Everything Under The Sun... And Then Some!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gundam Meister Grace Chapter 2

First Impressions

The four Meisters exited the simulators and Feldt Grace could tell that Tieria Erde was NOT happy. He marched right up to her and fixed her with that glare of his.
“Your performance in this last scenario was below average Feldt Grace. You need to improve.”
“Aw cut the kid a break would you Tieria?” chimed in Lockon as he doffed his helmet.
“I will not. Mistakes like that could lead to the destruction of the Angelas or its solar furnace.”
“Not too mention the pilot inside the Angelas,” Lockon muttered under his breath.
“I know what I need to work on. I won’t fail again,” Feldt said solemnly, staring right back at Tieria. He gave a curt nod and exited the room.
“Oy, that guy can be kind of a pain,” said Lockon wryly.
“But he’s right. I made a mistake,” she countered.
“Well, that doesn’t mean he has to come down on you like a ton of bricks for it,” Lockon said as they exited the room.

This little exchange had occurred about a month before they had had their first intervention. It had been typical of the dynamic that developed as the five Meisters trained together.
Feldt, being the youngest, two years younger even than Setsuna, often felt that it was her responsibility to be the best Meister possible, not just for the sake of her comrades, but also for the sake of her parents. Unfortunately, due to the secretive nature of Celestial Being, Feldt didn't know much of the nature of what her parents had done as Gundam Meisters. The only things she knew was that they had been Meisters, had piloted the prototypes for the Exia and Kyrios and had died in an accident. Ever since then those within the organization had raised her. The woman she had met on the night she discovered her parents’ death had disappeared, but she had met others. Ian and Linda Vashti had always been very kind to her, even though many times Feldt could tell that Ian had wanted to talk to her about her parents. Linda had become like a second mother to Feldt and Feldt had often played with Linda’s daughter Mileina. She recalled fondly that Mileina had wanted to go with her, but Ian wasn’t having any of that.
Then there was the bridge crew of the Ptolemaios. The two she most interacted with were the CIC operators, Christina Sierra and Anew Returner.  They very much felt like Feldt’s older sisters, and acted like it too, what with Christina constantly trying to improve Feldt’s “Fashion sense” and Anew acting as the long-suffering support. Although Feldt didn’t really understand why clothes were so important (not when she spent so much time in her normal suit.) but she did very much want to emulate some of older girls’ more feminine characteristics, especially the beautiful and graceful Anew.
Then there was miss Sumeragi. If there was one person on the Ptolemaios who could rival Anew’s beauty it was the tall, flowing-haired Sumeragi Lee Noriega. Although she occupied the seat on the ship’s bridge that would traditionally be held by the captain, Sumeragi was more a “commander,” being the Gundam Meister’s tactician. Sumeragi interacted with Feldt regularly what with Feldt being one of the Meisters and Feldt enjoyed her company. She would sometimes tease Feldt that she had to be careful not to distract her male comrades with her blossoming beauty, at which point Feldt would blush madly. If Sumeragi had one flaw though it was her drinking. Whenever the older woman would offer her whatever happened to be in her bottle that day, Feldt knew it was a joke, that Sumeragi didn’t seriously condone minors drinking, but she couldn’t help but think that at the rate Sumeragi drank it was a good thing modern medicine could fix the damage she would otherwise have done to her body.
The other two members of the bridge crew she interacted less with. Lichtendal Tsery was the Ptolemaios pilot and his partner Lasse Aeon was part navigator and the gunner, which was kind of redundant considering that the Ptolemaios wasn’t equipped with any guns at the moment. Lichty, as they called him, was good-natured and just a bit of a hound, constantly asking for dates from Christina and Anew. Christina would always refuse but Anew would humor him occasionally, although she made it clear that this was a “friends” thing and she wasn’t about to let an actual relationship get in the way of her duties. Lichty had gone for drinks with Sumeragi once, in her quarters, and found out the hard way that he was a featherweight where alcohol was concerned.
Then there were the Meisters themselves. Allelujah was friendly enough but very reserved. There was something strange about him though. After one particularly nasty sim, she had exited and saw Allelujah leaning against the sim machine as if he were in pain. She had approached and was about to ask if he was all right when he turned around and she saw the creepiest smile she had ever seen on his face. And then just as quickly he blinked, shook his head then asked her if she was fine.
One word could describe Tieria Erde and that was cold. Feldt didn’t talk to him much except when he had something to criticize her about. Often she wondered if Tieria was trying to find an excuse to get her booted out as a Meister but he was equally tough on all the other Meisters.
Setsuna talked as little as Tieria but almost seemed more approachable. Still, Feldt maintained a very “professional” relationship with him as when he did talk, it usually had something to do with the Gundams.
Lockon was the most personable of the four and she had to admit that she did like him the best. He was kind to her but didn’t coddle her, defended her when Tieria was being too harsh and pushed her to the best of her abilities. Still he seemed just a little hesitant about her being a Gundam Meister and she’d never been able to get a straight answer out of him. At first she thought it was because she was the youngest, but now she wasn’t so sure anymore.

When all was said and done, Feldt very much regarded the people onboard the Ptolemaios as her family. Celestial Being had given her parents a dream and a mission and she was determined to give back to the organization and especially the people around her who were also part of Celestial Being. She was still a private person though and Christina’s and Anew’s attempts to draw her out and make sure she had passions in her life other than being a Meister were going very slowly.
She turned her head, straightening up from where she had been leaning against a tree. Lockon had walked over and she had been so lost in her thoughts, she hadn’t heard him. Well, that and the sounds of the jungle around them and the sound of the GN Condensers bleeding off.
“Time to get ready for the next mission.”
“Mission Briefing! Briefing!” chirped Lockon’s orange Haro.
“Roger,” she replied, standing up and smoothing the wrinkles out of her pilot suit. She began to follow them back to the combat containers where their Gundams were stored. Haro bounced into her arms and she cuddled the ball-shaped robot against her.
“Smile Feldt! Smile Feldt!” it chirped.
“He’s right you know. You should smile more,” said Lockon, grinning at her. She nodded back… but didn’t smile.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gundam AGE Episode 6

Hot on the heels of the latest episode of mobile suit demolition derby aka Gundam Unicorn, AGE continues to inspire RAGE. Trolls on both sides of the ocean are trying their level best to tear it down and I really have no idea why. I really don’t know why they feel so insulted that it’s trying to capture a new, younger audience. That said, unfortunately, AGE hasn’t been succeeding on that front. The general ratings have been way up and down (going UP with the last two episodes thankyouverymuch) but the ratings for the target audience have been pretty poor. This might possibly be why they’ve changed Flit’s son’s age to 17 for the second arc of the show (assuming that’s true) and have revealed what the Gundam Age-2. Again, I’m not hot on this design; I think it looks a bit too much like the 00 Raiser.
In any case, low ratings for the target audience are bad news to producers, so we’ll have to see what happens. As I said before, the ratings for the last two episodes have been going up. Which leads me to this week’s gangbuster (literally) episode, the Light and Shadow of Fardain.

Again I’m just going to touch on the main points of the episode rather than go into a full-blown summary. Emily finally confronts Flit about what he wants to do, but still isn’t as direct about it. I’m hoping that as the next few episodes go, they’ll talk more and Emily will start to evolve out of the Fraw Bo Syndrome she’s got right now. Would go along with the themes of the show wouldn’t it?
Wuulf takes off to a nearby space station where a husband and wife pair of mobile suit designers hangs out. I find this interesting because I really don’t think we’ve had something like this since Wing. Y’know, almost kinda a MS chop shop feel. Actually now that I look at this guy Madorna and Howard from Gundam Wing, they could almost be brothers. Therefore I shall call him Howard 2.0. 

Anywho, Wuulf asks Madorna to make him a mobile suit that’s better than the Gundam (probably the G-Exes). Another oblique Wing reference?
Cool Hand Grudek aka DAT BEARD, is getting very shady! I like it! We see a flashback that yes, he did have a wife and daughter and that they died in the first UE attack on Colony Angel. And Grudek is making deals with shady Al Capone type weapons dealers. Obviously he wants to take the UE down any way possible and that includes making deals with criminals. How much y’all wanna bet that this attitude is coming back to bite him in the butt?
Flit and Emily also find themselves in the colony underground, situated between the outer and inner walls of the colony. An extremely, practically comically disproportionate man named Iwark Bria saves them from a bunch of Zaku-esque mobile suits having a shootout in the Fardain streets. 
Must have been a bad day because as Iwark leads them into the Fardain underground, he explains that these mobile suits are a remnant of a war decades past. Back then the population of the colonies grew so large that they tried to form two independent countries. And as we humans tend to fight for the stupidest of reasons, they went to war with one another. Eventually an accord was reached called the Silver Chalice Treaty and the two nations (Zalam Union and Euba Alliance) were disbanded but as Iwark points out, hatred born of bloodshed doesn’t fade easily. This probably goes further to show the corruption of the Federation, unless the Earth Federation in AGE is literally just concerned with the Earth and doesn’t bother with the colonies too much? We’ll see. Anyway, it seems that the fighting between these two former factions continues sporadically to this day and funnily enough, flares up just when Flit the Gundam Savior shows up. Also Iwark’s adopted daughter goes wandering up to the surface with Haro, so that Flit can conveniently pull a Superman and try to get the two factions to stop fighting. But then a new UE mobile suit called the Baqto literally appears out of nowhere and starts to fight him. 
Just when the fight gets good, the Baqto literally pulls a ninja vanish and Euba suits try to arrest Flit. They seem to think that Flit was shooting up Fardain. Was the Baqto invisible to them? Did they just not see it? More and more curious.

Another thing I really liked about this episode was Iwark’s Desperado construction mobile suit. THIS SHOVEL OF MINE IS BURNING RED!! ITS LOUD ROAR TELLS ME TO SHANK YOU LIKE SOME SLASHER MOVIE STAR!! 
I also liked the Euba and Zalam fleets they showed, very sci-fi.
 Did anyone notice that the Zalam symbol seems a lot like the ZAFT crest?  :)
Also I liked how the Fardain interior had a very New-York/Art Deco style to it.

Okay, so one last thing. Now that we’re six episodes in, there is still no official episode count that I can dig up. Considering that AGE has had a very rocky start (curse you trolls), I can see why Sunrise doesn’t want to reveal this yet. If they do, they’ll probably also have to reveal how many episodes are in each generation of the show and I’ve heard rumours that the Japanese Gundam nuts want the second generation to hurry up and debut.
Now assuming that we’re going to have fifty episodes in the series just like SEED, Destiny and 00, and if each arc is broken up evenly, we’d get 16 episodes per arc with two spare episodes. I really, REALLY hope they don’t use these spares as clipshows. Who knows. Let’s assume in my Candyland version of the show, Flit’s arc gets seventeen episodes to set up the world and the war, Asem’s Arc gets sixteen episodes and Kio’s arc gets seventeen episodes to finish things up. They might not now give the first arc an extra episode, but we’ll see.
In any case, I now think that this first arc is going to wrap up with Grudek’s assault on the UE strong hold and the fallout from that before going into the next arc. Oh and next episode we get the Titus armor! Yay! But seriously, if they only have ten or eleven more episodes to wrap this arc up, they better step on it a little more.