Check-in Station: Gundam AGE ep28 (a NOT kinder, gentler Federation)
So I’ve finally finished the second AGE of Gundam AGE, and now I won’t be AGES behind everyone else watching this series…. OK, that was terrible. Let’s get on with this.
Anyone who says burning passion is for youth has never met Flit Asuno. The man is the definition of “squared away” and driven. I believe that this second AGE was as much a set up for him as the man who decides the Vagan nation’s ultimate fate, as it was about Asemu’s coming-of-age.
After episode twenty-seven we get another, smaller time skip than the one I was expecting. After Woolf’s demise, Asemu has taken on responsibility as a leader, and has taken on Woolf’s mobile suit colors. I don’t know if I like AGE-2 in all white, but that doesn’t matter anymore. It’s not changing. The team is in preparation for an implied attack by Vagan forces hidden on Earth, presumably after the prime minister’s life. The Vagan’s trying to kill a leader of the Federation? No surprise. The real surprise is seeing Flit with his military back up essentially orchestrate a bloodless coup during the prime minister’s speech.
As Flit and the Federation grunts attempt to stop a small squad of Vagan mobile suits, Flit publicly calls out the prime minister for conspiring with the Vagan nation. Prime Minister Olfenoa has essentially been a spy under the threat of blackmail for the Vagan nation. Olfenoa tries to justify it with talk of his valuable negotiations, but Flit’s not having it. He declares that Olfenoa’s “petty” negotiations aren’t necessary, because he plans to exterminate them.
In the end, the Vagan mobile suits are defeated by Asemu. We learn that the prime minister is eventually executed for treason; that Flit has executed a purge of the Vagan corrupted Federation forces and government (righteous, but scary stuff); and that Asemu and Romary get married. Though the lingering image that I’m left with is seeing Zeheart (horrible commander) in cold sleep. It looks like the Vagan nation will rise again with him at its helm, but they had better be more than ready. It looks like Flit in time will be coming for them.
Now is as good a time to look back at the series as any, we only have one major arc left it seems. I came into this second AGE with pretty high hopes and expectations. The end of the first age had given me a taste of what I thought could be a very good show. All the fears, prejudices and a good amount of the questions I had about the show had been eliminated. And I was ready to just enjoy the series.
Things started off slowly, but understandably so. It was interesting to see the AGE-1 passed down in essence, like an inheritance. Asemu turned out to be one of the most prepared Gundam pilots in history. The Gundam metaverse has a history of bad parents, broken kids and the relationships between them. Amuro’s papa was a brilliant scientist/engineer who went bonkers. Kamille’s dad was a very capable engineer, but a complete sh*tbag. Kamille’s mom got spaced in the most horrible way. I don’t think I ever heard from or saw Judau’s parents, I think they were dead. If they were a live though, I’d assume they were loser hippies that made terrible parents. There are exceptions in the alternate Gundam universes, but still plenty of examples of useless to terrible parents.
So in comparison, I’d say that Asemu made out to be a great son (in comparison, he was actually a rather normal kid), and Flit was as god-like as any dad could be, regardless of Gundam tropes. Sure, he was a little cold, and he does have that burning, genocidal rage inside of him, but the guy is a great dad.
Asemu was easily my favorite character of this age, and probably of the series. I could see how you could “hate on”, or be jealous of the guy, he doesn’t have one of the finest pedigrees in anime. However, he never came across as arrogant or snobby. He also avoided the angry, whiny punk-ass kid mentality that typically pops up when a kid gets a chip on his shoulder and has a lot of power (Zeta Gundam, Macross Frontier, Gundam SEED Destiny and to a certain extent G Gundam all have this). He was a rather normal teenager with extraordinary abilites. So it’s probably a bit ironic what the story decides to do with him and his perspective.
In what I think is probably the coolest twist in this show, it turns out that the son of the greatest NEWTYPE in this series isn’t even a NEWTYPE at all! Asemu gets knocked down a peg, and is viewed as normal by the other pilots with abilities. Even the great and mighty leader of the Vagan forces, and his friend, Zeheart tells Asemu to turn away; stating that he doesn’t have enough heart or skill. With the death of Woolf, Asemu finally realizes his potential. He morphs into a pilot who is just excellent at piloting. No special abilities granted from “freeing oneself from the weight of Earth’s gravity”, he just wrecks shop – Top Gun style! And I can respect that. What I can’t respect is his arch-rival, and best friend Zeheart Gallete.
I don’t want to overshadow my enjoyment of this show with all the nitpicking I’m tempted to do when it comes to Vagan strategy, logic and Zeheart’s ability to stay in charge despite constant failure and incompetence. You wanna know why the Vagan nation hasn’t won yet? It’s as much Zeheart’s fault as it is Flit and Asemu’s. I’ll leave it at that for now. There’s still more to be written in his book.
Overall there was a much fun to be had watching this series up until this point. I was a bit surprised they didn’t invoke the AGE system more, but I’m not complaining. At this point, it just seems to be a lazy plot device, used to explain why the pilots get brand new state of the art mobile suits in the heat of battle. I definitely prefer it over all the BS mobile suit thievery that traditionally goes on in the Gundam metaverse.
Also, once again the females in this show seem to be a negligible factor in this series; used more for baby making and “princesses” than anything else. But (and I hate to repeat myself on this) at least they’re not annoying, pushy and psychotically emotional. It’s a low bar, but that’s what you work with in Gundam.
Gundam AGE continues to be a very solid show, though I’ve yet to get any real personal favorite moments out of it. The show is still showing solid action, mecha designs and plot. And it may even be proving to be the BEST gateway Gundam out there. It’s just a matter of how this trilogy finishes now. Will the Vagan nation’s origins and true motivations be revealed? Will they get their dream of getting to Earth, or will Flit exterminate them in the end. Matter of fact, is there any hope of saving Flit from his own vengeance? Storytelling traditionally does hold very good endings for the characters who one-sidedly seek vengeance.