Gundam AGE is newest entry in saga since Gundam 00 first aired in 2007. AGE is an ambitious project that aims to introduce Gundam to a new generation of fans, while still being entertaining to veterans. Does the first episode deliver a brand new experience, or has the series simply gone to the kids, ruining it forever? One thing is for sure, this is definitely Gundam.
Since mankind has moved to colonies orbiting the Earth, humanity has entered an age of peace where the wars of past were no more, known as the Advanced Generation. However, at the turn of the first century of AG, the destruction of the colony Angel signaled the arrival of a new threat known only as the UE, the Unidentified Enemy. Seven years after the UE first opened fire, the episode begins with an attack on Ovan, our protagonist Flit’s home colony. His mother is caught beneath a burning piece of rubble, and in her last moments she entrusts to him the AGE Device, telling him that there is something only he can do. We then flash forward another seven years to the present where 14 year old Flit awakens from his recurring nightmare.Living on his own on the peaceful colony Nora, Flit is working hard to realize his mother’s unfinished work of completing the legendary mobile suit called the Gundam. However, Flit is still a normal teenage boy, and as his childhood friend Emily reminds him, he’s about to be late for school. On their way, the pair run into Commander Hendrick Bruzar and Lieutenant Millais Alloy of the Earth Federation. They tell Flit that mobility tests of the Gundam are set to start later that day, when suddenly Flit and Emily are almost run over by worker MS piloted by Vargas Dyson, Emily’s grandfather and lead engineer at the base. Flit is not pleased to see that testing of the Gundam has begun without him, but he is forced to leave it at that. On the ride to school, Emily affectionately comments on how serious Flit is about the Gundam, to which Flit responds with just how special the Gundam is to him. He remembers a story the Asuno family’s butler told him about how the legendary MS passed down through the Asuno line, the Gundam, had been called mankind’s savior during the wars of the past. It is this very MS that Flit’s mother had been working to create in order to fend of the UE. Flit is determined to see his mother’s wish come true, no matter the cost. Later when viewing a stellar show with Emily, Flit contemplates whether he’s simply over thinking things. Emily says that the people of the colony see the UE as a far away problem since they’ve never been attacked, but Flit knows all to well just how terrifying they truly are. Just then, explosions can be seen in the distance. A group of three UE Gaffran MS have appeared within the colony and begun to attack. The military mobilizes its Genoace MS, but they are simply no match for the seemingly invincible UE. At the base, Flit decides the only recourse they have is to use the Gundam, to which Vargas cannot agree since it is untested. After Largan gets shot down before even being able to leave the hangar, Flit takes matters into this own hands and activates the Gundam with the AGE Device. Using the Gundam’s beam dagger, Flit barely manages to take down one Gaffran unit, and before he gets a chance to engage the remaining two, the UE vaporize their felled ally, scan the Gundam, and retreat. As Flit realizes that this is the true nature of battle, the small victory is short lived as the UE begin a massive counterattack from outside colony. The Day the Angel Fell is about to be repeated.
Well, as far as first episodes go, this is most certainly a Gundam show. That’s not necessarily a good or a bad thing, but it’s worth pointing out. A major concern heard round the internet upon AGE’s reveal was that the show was going to be “for kids” because of the character designs. The implication being that if it’s now a kiddy show, that it wouldn’t be what we’ve come to love as Gundam. It’s utter non-sense, when the first episode can be taken as one big homage to the first episode of the original Gundam series. From Asuno’s room and Haro being a near carbon copy of Amuro Ray’s, to Emily going to get Flit in much the same way that Fraw Bo did. Even the fact that the initial attack on the colony was carried out by three identical enemy MS, with the Gundam defeating one of them with its beam sabre. That isn’t to say that Gundam AGE apes everything from the original.
One key difference here is that right off the bat, the UE are one big mystery as their name would imply. Some people think they are aliens, but at this point anyone’s guess is as good as the next. The UE are so secretive that they even go as far as to destroy their own ally when it was shot down, presumably to prevent their technology leaking. Discovering the mystery behind the UE will certainly be a draw to the series.
With regards to animation and overall production quality, the first episode was fantastic. I wasn’t a fan of the character designs at first, but they look great in motion, and all of the main characters have a unique look to them. Cast diversity is a good thing. Other than Flit’s green hair standing out a bit too much, I found him to be a likable character who’s smart and has determination. Emily is downright adorable, and it’s nice to see a Gundam main female lead that is not only supportive of the main character, but isn’t also flat out ignored. I can only imagine her relationship with Flit will be of importance because it’s already confirmed that later in the series Flit’s son and grandson will take over piloting the Gundam, and babies don’t make themselves.
The music was a good compliment to the great animation. The interior shots of the colony were grand, and the Planeta show that Flit and Emily attended just before the colony was attacked was beautiful. What really wowed me during this premier was the UE’s Gaffran MS. I wasn’t particularly fond of them prior to the first episode, but seeing them in action made me fall in love with them. The moment when that one Gaffran was camping in front of the hangar door and shot down Largan’s Genoace before he could even launch was a moment of brilliance. The Gundam AGE-1, while certainly a simple design, is still appealing, and it looked good in action, particularly when it was repeatedly stabbing the Gaffran in the gut.
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to seeing more. While mostly standard fare, the first episode did its job of establishing the setting and characters, and getting us right into the action. With a Gundam that evolves and changes through battle experience, and a story set to cover three generations of characters, I can’t wait to see where things go from here.
Opening: Asu e (To Tomorrow) by Galileo Galilei
I really liked Galileo Galilei’s opening theme for AnoHana, so it was kind of a nice surprise to see they were doing the first op for Gundam AGE. It’s a bit of soft rock, but I actually think it works quite well for this show. The animation that went along with it was also nicely done, and we even get a brief look at the alternate forms of AGE-1, Titus and Spallow respectively.
Ending: Kimi no Naka e Eiyu (The Hero Within You) by Minami Kuribayashi
Minami Kuribayashi has done some ending themes I’ve quite liked in the past, such as the first ending theme to Super Robot Wars OG: Divine Wars, so I was quite pleased that she was announced to do the ending to AGE. It’s really a perfect fit. The song is good stuff all around, but coupled with the animation it’s fantastic. There’s a lot of focus on Flit and Emily here, and it’s pretty damn obvious that Emily is the future mother of Flit’s son, but it’s still nice to see. In both the opening and ending we get flashes of Yurin, a girl that will be appearing in episode 2, which has enticed my curiosity as to what her overall importance might be.
Run toward the new age.