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Kidō Senshi Gundam AGE
Another alternate continuity title within the Gundam franchise, Gundam AGE focuses on a century-long war that the Earth Federation has with a mysterious enemy that takes place through the span of three generations in its focus on three members of the Asuno family that engage the enemy threat in their Gundam mecha. As more about the true nature of this unknown enemy comes to light and each Asuno member bares witness to the hardships of this war, each one develops a differing mentality with how to handle the unknown enemy threat and this drives their developments for later episodes of the series.|
Gundam AGE is a bit tricky to properly judge since each generation arc within the series has it varying levels of quality in terms of plot. The Flit arc is the most watered down of the arcs as it takes on a black-and-white moral compass with portraying the enemy threat as irredeemably evil, relies heavily on plot formulas typical of Gundam and sci-fi titles and sticks with simple character types throughout its run. The Asemu arc offers the best quality of the series as it is a little more complex with the conflicts faced by Asemu as he struggles with the pressures put on him to follow in his father's footsteps and is conflicted with how to handle things when learning that a close friend of his is part of the enemy force. The later two arcs with Kio are where the series quality nosedives when attempts to make the enemy force sympathetic are poorly implemented, the rationales of some of the characters don't make much sense, Kio being a worst character than Gundam SEED's Kira in being a pacifist fighter and the sudden introduction of new enemy threats just for the sake of creating enemy threats to drag the plot out.
The generation gimmick actually works against Gundam AGE since the pacing of each arc is rather rushed to 11-15 episodes a piece, limiting how much depth the series can provide to its world and characters. To a great extent, the series just rehashes character types, plot elements and characteristics of its mecha and technologies from prior Gundam titles, waters the typical themes of the franchise down and expects viewers of the series to accept what they are watching. The issues between Asemu and Zeheart were pretty much the saving grace of AGE for me as the execution of other plot developments and character issues within the series are either rehashed from prior Gundam titles, too shallow to really care for or were flawed as such where I found myself questioning what the writers of AGE were thinking when they put together this series, especially with their efforts at trying to make the enemy threat more sympathetic compared to their depiction in the Flit arc.
Visually, Gundam AGE is rather average in terms of quality. While sporting a good deal of visual detail and vivid color, character and scenery designs are a bit on the plain side. Federation mecha designs are pretty much typical of what has been depicted for past Gundam titles, though the mecha utilized by the enemy forces sport unique designs as they take on a variety of forms from the Gafran units introduced in the Flit arc to the gorilla-like Xambrag piloted by Zanald Beihart in the later Kio arcs. The animation has its moments of decent choreography with action scenes thanks to the unique designs of many of the enemy units, though the majority still resort to whatever's been done with prior Gundam titles and shortcuts are noticeable in more complicated battle scenes such as fights between large factions of Federation and enemy forces.
Overall, Gundam AGE is one of the more weaker entries of the Gundam franchise as its efforts with the "generation arc" gimmick lead it to rehash story, character and world elements from past Gundam titles in a mostly generic, rushed and (later on) sloppily implemented mess. The Asemu and Zeheart rivalry redeems the series to a degree for me, but it is still not enough to save AGE from being nothing more than a mediocre series. Unless you're a diehard Gundam fan, I would skip this title.
Last updated Friday, July 24 2015. Created Friday, July 24 2015.