24 September 2012
Looking Back at Gundam AGE
After 49 episodes spanning 3 generations of characters, Gundam AGE is finally over.
Contents of Gundam AGE was first revealed, or rather "leaked" (before official announcement) in June last year from July 2011 issue of CoroCoro Comic. The character designs and that the co-operation of production by studio Level-5 suggest that Gundam AGE is generally more intended to be for younger audience compared to most of the other Gundam series.
Gundam AGE tells the story of three generations of protagonists of the Asuno family, with each protagonist piloting his own version of the eponymous mecha, fighting to defend Earth and its space colonies from an enemy faction far more advanced in terms of technology.
Even since the announcement Gundam AGE had left a negative impression on the fans, and throughout the series it received mixed reception, with the negatives making more of a prominence, criticising its storytelling, art/animations, and character/mecha designs.
Well, the series does have some aspects that are well liked. Gundam AGE-2 from the second generation do earn some respect from the viewers, with the second generation generally have been more likeable out of all 3 generation arcs. The Gunpla models do have rather nice designs, and I admit that while I still don't have any from Gundam AGE series, I am tempted to get a couple of them, namely the G-Exes, Adele, Gundam AGE-2 and/or its variations, and even Danazine (for its dragon kaiju-like appearance XD).
Overall, the initial impression from the first generation of the anime did make me not looking forward to future episodes (especially with the story and animations, though sometimes I wonder whether some people on the Internet watch Gundam AGE for the sake of finding errors and flaws in it). Things improved a bit for me around halfway for second generation, but things went backwards again for the third and last generation. Story is not the most believable one, and there are times that I feel as if I were told to "just believe it" for some scenes without much explanation. The target audience also seems a little mucky - initially it may seem as if it's for the children, but later concepts (or lack of) don't really seem to portray the necessary messages very well. Pacing is also another issue, where some parts can have potential to be expanded much more, whereas others that are not supposed to make much of an impact on the overall plot dragged on for too long. The ending is also very rushed (which is quite likely to be affected by the previous point), which leaves very little of an impression for me, though I can see that some people want it to just end asap...
Nevertheless, it has been a long ride, and in this aspect the title of the final episode "End of a Long Journey" is neutrally fitting. While I had little expectation of it in the first place, I did watched it to the end as it is a Gundam series. Looking back, it could have been a much better anime if it were managed better with the flaws addressed. The concept of generations and that grandfather, father, and son fighting together (but with different motives) is something not really done before in a Gundam series, and I'll give them that for sure. But now despite the mixed reception it may be considered as yet another notorious chapter in the so-called Gundam's "Black History". Heck, some don't even want to admit this as a "Gundam" series in the first place! ^^;;;
Well, we still have other Gundam series to look forward to, such as the remaining 2 episodes of Gundam UC OVA, as well as the GUNDAM THE ORIGIN anime that has been a little quiet since its initial annoumcement last year. Say, anyone still waiting for the Gundam SEED movie? ^^;
How do you think of Gundam AGE? It's quite a subject of debate, but it'd be interesting to hear your opinion of it too. Is it enjoyable to you? Do share out your thoughts!