Flit Asuno’s X-Rounder powers awakening on their own just like Amuro Ray in the showdown with the Elmeth in Solomon may seem like the highlight, and perhaps it really is, but the best part of this episode and perhaps the series so far is the tactical standoff between Commander Chocolate and Grodek.
It was so good that I was quite disappointed in how the UE’s pointless (tactically) attack served as a cheap plot solution to a truly excellently staged battle. It almost made me forget that this is a kiddy show. But then it is one, and it reminds us how much it is – and this is very important – in how the key value here is getting the humans to cooperate. The UE’s purpose is to unify the conflicted humans, to get Commander Chocolate off Grodek’s back.
Humans are great when they work together on the same side, and Gundam AGE showed precisely how. The Diva, and its mobile suit complement earned the respect of the Federation Forces in how they responded to the UE attack. The UE were driven back, and the stage is set for the final conflict of this AGE (prior to the time skip).
Still, I can’t help but be hung up about the standoff.
In the standoff, I got treated to a tactical tangle I haven’t seen since the Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and Code Geass. What makes AGE’s remarkable is the lack of technological silver bullets. Commander Choco’s use of the flashbang effectively neutered the Gundam. I really LOVE how it (and Woolf and his unit) was put in its place in a capital ship showdown. Choco deployed his mobile suit complement efficiently and to great effect.
There’s really something about well-thought-out scenarios that it can be utterly gripping without showing a lot of action. It’s the tension and suspense. In the 10 or so minutes this whole thing played out, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE showed how it embarrasses the likes of Guilty Crown and the first episode of Rinne no Lagrange. This is what good mecha anime does. This is what good battle anime does. Holy smokes not even Broken Blade delivered anything like this. Not even Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn delivered anything like this. Not this year, not last year. The Macross franchise never ever does anything like this.
You heard me.
Which brings me back to the cop-out resolution, which is the go-to play of any lesser narrative pitting two respectable opponents against each other. Lelouch vs. Suzaku had Schneizel. Katy Mannequin vs. Sumeragi Lee Noriega had the Innovators. Tiger vs. Bunny had the robot anti-hero. Yes, comic book vs. crossovers routinely have the heroes fight each other for a while until they have to face a third opponent they eventually team up against.
Gundam AGE gets a pass for doing this given the kiddy lesson it serves, but we must also consider how much of this cheap stuff we let slide. You’ll have to look at Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Reinhard and Yang had to fight it out without any of this nonsense; Bucock and von Merkatz would never let this shit go down; then Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack where thankfully, Char was enough of a douchebag to never let this shit happen.
But yeah, the Humans unite and push the UE back. Now Grodek’s mutineers and allies make their way to the final battle.
Fuck yeah Audrey. Fuck you Saji for having to just… ruin everything.