And so, a new chapter begins.
Seeing as Gundam AGE enters its third time skip of the series—well technically second—this episode once again feels like a first episode rather than the series’ twenty-ninth. That being said, the review for this episode is a tad bit longer than previous episodes. The episode starts off with an older Asemu welcoming his son Kio into the world and bidding them farewell as he heads off into his final mission, where he goes missing and is presumed dead. By all accounts, his disappearance will play into the events of this phase of the war. From there, the series jumps yet another thirteen years to the present day where a young Kio finds that the war has finally come to Earth. In the twenty-three years since episode twenty-eight, the Vagan have mobilized Lord Ezelcant’s plan, leaving the Earth Sphere poorly prepared for the oncoming assault.
This is the point in the series where I’m starting to have a problem, with the series throwing out too many things at the audience at once. Though I’ve praised this series for taking on its own unique way of telling conflicts, the method they’ve chosen—using three separate protagonists—is beginning to show some weakness in its ability to tell a cohesive story. There are a lot of story lines and sub-plots that are introduced that wind up feeling underplayed or ending up going nowhere. The only story line that feels consistent is the Asuno family story line.
As interesting as it is to have three different protagonists for the different stages of the series, the biggest fault of that is that each protagonist has his own trials and tribulations to go through to separate themselves from the other two. Because of that, this is what makes Gundam AGE feel inconsistent in regards to the story it’s trying to tell. Each of the protagonists will have his own idea of how to go about protecting people and ending the war, but at the same time, it’s never questioned which one is right about this. Asemu never confronts his father about his goal of exterminating the Vagan, despite befriending Zeheart. It’ll be interesting to see how Kio deals with his grandfather’s thirst for vengeance when the time comes. That brings up yet another point that disturbs me with this series: Flit’s indoctrination of his family to fight in the war and uphold his ideals. It really starts to make him be a difficult character to root for.
The new Gundam AGE-3 also makes its appearance, and for veteran Gundam fans, it’s a welcome sight to see this series finally implementing the whole core-fighter feature into the Gundam. The Gundam itself bears a strong resemblance to the ZZ Gundam and packs just as much punch—if not greater—with its new SigMaxiss Rifle. There’s a neat new feature to it with its larger cockpit for the two pilots of the separate components, as well as built-in, arm-mounted beam sabers. The Gundam isn’t the only new mobile suit as the Earth Federation is sporting its new transformable Clanche mobile suit while the Zeheart and the Vagan are employing new Ghirarga and Danazine models.
Despite these intriguing new additions to the series at this point, the pacing of the previous arc and the transition into this new arc just feel rushed and quite overwhelming, which comes off as odd to me with the episode slated to run for yet another twenty-one episodes. The biggest problem this series faces is its pacing and handling of its secondary characters. As vibrant and colorful as this series is with interesting mobile suit designs, it all goes for naught if all these elements that this series throws out aren’t able to come together in one cohesive story.
GO Rating: 2.5/5
And so the Gundam passes from one generation to the next while some enemies remain the same.