Rightly or wrongly what I value most in a robot anime is the robot action, relative to its age and milieu. There are exceptions such as Mobile Suit Z Gundam, which was a step backwards in many ways from the achievements of the Mobile Suit Gundam Original Movie Trilogy. Of course this is related to the mechanical designs, and how good looking the whole thing is.
Note that I didn’t mention the story. Stories are important. It is not my purpose to devalue them. However, given that I am watching, and wanting to watch robot anime, I accept that the variety of narratives available to this subgenre are or will be limited. This set me free to enjoy the narratives that do exist even more, instead of seeking novelty.
I would rather see novelty and innovation in robot and battle dynamics than inventiveness and variety in story and plot.
This is what I signed up for. Thus, when a show fails to be competent, never mind innovation and novelty, in mechanical design and in root battles, the robot anime has failed. Mobile Suit Gundam AGE 42 fails.
I am not diminishing the achievements of the characterizing of the Asuno family, with Flit being one of the most remarkable characters in robot anime history (yes, I claim that much). I am not diminishing the achievements in developing and resolving the stories of the likes of Grodek, Yark Dole, and the purge of the Earth Federation. I like these things very much, and I would always remember love for Gundam AGE for these.
But this episode brought forth nearly everything I dislike about robot anime.
The browbeating from the cockpit. The cheesy melodramatic sob stories propping up “evil” characters. Stupid flashback exposition.
These get in the way of the robots fighting. If only the robot fighting were any good.
This episode featured duels – Kio vs. Fram, Girard vs. Kio & Fram, Asem vs. Zeheart, Flit vs. Girard.
All of them suck.
Drill funnels are stupid.
The AGE-FX is nigh-impervious to damage, but Kio feels tremendous impact feedback when a non-special attack beam strikes a C-Funnel. WHAT THE FUCK?
Zeheart let loose maybe 20 bits, but none of these bits fired… instead they slowly chased after Asem. WHAT THE FUCK?
When the grunt cavalry (2 suits) came to aid Kio, all of a sudden Fram with all her funnels can’t handle them. X-ROUNDER WHAT THE FUCK?
And going back to Kio and Girard. IT’S JUST TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR GIRARD TO ACTUALLY COOPERATE WITH FRAM TO STICK IT TO THE GUNDAM?
YES, IT TOTALLY IS WAY TOO MUCH TO ASK.
Girard has to be this tragic failure. No, it’s the show that’s becoming a tragic failure for shoehorning characters like this. It’s Rosamy all over again. Jiesus, it took ALL THE AWESOMENESS TOMINO COULD MUSTER TO SAVE ZETA FROM THE TRAINWRECK THAT WAS ROSAMY. Then again, Rosamy is far, far worse than Spriggan can ever hope to be. But it did take a ridiculous final 3 episodes to save that trainwreck and give it the best finales in mecha anime history (until ZZ Gundam ruined fucking everything).
Being a Gundam fan is suffering folks. It really is.