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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gundam AGE Episodes 7-9

I’m way behind on my reviews for Gundam AGE, well almost everything really. So what I’m going to is do episodes 7-9 in one review and do separate entries for 10 and 11, with episode 11 premiering today. After that I’m gonna take a leaf out of the book from Gundamn!@MAHQ and finish my “Macross Round-up.” There’s quite a lot there, with reviews pending for Macross 7: The Galaxy is Calling Me, Macross 7 Encore, Macross Dynamite 7, Zero, Macross Frontier TV series (as soon as I watch it again) and the two Frontier movies, The False Songstress and Farewell to Wings. After that, with some interspersed articles as well, I’ll start my Gundam roundup as I’ve recently got off my butt and watched the three Mobile Suit Gundam compilation movies.

So, on to Gundam AGE. In episode 7 we get the fallout from Flit’s short-lived, blink-and-you-miss-it fight with a new UE MS. He gets taken over to Don Boyage’s place and finds Captain Grodek (aka DAT BEARD, aka Cool Hand Grodek). Don proves that he’s a bit of a slimy customer, wanting to buy the Gundam from Flit so he can perpetuate the pointless battles between the Zalam and Euba factions on Fardain. At this point I have to interject and say a couple of things. First off, if you look at the Zalam logo carefully you’ll realize that it looks a lot like the ZAFT logo from Gundam SEED. Secondly I have to comment on these factions. Since we first heard about them in episode 6, I had a lot of time to ponder on their contribution to the story. I originally figured that I wouldn't be commenting on this stuff until I got to episode 10 but I been slacking. So let me say this: Zalam and Euba seem like they belong in  a different series all together. They run around the city using the worst mobile suit peashooters ever to try and fight each other with in some nod towards 1920’s gang shootouts. Don Boyage (who just happens to be part of Zalam) at first seemed like some shady arms dealer but now is this crusty old Zalam guy who wants to fight over territory. Then this guy called Ract Elfamel (and I’m really getting tired of weird, made-up names in this show) shows up from the Euba side of things and starts acting like Treize’s secret apprentice. He also seems to be related to Chara Soone from ZZ Gundam with his bi-colored hairstyle.
The one nice thing about the episode is that the new UE suit, the Baqto, shows up. Flit tries to fight it but its armor is too thick.
Luckily for our resident Gundam jockey, that magical AGE System is cooking up something big in the AGE Builder. They totally fake us out though by just having the new Gundam AGE Titus show up and just do one punch before posing for the end credits.
I also would like to make mention that they almost seem to deliberately bring in a group of war orphans, almost like they know certain people are going to get that particular joke. But boy am I glad those damn kids aren’t sticking around. Professor Grandpa has enough to deal with without a buncha dirty kids onboard the ship.
Rolling right into episode 8, the new Gundam AGE Titus delivers a smackdown worthy of The Rock. I’m liking the Titus much more than the normal mode, mostly because it’s been such a long time since we’ve had a beat-‘em-up Gundam, not since Mobile Fighter G Gundam in 1994. It’s beam spikes and lariats are pretty novel and just the sheer novelty of a Gundam dealing out REAL SOVIET DAMAGE brings a grin to my face.
Also it's interesting to note that the Titus isn't just exterior armor but whole new leg and arm units that get swapped out with the Gundam's regular units.
But the spotlight gets stolen a little bit from the Titus as our boy Wuulf Enneacle shows up in his brand new suit, the G-Exes. It’s a pretty awesome scene as he proceeds to charge into battle and whilst fighting lists the reasons why his mobile suit is so great. After dealing a fatal blow to a Baqto he confidently states the best reason the G-Exes is so good is because, “I, Wuulf Enneacle, am its pilot.” Okay Bandai, we get it, we’ll go out and by an HG G-Exes… not.  :p  :)
Also, our favorite Don and this Ract joker settle their differences somewhat, although I was glad that they actually didn’t shake hands, acknowledging that their little feud isn’t going to be overcome so easily. Although the story doesn’t move forward too much, the awesomeness with the Titus and G-Exes makes up for it. But as we’ll see shortly…
In episode 9 we have Wuulf dragging Flit and the crew over to the Madorna Workshop to meet the man himself and his wife Lalaparly (there’s them weird names again). It is here we see some funky customized mobile suits including the Shalldolls that everyone’s been wondering about.
There’s also a real shocker when Flit and the others find out that Madorna has a UE Zedas mobile suit that he’s been working on. Here we have mention of the mysterious Yark Dole again and that he seems to be some kind of shady weapons dealer. Um, wasn’t Don Boyage supposed to be a weapons dealer? Anywho, in a not too surprising twist the Zedas activates and begins spreading death and destruction.
But oh no! Flit and Wuulf don’t have their MS with them! Don’t worry it’s the Shalldoll to the rescue… even though it seems to be even more useless than a Leo.
But Wuulf and Flit get their suits via space mail and attack. But there’s just one small problem: The agile Zedas is making a fool out of the Titus. Looks like Flit is going to need another upgrade from the AGE System! Luckily for Flit and Wuulf, Decil pulls a Ribbons and has the Zedas back off. After that a couple more important things happen. Emily has a talk with Lalaparly that helps straighten her out a bit where Flit is concerned because that was getting kind of annoying. Although I would like more of that straightening out to be done between Flit and Emily rather than a third party. We’ve still got some episodes left so we’ll have to see.
Grodek’s secret is also reveled to the crew and he tells them he won’t drag them along, but if they want to beat the UE, he has a plan and knows where they are. All of the crew agree to stand behind them and fight the scourge of the UE (especially since the Feds aren’t doing jack-diddly about it), except for Ensign Adams aka Ensign Zinger. What will this mean for the crew of the Diva?

So there you have it, episodes 7-9. Not too shabby but a little on the slow side and I’m really not liking the Zalam and Euba stuff. I’ll get into that in the review for episode 10. When all is said and done, I give 7 and 9 three stars and 8 four stars for Titus and G-Exes action. And remember, in Soviet Russia, Gundam punch you!

Additional: There’s been some stories saying that Gundam AGE is slated for a 52 episode run. If true, that will make it the longest main Gundam series, beating out Victory Gundam’s record by 1 episode. I stated a theory about how they’re going to run this multi-generational story and now that it seems we have a statement about episode count, I think I may be right. So each generational arc should get 17 episodes to play out, depending on how the story is going to run. I’m willing to be that the third generation will get the extra episode to finish the series, or they’ll use it as a re-cap show. After SEED Destiny, as long as we only have one or two clip shows, I’m alright.