卒業式の戦闘」 (Sotsugyoushiki no Sentou)
“Graduation Ceremony Battle”

I thought it was kind of weird how the preview showed Zeheart graduating right after transferring to infiltrating Asem’s school. Little did I know, the writers had a one and a half year time skip planned within the first episodes of this second arc — in a series that already has two major ones planned. The bigger unknown is exactly how well this one will pan out, because while I could appreciate what the writers were going for by establishing that Asem, Zeheart, and Romary were good friends during high school — as well as some unexpected friendships with Abus and the other school bullies — the brevity of it all didn’t leave much of a lasting impression.

At the moment, most of what we know about their friendship comes from the ending sequence and a handful of photographs, so I’m quite indifferent to even Romary’s look of disbelief when she learned that Zeheart is a Vagan and Asem’s the pilot of the Gundam. As such, I initially questioned what the time skip adds to the story, because what we saw here with the Federation suspecting Zeheart of being a Vagan spy and Asem rushing to his defense could’ve easily taken place only weeks after the events of the previous episode, and still had all the makings of “I don’t want to fight you but I have to” scenario that they’re clearly going for. What’s more, I actually find it kind of ridiculous that Zeheart hung around the school for 1.5 years as part of a mission — even if he did grow fond of a “normal” life — and not use that built-up trust to infiltrate the Federation itself. The time frame is a little absurd when I think about it (that and the fact that he never found the Gundam all this time) but there’s obviously an upside to this approach — the benefits of which remain to be seen.

It didn’t actually occur to me while I was watched this episode, but having an untold time frame is like a storyteller’s way of sowing seeds for the future. In effect, the writers have given themselves a means to tie upcoming developments to the past — a past we know happened but not much about — through the use of flashbacks that they may not even have planned yet. It’s just a window of time for them to shape as needed, which can go a long way in emphasizing the emotional turmoil that Asem, Zeheart, and Romary will undoubtedly go through later on. The preview already hints at Romary enlisting in the military with Asem, likely in hopes of meeting Zeheart again so that she can try to stop her two potential love interests from killing each other, so that’s already one avenue that’s moving forward. We’re also slated to see more of Woolf and his G-Bouncer than we did here, as Asem is likely going to become a pilot on board the refitted Diva now captained by Millais. Dique’s daughter Arisa Gunhale (voiced by Koshimizu Ami) makes her debut, and Gundam AGE-1 finally gets upgraded to Gundam AGE-2, so there may even be another time skip next time.

Suffice to say, I like where things are headed even though I’m not really “feeling” it at the moment. The staff did make a pretty good attempt at playing up these peaceful times though, as the soundtrack was really something this episode. I don’t talk about music too often, nor have I taken notice to Gundam AGE’s music in the past seventeen episodes, but there was basically a track for every scene to help bring out the emotions in them. Great compositions too.

* Full-length images: 04, 06, 07, 10, 17, 33, 36.

 

Note: I’ve been busy with a new job, so blogging isn’t very high on my priority list at the moment. I contemplated just dropping 3-5 shows, but I’m going to try and make time for all the ones I’m currently covering. I won’t get to Ano Natsu de Matteru until tomorrow though.

 

Preview

Gundam AGE   18   Preview 01 Gundam AGE   18   Preview 02 Gundam AGE   18   Preview 03

Omake

Gundam AGE   18   Omake 01
February 15, 2012 at 2:03 am
45 comments »
  • February 15, 2012 at 2:15 amSnipyro

    I also found the time skip too abrupt. Zeheart must have been lazing around for the last 1.5 years considering how they accomplished very little in that time! Feels a bit too convenient to artificially develop the friendship without wasting too many episodes on it. The high school harem seems finally over though, so hopefully the series picks up the pace.

    • February 15, 2012 at 8:16 amiron2000

      Maybe thats what have to be sacrificed for squeezing 3 time periods to one anime.
      Maybe they are given a set number of total episode to work with.
      Its got to be fast paced, kind of the important moments that advance plot of that time period.

      Perhaps whats lacking can be told in other media like games, manga and novel.

      • February 15, 2012 at 8:31 amiron2000

        Ya, or maybe there might be some special edition version or something like they did for SEED and 00.

      • February 15, 2012 at 10:45 amKane-Loi

        There is a game coming for the PSP btw. Oh, fun fact. AGE wasn’t even supposed to be an anime from the get-go, but Sunrise pushed Level-5 and they agreed to not only do the game but the anime as well. All the manga though are from different publishers. The manga isn’t as good though. You read Treasure Star? It’s horrible.

      • February 15, 2012 at 4:34 pmDa5id

        Yeah, I was wondering about that. Why are there several manga adapting the same story at the same time it’s airing?

        And how did Daiki get the AGE in the first place? Is this supposed to take place in the first generation? Just…why?

      • February 15, 2012 at 7:36 pmiron2000

        Treasure Star is serialized in a magazine targeted for children so naturally the story would be such.
        Should be set in the First Generation as it seems like Daiki and Flit had met in the manga.
        Didn’t follow any of the AGE manga but saw that recently Treasure Star had that new Phoenix Wear for their AGE-1.
        From the JA wiki it said that Daiki’s AGE-1 is built by his father and friends.
        And from wikia theres this image:
        http://gundam.wikia.com/wiki/File:774ageeeeeeeeeeeee.jpg

        Perhaps Asuno legacy is left lying around?

        Currently both side stories of AGE concerns space pirates.

        Seen a video on the PSP game.
        If its the same as the anime, I’ll just watch the anime :P

  • February 15, 2012 at 2:18 amMrRei

    Don’t worry about the sched Divine.. you can even get away with a combined double post next week if you’d like.

  • February 15, 2012 at 2:19 amMixed Milkshake

    Romary in Bikini? Yes, please!

  • February 15, 2012 at 2:20 amJHN

    It could be just me since I did a little anime marathon last week, but didn’t this episode have a little Naruto vibe in it.

    The trio has been together for awhile and have become good friends, but ultimately Zeheart(Sasuke) is determined to fulfill his goal and leaves while Asem(Naruto) is willing to go through fire just to save him.
    And finally Romary(Sakura) can’t do anything but be heartbroken and cry about this turn of events.

    Anyway, I don’t really know what to feel about the timeskip approach. While I can’t deny that there is nothing wrong with this approach(especially in order to bring the army part faster), but it does make me wonder if I should realy care about this relationship they apparently developed and that it is shattered now.

    But, Age-2 is coming next episode. yay:D

    • February 15, 2012 at 8:19 amiron2000

      Generic best friends on different sides:P
      Made me think of Kira and Athrun though.

  • February 15, 2012 at 2:22 amfragb85

    Its a little better than the last episode. But we could have done without the previous episode and just fit the friendship montage and graduation scenes here.

    I don’t think the writers had much choice, the theme was clearly to establish a friendship on two sides of the war. They either had to make a slow build-up and waste episodes, or use time skips and montages to establish the friendship. Its a lackluster execution, but at least it gets the job done.

    Tahnkfully,now that this is all done we can get to the actual war. One of the biggest draws of this Generation to me is how a normal a kid Asemu is as a protagonist. I want to see how this plays out. And of course we finally get AGE-2

  • February 15, 2012 at 3:01 amDa5id

    Huh. I didn’t expect them to just jump past all the peaceful school days stuff. At least give us one episode about the three growing closer! Kind of makes it harder to feel bad about the betrayal, but I guess we’re short on time here. Probably wouldn’t have done well to delay the upgrade any further either.

    Regardless, with this new turn, the battles finally get underway, and the next generation finally experience the harsh realities of war. Asem Asuno, AGE-2! Ikimasu!

    • February 15, 2012 at 3:04 amDa5id

      And Divine, don’t worry about having to drop some shows. Relax and take care of your own business first.

  • February 15, 2012 at 3:04 amFencedude

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • February 15, 2012 at 3:45 amfragb85

      Moon Moon!? You’re kidding right? NOTHING can top the fail of Aztec Space Ninjas who worship Mobile Suits. NOTHING.

      At the very least the last three episodes had character development and decent action. Not to mention they are actually important to the plot.

      • February 15, 2012 at 4:12 amDa5id

        Nothing you say? Not even G-Saviour?

      • February 15, 2012 at 4:35 amFencedude

        Oh, Moon Moon is still worse don’t get me wrong, but these were just apallingly bad in their own right.

    • February 15, 2012 at 4:00 amMike

      to be honest, so far I’ve found this generation to be far more palatable than the first :/

    • February 15, 2012 at 4:46 pmderp…

      Pfft. Silly casuals that don’t realize ZZ is the best gundam ever made.

      • February 15, 2012 at 4:59 pmDa5id

        The everything after the first 18 episodes was great, yeah. But the beginning was just way too campy.

    • February 15, 2012 at 6:31 pmKiseki

      Gen-2 has already been more entertaining than the entirety of Gen-1, at least?

      Gen-1 was so bland and the first I don’t know how many episodes were sooooo sloooooooooowww.

  • February 15, 2012 at 6:12 amMR.KLAC

    look like this turning to filler gundam series indeed so PG to watch yea stick going HD version of GS right now.

    indeed give our GS movie & 3rd GS to SAVE_US.

  • February 15, 2012 at 6:16 amoutcast

    “Note: I’ve been busy with a new job, so blogging isn’t very high on my priority list at the moment. I contemplated just dropping 3-5 shows, but I’m going to try and make time for all the ones I’m currently covering. I won’t get to Ano Natsu de Matteru until tomorrow though.”

    About tommorows blog of natsu. How do these caps work? Is she wearing underwear? I know she can’t sleep until naked. But i doubt she can’t walk unless wearing a skirt and no underwear.
    http://i.imgur.com/B2xv7.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/TZXym.jpg

  • February 15, 2012 at 6:54 amDCLXVI

    I still don’t buy that Romary is interested in Zeheart at all, and vice versa. If anything, it appears that Zeheart and Asemu value their relationship with each other more than their own respective personal standings with Romary.

    The rushed time skip to the grad ceremony and the photos on the MS club room’s wall weren’t convincing enough to give me the image of the three of them being all chummy. Hopefully there’ll be actual flashbacks with moving pictures to add to those. Since Sunrise has committed to actually portraying the deepening of personal relationships this time around, they’re going to have to take it all the way; it would be bad if they half-assed it.

    I’m also surprised at Zeheart’s lack of doubt regarding the whole situation. I mean, a year and a half is a long time for a growing youth. It doesn’t seem like Zeheart’s a veteran spy or anything, so it’s pretty jarring to hear him talk with that kind of conviction at such a young age. I mean, even Flit didn’t have that kind of determination until Yurin got offed, and Flit had already seen a lot of death even before that.

    Even the MS action was rushed, we didn’t even get to see Woolf doing anything cool with his G-Bouncer (…seriously?), and since the episode preview is another time skip, what in the bugger happened to those mobile suits attacking the colony from the outside?

    • February 15, 2012 at 9:46 amZetatrain

      I thought it was only half a year since Zeheart arrived at the colony. He may not be a veteran spy, but that does not mean Zeheart and other Vagan children are not trained/taught at an early age to be completely loyal to the Vagans and their cause. Also given what the Federation did to the Vagans I’d say that Zeheart has plenty of motivation.

      • February 15, 2012 at 10:35 pmDCLXVI

        I still don’t buy it. Youths are youths, and are much more prone to self-doubt than grizzled veterans. That year and a half did shake Zeheart a bit, but I think it wasn’t enough, or it might show itself later on in the show.

  • February 15, 2012 at 7:08 amsaka

    no beach episode but at least they gave us a photo of Romany in bikini… filled with marker lines which i presumed was drawn by her.

    “Hey! Don’t stare!”

    Zeheart & Asem really has this uncanny resemblance to Athrun & Kira.
    i can foresee a battle scene where both parties will yell out each other’s names while saber-clashing.
    “ZEHEART!”
    “ASEM!”

  • February 15, 2012 at 7:35 amkl

    Great series so far. Cannot match up to the awesomeness of Gundam 00, but definitely much better than watching reruns of GS…and *gasp* GSD…

    That said, the time skip really seemed quite rush. Although it’s better to have a time skip than to have meaningless recap episodes…

  • February 15, 2012 at 7:46 aminfinite

    I thought Rosmary knew Asem was pilot of Gundam since the 1st episode of this arc?

    • February 15, 2012 at 8:20 amiron2000

      She is surprised that Zeheart is really a Vegan.

  • February 15, 2012 at 8:26 amiron2000

    So will each time period be 15 episodes?

    Romary is confirmed to be in the army as she is there in uniform in the last scene of the OP, perhaps part of Diva crew.

    • February 15, 2012 at 10:47 amKane-Loi

      1-15 (1st Generation or Flit’s story), 16-30 (2nd Generation or Asem’s story), 31-45 (3rd Generation or Kio’s story). Would be a good educated guess on my end giving that there’s a rumor circulating that the Veigan’s aren’t the only bad guys out there. That hasn’t been confirmed but possible.

      • February 15, 2012 at 5:02 pmDa5id

        But then what would the last 5 episodes be? I’m thinking this arc and the last will be in between 15-18 eps, to make it an even 50.

  • February 15, 2012 at 9:36 amfishell

    Divine, what happened to the playlist at the side of the website which you can play the opening and ending over and over again?

    • February 15, 2012 at 10:57 amDivine

      I took it down when the site reached its bandwidth cap last month. I don’t intend to add it back right away, but possibly later after seeing how this month goes.

  • February 15, 2012 at 1:45 pmjawdrop

    Divine, I know you are busy, but do you think you could do a full-length image of Asem and Zeheart standing on their mobile suits?

    Anyway, I’m surprised at the amount of hate. I thought this episode was pretty good, and even though there was a time skip I still felt a little heart broken when Zeheart left. It’s like fragb85 said, you either have a bunch of boring filler eps of them in high school, or you have a time skip with flashbacks. The pictures of them in the ED are enough for me to see they had a good friendship. Also, the tone of the ED makes more sense now. All in all, I have pretty high expectations for Asem’s arc.

    • February 16, 2012 at 5:38 pmDivine

      I tried to put that pan together but it wasn’t going to work without me having to do it manually, so I ended up skipping it.

  • February 15, 2012 at 2:51 pmRS456

    I have a feeling Arisa Gung=hale might be Romary’s love rival for Asemu and Arisa being Kio’s mother is not that farfetched either after seeing a picture of Arisa’s mother with Disque in the first 2nd arc intro.

  • February 15, 2012 at 4:48 pmderp…

    I am confused.
    So it was said there have been attacks over the past year and a half.
    But Zeheart said did not realize the gundam was still on the colony…
    So, did the Earther forces suddenly get the ability to not completely suck? Or were the attacks not with Mobil suits.

    • February 15, 2012 at 5:01 pmDa5id

      I guess it’s just assumed that they had a “random Vegan encounter of the week + wacky school antics” for over a year but never got anywhere.

      In which case, we were probably spared a great deal.

  • February 15, 2012 at 6:58 pmdeafvader

    Congrats on your job. But you sure are jumping around.

  • February 15, 2012 at 7:14 pmPVG

    age BD sales = 1991 piece
    the end of gundam tv series era!!

    • February 15, 2012 at 10:30 pminkka

      I’m sure that the sales will improve near 4000 pieces when it begin Asemu arc(Around vol.6).At least I heard that Age-2 gunpla could sold out and fangirls will reinforce to help because of Asemu and Zeheart.(First arc Yurin was everything).
      Maybe 3 generations in one show is the most clever plan than ever.Because it give you 2 chance to change the story, pacing, age or anything if 1st or 2nd gen got epic FAIL.

      ps.I truly admitted that I rather don’t like Flit arc too.At first I dropped this show around ep8-9 But when Asemu arc came,I gave a chance to this show again and I glad that I did .It still wasn’t that perfect.Storytelling still have its flaws.But at least it’s far better than whole Flit arc.Many of my friends feel the same way with me too.

    • February 16, 2012 at 1:12 amGamon

      i can see the DEATH FLAG

  • February 15, 2012 at 10:28 pmThe Moondoggie

    @Divine
    Offtopic on Gundam(yeah I watch this but I don’t talk about it for fear of inserting my Gundam fetish) and Ontopic on your current state:

    Note: I’ve been busy with a new job, so blogging isn’t very high on my priority list at the moment. I contemplated just dropping 3-5 shows, but I’m going to try and make time for all the ones I’m currently covering. I won’t get to Ano Natsu de Matteru until tomorrow though.

    Congrats with the new job. x10. But I fear you will now lose time for the Blog. Maybe it’s better to get a new blogger, or give some more to Stilts. We won’t blame you if you drop shows though.