A recent comment on the events in Mobile Suit Gundam AGE episode 26 got me thinking.
Yeah…it happened Asemu’s character arc went exactly where I had hoped it wouldn’t. But knew it would since revealing that he failed to inherit his father X-Rounder capabilities.
Ladies and Gentlemen Asemu Asuno has crossed The Batman Threshold”clap,clap”.
So Just what is “The Batman Threshold”? The Batman Threshold is the point at which a Badass Normal ceases to be a capable and competent baseline human in a world inhabited by superhumans. And becomes Superhuman themselves, with out being recognized as such in-universe.
So why did Asemu cross The Batman Threshold,because it was the writers way of escaping the corner that they’d written themselves into.
X-Rounders as result of their clairvoyance have reflexes an order of magnitude faster than a baseline human. Now logically on account of those traits no baseline human would ever be able to fight an X-Rounder on an even footing;mind you i said fight not kill,You don’t have to out fight an enemy to kill them.
Asemu’s rival and greatest adversaries are all X-Rounders, and as a baseline human he’ll never be fast enough to ever go toe to toe with them. So they could have Asemu win through trickery/tactics and mechanical superiority. no not option Heroes don’t sneak their way to victory they triumph over their enemies in glorious combat. They could make Asemu an X-rounder giving him the one thing he needs to bring down his rival;faster reflexes. no not an option lack of”power”is a huge part of his character. So they come to the last option CHEAT. Have Asemu become the Super Pilot! Giving him all the superhuman ability that he need to win. without having to make him officially superhuman;likely attributing it all to HARDWORK and GUTS!
This bothered me almost as much as it did the commenter, but there’s more to it than what it seems. Newtype/X-Rounder/Innovator/Coordinator powers are not the sole determinant of pilot combat ability after all, and there are oldtypes in Gundam that are quite accomplished aces. At times, the NT ability is utilized more as a specialized weapon (funnels) than they are enhancement of fundamental piloting skills. Sometimes they’re used as psychic attacks.
I’ll put forth here a table of sorts of my estimation of NT powers and piloting skill, and some general remarks on how it all comes together for a particular pilot. It won’t be comprehensive, but I think it’s worth discussing.
Legend for the table below: Skill means combat piloting skill in general; power means level of Newtype/Coordinator/Innovator/X-Rounder ability; Use means how such powers are manifested in the story; Remarks provide additional context and relates everything to practical combat perspective (as much as possible).
Anticipation is that flash that alerts the pilot of a very immediate future event (e.g. where the next attack will come from). This isn’t of much use if one’s piloting ability (inclusive of reflexes) is no good. The best and most critical use of this is when the pilot is attacked by multiple weapons coming from different vectors (e.g. funnels).
The key question here is: Are X-Rounder powers necessary for Asem to defeat Desil, who manifests very powerful X-Rounder abilities. I would say no. This is because while Desil benefits greatly from X-Rounder anticipation benefits, he is not necessarily a top-tier pilot. He isn’t bad by any means – as were the likes of Hilling Care, Bring Stabbity, etc. (Innovators from Mobile Suit Gundam 00) when their connection to Veda was severed. Asem can reach a level of piloting ability, in addition to having a very powerful Gundam, can overcome Desil’s innate X-Rounder advantage.
HOWEVER, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE didn’t quite establish this explicitly. Instead they made a fuss about how suddenly, Desil’s X-Rounder anticipation ability can’t catch Asem’s movements. Here’s a thought:
X-Rounders do read minds, but not instincts. This is what Woolf was telling Asem whole time, to move like you fell [sic] natural.
This same way Desil was defeated first and second time – Flti [sic] was too angry to think straight, he was just beating the crap out of him.
Sophistry. When I play video games, I seldom spell out my thoughts as “I will move to the area behind the building and catch my enemy’s flank; upon which I will use weapons x and y.” Perhaps at first, when I’m learning a game (say, Gundam Extreme Vs. on the PS3). The thoughts aren’t articulated in a form that can be read. The decisions are often instinctive as opposed to chess match deliberateness. Even in martial arts, there’s a premeditated tactic, but once the match starts, the way to execute well is to pay no mind.
Asem’s attack is still fluid and coordinated, not some button-mashing wild berserk thing. Thus, the inscrutableness that rendered Desil’s X-Rounder ability is still suspect. Something Asem did, or something Asem suddenly had, overcame Desil’s X-Rounder powers.
Having not seen much of After War Gundam X, I don’t know of straight up duels wherein an oldtype beats an NT straight up. Yazan Gable uses coordinated attacks with his team when fighting Kamille in Zeta, and it’s not like he actually wins. Gundam AGE has much to explain, as far as I’m concerned.