Today is Day 4 of Anniversary Review Week!! I hope that all of you are enjoying it as much as I have writing all of these reviews. Last year on Day 4 I reviewed Gundam Build Fighters and this year I wanted to do another Gundam show so I decided to do today’s post about a Gundam show. Yay Gundam!!
So here is my 32nd Anime Review and Day 4 of Anniversary Review Week, a show from my favorite mecha franchise of all time: Mobile Suit Gundam AGE.
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE is a 49 episode anime that began airing in October 2011 as a part of the Fall 2011 Anime Season and was done by a studio not unfamiliar with the mecha genre: Sunrise. It finished airing almost a year later in September 2012. There was also an OVA that was released in July 2013 which was a retelling of the middle section of the story. A manga adaption as well as several manga side-stories have also been released set in the same universe as the show.
The story of Gundam AGE begins in the 101st year of the Advanced Generation calendar (it’s basically just an alternate world from our own) when a mysterious entity known as the Unknown Enemy (or UE) begin to attack the space colony Angel. The attack becomes famously known as “The Day the Angel Fell”, and a war with the UE begins. We then go to the year 108 AG to the space colony Ovan where young Flit Asuno lives with his mother. The UE attacks, killing Flit’s mother in the process, and it is in the wreckage he uncovers an item called the “AGE Device” and inside it holds the blueprints for a machine called the “Gundam”, a weapon that was once humanity’s messiah. Over the next few years, Flit studies engineering at an Earth Federation base located on the Nora space colony, and eventually develops the AGE-1 Gundam just in time for the UE’s attack on the colony. The story then goes on to tell not only Flit’s battles with the UE but also his son Asemu and grandson Kio’s fights with the UE as well. It is a story that covers three generation of the Asuno family as they battle the UE.
I really liked the premise that AGE brought to us. While other Gundam series have covered characters over the course of a few years, only a few have actually covered generations of a family as they battle one enemy. It allows us to see the characters change as the years go on but also how battles affected the world they live in. It was done so that as the years went on we, along with the characters, found out more about the UE as time went on. We learned more abou the people who were a part of their forces, where they were coming from, as well as what they were planning to do because it was a little questionable. It was a good idea in theory, but AGE failed to do this as well as I expected them do and it definitely affected the enjoyment factor in the show for me.
Oh the characters of this show. Where to begin. The main characters each have their own motivations and ways that they look at the world. Flit, Asemu, and Kio as the three generations of protagonists are the center of our stories and are each given 12-15 episodes to develop themselves individually. The show is broken up into four different parts. The first three covered the three main characters with their own arcs and characters casts and then the fourth was the three of them fighting the UE together. We get to see how what Flit does affects Asemu’s life, and how both Flit and Asemu affect Kio’s life. It is a cool idea in theory, but it almost felt like having it broken up like that did not allow for each character to be fully developed or become attached to because soon we would move on to the next main character. I know that seems odd because the show is 49 episodes long but we spent so much time trying to set up each main character and introduce all of these background side characters that there really was not enough time to completely flesh out any of them. It almost felt like they were only half developed because there were other things that we had to get to in the story. However, each character (of the main three) were given separate motivations from the others that gave them a sense of individuality that made them different from the other two leads. The way the show was broken up really hurt the characters of this show because with the main characters barely fleshed out the side characters were hardly recognizable. It also did not help that each time a new main character was introduced the side characters were changed, some of whom also happened to be children of characters from the previous generation. This would be cool to see but I could hardly remember any of them as the show went on, which made me enjoy the show even less.
Now AGE was done by the studio Sunrise, as studio that has work on some of my favorite shows of all time. It is a studio that can do truly beautiful animation or kind of fall flat for me. The animation in AGE was not bad but I was not a fan of it. It just did not stand out to me like it did in shows like Code Geass or Gundam 00. It was fluid and had no major issues to me, but it was just okay. It was nothing new or over the edge. No scenes were beautiful or breathtaking in a way Sunrise has done before.
Now the soundtrack, that is a different story. I enjoyed all of the openings and endings of this show and all four openings and all four endings earned themselves a spot on my iPod very quickly. My favorites being the first opening, “Asu e” by Galileo Galilei, and the second ending, “My World” by SPYAIR, which I still listen to all of the time. However, I do think that all eight of them are worth listening to.
As much as I loved the soundtrack, that just could not carry the show for me on its own. In the end I award Mobile Suit Gundam AGE with a C. This show had way to many problems for me. Flit as a main character became really frustrating to me during Asemu’s story arc (the arc that was probably my favorite). I felt like he was being an awful parent and person in general, and as the show went on he just got worse and worse. It is hard to enjoy a show when the main character is acting crazy, even if he did kind of had his reasons, and his attitude affects how he goes on to treat the people around him. It is not just that I did not like Flit, it was that the story did not develop the people around the main characters, the animation was nothing superb, and while the idea of the story was good, it did not live up to what it could have been. The bad guys were bad but usually taken care of by the Gundam pretty easily. What is a good bad villain if they do not feel like they impose any kind of actual threat. I know I said I wanted to do some of my favorite series this week, and this show will probably be ranked the lowest, but I just had to vent about AGE and review it the way I have been wanting to for a while.
Okay, well that is all that I have for this time. That wraps up my 32nd Anime Review as well as Day 4 of Anniversary Review Week. Out of all of the Gundam series that have come out over the past few years, I would say that AGE is my least favorite. Mostly because it did nothing for me as a viewer. But what do you guys think? Have you wanted AGE? What was your opinion of it? Which character’s story was your favorite? Let me know down in the comments below!!
See you tomorrow!!
If you have an anime that you think I should try go ahead and leave that in the comments down below as well.
After note: I want to do a Q&A for the blog’s 2nd Anniversary on 7/19/16. You can ask any question, it does not necessarily have to be anime related, and I will answer them then. You can either leave it down in the comments on this post, tweet it to me, or email me. My email and twitter are in the sidebar to the right. Any question would be greatly appreciated.