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Let's Watch Gundam AGE!
fishsicles

[table of contents]
Episode 1
Well then, gentlemen and ladies, let the ride begin.

We open to a scene of some giant dragon-like thing shooting up... some kind of burning landscape. A blue-haired kid, who looks like a character out of Pokemon, running through the fire, shouting for his mother. He finds her buried under some debris, and she hands him a hexagonal MacGuffin before being crushed by rubble falling from... somewhere? Anyway, he turns up to the giant creature, which looks like one of the DAMONs from Hakai-hen.

Not going to bitch about the character designs yet, but they come off as kind of strange for a Gundam series. They might grow on me?

The mechanical dragon thing turns on the blue-haired kid, evidently named "Flit" and pronounced "Frito" (Lay), who screams for his mommy before waking up presumably much later. He evidently sleeps to the MacGuffin, and talks to his dead mother near it. Fun times.

The OP is pretty standard Gundam stuff; mobile suit launches from carrier, shots of mobile suits flying, rapid appearances of characters, scenes of mobile suits fighting. The song itself is So Okay, It's Average.

A news broadcast provides us with some exposition that will probably be relevant to the episode: The "UE" or "Unknown Enemy" (amazingly creative, timeline-I-do-not-know-the-name-of news media!) apparently just attacked a transport ship, and all the crew are missing. Fourteen years ago, they attacked some place somewhere, and that the Federation government has no idea what they were. This apparently causes civilian unrest. How convenient that they would list off things anyone in the universe would be expected to already know!

Honestly I am not sure what to think of this. Aliens and Gundam do not mesh well in my mind. Unless the title of the thing meshing them begins with "Super Robot Wars", and I do not see Kouji or Ryouma anywhere. I will not pass judgment on this either, as it could be done well... or we could get a rehash of the 00 movie. (For the record: So Okay, It's Average, with Visual Effects of Awesome.)

The requisite Fraw Bow expy shows up, telling us that Frito Lay's eyes are red. Haro gets "Flit! Sleep-deprived! Flit! Sleep-deprived!", which as lines go is Actually Pretty Funny.

Cut to a military base, where Frito Lay greets "Mr. Bruzar", who from looks alone will be the badass mentor character of this series. He and someone who is probably his Number Two mention casually that he is just a normal kid (per spec for an ISO Standard Gundam Protagonist) who happens to be an engineering genius. I am pretty sure "builds giant robots for the military as a teenager" is not mutually compatible with "

A massive ball-shaped thing thing shows up, with a short, bearded man operating it. It looks a bit like a Ball with tank treads; Frito Lay is angry at Space Dwarf's use of the Gundam's arm on his ball. Space Dwarf's name is Vargas, and Fraw Bow's name is Emily. I'll probably need to remember these names eventually.

After telling Space Dwarf not to screw with his mobile suit, Frito Lay (I'll get tired of that joke eventually, I promise) walks off and boards a school bus. So I guess school-age kids owning giant weapons of mass destruction is just kind of normal in this universe? I kind of want to live in this universe now.

Thoughts: Okay, Frito Lay actually designing the Gundam invokes Improbable Age, but this is a series where a 16-year-old kid (admittedly with advantages) became an Ace Pilot and helped a single ship turn the tide of a war, so I will let that go.

On the bus, Emily laughs that Frito Lay is so serious about the enormous killing machine. Because, you know, he should be laid back about being a teenage kid* who owns a bloody gigantic mechanical dealer of death.

His response is that "the Gundam is special to [him]". Not seven minutes in and we have some FLITxGUNDAM OTP; it appears Setsuna left his mark on the franchise after all.

We get a flashback (we know because everything turns beige) to Frito Lay talking with a butler in some mansion, looking at the picture of a Gundam. Jeeves Sebastian Ronove McButler refers to it as "the legendary warrior passed down through generations of the Asuno family, Gundam". Apparently Gundams were used in past wars? His family have apparently made mobile suits for generations, with Gundams having been invented in the past.

Flit and Emily are greeted by a darker blue-haired boy named Dique. He says there was an alien attack; when Flit asks if he means the UE, Dique claims that since their identity is unknown they must be aliens. (Am I the only one expecting the "aliens actually human faction" twist? Because there is no way they would do aliens twice in a row.)

Dique then says that so long as they are on "Nora" (presumably the colony) they will be safe, because they do not come to places without many people. I will just call it now.

The teacher walks it to begin the lesson. he asks if there is something wrong with Flit, who asks about the cargo ship attack and asks if they should be preparing for an attack. Two of the other students pass it off as "Flit's paranoid delusions". Ten bucks says they die in the impending colony explosion. The teacher says there would be an announcement if they were in danger... so yeah, we have established this colony is capital-S Screwed.

Flit shows off his creepy obsession with the UE by marching up to the teacher in class and shoving a diagram in his face, with a few variables and numbers written on it. He claims the attacks follow a pattern; and nobody else has noticed this yet? He builds Gundams, figures out military strategies of a completely unknown enemy that everyone else seems aware of... and he is going to turn out to be right. Can you even be The Jor-El at somewhere-around-fourteen?

The teacher gets pissed and tels him to go back to his death. He tells him that since he is building giant robots, his head is being filled with garbage (like, you know, engineering and physics and mathematics) and that he should sit down and take his damned HASS requirements like all the other kids. Flit thinks to himself as he sits that an attack is imminent... aaaand cut to some of the not!DAMON mecha flying outside a colony. Was there anyone who did not see that coming?

The colony cuts to artificial colony night, leaving Flit and Emily sitting on a hill, watching some kind of artificial Earth's night sky effect. Emily talks about how the people see the UE attacks as something that "happens far away". Oh yep, say goodbye to your hometown. Again.

Flit recaps the flashback about his home colony being attacked and hism other giving him the hexagonal MacGuffin. Because, you know, we forgot that scene. It apparently had the plans for the Gundam in it. Their conversation is cut short by exposions in the city, and DAMON things flying around. What a twist.

More UE flying around blowing up the city and shit, just so we know they are the bad guys. Cut to the first actual military scene here, with Badass Captain Guy talking about launching the resident Red Shirt mecha to fight them. He puts his deputy in charge of certain blocks; Fraw Bow and Flit run towards the base, getting picked up by Space Dwarf. A UE DAMON thing appears behind them and is about to attack, when something that looks vaguely like a GM shows up and distracts it.

The thing smashes the "Genoace", and he tells Space Dwarf to launch the Gundam. A guy with a red afro shows up and goes out in another Genoace. Flit decides to launch in the Gundam anyway, and Space Dwarf acts like the only voice of reason by telling him that he is not a pilot.

Red Afro Guy, evidently named Largan (odd names everywhere), takes a few token shots at the UE before getting unceremoniously oneshotted. Flit goes through a period of angsty flashback before saying he needs to fight; this is enough to convince Space Dwarf that Flit should go out.

He puts the MacGuffin into the Gundam's cockpit, which boots it up. The Gundam's carrier lifts up, and Emily has a brief expository flashback. The captain calls him out, but is persuaded pretty quickly to let his fourteen-year-old engineering genius go out against an undefeated enemy in an untested suit. Welp.

We get the normal launch sequence, with the four non-Flit named characters encouraging him mentally. Then he goes out to a bunch of destroyed mobile suits in a fiery landscape and tanks the creature's attacks. He belatedly realizes he is completely unarmed, and runs to grab a weapon... which is completely useless. He breaks out the beam saber (which is pretty small by beam saber standards) and kills the enemy in one shot, to the utter astonishment of the supporting cast.

Another one turns up and turns a cone of red light on the Gundam. One of the creatures destroys the defeated one (okay, these guys are a human faction in disguise. They blew it up to hide their tech, so they are clearly expecting the ability to be reverse-engineered.) and they run away.

Cut to celebratory victory scene; Largan (what the hell is with that name?!) asks how Flit got "that good" (clearly the Federation of this 'verse has pretty low piloting standards, given that he forgot to go out with a weapon drawn), while Emily and Vargas just congratulate him. Badass Captain Guy and his Number Two talk about the end; Number Two mentions killing one enemy means nothing, while Badass Captain Guy says it could be a turning point.

The UE starts attacking the colony from outside, which they really should have done to begin with (attacking inside wastes ammunition, while blowing it open kills everyione not near a space suit). Cut to ED.

As a whole: more or less the average Gundam starter episode. The main characters are introduced, the Gundam launches for the first time and wastes a Mook attacking a colony; there are honestly not that many things here (Non-Standard Character Design aside) that are not in pretty much every other Gundam series ever. The series so far is leaning into So Okay, It's Average; nothing done particularly poorly, but certainly nothing I have not seen before. Not that much Snark Bait either, so this was probably a pretty boring liveblog.
5th Nov '11 11:09:47 PM flag for mods
comments
Well, I thought that it wasn't a bad start. That "FLI Tx GUNDAM OTP" line made me chuckle, probably because of the capital letters. I don't usually take the time to watch Gundam shows, and thus I'm probably not your target audience, but I think that you'll do a fine job of liveblogging this thing.
EndarkCuli 7th Nov 11
Thanks for the vote of confidence (I have not liveblogged anything before). Expect the next few episodes to come sometime this week.

It is my policy that all declarations of shipping must be made in CAPITAL LETTERS.
fishsicles 21st Nov 11
That was pretty funny. When are you doing episode 2?
AmbarSonofDeshar 1st Dec 11
Thanks! Next episode comes when I next have a half-hour or so of no schoolwork or workwork.
fishsicles 16th Jan 12
Next episode will be up sometime in May at this rate. Still staying clean of spoilers.

> LOL COLLEGE
fishsicles 3rd Apr 12
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