Check-in Station: Gundam AGE ep29 & 30 (you call this a crew?!)
You gotta give it up to Flit Asuno, the man is PREPARED! Asemu and now Kio have had the best set ups as Gundam pilots EVER! But while the Asuno family has their act together, there’s clearly not enough people like them in the Federation. Well, not to sound like a Zeke, but Feddies will be useless incompetent Feddies afterall! Welcome to the final age, where lessons are learned, but not everyone attends class.
First of all… what the hell, man?! My favorite character in the whole series is dead?! Asemu Asuno is dead?! Oh that’s f*cked up AGE! I didn’t even get to mourn his death properly. Apparently, ten years after the events of episode twenty-eight, Asemu’s son Kio was born. And right after he’s sent off to go on one last mission. I know the signs were there. The whole “one last mission” thing usually means it’s not going to be something quick, safe or simple. It’s as bad as talking about your plans after the war while you’re IN the war. Death flag! After that we skip ahead a decade and a bit to see a young Kio Asuno relaxing with friends and celebrating the holiday, the Day of Courage or something like that. This too is another clear sign, especially in Gundam. I believe it’s even a trope. But regardless of my internal worries, the people on Earth seem no worse for worry. The only really clear hint we have is Ezelcant’s speech on Mars.
Cue: epic blitzreig.
Gotta give it up to the Vagan on this one. They got it right this time. Where as they ran up against a Flit Asuno micromanaged Big Ring and Federation fleet before, I don’t think that would have made any difference at this point. The giant weapon they deployed uncloaked like something out of Star Trek (yes, I know they’ve been using the technology before, but it was strangely absent from a lot of the second age), and blew away the Big Ring in one shot. Then sleeper agents start popping up all over the planet slaughtering anything in their wake. And who is leading this charge? Thawed out Zeheart (bad commander) Gallette.
Kio demonstrates his courageousness by saving a couple of kids stuck on the wrong side of a bridge, and Flit demonstrates his awesomeness by delivering him a core fighter (I hate each and every one of those things) and helping him for the ZZ Gundam’s spiritual child, the AGE-3. What a ridiculous hulking beast. In true, Gundam fashion it sports what is practically a cannon meant for a ship. A development that always made me wonder how that very advancement didn’t make battleships obsolete.
While Flit sits in the backseat guiding Kio in the battle with the mobile suits, he requests that the Federation release the Diva into service. A strange request, but you’d think they’d pay more attention to the two-time savior of Earth when he asks for a favor. Only his former subordinate and current commander-in-chief of the (what used to be) Big Ring, Frederick Algreus understand what he desires.
By the way, Frederick is sporting a terrible mustache. It looks like bleached poop on his lip. I’m sorry. As a member of the facial hair club, I have to say he can do better.
It’s unfortunate that his short sighted subordinates don’t get it, or have any faith in the plans to release the Diva. So the old ship is stuck with a band of misfits. A mousy captain who has terribly low confidence; the remnants of a battered (but very competent and gritty) mobile suit squad, and a bridge crew with no chemistry. At least they have an outstanding mechanic and the AGE system, there’s not much else to have hope in at this point.
The whole point of the Diva’s revival into service is that AGE system. Flit commands the Diva to force the AGE system to pump out one more upgrade, this time for the AGE-3. He plans to take out the Vagan flagship torching the city below it. The AGE system’s solution? Bigger gun. Hell, I could have come up with that one! Regardless, this all leads to a forced, but dramatic showdown with the Diva mobile suit crew attempting to defend the AGE-3 as it powers up its ridiculous cannon.
Intelligently, Kio decides not to risk the time needed to take out the entire ship with a full charge. Instead he aims for the head, the bridge, and effectively destroys it that way. Zeheart is forced to leave (again) as a loser, and the AGE-3 makes its way to the Diva. Of course, now the problems really begin….
What I loved about this episode was the amount of excitement, action and intensity involved in these episodes. It wasn’t a slow start, and it wasn’t batsh*t crazy either. We got decent build up and explanation of the situation. Though at this point, if you don’t understand what’s going on, you’ve clearly not been paying attention.
The new lead protagonist, Kio, seems like a decent character so far. He seems much more of the carefree, hopeful type. I wouldn’t say he’s a Judau Ashta type of personality, but we he does have in common are some stupid powerful Newtype powers. Flit had to develop his through the stress of life and death combat. Asemu never developed his, but had his own sort of natural ability. But Kio is having Newtype flashes left and right.
Flit is his old, well prepared and reliable self. He still has that burning hatred of all things Vagan, but he amazingly never lets his hate bleed through… well, there was that one moment at the end of episode thirty. I have the give the old bastard props too, for sneakily preparing his son for combat in the Gundam. What better way to prepare a kid for war than to have them play a simulator disguised as a video game. In real life it’s not actually that simple, but for narrative’s sake it works. I’m not arguing.
The rest of the cast could be an interesting mish-mash of personalities. The captain, Natora Einus is just… well, she strikes me as particularly incompetent. Not in a traditional Feddie way, she arrogantly doesn’t get her people killed. She’s quite the opposite. It makes me laugh at how in Gundam SEED they called Murrue Ramius incompetent. She was easily a hell of a lot better in her debut. Obright from the second age returns, and he seems to have taken the poor, cute mechanic Remi’s death hard. He’s just a shell at this point. And I’m curious to see if there’s any fire left in those, or if he’s really just waiting for death. Seric Abis is the head of the battered mobile suit squad that was assigned to the Diva. The Abis Team seems to be the most squared away part of the Diva. And I look forward to seeing these pilots heroically dying in combat for the sake of Earth. Seriously, they’re dead. I’m placing my bets on Derek Jackrow to be the first.
Still, it’s nice to see a somewhat competent crew on a Federation warship. AGE has done a good job up until this point, let’s not spoil it with complete incompetents and children alright? There are some old Gundam traditions that I’d like to never see the light of day.