Ever since I’ve seen Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in The Pocket some three years ago I’ve thought it transcended not merely Gundam shows, but robot anime itself. I thought it was a small, but powerful story well-told. It was the right story to tell at the right time: ten years after the original Gundam TV show aired, it was a dark coming-of-age story not for the pilot the original generation of viewers wished they were, but for the kid that they remained inside.
Alfredo Izuruha was the kid who loved them mobile suits, and now saw himself embroiled in the One Year War, and perhaps ironically, in the first Gundam production creator Tomino Yoshiyuki didn’t direct, it was as clear as it was concise: war was indeed hell. The pilot in the story wasn’t some incredible Newtype, Bernie was the kind of guy most of us would be, at the onset of war: greener than a Zaku.
He was thrown into a crack veteran team assigned to steal or destroy a prototype Gundam in a peaceful/Newtype colony. It is precisely this that Gundam AGE draws from in its second main story. Nice idea, I guess, but the kiddy show dynamics don’t quite work for me here.
The Cyclops Team was a veteran unit that was provided poor intelligence, and not enough resources, but they were good soldiers. Bernie Wiseman stood out as that very thing that was wrong about the mission they were given. Zeheart Galette is 17 years old, but is somehow the leader of the Vagan team inserted in the Tordia Colony to steal the Gundam. His members are either already dead, or not very competent. The team just doesn’t strike me as a plausible unit. They very much feel like a cartoon villain team.
And this should be just fine for Gundam AGE, who is now more interested in furthering the romantic dynamics between Zeheart, Asemu, and Romary – the two males just as likely to be a romantic pairing as each would be with Romary. Welcome to AU Gundam, where the BL is very strong. It’s entertaining stuff too, because the romance between Zeheart and Asemu is budding like a flower.
This is also why I feel off about using the War in the Pocket scenario for this story. While every AU Gundam will draw from the template of the original series and its set pieces, some attempts work better than others, and some attempts are just plain terrible. Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is known for drawing from the original series, and its first few episodes are not complete and utter disasters as much as the rest of the franchise is. Mobile Suit Gundam 00’s A-Laws are facsimiles of the Titans of Mobile Suit Z Gundam, and that wasn’t very good at all, and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny replicated Kamille Bidan and Four Murasame’s doomed romance from Zeta using Shinn Asuka and Stella Louisser and it was indeed complete and utter shit.
My initial impression of Gundam AGE’s take on War in the Pocket lies somewhere between Gundam 00’s take on the Titans and GSD’s version of Kamille x Four. Here’s to being wrong.
I may be appeased by some hamburger… maybe.