This episode, our Asemu goes full emo, as much as a kiddy show would allow (no, I don’t watch SasukeNaruto). What makes this delightful, yes, delightful, is a number of reasons that I’ll get to soon enough, but the main thing is this: Asemu is upset because he’s not as good at piloting the Gundam as he wants to be. No this isn’t Setsuna F. Seiei’s “gotta be a Gundam,” nor Graham Acker’s “gotta Shinbo the Gundam.” Asemu, wants to be better at piloting, at fighting, because he wants to win.
Remember, this is the character we thought would be overpowered from the start! He’s the most thoroughbred Gundam pilot in all of Gundam’s history in all universes, with the Gundam for his birthright as well! But what do we find? He’s not a Newtype.
This is too delicious. I didn’t see this coming. Maybe some of you did, but no one who’s been following the discussions here. If you say you did, I bet you’re lying. Of course, his X-Rounder powers may just be lying dormant, to be triggered by some kind of traumatic event like the death of Flit or something. Even so, this moment, this episode, is top class Gundam entertainment. And I’ve only scratched the surface, because emo Asemu doesn’t get BRIGHTSLAPPED, and that’s a good thing. You heard me.
Asemu cried into his knee after being whipped by Zeheart in the previous episode. Sure he moped after. But by and large his reaction was to fully apply himself into bettering his skills. He didn’t run away and bury the Gundam in a hole in the desert as Amuro Ray infamously did. He didn’t run away and help rebuild a Zeon mobile armor like Kou Uraki did. He didn’t even ask to be left behind and die in some ditch like Banagher Links did. He went into space and started shooting Vagan baloons, drill after drill. After all, his father Flit Asuno, a Commander of the EFF told him how high is expectations are of him.
He kicks it up a notch, going to “Top Gun” and measuring himself against the most rigorous piloting tests in the Earth Federation Forces. That’s when he finds out he’s no X-Rounder. This is, as Zeheart said, why he doesn’t belong with him in the battlefield. He’s no X-Rounder like him. And what does Flit say? “You’re still my son,” without an ounce of pity. Flit is goddamn badass. He owns Bright in the parenting thing and in the career thing already.
But that’s not going to reassure Asemu. Like the fourth episode of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, this episode deals with legacies from prior generations. Loni, Banagher, Mineva, and Riddhe deal with theirs as if their legacies are curses (in some cases they definitely are). Gundam AGE takes on how to find oneself amidst the noise of such legacies. Madorna’s kid, Dique’s kid, and now Asemu. They have to find their own selves.
Asemu doesn’t have to do it alone. His moping isn’t met by some completely unnecessary BRIGHTSLAP. Uncle Woolf instead engineers the most AWESOME gift ever: the ultimate Gundam video game using actual battle data. Woolf recognizes what Asemu is going through and lets him not only get a rematch against the X-Rounder who beat him, but also the X-Rounder legend of his nightmares: Flit Asuno himself at the height of his X-Rounder, Desil-smacking menace.
Asemu vs. Flit, Gundam vs. Gundam – this was exactly what we asked for. We got it, so easily, without contrivance. And it ended perfectly too: Asemu got completely owned as an oldtype taking on two NT beasts at once, and one of them was in a freaking Gundam. And you know what, Asemu rewards us all for not getting BRIGHTSLAPPED: he asks for another go. This guy isn’t stopped by defeat. A Gundam pilot fighting through repeated ass-whipping? When does this ever happen?
Just look at what happened in this episode? We saw pilots training like mad. Never mind the “like mad” part, we see pilots in training like real soldiers! When was the last time this got indulged? Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, and Mobile Suit Gundam: 08th MS Team. We see pilots caring about the performance of their suits, reaching out to the maintenance folk, just like Kamille does in Z. We see some side characters discovering romance (this is a set up for death, don’t ask me how I know). We saw the surviving and actively serving crew members of the Diva from the first Vagan war reunited (Woolf winking at Flit was priceless). We saw awesome parenting and support. And we saw mustering of the fleets from both sides, towards a grand old set-piece battle to start in the next episode. SO MUCH GOODNESS.
I’m not one to indulge much speculation, but what if the 2nd AGE wraps up after the next few episodes in one big battle that goes terribly for the EFF. Everybody dies, except Asemu and Romary who escape and make at least one baby who is born and raised in the forests of the Earth to fight the ruling Vagans in the future.
YESSSS, this is a chance to redeem the awful Mobile Suit Victory Gundam. Big Ring will be in the control of the Vagans, remembering love for Angel Halo without the utterly stupendous levels of LOLTOMINO. I am so hyped. There’s so much possibility I can’t wait for the fireworks to begin next episode.
REMEMBER, JERIDDESIL IS COMING.
That Neo Roanoke sure is one good lookin’ fella…