Famous mobile suit ace pilot Woolf Ennacle wakes up from “healing sleep” and immediately claims Gundam as his own. Flit obviously objects, and they decide to settle it with a mock battle, which is interrupted by the UE. The suits that attack them are only the escort for a massive UE warship only detectable by eyeball. Woolf blows up a nearby asteroid to mask their escape, and the UE ship cloaks.
In all the years it’s been around think we’d see a little improvement in the tactics used in Gundam, but alas, some real bush-league shit went down this week. Grodek seemingly has only two mobile suits, but sends them both out, unarmed, to fight each other, then lets the crew simply watch them fight on TV instead of, you know, attending their duties. Did it ever occur to them the UE could jump on them at any minute? The answer is a clear ‘no’.
Add to that one of the pilots is an inexperienced kid with no military training, who only barely won his first battle with the UE, and for some reason decides to give away his position and charge a far superior force. The only people who look worse than Flit, Grodek, and the dawdling engineering crew are the UE themselves, who could have easily detsroyed Flit, Woolf, and the Diva…yet didn’t. At least Woolf seems to know what he’s doing, though he’s a pretty cliched arrogant ace, while I’m fully behind Emily’s concerns about Flit starting to talk and act like a soldier. Forget soldier, or savior…if Flit keeps this up, the only thing he’ll be is space dust.
Rating: 2.5 (dropped)
As the clock ticks down on Nora, Grodek has the core tethered to the Diva for extraction. A UE enters Nora and destroys the base where Bruzar was standing by to separate the core. He’s seriously injured, but is able to make it to an older section of the base where the separation can take place. Meanwhile, Flit buys Bruzar and Grodek time by keeping the UEs busy. With Yurin’s help, he’s able to learn the patterns of their movements and keep up with them. The last UE makes for the core as the Diva pulls it from Nora, but Flit blocks it, and it withdraws. Bruzar sacrifices himself by ramming a pylon that was blocking the core. The Diva and core escape, and Nora blows up.
If we were Flit, we imagine our laps would be a bit numb after having Yurin sitting on it for an extended period. But it was certainly a good job he rescued her, yeah? I mean, he’s just firing wildly into space and barely moving as the UEs toy with him, but she settles him down. What’s her deal? Is she somehow affiliated with the UE? We don’t learn anything today. And once the operation is over and everybody’s safe and sound, Flit and Yurin part ways just as quick as they met, though not before she give him her ribbon and a very loving look indeed. The character design may be simple, but there are nice subtleties in expressions when it matters.
As for Nora, well…so long, we hardly knew ye. We shudder to think how much time and money went into it, only to be destroyed by a mere handful of UEs. If Flit’s is the only mobile suit that’s a match for them, what’s stopping them from attacking other bases, in larger numbers? More importantly, why did that UE just…um, leave when Flit ran out of ammo? Enemies retreating to fight another day is a core Gundamism, and in this case, it showed these UE are more than just mindless killers. There’s a plan in place, and killing Flit and letting the core go is part of that plan.
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.
Flint Asuno is a boy genius building a new mobile suit called Gundam, using plans his mother gave him before she died in an attack on their home colony fourteen years ago. That same enemy – known only as UE – launches a surprise attack on his new home, Nora, and the city’s defenses are inadequate. He launches in Gundam, and is able to defeat one of the UE mobile suits threatening him, his friend Emily, and her uncle Vargas, but the UE regroup and press their attack on the city.
Having seen 00, Seed, Seed Destiny, and Unicorn, we consider ourselves more than a little familiar with Gundam tropes, and this new Age series has yet to distinguish itself after its debut. It dutifully follows a lot of those tried(tired?)-and-true Gundam conventions: genius kid with a traumatic past, with a goal to save the world, and a space colony surprise attack. Haro hopping around. The UE aren’t very interesting as enemies yet; unless Flint cracks one open to reveal a dead pilot, they come off as mindless automatons killing and destroying indiscriminately.
Our favorite Gundam series of the ones we’ve seen is Seed, which was darker and grittier than the Gundams that followed. This looks like the cleanest, most sterile one yet. Flint and is sickly-cute friend Emily look more like elves than humans, and Vargas and their friend Dique are extremely stylized. However, this series does promise a multigenerational story, with Flint just the first of those generations. That may be the trump card that eventually sets Age apart from previous Gundams. But so far, it’s been-there, done-that.