Asemu Asuno is 17, making him one of the older lead characters to ever pilot a Gundam for the first time. What’s interesting to me as well is that it would seem that despite his father Flit’s schedule, he’s pretty well-adjusted and grew up surrounded by a loving family. Very interesting indeed, given how Gundam leads usually have less-than-ideal family/upbringing situation. Asemu is no orphan, has a non-overbearing dad, a doting mom, a non-annoying kid sister, and the freedom to pursue his interests. This kid has got it made.
Of course, the foil to such a perfect life, is pretty much WAR. True enough, the Veigans (can’t really call them the UE anymore) attack the Tordias colony and threaten civilian areas. But let us put that aside for later, because the war will play out not only on the fields and in space, but also in High School.
Galette Zehart is the new transfer student and is every bit as pretty as Asemu. This guy has rival written all over him, and the way the narrative is presented, and especially through the OP, there will be a love triangle. Since this is Gundam AGE, and based on what happened in the previous age, this triangle will be resolved with death. Something to look forward to.
He’s into mobile suits, the high school has a mobile suit club. This going to be a kiddie/high school version of Stardust Memory/Macross Plus. Galette already has Gato’s white hair locked down, and Asemu rhymes with Isamu. No matter how you look at it, the triangle will be resolved with death. Yes. (Of course, since he’s wearing a mask in the OP, and will be piloting a red suit, he is also Char).
Two things before I talk about the expected set-piece battle:
Flit Asuno is both an awesome family man and a genocidal Gihren Zabi. This is great. I can’t love this enough. He’s our hero, the developer of the Gundam who showed a whole lot of valor in the battle of Ambat. Captain Grodek may have spared him from having to summarily execute Yark Dole, but Flit turned out to be this racist/xenophobic soldier and technologist anyway. His values are pretty much intact, he just won’t forgive nor tolerate the Veigans. They all got to die.
This is to me, a far more effective characterization of a sympathetic complexity than the one done for Dozle Zabi in Mobile Suit Gundam. The Zeon commander doted on his siblings, respected his father, and treasured his wife and daughter on his way to die defending their safety. But yes, he’s a key player in the Zeonic war offensive that was responsible for the gas attacks and the Colony Drop.
In Dozle we have a villain who looks like a villain who did human, heroic things. In Flit we have a proven hero who we feel will do morally questionable things and act righteous about it. It’s exciting. We don’t know if Asemu shares the same values as his father, but I foresee this is where they would have conflict, if at all.
Asemu and Zehart are MEN’S NAMES!
I find it interesting in how both would-be antagonists faced down bullies. Both, however didn’t really threw strikes at their opponents opting instead to use some kind of Aikido; mostly sidestepping their attackers. These introductions are very Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, wherein Kamille Bidan found himself in a number of violent situations. Kamille however, is a FAR more angry kid than either of the two, and never hesitates to lay his fists on whomever pisses him off.
Both characters will be a little (or a whole lot) smoother than Kamille, and a whole lot more than his trainwreck clone Shinn Asuka. Don’t get me wrong though, Kamille is still the best angry teen character in robot anime. Part of me kind of hoped Asemu would be batshit angry like him, but given his family and upbringing, if he behaved like this he’d be aggravatingly stupid.
The set-piece battle that re-introduced the Gundam AGE-01 Normal, and put Asemu in his first battle (to seize the reins of history, as the trope goes) was delightful. Just like Flit, he showed some talent and individuality, in this case a preference for two-swords style close combat. The way the battle played out was clumsy, scrappy, and very violent in the end. Asemu stumbled around in a way that didn’t make his opponents stupid in how he managed to survive and prevail.
The immediate and most relevant comparison (aside from Flit Asuno’s himself) is that of Kira Yamato’s first foray into battle. Asemu did pretty well against a traditional pair of mobile suit opponents, but he isn’t portrayed as having to do some god-mode reprogramming the whole thing’s Operating System in the middle of the fire fight.
The battle was exciting despite how predictable the outcome obviously is, and will better set-up Asemu’s eventual X-Rounder fury when the big battle arrives. This is crucial, I think. Despite how carefully the show paced Flit’s fighting capability progression, his valor and fighting prowess in Ambat still seemed sudden for some.
This show, just can’t get a fair deal from the critics LOL.