Home > Check-in Station, Episode by Episode > Gundam AGE ep42: a new system is needed, or space hugs are bad.

Gundam AGE ep42: a new system is needed, or space hugs are bad.

Way late, but somehow still on time for Gundam AGE episode 42. And there is a lot to harp on. The mounds of dialogue from inside of cockpits. The flashy, but never too impressive mecha combat. How badass, ruthless Federation pilots always make me remember love for the Titans (not those knock-off A-LAWS). And the fact that AGE is making me rethink my position as a fan of the Gundam franchise. Let’s go!

I’ve never accused AGE of being one of the most intense shows when it comes to combat, but I have said that it does a good job of paying homage. In a long series like this one, the most bitter and intense fights generally come at this point. Both sides get worn down and sick of each other. Conflicts drag on long enough for sides to be switched. And technology generally has dire consequences for people as a whole, as old, blind, hateful madmen toss everything, including their humanity to the side for victory, and the privilege to be “right”. And things are all going as planned in this show as well. The question is, is it effective?

Girard Spriggan immediately makes a good impression on me. She takes right to the battlefield in a murderous, but pleasure filled rage. Her Thieleva has massive, but effective funnels that are surgical and brutal at the same time. It pretty much makes me forget those useless bullsh*t bits that Zeheart (yes, I still don’t like him) uses to NO effect over and over again. Feddie scrubs are getting wacked left and right. And she wastes no time interfering in Fram and Kio’s pointless,stagnant dance. I’m generally having a good time. The problems start to come from there.

Kio starts spouting his nonsense about stopping the war, while participating in combat. And Girard smacks it away like a tennis ball. But then we start hearing about how bitter she is, they delve into her background and we get a somewhat long, but telling flashback. It turns out that Girard was actually her fiance’s name. Her real name is Reina Spriggan. And both her and Girard were test pilots for the Federation. Well, when the lab they were working with, and the senior officers affiliated with their program got anxious for results, they pushed advanced NEWTYPE gear on the two of them. The gear wasn’t completely safe or ready. And despite the fact that the pilots were screaming in pain during the exercise and said that they had lost control of their mobile suits, they were still pushed until they both crashed into asteroids. Reina survived and Girard became one with the Earth Sphere’s debris field.

It definitely makes me sympathetic towards Reina. It was just dumb, and nasty to do that to the two of them. And it’s something I’ve learn to expect from the Federation in various iterations. There’s always going to be some dirty lab, pushing human beings too far for results and/or profit. She’s been screwed. She’s full of bitter hatred and resentment. And she’s stewing in her own fake promotion that was used to shut her up about the death of a loved on. And then this dirty weasel of a commander comes up behind her and gives her the offer of a lifetime. She practically fell into Vagan arms.

My problems don’t come with her character, but what generally happens after that first flashback. We get a lot .. I mean A LOT of conversation in thes damn mobile suit cockpits! Kio is preaching to Reina (I’ll call her by her real name from now on). Reina is spouting taunts and hatred at him, and then Fram. Asemu is beating the same message into Zeheart’s thick head. And the whole time the combat is going no where. There’s even SPACE HUGGING. Well, almost. Kio uses his NEWTYPE abilities to force his way into her personal bubble for a moment, before Fram comes back from fighting the small fry. Not to mention they threw in another flashback near the end of the episode.

All in all, this episode felt like it was fifty percent fluff. The kind of stuff you’d see in a shounen battle manga or anime. And I just find that unacceptable. I don’t even care for this stuff in the shounen genre. The whole “give a villain a story by showing a flashback” technique has been done painfully to death by Bleach and Naruto. I really, really do not like seeing it here. Despite the two genres close ties. And it’s gotten me thinking about my enthusiasm for Gundam as a whole, especially with these newer series.

I call these “Higurashi eyes”

I’ve found my interest in shounen battle anime waning considerably over the past couple of years. And it’s because I’ve made peace with what they are, and I don’t expect too much from them. The little fanboy concerns I used to have, and the sometimes out-of-bounds hopes I have for them (please let this couple get together, I’d like it if more people died because it would be more realistic, and so on) have died out. And I’m starting to make peace with that with Gundam. Sure I would like this series to progress more. I would like it to have things like a cool female protagonist. I would like a long fifty episode series that remained dark, and depressing, but left some of that Tomino/UC weirdness behind. You know. No more damn kids on the ship for no f*cking reason. And nothing that even remotely resembles f*cking ZZ Gundam (die in a fire!). I want more intense battle with less dialogue. And I especially want this ridiculous almost Gundam only style pacifism to die!

But the series has always been about the notions that war is hell, and peace can only be truly grasped through understanding and solid communication. And now it seems firmly to be in the field of telling the audience this through mortal combat (keep wanting to spell it with a ‘K’, damn video games), and little boys. There’s certainly nothing wrong with it, but as a long time fan, I certainly hope and expect more as time goes on. Heh. Perhaps as an older man I’ve moved on and Gundam is for others now. Like I said. I’m late, but on time.

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