The Failure of a Mecha Anime: Mobile Suit Gundam AGE 42

[sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_41_[720p][10bit][9169E16B].mkv_snapshot_22.17_[2012.07.29_20.51.15]

[Mobile Suit Gundam AGE 41]

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.

[sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_41_[720p][10bit][9169E16B].mkv_snapshot_21.46_[2012.07.29_20.50.52]

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.

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About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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58 Responses to The Failure of a Mecha Anime: Mobile Suit Gundam AGE 42

  1. mechafan2040 says:

    I enjoyed this weeks episode. Think they should have introduced Gerad or whatever her name is earlier on in the series. Looks like next episode gradpa to the rescue and hope Flit bright slaps Kio.

    • Z Gundam introduced Rosamy very early on in the series. She still trainwrecked the show when she figured more prominently by episode 41. It’s the clumsiness in using Girard as a moral foil for Kio that isn’t well done at all.

  2. Reid says:

    Good thing we can count on Jerid to keep things in perspective. He really is a good sort of fellow.

    • You got it completely wrong. Jerid is one of the very worst examples of mechanical combat in Gundam. His final fight with Kamille shows everything:

      1. Use giant mobile armor to hug Z Gundam. Gundam wriggles free.
      2. Use giant mobile armor TO HUG Z GUNDAM AGAIN. What the fuck there are such things as guns.
      3. Get thrown by the Z Gundam while eating rifle shots and into the path of the exploding Radish.
      4. Fucking die for taunting Kamille with his thoughts and opinion on masculine first names.

      • Reid says:

        lol you’re absolutely correct, sir. I should point out that I was being facetious. I’m very much familiar with Jerid’s many shortcomings in the realm of mobile suit combat. Thanks for the good laugh though!

  3. Shinmarizu says:

    Ghost, I feel for you here. The action in AGE has been disappointingly subpar these last few episodes, when they should be escalating the awesomeness with these new pilots and supposedly unique contributions. You mentioned the start of this descent with Zeheart’s bits, and while I swallowed that one and kept rolling with it, the AGE-FX started the beginning of the end.

    If Kio really wanted to stop everything, and if the AGE-FX were so powerful, then the duels Kio was involved in would have ended last episode, with a bunch of disabled (I prefer destroyed) unique suits. I enjoyed the Zeheart v. Asem duel until it became more of the continuation of their courtship dance. X-Rounders apparently are no longer X-Rounders after random attacks enchanted with the “Plot thickener” attribute.

    And the flashbacks that come with the new tragic characters that will only last a few episodes because they will (1) die in a forgettable explosion or (2) after planting yet another seed of doubt in Kio’s head, die in a forgettable explosion. No thanks; not here.

    • It’s a shame really, because the fight is fought at a decent speed — they’re definitely not slogging it out there. This is why they’re such missed opportunities. Funnels shooting and missing at each other? Ugh.

      Worse, Zeheart’s bits, that DIDN’T SHOOT, but instead gave chase. Those fuckers should spread out to form an enveloping sphere around Asem and shoot from all directions. GOD DAMN IT.

  4. NoHeart says:

    *scoff* So much for ‘we don’t hate AGE’. psssh

    • I don’t hate AGE, if you actually read. There are 42 posts for you to read to reconsider your opinion. But since I won’t oblige you to read all of them, just re-read this one and figure things out for yourself.

    • Turambar says:

      It’s possible to compartmentalize feelings about something as a whole and feelings about specific parts of it. For example, I really like Ghosty’s blogs as a whole, but his pedantic streak with “character development” is specifically /facepalm inducing.

  5. Inky says:

    Yeah, this episode was completely unremarkable. Eight episodes from the finale is not the time to bring in a villain like Girard where it’s hard to do anything but dump her backstory like a ton of bricks.

    And her insistence on mocking Fram instead of working with her was incredibly frustrating. But no, we have to have an artificial reason to keep Kio from losing because the writers know, despite the dialogue they come up with, that he is not a good pilot (unlike his granddad who once held off two X-Rounders in a last-gen MS while defending two cripped wingmates). Why the hell should Girard even care? Couldn’t she say “okay let’s work together to take out his funnels and then let me have the kill shot” instead of getting up Fram’s nose about Zeheart?

    But no, she’s just a nutter who’s nuts because the Feddies killed her boyfriend and doesn’t know how to nurse a grudge like Flit. Blah dee blah blah.

    • Well, the show already dropped the ball, fighting power-level wise, with Asem. Remember that he for whatever reason, became better than X-Rounders… UTTER OLDTYPE NORMALFAGGOTRY is just plain faster and better than Newtype X-Rounder shit. No explanation, nothing. Now Kio is supposed to be the pinnacle of Asunos or X-Rounders or both?

      • Inky says:

        Oh yeah, that was frustrating no doubt. But if you took out all the dialogue and just watched them fighting, you’d see that Asemu is actually good, even if the reason why is some handwavy whateverness about him being super. When you do that for Kio, you see… a bad pilot. The only difference between now and before isn’t that he has some kind of ~better resolve~, it’s that his funneltastic Gundam is better at making up for his fail than the AGE-3 was.

        They dropped the ball before; now they’ve let it roll into the street and it’s irretrievable.

  6. CVPhased says:

    This is exactly the point I was worried about when Girard was introduced, it feels like the character is forced in just to add some tension to the existing battles…

    Probably the one thing that saves this episode is the music, especially the one that plays when Captain ASH x Zeheart were playing around…

    Oh yeah, and that part where everyone had this strong X-Rounder reaction and Captain ASH/Asemu was like “wut happened!?”

  7. mechafan2040 says:

    What do I get the feeling that Kio is going to X-roundered mind raped in the next episode?

  8. Reid says:

    Thoughts on the episode:
    1. The little glow-globe bits are stupid – and for reasons pointed out by others for weeks and weeks. Why, if the animators are going to go through the effort of drawing Kio’s sword bits, The Fawnfarsia’s rose bits and now the lime (lame) G-Bouncer’s drill bits, wouldn’t Zeheart’s fairly cool MS get actual bits/funnels of his own instead of…whatever those things are?
    2. This episodes could not have been any more appropriately titled since a good third of the dialog consists of people yelling, saying, sighing or sceaming “JIRAHHHDO SUPORIGGAN!!!” Ok, I get it, that’s homegirl’s name.
    3. This whole scene: “YOU’LL NEVER UNDERSTAND WHY I HATE THE FEDERATION SO MUCH! So uh, how’s about I tell you why, exactly, in a lengthy explanation in the middle of our sword fight, which you, with funnels that are essentially swords with rockets attached, should by rights easily win considering your robot is way more advanced than my 20-year-old one.”
    4. The wildly off-model drawing that shows Reina/Gerard and the real Gerard standing by their G-Bouncers. I thought those things were supposed to be something like 18 meters tall. In that scene it looks like they’re only about 10-11 meters tall, if that. Of course, this could be a simple misunderstanding on my part, but maybe someone else can back me up on this.
    5. The guy who sabotages the x-rounder system on the G-Bouncers totally looks like he’s jerking off when he turns his back to Reina.
    6. If Reina wanted to pay tribute to her man, why didn’t she just take his last name as if they’d gotten married as planned instead of taking his first name? Weird.
    7. Flit is once again the voice of reason and the AGE-1 is still the best MS in this whole show.

    • 1. Yes oh god yes.
      2. This is Gundam, oh so Gundam, especially after Gundam 00 S2 when we were spammed with: marie… Marie… MARIE… MARIEPARFACY!!!
      3. faceplant
      4. I’m getting angrier and angrier
      5. …
      6. I don’t even
      7. WHYYYY?

      • Reid says:

        I’m glad I could in some way contribute to making your day worse…or BETTER in terms of the suck brought about by this episode.

    • Raidenwarrior says:

      “7. Flit is once again the voice of reason and the AGE-1 is still the best MS in this whole show.”

      Regardless your opinion, that post-Ambak Flit still remains one of my least favorite characters in this entire show. I even wonder how he treats his wife Emily since he doesn’t love her at all. Asemu is right to disrespect this old man.

  9. angelslayer says:

    Ok, I DO agree the Funnel-Scenes were REALLY crappy, one Funnel Scene was reused. Fram is pretty weak, retreating becuz just of two Clanches, where the pilots arent even pilots.

    BUT Drill Funnels are pure awesomeness, the color of Girard Suit is awesome rofl, and her theme is aweome. The character itself is boring and backgoundstory was crappy. it did it job to let her hate the federation, but nothing more. Captain Einus was so rofl: “Isnt Girard a mens name?” I CAN ALREADY SEE DAT CRAPPY FANART!

  10. ces06 says:

    On the contrary, I think the action’s been pretty good these past few episodes. It wasn’t UC-grade, but it was pretty good in a fast-paced kind of style. Well, at least until the AGE FX showed up and it all started to dumb down into funnel retardation.

    And the gundam tradition of giving awesome names to awful characters continues. Why is she even here, and at a time like this? The only explanation I can think of is to give Kio an “irredeemable” foe to shake up his conviction, but even with that, they’re doing a pretty lousy job at it. The whole flashback, and the episode itself, was really unnecessary. I really hope they finish her off fast so we can get on with it…

    That said, is it just me, or have they been upping the quality these past few episodes? It’s like they decided to use all of the budget they’ve been saving up untill now.

    • The pace was fast indeed, but what they did with it wasn’t good, and then we get funnel bullshit.

      Yeah I think you nailed Spriggan.

      No. Or, if this is what good quality looks like… ugh.

  11. r042 says:

    I still like the little ball drones, they’re a little bit different which is nice. The problem is they’re really poorly used.

  12. sadakups says:

    I came to watching this episode expecting shit, and I did get it. I don’t give two shits about Spriggan’s past. And it was so painfully annoying hearing her name over and over. Yes, I fucking know her name – from last episode and even the preview for crying out loud. Who the hell is she that she has to get her own episode just to justify her being “evil”? Now, there is one thing for her to be in this show – to die.

    Flit better do something to clean this mess. I know he will. Asem’s too busy getting Zeheart to get in his ass, but we all know Zeheart’s playing hard to get.

  13. Woolf's pendant says:

    I’m still waiting for some things to be explained, but I suppose the series will end and I will never get an asnwer.

  14. Shining_Bard says:

    Meh, I’m just waiting for a gunpla of AGE-1’s full armour version. That has to get money, right?

  15. what the hell says:

    SD gundam happened :I

    that’s wut. the only reason why we’re even watching this show is cuz yurin died, true story.

    • what the hell says:

      LMAO I JUST SAW THE DRILL FUNNELS LOLOLOL WHAT THE HELL DRILL FUNNELS LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL WHOSE THE IDIOT THAT DESIGNED THIS? oh right, the same guy who drew the 00s. see this guy can’t be cool for shit, he’s basically got a template he can follow and he’s failing at following the template.

      • what the hell says:

        LOLOLOLOLOLOL THIS IS SO BAD, this is EXACTLY like how every other gundam failed so hard, man after the first time you think they would learn.

        PILOTS CAN TURN OFF THEIR TRANSMITTERS IN COMBAT! INFACT REAL LIFE DOG FIGHTS REQUIRES THAT TO HAPPEN! WHY IS EVERYONE’S RADIO SET ONTO LOL LETS CHAT TO OUR HEARTS CONTENT??

        • I’m going to be patient with you, and instead of telling you to lurk moar, I’ll explain things here in the hopes you’ll understand some things.

          The tradition that Gundam as a franchise (as do many robot anime) uses in storytelling is to frame moral/ideological debates during fighting. This is not something they invented out of stupidity. This is a traditional cinematic technique with roots specifically in sword duels.

          Sword duels in cinema usually go like this:

          Slash-parry-thrust-parry
          BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH
          thrust-parry-slash-parry
          BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH

          …and so on. (see Amuro and Char fight with foils in A Baoa Qu)

          Does this make Gundam “right?” No. What it does mean is that Gundam knows what it’s doing, and chooses this storytelling method purposefully. The way to approach this positively is this: OH SHIT, NOT ONLY ARE WE GETTING SWORDFIGHTS, WE’RE GETTING THEM IN THE FORM OF GINORMOUS MECHA… IN SPACE, WITH GUNS!

          …and so on.

    • What the fuck are you even talking about?

  16. anon says:

    Girard name already mentioned on episode 33, just for info

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  18. I’ve yet to get a hold of this episode, but I’m tired of waiting. I’m gonna comment on the panel instead.

    Jerid Messa being the voice of reason?! Tis a sad day in the Gundam metaverse. I guess because Fram stayed in her suits, Char took the week off. And I can’t believe that b*tch Griffon crawled out of the darkest holes in Gundam hell to join the panel. Someone needs to say a prayer so that the reaper can drag that psycho back to her pit.

    As for the fighting sucking, I never held AGE to a high standard. The end of the first age was about as intense as it got. Every other key confrontation always seemed to release the pressure too soon. It’s a shame that the series so far isn’t exceeding my expectations, but at this point I’m just thankful that it hasn’t fallen into a pit of fallacy like other series. Flit will be THE legacy of this series anyway. Not the action’ or the “meh” mecha designs, and definitely not the storyline. That and it’s probably the new #1 gateway Gundam now.

    • TOTALLY QUOTING MYSELF:

      You got it completely wrong. Jerid is one of the very worst examples of mechanical combat in Gundam. His final fight with Kamille shows everything:

      1. Use giant mobile armor to hug Z Gundam. Gundam wriggles free.
      2. Use giant mobile armor TO HUG Z GUNDAM AGAIN. What the fuck there are such things as guns.
      3. Get thrown by the Z Gundam while eating rifle shots and into the path of the exploding Radish.
      4. Fucking die for taunting Kamille with his thoughts and opinion on masculine first names.

      You’re definitely right that the legacy of this show will be Flit first, Grodek second.

  19. Heron says:

    Gods, Gundam AGE is getting to my nerves. A show of such promise too. I just don’t get why Kio must be such a pansy. You got a mech, use it to fight and root out the causes instead of doing fake pacifism.

    Gundam going into this stage is why it irritates the heck out of me. At least Kira Yamato can point a gun at Gilbert Durandal, and even Setsuna can own some alien butt. At this stage Kio can’t do anything except cry, ‘I’m fighting in my own way!’ Sigh.

  20. Gamer2002 says:

    Previous ep had good scenes with rush to Moon Base, funnel duel between Fram and Kio, and start of duel between Zeheart and Asem.

    This episode wasn’t that good with animation, but AGE usually drops and picks up with quality at each next episode. It is a 50 episodic straight runner, it can’t be always great.

    I don’t mind Kio trying to convince somebody who also knows both sides, especially when he is failing again with that. He is still naive and show still acknowledges that, but trying to talk with Vagan sympathetic is more reasonable than trying to convince random Vagan.
    Neither I have nothing against flashback with Girard Spriggan backstory and her as a character. EF didn’t do something over the top evil to her, they just roll like they usually roll with covering up Mars Colonization Project and putting Grodek into a prison. Girard is crazy and cynical, but also cool in her own way.
    I also like that take on split personality combined with summoning X-Rounder spirit and discussion about Newtypes being tools of war or something more. I missed my old fashioned philosophic aspect of psychic powers.

    But you know nothing, drill funnels are awesome >P
    They can shot, pierce and grab enemy/things. GENIUS!

    • I’m not asking for great, I’m asking for competent. I need not repeat my observations in this response. Drill funnels belonged back in the Fardain arc, not at this point of the show.

  21. Arche says:

    AGE 42 harkens back to the CCA and ZZ days…

    Kio/Judau different kinds of pacifists, one sick of innocent people getting killed and one doing something about it.

    Both are very powerful, deemed to be the most powerful in their generation. Both have overpowered mechas to make up for it.

    Both are good enough to strike down the cockpit or the sensor so as not to kill the enemy pilot.

    AGE 42 had a lot of different kinds of funnel based mobile suits. ZZ and CCA had a lot of funnel based mobile suits.

    Fawn Farsia wants to be Qubeley so bad. And Nobel Gundam too.

    Girrard Spriggan = Puru Two. Back story not filled out? check. Awfully mad yet vulnerable? check. Both have funnel mobile suits.? dunno. Unjustified reasons for course of action based on emotion? you bet ya!

    Too many mechas and characters onscreen will always mean the plot, story and character development will be sacrificed for pew pew aciton. But like myself who hates warfare (which is ironic since i love Gundam), agrees with Kio on defying his homicidal grandfather’s orders and instead saving up that Dorado head colleciton.

    But im too far invested in AGE more so than even Wing could pull with its action. Still not quite to the affection i have for 00, G, WITP, IGLOO, Stardust, V, Turn A. But its definitely what Seed should have been. Seed when it premiered with English dubbing just bored me to death with all the unnecessary filler, mindless plot, bland characters, nonexistant character development and tonless amount of Gundams, At least AGE is trying something different, albeit Kio doing a Jesus Yamato, but at least he’s not a hypocrite, he’s actually using a powerful machine to save lives, not end them.

  22. Drew says:

    I think the only reason I continue to watch Age is to continue reading the scoreboard at the end of all your posts. And, 40+ episodes in, I’ve just realized I can do that without the brain suicide sitting through these episodes causes.

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