Gundam Age had been getting a lot of negative feedback prior to its airing, mainly due to its childish character designs. What’s effectively happening here is Sunrise are planning to bring in a new younger audience to Gundam by targeting this latest series squarely at them. I was hoping that the new audience skew would mean that the producers would be trying something slightly different with Gundam Age. Oh how silly of me for thinking such a thing~!
Let’s start off by ragging on those character designs. I don’t mind that they’re more cartoonish at all, but it only works if you follow that philosophy for every character type. There’s just a handful of cartoonish character designs while the rest look like they stepped straight out of Gundam 00. It’s like those Lupin III specials where the character designer can’t draw like Monkey Punch so draws them in his own style, making the elongated original characters like Lupin and Zenigata stick out awkwardly. Also, having a more cartoony character design does not mean having the same character design then sticking an unusually coloured blob on top of his head.
Then there was the move to make the main character only 12 years old. Great, a Gundam show that focuses on kids instead of whiny teenagers. This is, in fact, total bullshit. Our lead character, Flit, acts exactly like any self-righteous mecha pilot teenager you’ve ever seen. He helped in building a giant Gundam robot, far superior to that of the armies machines, all at the age of 12. Right, pull the other one. If you’re going to make him act exactly like a teenager, why even bother make him 12 years old? If this story is really going to focus on three generations like it claims, then the generations have to actually act like they come from that age bracket.
This points to a larger problem Gundam Age has. The same main character that Gundam series have always had, even though he’s meant to be 12? Some character designs looking pudgier but essentially being the same stereotypes we’ve come to know and get tired off? You know what Sunrise have done here, haven’t you? They’ve gone and done the exact same thing they’ve done for the past 25 fucking years and remade the exact same goddam fucking story. It’s still about an orbital space station getting attacked, only for plucky teenager and his accompanying Haro bot to leap aboard a robot he’s never piloted before in his life and fend them off. How can you even make concept like that so routine and dull? Oh right, by doing the exact same thing in every single iteration of this franchise.
If they’re going to copy the usual Gundam story, it would have been nice to copy some of the things that made Gundam interesting. Like, how about villains that are actual characters and have motives and dreams and personalities, instead of these indiscriminately slaying machines we got here? Actually don’t mind that suggestion, they’ll probably appear later. And the key guy will be wearing a mask and have a slightly cocky attitude, because original thought for the Gundam staff is a scary prospect and must be crushed. Did they think that, since they’re aiming for a younger audience they could just trot out the same old crap? It’s not even well presented. The animation is bland, the characters are dull and there’s no motives behind the fighting.
Gundam Age doesn’t have the worst first episode of the season, but it was the most disappointing. I like big ambitious 50 episode anime about war and space and action and giant robots and so on and so forth. And yet, when we get one of these anime, it’s another fucking Gundam with the same shit story and the same blasted cocksucking set up that they’ve done for every single shagging version of the franchise.