Mobile Suit Gundam AGE – 02

Nora’s structure has been compromised by the UE attack, and will be destroyed in six hours. Commander Bruzar orders the new battleship Diva to extract Nora’s core, where everyone has evacuated. His deputy Grodek captures the Diva’s Captain Dian at gunpoint – witnessed by Emily and Dique, who tag along – and takes command. Meanwhile, Flit escapes to space with Yurin, a girl he rescued from the streets. Vargas activates the AGE system, which fabricates a rifle Flit uses to take out a UE, but more are on the way and the clock is ticking on Nora…

Gundam tends to take its time with long, drawn out arcs with a single underlying objective: in this case, saving the people of Nora before its destruction. Naturally, there’s a clash of military command, and the hero, Flit, first meets Yurin, the girl who perhaps completes the triangle with him and Emily. Again, We’re a bit amazed this kid not only built Gundam, but the AGE system as well, but the show is adamant about it, so fine, whatever. He’s Einstein, Edison and Tesla all wrapped up and topped with green hair. We’re talking almost unapproachable/unrelatable genius here…they’ll have to eventually humanize him a little more.

Our main beef with this episode, which is otherwise quite exciting and action-packed (though not as exciting and action-packed as Last Exile’s debut) is another Gundam trope: The massive space colony that is utterly incapable of defending itself, or even evacuating its population in a timely fashion. This is just horrible planning. It clearly took years to build something as huge as Nora…during its construction, didn’t anyone ever ask, is it really such a good idea to pack thousands of innocent civilians into such a fragile metal tube in space? UE or no UE, it just seems shortsighted.


Rating: 3

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 01

Young, fiery, and talented vanship pilot Fam and her copilot Giselle are members of a band of sky pirates who race to the aid of the two princesses of Turan, Lillia and Millia, who have been ambushed by the treacherous Ades Federation led by Premier Luscinia. In exchange for their rescue from the battlefield, Fam demands the Turan flagship, the Lasas, in return. Her colleague Dio Eraclea boards and feints a scuttling in order to escape the battle, but as Turan’s capital is vulnerable to Ades attack, the ship will have to be quickly mended.

It’s been eight years and a month since Last Exile concluded, and even as the Fall 2011 Season started, we had to wait a little longer. The first series wasn’t perfect, but it was (and still is) one of the best-looking we’ve ever seen, had a lot of ingredients that really got out juices flowing, and indeed stoked our passion for anime that strives to transcend its medium. If ever a universe deserved a sequel, it was Last Exile…and here we are. Studio GONZO returns in force, Koichi Chigira is back to direct, as is our favorite character designer, Range Murata, and Hitomi Kuroishi, who composes a haunting and exciting score. The voice cast is excellent, with Aki Toyosaki (Railgin’s Uiharu, Hanasaku Iroha’s Nako) providing the voice of Fam, who kicks ass every which way, and her more tranquil partner Giselle is voiced by Aoi Yuki (Shiki’s Sunako, Puella’s Madoka). The princesses are Ai Kayano (AnoHana’s Menma, Memo-cho’s Ayaka) and one of our favorites, Miyuki Sawashiro.

This opening episode quickly re-establishes the crazy steampunk world of floating armadas, sky pirates, and gorgeous cities. It’s attention to detail is impeccable. Last Exile’s CGI was ahead of its time, but Fam manages (unsurprisingly) to surpass it, fully utilizing the widescreen HD environment and all the other new tech. From the quiet nighttime opening to the fantastic aerial battle on a clear blue day, this episode has all the scale and epic-ness of a full-length, big budget film combining all the best elements of Miyazaki and Final Fantasy. With everything that went on, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to get into the myriad characters, who occupy three distinct factions so far (warlike Ades, peaceful Turan, and opportunistic pirates), but we like the Fam/Giselle duo so far, and their blue-collar tomboy lives should clash nicely with the pair of princesses. We’ve looked forward to this series for a long time, and all it took was the opening episode to propel it to the best of the season so far.


Rating: 4