Thursday, May 10, 2012

[JT] NerdPop: The Seconding ... what?

So.  Time for the second post, so SURELY it's going to be my introductory post, right?  That would make perfect sense...

Yeah, no.  Not happening.  As a matter of fact, I don't think I will be doing an introduction post at all.  Instead, you'll be getting bits and pieces of me throughout my posts.  My co-authors will get introductions (What? Co-authors?), but since I'll be at the helm of this nerd ship, I'll have the most chances to really let myself show through my posts.  On that note, let me give you you're second piece of information about me:  I am a Gundam whore.

Yes.  I eat up anything Gundam.  I love every series and build Gunpla.  It's amazing.  As a matter of fact, it's Gundam that makes me want to go into engineering instead of chemistry and physics.  But I digress.  What I am going to talk about today is a particular incarnation of Gundam; more specifically Gundam AGE.

Right off the bat, I will say this: in ANY anime review NerdPop does, we will try and keep spoilers to an absolute minimum.  Since Gundam AGE is still showing in Japan, this means two things: some spoilers are potentially unavoidable and I am speaking from unofficial subs.  Ok, 4th paragraph and I'm still not talking about the series... Let's get into this...

Gundam AGE starts out like most Gundam series, an invading force launches an attack against the Earth (or it's equivalent at the time) and a young boy stumbles across a secret prototype mobile suit known as a a Gundam and proceeds to own the invaders even though it's his first time in the suit (or any suit what so ever).  The twist in THIS series is that our protagonist, Flit Asuno (our Amuro or main protagonist), actually designed the Gundam himself (he comes from a long line of mobile suit designers, who in the past had designed the first Gundam prototypes of their timeline, which happens to be Advanced Generation, or A.G.  Get it?  A.G.?  EiGi (in the Japanese phonetic)? AGe?).

As with every Gundam incarnation, there has to be a gimmick to the Gundam AGE-1, and in this series, it is the AGE-system, which collects real time data from the battlefield to create new weapons and armaments for the Gundam on the fly (think the Strike packs from Gundam: SEED, but only more customizable from battle to battle).  This is a nice way of allowing the Gundam to constantly evolve (which is how it is described in the series), but also kind of a cop out because it allows the Gundam to win every battle.  However, this is balanced out by the time for the system to analyze the data and develop the weapons (a nice way to prevent the Kira-esque beatdown that SEED is known for) to battle the reptile-like mobile suits that the Vagan forces (the bad guys of this series. A.K.A. Zeon).  Sounds like we have all the makings of a typical Gundam, series from here on out, right?

Wrong.  15 episodes in and the series does something that the other series never do until their sequel series: they pull a [spoiler (highlight to read):] 25 year time jump and rotate half the cast (This is known as Generation Two).  We see the return of much more mature characters from Generation One, as well as Flit's son, Asemu (G2's Amuro) as the pilot of the Gundam AGE-2.  Generation Two is also when we are introduced to our masked antagonist (Char) of the series: Zeheart, and anyone who knows the relationship between Amuro and Char knows that these two will be the focus of the series..[/spoiler].  This gimmick for the series occurs one more time, switching from G2 to G3.  Now, if you don't want to read the spoiler, it's not a big deal.  There isn't anything MAJOR in there, just a few small details about the back half of the first season.  However, if you watch the next episode previews, you will hear the narrator say: "Three destinies will form history."  This along with the name of the series gives you a hint as to what is going to happen.

Having watched all of the episodes so far, I must say I really love the series.  The gimmick of the series actually works really well.  It allows the show to be more fast paced and action packed (no flashback episodes like SEED).  My only problem with this set up is that we don't have as much development as other series.  Conversely though, we don't have all of the frivolous development of the characters that don't really matter to the story (I'm looking at you Sai... Thinking you can steal Kira's Gundam just because he stole your woman).  I would really love to see how this format can be applied to the original U.C. Timeline (G1 being Gundam 0079, with G2 and 3 as Zeta, and Char's Counterattack, respectively).

I'm going to hold judgment about whether or not the show is worth seeing through to the end until we actually finish G3, but I definitely think the series is worth checking out just for the new way of telling the story that it presents.  Once the series is completed, I'll probably revisit this review and give a bit more insight into the series as a whole, as opposed to just a summary.


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