In A.G. 101 (the 101st year of the Advanced Generation calendar) a mysterious entity known only as "UE", or "unknown enemy", attacks and destroys the space colony Angel. This brutal attack becomes infamous as the "The Day the Angel Fell", and marks the beginning of humanity's war for survival.
The series begins in A.G. 108 when the UE attack the space colony Ovan, where Flit Asuno lives with his mother. Flit's mother is killed by the UE, and in her belongings (in an object called a "AGE Device") he discovers the blueprints for a powerful weapon from the past - the ancient messiah named "Gundam."
From these blueprints, Flit spends the next several years studying engineering at an Earth Federation base on the Nora space colony and designing the AGE-1 Gundam. Seven years later, in A.G. 115, Flit completes the Gundam, just as the UE attack Nora. Flit and his lineage's battle piloting the AGE-1 to protect mankind is about to begin.
#1: "Kimi no Naka no Eiyuu (君の中の英雄)" by Minami Kuribayashi (eps 1-15) #2: "My World" by SPYAIR (eps 16-28) #3: "WHITE justice" by Faylan (eps 29-39) #4: "Forget-me-not ~Wasurenagusa~ (forget-me-not 〜ワスレナグサ〜)" by FLOWER (eps 40-49)
Since completing the series, I feel I should update this review.
Well, this will be my first ever review for a series.. reasons for me actually taking the time to write one, is because I believe this is a very underrated series as it's part of the Gundam franchise.. I'll break it down.
The story progress was brilliance at it's best. The show progresses throughout 100 years, and moves through three generations.. I felt this was a very interesting concept that could be explored in other Gundam series in the future. There was a lot of accusations towards this series about being a children's version
of a Gundam series.. This is inaccurate, as throughout the entire series it is very serious in the way it approaches the dialogue and story..
Why? because it was different then what I normally see and now in the end, it's unique.. People complain that the art is childish. the Gundam wasn't designed well,etc.. if you pay attention it develops into a very well designed Gundam; following the series as both the story and the characters evolve.
The sound design is amazing, but out of the OP or ED I have grown increasingly fond of 'My World' by SPYAIR.. the song has such a great meaning behind it, which is a perfect fit for the arc, and after this series I have become a great fan of their music and I recommend anyone who enjoys the ED to check out the rest of their music line up.
I greatly enjoy this series, because I've grown to love each of the characters.. As you move through each arc you clamor to find out what happens to each of the side characters, the previous main characters, etc.. overall the show just engulfs you until the very end.. It proves that if you stick with it, it can stand with even the best of the franchise.
This series has been a complete joy to watch and I wish it would of went farther into the storyline, definitely worth the watch.. if your hanging on the fence to watch or not watch, this is no SD Gundam.. and for that I am thankful.. To me this ranks with Gundam Wing and Gundam 00 , which are among my favorite series.. Go watch this already.. quoted from a comment on GA.com episode 20.. "People hated AGE, but it just keeps getting better and better.."
Latest TV Series of the Gundam Franchise (2011-12)
Review from my POV (w/personal biases after watching whole run)
Lite Spoiler Warning
+ The concept of a "50 episode run, going thru 3 generations of a central conflict with protagonists that relate to each other" sounds pretty FN dope and it works....... some of the time. (like a compact 0079, Zeta, ZZ run)
+ The Viewer should should like they were given positive dividends when continuing from Gen 1 thru Gen 2
EX: Gen 1 Flit was aiight, BUT Gen 2 Flit was pretty Badass. He develops a cold hatred towards the enemy after what we've seen him go thru
in Gen 1. and that's cool
+ The 2nd Generation as a whole was really enjoyable to watch
+ AGE-1 Spallow
- Antagonist has no face in the 1st Gen
- Little to no creativity for mobile suit design
- Took awhile for me to get into the pokemon-esque character design.
3rd GEN Cons (yes, it's so bad, it gets its own section)
- Pretty much after the halfway point of the 3rd Gen is utter bullshit. Lemme explain
- The 3rd Gen hero Kio Asuno switches up his view after experiencing something tragic, making his choices completely illogical and down right dumb. It also changes his combat style, which is also bullshit.
- Character development is pretty much shot.
- The're trying to force emotion by constantly having a death occur constantly
- Char clone. and a bad one
- Flit Asuno in the last moment becomes IMO the worst protagonist in the Gundam franchise.
A cool concept that's completely defiled by the 3rd act of this TV Series. My feels about Flit Asuno are similar to a playthrough of Mass Effect 3: I work so hard for a satisfying conclusion, only to realize that what i wanted will never be presented in front of me.
*Due to the nature of the plot of this show, this review contains slight spoilers*
There's much to say about Gundam AGE--from the time it was first unveiled, the fanbase went crazy in anger thinking it was going to be some childish take on the franchise, things like how the Gundam wasn't even going to be piloted but controlled from afar by the AGE device, that they were going to remove any grimdark from the show, and so on. In any case, AGE is a significant departure in look from the grittyness of the previous Gundam, Gundam 00--00 had darker, mature-ish character and mecha designs, and
AGE has a look more associated with children's anime (no surprise then that this show's writer and character designer also worked on projects like Inazuma Eleven). Despite all this, the show isn't really "childish" in any sense, and ends up being a typical Gundam show--or a sad attempt at being one.
Yes, Gundam AGE is no doubt the worst Gundam out there. Okay, I haven't seen fan disfavourite SEED Destiny outside of the first few episodes, but it'll have to be pretty bad to beat what writer Akihiro Hino and director Susumu Yamaguchi have presented us with here. They've presented us with a show that could have been a very solid show but instead refuses every attempt at being good.
Basically, Gundam AGE is a "multigenerational Gundam", which focuses on protagonist Flit Asuno, his son, and his grandson, all of which pilot three generations of the titular Gundam AGE. From that summary alone, I'd expect a very interesting plot involving intense familial themes, some romance, and perhaps some grand villainous threat that threatens the Asuno clan and their friends and their society over the decades. Instead this is merely a setup for infinite amounts of squandered opportunities at interesting plot threads. Take the expected romantic themes--relationships are reduced to little more than a casual mention at best, with pathetic attempts at creating love triangles that the concept art for the later characters made painfully obvious which girl "won", seeing how each son resembles their mother. "Won" belongs in quotes because little to no characterisation is given to any of the girls and love interests besides perhaps Yurin, who is a carbon copy of Lalah Sune from the original 0079 Gundam. Speaking of Yurin, we also get a scene so bizarre early on that it seems like a parody of the battle involving Lalah, Amuro, and Char from the original Gundam, involving a psychotic little kid as Char. Oh, that scene is also completely serious and sets up one of the major story threads, something so bad it puts all the borrowing of the original MSG plot Gundam SEED did to shame.
That's only a taste of the plot you'll find in this show. Gundam AGE effectively has three story arcs separated by timeskips, centering around Flit in the first, his son Asem in the second, and his grandson Kio in the third. It wouldn't be a stretch to say the first is "based on" Mobile Suit Gundam, the second on Zeta Gundam, and the third on ZZ Gundam. The first arc is pretty much junk--a shadowy faction with strange mobile suits are blowing up colonies, but it mostly ends up being a mixture of filler and dumb ripoffs of the original Gundam. The rest is better though, if only because it gets to answer the question of what Gundam protagonists and their comrades are doing decades after the events of their show, and Gundam AGE delivers for the second arc, which ends up being the only salvageable part of the show in the end. Here we see Flit's friend Woolf as a grizzled badass, Flit himself playing a role equivalent to the villainous Titans of Zeta Gundam, and that's sadly about it, because while the second arc presents an interesting story, it squanders its true potential by wasting about a third of its space with rather pointless high school filler arc that does little but set up the character of Gundam AGE's Char clone Zeheart. The arc also unceremoniously wastes an interesting plot point by killing off one of the most interesting characters of the first generation for no reason only a few minutes after he's reintroduced for the second arc. But at least we have a solid plot--angry humans on Mars want to take back the Earth, and start a total war with the Earth Sphere humans, which amounts to typical Gundam stuff. Oh, and look for a ripoff of one of the ending scenes of Gundam Wing (or Char's Counterattack, which Gundam Wing borrowed from) because Gundam AGE can't resist stealing famous Gundam scenes for its own use (although I admit this scene is pretty cool).
The third arc and the finale are what ends up utterly killing the show. Everything comes together to produce a flat nothing, with a corny plot development leading to protagonist Kio Asuno turning into perhaps the whiniest Gundam protagonist ever. This plot development involving him going to the home colony of the Mars humans ends up being horribly, horribly done, even though the writers no doubt intended it to be one of the tearjerking moments of the show. This also shows Gundam AGE's love for killing off characters in dramatic death scenes when they barely have been given any character development. Not that that stops them from giving a full episode devoted to a minor character introduced only the previous episode which goes into detail about her life, only for her to be killed off at the end of it. Nice misplaced priorities there, eh?
The ending is as bad as you'd expect by this point. The main villain reveals his plans, which are so utterly, utterly stupid they don't make logical sense even by Gundam villain standards. The Char clone of the show--who like most Char clones, comes across as fairly sympathetic for most of the show--chooses to go along with such idiocy and redoubles his efforts. And for the finale, expect a complete anticlimax--some people die in pointless ways, and the final episode is solely about a fight against a character who makes his first appearance in that same episode and has almost no personality. Wonderful.
Discounting the horribly wasted plot, Gundam AGE isn't all bad. While the artstyle and fight scenes are nowhere near the visceral glory of Gundam 00, for what it's worth everything is smoothly animated and sufficient. The character designs aren't that bad once you get used to them--it could be Hisashi "sameface" Hirai of Gundam SEED after all! The mecha designs are also pretty great, although the majority of the enemy mobile suits look like they'd better fit in a non-Gundam mecha anime, what with the draconic design of many of them. And compared to other Gundam shows (looking at you, SEED), AGE limits the number of Gundams floating around--there's a grand total of four Gundams (plus "backpacks") in the show. Three are the protagonist Gundams, each with nice allusions to the original RX-78 Gundam, the Zeta Gundam, and the ZZ Gundam respectively. The fourth is the Gundam of one of the villains, featuring a wonderfully alien design.
The soundtrack for Gundam AGE is incredible, with some nice modern elements pervading it. It certainly continues the trend of the newer Gundams (Turn A and onward) having awesome soundtracks that REALLY stand out unlike the still-good but less unique soundtracks of the older Gundams. The opening and closing songs are mixed bunch, the first two openers being cheesy, harmless J-pop, the third being a nice upbeat J-rock song, the final being a stellar J-pop song. Endings are less unique, with only the first--an electronic J-pop ballad--being memorable. As for the voice-acting, there's nothing negative I can say--Kazuhiko Inoue does a great job as the coldhearted older Flit, Hiroshi Kamiya does the villainous Zeheart well, and Daisuke Ono as Woolf makes the most out of the character. Prolific seiyuu Takehito Koyasu (who's done several other noteworthy Gundam roles in his time) shows up here as well.
But that's merely the makings of a potentially great show. In the end, the writers chose to squander every bit of potential for this show, instead creating this trainwreck in its place. Gundam AGE had the chance to be one of the franchise's most memorable shows, but instead it's something to be looked down on, and will be remembered as one of the worst moments for Gundam. Avoid this, and avoid this well.
Gundam Age is an attempt to attract a new, younger audience by re-packaging the core Gundam lore that has been established over the years into story arcs that follows three generations of Gundam pilots. While the premise is cool, the majority of its flaws comes from having to tell all three arcs within a 49-episode constraint.
Because there are so many characters in so little time, they are given few opportunities to develop. When a loved one is killed by malice and drives the hero to be consumed by revenge, it's very hard to fully buy into such extreme motivations even in the face of overwhelming
commons sense without willfully suspend one's own disbelief. Side characters come and go seemingly for the sole purpose of reproducing, and antagonists exist as plot devices to force dramatic situations. While I'm not opposed to wanting to attract a new audience, there is a contradiction in telling a story about the complex emotional and moral landscape of war to a younger crowd by simplifying it. Which is a shame, because the main characters are actually interesting and full of potential.
In terms of visuals, I was initially caught off-guard by the disparity between character design and mech design. This is due to how Gundam series work: the mechs are always designed with the same look (brand consistency), but each series' characters are drawn with different styles by different creatives. For someone to watch Gundam series in succession, it takes a few episodes to adjust. As for animation, it's noticeably less detailed and with fewer frames than 00 / Seed, although there are some bright spots in key battles.
I'm a not fan of combat sequences determined by plot armor, and Gundam has always been notorious for that; a major antagonist pilots the most advanced Gundam would easily destroy the heroes in one scene but is defeated in the next by the same said hero without actually illustrating how, which renders of the tech advancement that matters so much in the storyline into window dressing... or an excuse to promo a new toy. I wish, at some point, there would be a Gundam series that shows combat which better illustrates the relative performance between Mech A and Mech B, and then how each pilot uses them to determine the outcome. But I suppose that would not be in the best interest of a series that is dependent on continuously rebooting itself: setting too high of a standard makes the next reboot even harder.
In the meantime, I suppose GA is worth a look for those who don't want to invest much time into the Gundam franchise, as it's meant to be an updated and condensed collection of past Gundam themes and mech designs. But for those who have watched enough Gundam series, it feels like a medley.
Gundam is one of the largest anime franchises today, made up of more than a dozen TV shows, as well as movies, OVAs, and more. With so many stories split up into multiple timelines, it can be tough to know where to start. But don't worry. This comprehensive Gundam guide will help light your way.