There was a lot of the same stuff in AGE this time that made the previous episode easily the best of the series – genuine emotion mainly – though a lot of the old problems crept back into the equation. There really is a tendency to rely on shortcuts to move the plot forward, and Asemu’s rescue mission was a perfect example. I find it awfully hard to believe that he could waltz in so easily – even with a Vagan cloaking device – and rescue Kio from Ezelcant’s palace meeting effectively no resistance. And then have time for Kio to run an errand on the way out? Not to mention – Asemu had an awful lot of faith in his instruments there, punching through the wall inches from Kio’s highly breakable noggin.
As is increasingly the case, AGE is proving itself more adept at the small scenes about big ideas than the big scenes about small ideas. The whole sequence with Zanald needing Kio’s biometric codes to try and break down the Gundam’s authentication security was interesting for what it said about all involved. I’m sure Zanald was hoping for the opportunity to torture Kio, though Ezelcant would never have allowed it. Kio makes what amounts to a very bad decision for a very compassionate reason – giving the Vagan what they want in exchange for medicine for Lu. Of course he shouldn’t have done it, but this is where Kio’s youth and kindness override what an adult soldier would see as irrefutable logic. Children will make bad decisions – if you want your solders making smart choices , don’t send 13 year-olds to do your fighting for you. It was also interesting that Ezelcant told Kio the truth – that the medicine wouldn’t cure Lu, only improve her symptoms – when it would have been just as easy for him to claim the meds were a miracle. Why would he do that? Well, there’s no proof establishing any motive – it’s a matter of pure speculation whether it was fondness for Kio, integrity, or something else altogether.
Of course it was a given that Lu was going to die – this is Gundam after all – but when the insert song came along, it became official. The last days of Lu were rather well-portrayed, and the drawings in her “future diary” were a nice touch (not to mention that Kio’s response to a girl waving him into her bedroom and literally saying “Come here!” was about as innocent as humanly possible). Of course Kio grew very attached to her and he was devastated when she died – for Kio, death has been an abstraction, even when he caused it. The only times death has touched him personally – with Lu and with Shanaloa – he cried both times. The question now is, what is the impact on him, long-term? I note that he didn’t kill any of the mobile suit pilots who feebly attacked him during his escape with his father. Has Kio gone over fully to a no killing policy? And if so, what will be the result when he’s reunited with his Grandfather?
That’s the crux of the final cour right there, I guess. There was never a question that Kio would leave with newfound compassion for the Vagan people, but translating that to action is a harder call. He may take the much discussed “Kira Yamato route” and try and become a peacemaker, and I suspect that he’ll have a sympathetic ear in Asemu, who never really bought into Flit’s “Kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out” philosophy. But before all that there’s at least a little fighting to be done before leaving Vagan space, and there’s a brand-new Vagan-style Gundam waiting – apparently with Lord Ezelcant (presumably the best X-rounder in the galaxy) piloting it.