Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gundam Age - First Details Emerge

 Details have begun to surface of an ambitious new gundam project, including a new anime series, manga, and games. Titled "Gundam Age," the project will be officially unveiled in two days, on the 13th of June. Early details were leaked by the Japanese magazine Coro Coro Comics (scans below). Here's what we know so far:

  • The setting will feature a massive war that has lasted/will last for 100 years.
  • The war will be between a United Earth Federation and an as-yet unnamed menace that threatens the Earth. (Possible aliens?)
  • There will be multiple protagonists. (Drawn from different generations across the 100-year time span).
  • The first protagonist is named, "Furitto Asuno." (Frido?)
  • The second protagonist is, "Asemu Asuno." Furitto's son.
  • The third protagonist is, "Kio Asuno." Furitto's grandchild.
  • The protagonist is responsible for the design of the AGE-1 mobile suit (gundam).
  • The AGE-1 will feature a self-evolving computer system. (Kind of like AL in Full Metal Panic?)
  • The AGE-1 Gundam will have two alternate forms--one based on power, the other on speed.
  • The main carrier warship is called the "Diva." 
  • The Diva's captain is named, "Gurudekku." (Grudek?)
  • The Gundam is controlled via the pilots' "smart phones."
  • A tie-in collectible card game is also in development.
  • A game for an unknown platform is currently being developed by Level-5: CEO Hino Akihiro is in charge of the story.
We will be able to watch the official unveiling as a live broadcast at  Bandai Channel Live starting at 13:30 on the 13th. The broadcast will be shown again at 19:00 21:00 and 23:00.

A nice scan of the first three gunpla for the new series:

A close up of the AGE-1:
Personally, I think the basic premise--a hundred years war and a multi-generation story--have a lot of promise. Unfortunately, everything else looks quite bad.  The character design is markedly aimed at a much younger demographic than, well, any other Gundam series to date, and the mecha details and generic "evil entity out to destroy earth" narrative sound like cookie-cutter Super Robot drivel. It would seem that after 00, Gundam has opted to abandon even the slightest pretense of being a "real robot" genre.

Oh, the irony. It burns.

And don't even get me started on the mecha design here. I can only imagine Bandai has decided that merchandising is no longer important.

Needless to say, it's still too early to judge. For now, all we can do is wait and see: who knows, maybe we'll be surprised on the 13th and everything will be better than expected. I should point out that this DOES follow the pattern Bandai initially outlined for the franchise several years back: basically, that they would be alternating between series' designed to appeal to the core fanbase (older, more mature fans) with stuff like Gundam 00 and Gundam Unicorn, and series' designed to appeal to younger children and to "introduce" them to the franchise--Gundam Seed/Destiny, Gunpla Builders, and now, Gundam Age.

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