Mobile Suit Gundam AGE – 03

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.


Rating: 3

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Fall 2011 Season Preview

The first season RABUJOI reviewed in full gear was Fall 2010. We perhaps chose too many series to watch; some would not pass muster this time. By the time our one-year anniversary rolls around, it looks like we’ll be in store for another sizable batch of series.

There are many promising series coming, none we’re looking more forward to than GONZO’s first anime since the pretty but ultimately ho-hum Shangri-La. This time, they appropriately went with a past strength in the Last Exile franchise. We urge anyone interested in awesome steampunk to take a gander at its 2004 predecessor, it’s one of our all-time favorites.

Other sequels of note: Bakuman, which we enjoyed thoroughly and couldn’t possibly pass up; and the restaurant slice-of-life Working!!. There’s also a new Gundam – and this one may mark some changes to the classic formula – we’ll see. We saw a six-minute preview of Mirai Nikki back in December – this fall we’ll see what it’s all about.

The only summer carryover will be the excellent Mawaru Penguindrum, which means other than that one series, our schedule will be wiped clean when October comes around. We still believe one or two series below will be sacrificed so that we may have time to sleep, eat, and socialize. To that end, titles marked with an *asterisk  constitute our “maybe” pile.

Bakuman 2 – J.C. Staff – Autumn – NHK-E
Ben-To* – David Production – Autumn – TBA
C³ – CubexCursedxCurious* – SILVER LINK – Autumn – TBA
Chihayafuru* – Madhouse – October 4, Nihon TV
Guilty Crown – Production I.G. – October – Fuji TV/noitaminA
Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – GONZO – October – TBA
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE* – Sunrise – October 9, MBS/TBS
Mirai Nikki – asread – Autumn – TBA
Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle* – Sunrise – Autumn – NHK-E
Tamayura ~hitotose~ – Hal Film Maker – October – TBA
UN-GO – Bones – October – Fuji TV/noitaminA
WORKING’!! – A-1 – October – Yomiuri TV

Summer 2011 Carryover:

Mawaru Penguindrum – Brains Base – AT/X

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 The Movie: A wakening of the Trailblazer

With no foreknowledge of its contents, I was expecting this film to be a condensed re-telling of the anime, as was the case with Macross Froniter. However, with 50 episodes to cover, this would have probably been more of a mess than Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Thankfully, it (a.) doesn’t re-tell the story I already I know and (b.) doesn’t tell a new story about the various earth factions warring over each other to end war, or whatever. Instead, it’s a good old-fashioned alien invasion.

The aliens, Extraterrestrial Livingmetal Shapeshifters or ELS, are quite terrifying. Their swarming ships immediately reminded me of the cylons, but their liquid metal nature is very T2, while their evolution-thru-assimilation was very Borg-like. It’s good to see a Gundam where, for once, the humans put aside their differences and all fight on the same side; for survival, in this case.

Like the Macross film, Gundam was jam-packed with eye candy, in a slightly different style. While at times the repetitive chaotic battles filled with particle beams and explosions resembled screensavers, overall there’s a lot of excellent space battle action going on here. The way the ELS go about dispatching their foes is pretty bone-chilling, and a handful of characters who survived the anime went on kamakaze missions here (although Tieria downloaded back to Veda).

Character-wise, there’s no ground broken; Feldt kinda likes Setsuna but nothing really comes of it; Allelliuja and Marie are the usual married couple, Lockon has his Haros, and Setsuna still has that connection to his homeland in the person of Princess Marina, who is her usual selfless self. Patrick Corlasour and Kati Manequin also continue their courtship dance/chain of command. Setsuna meanwhile is essentially Neo, in that he has to wake up and fulfill the prophecy that Aeolia Schenburg, founder of Celestial Being, made hundreds of years ago.

He wanted to end war on Earth and advance Innovator technology so that mankind would be ready for future threats like the ELS. If Setsuna hadn’t become an innovator and initiated contact with the ELS mothership (ball of yarn outside, gooey and psychadelic inside), humanity would’ve been toast. Instead, he stops the ELS onslaught in the nick of time, saving his friends and his world.

That would have been a fine ending…and then the mothership turns into a friggin’ gargantuan flower. I know, that desert flower was a common motif in Setsuna’s musings – life/beauty enduring in a hostile universe and all that – but a moon-sized flower? You know what, fine…whatever you want, Gundam.


Rating: 3.5