Monday, October 10, 2011

Gundam AGE - 01

One good point, the enemy mechs look pretty good.
Even not counting the main character designs (which no one really seems to like), there's so much wrong with this I don't know where to begin...

14 years prior to the start of the show, an unknown force called Unknown Enemy or UE attacked and destroyed the space colony Angel.  Seven years later the colony Asuno Flit is living in with his mother is similarly attacked, and she is killed moments after giving Flit the AGE device, a memory unit containing data on a certain mobile suit.  In the present day, Flit, now 14, and still in school, is working for the military as the head of the project building the mobile suit Gundam based off of the data in the AGE device.  On the day the unit is finished and ready for its trial runs, the UE attack the colony and are forced to retreat after the Flit sorties in the Gundam and destroys one of their units... the first ever human victory.  The episode ends as the UE launch a retaliatory missile attack against the colony.  My main issues with the show below the fold.

First, the point that many of the early critics were bashing Gundam AGE for - character designs that look nothing like those found in a normal Gundam series... at least for the main characters.  Yes, they look more like something out of an early morning kids show, but the only character whose design I really dislike is Vargas.  The rest I can deal with, and the non-main characters actually look relatively normal.
The guy's head is bigger than their bodies...
The second problem I have with this show is about Flit specifically.  The kid is 14, and still attending middle school with other people his age, and yet is running a military R&D project?  Okay, so it's handwaved in-story by saying he's a genius (but still in middle school) and that his family has a long history in mobile suit R&D, but it's still odd, to say the least.  Also, despite determining that his colony will be attacked next, he doesn't tell that to ANY military personnel, instead trying to convince one of his teachers that he's right.  Flit, on your walk to catch the bus to school, you walked past the base commander and his assistant (or something), who greeted you by name, while you held on to the paper that showed that their colony would be hit next.  The kid has to be the stupidest "genius" in all of Gundam history at this point.
My third issue is one that spans pretty much the entire world setting.  First, by way of explanation, the UE Gafran, the only unit  seen so far, has four weapons: beam vulcans in their hands, a heavy beam cannon on their shoulder, a diffuse beam cannon in the midsection, and a beam saber.  The Earth Federal Forces, by contrast, have only the Genoace, whose weapons (beam spray gun) are literally useless against the UE, with the beam rounds deflecting harmlessly off of the UE units' armor.  The Genoace's defenses are similarly poor, with even a single round from the Gafran's beam vulcan being more than enough to blow off a limb.
Why even bother shooting it?
Which brings me to the main part of this criticism.  The AGE-1 Gundam has armor which can take multiple shots from the beam vulcan with absolutely no damage, a point blank shot from the diffuse beam cannon with similarly little damage, is fast enough to avoid shots from the beam cannon from close range, and its default melee weapon, a beam knife, is enough to take down a Gafran.  The EFF, judging from the simple fact that they have lots of Genoace units, has the facilities and technology to mass-produce mobile suits.  The presence of the Gundam means that they have the tech to produce much higher-end armor and weapons (which would have been tested long before being put on the Gundam in any vaguely realistic R&D setting), and yet, none of that tech makes it into the Genoace?  Even if all they do is mass produce beam knives, it'd at least give them ONE weapon that can inflict damage.  The same rule would apply to the Gundam's beam rifle (probably seen next episode).  Assuming it has a much higher output than the beam spray gun, or at least, is able to inflict damage on the UE, why is it not standard issue?
You should make all your units using this armor.
And finally, the idea of there being 14 years of UE attacks, and yet, no one ever took one down?  In order for that to occur, the sort of technology gap between the EFF and UE would have to be so huge that the question that should be asked is "if the UE wanted to kill or destroy, why aren't they just doing it?"  The only Gundam shows that have shown that sort of tech gap at the start were Gundam Wing (the Gundams' were insane, but could still be matched by elite pilots in MP units) and Gundam 00 (and that didn't last long).

So, all in all, while I won't write it off as horrible just yet, Gundam AGE is getting off to a very rough start, and after this episode, I don't have very good feelings about how the rest of the show is going to be.

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