Is it me, or does that Vagan Second Moon look like a giant side-view cross section of an eye?
I’d judge this episode of AGE to be a step up from the last few, if nothing else for the way it framed the conclusion of the series in pretty stark terms. There were an awful lot of new names and tech introduced, but fundamentally it was about putting the pieces in place for the final battle, and for stubborn old men and young boys to re-state their positions. But that’s not to say there weren’t a couple of wild cards included with the deck to keep things lively.
I’ll give full credit to Flit for this – he may be genocidal, but at least he’s honest. When Algeruseless basically told Flit that the Federation’s intelligence has turned up zero useful information, Flit’s response was to the point – “That’s pathetic.” A more accurate description of the Earth Federation you’d be hard-pressed to find, so it’s hardly a huge surprise to see that they’ve finally punted and put Flit back on active duty and put him in charge of military, including the coming assault on the Vagan La Gramis base. Of course Algerus gets a quick introduction of what he’s gotten himself into when Flit casually tells him he should summarily execute all of the Vagan prisoners from Luna base (“Um… We can’t do that, Sir.”) With Flit you get what you pay for, so there really shouldn’t be any excuses from the Federation later when the atrocities start.
There’s really nowhere left to go between Kio and Flit as far as I can see. Kio pretty much laid his cards on the table, firmly rejecting Flit’s philosophy and declaring that he won’t be a party to achieving Flit’s goals. We finally had our three-generation dustup, and as usual Asemu seems to be trying to play it both ways. He tells his father to consider what Kio says, but then volunteers his pirates to serve under him in the assault on La Gramis – which the Vagan seem to believe is exactly what they were hoping the Federation would do, according to La Gramis Commander Ocramud (Matsumoto Hiroshi), who looks like he fell out of a Sengoku drama. In the end Kio seems basically powerless, but given that Asemu is unlikely to take any sort of stand himself, I have to assume Kio is going to find some sort of way to provide a resistance to his grandfather’s plans.
Things are even busier on the Vagan side. Zaeheart finally shows skepticism to Ezelcant’s whacked-out Project Eden but the dying Ezelcant hands him the reins anyway, and for the moment Zaeheart is still seemingly acquiescing to his wishes. The Vagan appear ready to take their “greatest pilot ever”, Zera Gins (Zaeheart clone?), out of hibernation, and they’ve also nearly found the rest of the EXA-DB – the fragment of which they’ve been using to makes weapons that violate treaty law in their war on Earth. Zaeheart takes out the new hybrid Gundam-Legilis to do battle with Sid, the giant mobile suit that apparently acts as guardian of the EXA-DB. And judging by the looks of the preview, he’s not going to fare too well in the process.
At this point it’s unlikely we’re going to see anything radically change in AGE, which reached its creative peak during the time Kio spent on Vagan and the immediate aftermath, when it was actually pondering some interesting moral and political questions. The bleakness of the worldview here is pretty stark – mad eugenicists who flaunt weapons treaties on one side, genocidal and bitter old men and incompetents on the other. I think the show has actually done a pretty decent job of setting Kio up as someone who sees through the inherent falseness of the paradigm adults have foisted on him, and he’s the most sympathetic among the main trio because he’s never asked to have any of this dumped on his shoulders. What they haven’t done is given him any sort of realistic alternative to champion, a path that might actually materially change the equation of mutual-assured-misery that his elders have forged. I realize that’s a lot to ask of a 13 year-old child, but the writers have pretty much ensured that we’re not going to get that from anyone else – it’s Kio or nobody – so he’s going to have to come up with something or this is going to be a hell of a depressing ending.