Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mobile Suit Gundam AGE - 25

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Oh, good – it’s Kaji Yuki!

Why do you insist on torturing me, Japan?  On the other hand, at least the good people at Sunrise had the courtesy to kill Leo quickly, so it wasn’t a total loss.  I think this was something of a regression episode after the series had been on a very solid run for the last month or so.  The romance subplot surrounding Ruth and the Lieutenant feels very tacked-on and random, there was no mention of Grodek’s death whatsoever, and things generally lacked the imperative they’ve had in recent episodes.

The plot driver this time is the decision by the Magicians Eight Six – some of them, anyway – to avenge their colleagues’ deaths and go off on a random attack of the Diva against the orders of their commander.  Military discipline seems to be pretty much non-existent on both sides of this war, which makes me wonder how they can fight at all (more on that shortly).  Joining them on their misadventure is Desil, motivated solely by the desire to mix it up with Flit again.  Meanwhile, Asemu seems hell-bent on what was increasingly a path of self-destruction, this time disobeying orders to don the viagra X-rounder helmet, to help him compete with Zaeheart in performance.  I understand that Asemu is humiliated by his seeming inability to measure up to his father as a fighter and to Zaeheart in Romary’s eyes, but his increasing petulance and self-pity is starting to undo some of the good character-building that’s been done in his arc.

The result of all this is that the Magicians Eight Three is decimated and Desil ends up fleeing back home in humiliation.  Dique was unable to save Asemu from his own stupidity (boy, that was some security for that helmet) and the lad uses it in battle despite knowing that it causes brain damage.  What really nettles me is that Asemu is continually disobeying direct commands and endangering his comrades in the process – Desil too, of course – and getting away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.  And his redemption at the hands of Woolf at the end – the resolution to stop chasing the X-rounder dream (and Flit) and focus on becoming a “Super Pilot” like Woolf seemed far too abrupt and convenient.  I still like the overall theme of peacemakers vs. warriors, and the moral ambiguity about which side is in the wrong (right now I’d say both) but this was not a strong ep when it came to character dynamics.

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10 comments:

  1. Dammit, they killed Lessie. She was cute.

    Olbright can't die until he knocks up Ruth. We need a new engineer for the next generation, after all.

    And if the helmet did cause Asemu brain damage, how would anyone be able to tell?

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  2. That last one is a fair point...

    I actually think they had a nice thing going with Asemu as a kid worse at war but better at peace than his father, and the conflict brewing between them (with the third gen forced to choose a path). But then Asemu (who I liked) took several blows with a stupid stick. And if the payoff of all this is some "Super Pilot" nonsense, that will be a major letdown.

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  3. So I guess Flit has passed the father duties to Woolf?

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  4. He certainly seems to have no interest in performing them himself. And he had Vargas (and Mom) to do it back home.

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  5. I agree with the above anon.
    Asumo needs a father character And Woolf is right there for him. Don't be like your real dad, be like me! I am your new dad.

    Romary is not getting paid much it seems. her screen time is non existent.
    Is Flit the only earth side X rounder? I certainly don't see any other

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  6. It is inexcusable that neither Flit nor Woolf has decked Asemu by now. This is Gundam. Whiny, insubordinate Gundam pilots are supposed to be punched and Asemu is long past deserving it. What does he have have to do to eat one of their fists?

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    Replies
    1. This whole "characters with more depth than Duke Nukem should be beaten into manliness" thing is getting a little bit tiring, you know?

      I mean, sure, if the kid on screen is being insufferable and stupid and making all sorts of mistakes that make things much worse for everyone it IS annoying, yes, but what would happen if the character acted otherwise? There'd be no fucking plot, shit would be episode after episode after episode of "kid hops into giant robot, kid blows up other giant robots, rejoice everyone the world is safe again, rinse and repeat".

      Characters and their development are one of the most important things in Gundam. And if the main character is a teenager, then he's obviously gonna act like a teenager would do, because guess what, he's a goddamn teenager. And teenagers are insufferable and hormonal and care more about their love life than about the end of the world as they know it. And if you add daddy issues to that, then shit gets even worse. That's how it is in the real world, so that's how it is right here. Anything else would be unrealistic and would break the willing suspension of disbelief of everyone that actually pays attention to how characters interact with each other and the plot.

      People complaining about whiny teenagers in character-driven stories should give up on trying to watch anime and go back to playing videogames, where they're most of the time in total control of what the character does and therefore can go Duke Nukem on anything and everything because FUCK YEAH BEING A MAN IS MANLY.

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    2. Nice strawman.

      "Characters and their development are one of the most important things in Gundam. "

      Yeah, and AGE is doing a pretty piss poor job at it.

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    3. Sure, sure, according to you at least. So tell me, how do you suggest Asemu should be portrayed? I mean, if you're complaining about him being whiny and insubordinate (which, again, fits perfectly with the archetype of the troubled teenager), then I suppose your proposed alternative is to have a kid that sucks it up and follows orders like a soldier. Which would be fitting if the dude was around his mid-twenties and had several years of experience as a pilot.

      That's where I based myself to write the "you want Duke Nukem as the main character" spiel. It isn't a strawman, it's what I understood.

      And I forgot to mention, about the "punching" thing: This is not the UC, and neither Flit nor Woolf is Bright Noa. Get the fuck over it. And as for AGE not handling character development well enough, I don't see it. I'm still well within my willing suspension of disbelief because I understand that people in real life are also stupid at times, and make bad decisions at times, and that not every fucking episode has to have Oscar-winner material for a show to be good.

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  7. The_Magus_KillerApril 4, 2012 at 8:07 AM

    I really didn't care about Asemu pawning the Magician's Three in this episode.

    The highlight of the episode for me was Flit owning Desil with just the Diva's point-defense weapons. Also, Woolf's win over that last X-Rounder Girl made me smile. He's literally a ladykiller. Go get them, Woolf-taichou! XD

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