A few days ago, thanks to scans provided from CoroCoro Magazine, we were able to take a look at what appears to be the new Gundam Series, Gundam Age. The series will involve a multi-generational story with the main character’s son and descendent taking the Gundam from him while Earth is caught up in the “100 Year War” against an invading force called the “Unknown Enemy”. The Gundam itself is named the Gundam AGE-1 and will have three forms, the standard form, the Sparrow Form, and the Titus form.
Now… with that out of the way.
One look at this poster alone makes one thing clear: this show is not aimed at Gundam’s normal target audience. It looks like they’re trying to go for a series that appeals to kids. There are two things this could mean: we could get something with high levels of sillyawesomefun like a Brave Saga or Super Sentai series. Or… we could end up with obnoxious, overkidified crap like SD Gundam Force with only minimal redeeming qualities.
There are some aspects of the plot that I find very interesting, namely the whole “legacy” thing. This seems to indicate that there may be a level of vulnerability to the characters, hopefully leaving them with a lack of plot armor. The idea of a war that lasts 100 years could possibly show us something like a war-torn Earth like Gundam X, but perhaps showing it as it happens instead of making it simply something that occurred in the distant past.
However, there’s a lot more about this that I don’t like. First, let’s take a look at the biggest elephant in the room here: The character designs are… pretty bad. Now, they’re an improvement over SEED’s character designs for sure, because they look like don’t look very manufactured. But regardless, they still look like generic kiddie crap, like the kind of thing 4Kids would’ve picked up for cheap to show after some other show nobody cares about.
The mecha designs are something I also have a huge problem with. They just look like such a huge step back after what we got in Gundam 00. The designs in 00, while not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, had one thing going for them: They were different. The Gundams still looked like Gundams, but they didn’t fall into all of the problems SEED did by all looking generic and uninspired. This looks like they just took the RX-78 and turned it into something boring. Again. I just want to see something new and original. The idea of the different forms sounds interesting, but from the looks of things it’s going to be some kind of henshin change like a Kamen Rider doing a “magical” change. It’s like Phase Shift Armor again, but worse! Maybe the bad guys will have some cool mecha.
And speaking of the bad guys… it sounds like we’re gonna have aliens. Oh boy. You know, I haven’t seen Gundam 00’s movie yet, but I had a bad feeling we’re going to be seeing aliens in Gundam far too often now. They just have no place in Gundam. Gundam is about humanity’s endless conflicts with itself. It’s supposed to be the opposite of Star Trek’s ideology of enlightenment, showing us that regardless of the generation, humanity never evolving beyond a warmongering species. But maybe it’ll be done with a level of class. We’ll have to wait and see.
Regardless, I’m actually remaining a bit pessimistic about the show. Could it be fun? Yeah, it could. But it doesn’t look like the Gundam I know. Being different every now and then is good, yes, but this feels like a step in the wrong direction. I’ll probably give it a go after it finishes its fun. Maybe the model kits will be good. Something tells me those would be good sellers with the kiddies, and I’d keep an eye out for them at FPNYC when the show comes out this Fall!