FIRST IMPRESSIONS: MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM AGE
For those who aren't in the know, a new Gundam TV anime comes out every few years in Japan, and around every new decade, they release one anime to bring in a new audience of fans, so the franchise can continue being successful after all the older fans stop supporting the franchise or die off. This practice is called "franchise sustainment", and this is exactly what Gundam AGE is: the bait to bring in new Gundam fans, particularly those who are younger.
So with that being said, watch Gundam AGE with that in the back of your mind, and you notice that this show is the PERFECT Gundam "commercial" (for lack of a better word). The anime begins with Flit Asuno, a young 14-year-old boy who is entrusted to build Gundam, the savior of humanity from the Unknown Enemy (U.E.). Pretty basic right? It's done for a reason. If you watch the first episode, it starts off presenting the classic Gundam plot in a way younger children can understand very easily. There is even at the very end a "gundam-pedia" short, which teaches you about mobile suits, and more specifically, the Gundam.
Art and animation: The character designs are much more kiddier than a SEED or 00 design, but for the audience that AGE is aimed for, it works very well. The mech designs were designed by Ebikawa Kanetake, who also designed the mecha for 00, and you can tell this fact very well. The AGE-1 is very reminiscent of the Gundam Exia design in 00, with a few changes. (For example, you'll notice the AGE-1 Normal has a spoiler on the back of the torso and the crest on the front of the Exia has been replaced by what looks like ears on the AGE-1, altho still very similar in style) Even the regular mass production suits for this series (such as the Genoace) are reminiscent of past Gundam shows! (the Genoace shares many design aesthetics to the RGM-79 GM from the original TV series). The animation is also pretty up to par with Sunrise's other works, which is pretty good, especially when it gets to fight scenes. All in all, the mash of classic and modern in the art and plot is a very entertaining mix, and I can see the show bringing in younger fans with unrivaled ease.
So what's all the fuss then? Well, this show (like a lot of other Gundam shows before it) is the subject of alot of criticism just because the show is "kiddy". The big thing to remember here is that the show, quite honestly, is meant for kids. It's the show that is supposed to bring in kids so they can get into Gundam and purchase the merch along with it. That's the whole point that many a Gundam fan can easily forget, because it's so well put together. Gundam is, at it's core, a very flashy and well puttogether toy commercial. I mean think about it for a second. Why do you think the majority of the TV animes for Gundam feature a young kid piloting the mobile suit rather than someone in the military (which is done commonly in the OVAs)? It's done for a reason, to appeal to those young Japanese kids who'll see the show and want the AGE-1 or the Genoace or one of the U.E. mobile suits. So "kiddy" or not, the show does what it is supposed to do: bring the kids in on the fun, and sell those model kits and action figures.
To wrap this impression up, i'm going to go on record saying that i actually like AGE. Even if it is just a glorified toy commercial, it's a fun one to watch, and i can't wait til the next episode. My final thoughts on this one to come later. Until then, watch it, comment below with a post about your opinion, and check back later for the final thoughts!
Thanks for reading!