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Episode 21: Phantoms in the Way

 

Review by Chris Guanche

March 22, 2012

 

Summary

 

During a combat simulation, the AGE-2 Normal is equipped with a marker shot, which Asemu uses to destroy balloon dummies. After destroying the current batch, Asemu asks Max to fire more, and Max grumbles about having to do this when he outranks Asemu. Max's Adele fires out a container that unleashes three more dummies. On the Diva, Arisa asks Woolf if he's seen Asemu around, and he points to the mock combat that he's watching on a monitor. Arisa comments that Asemu seems enthusiastic about training, but Woolf explains that he's just trying to distract himself. Asemu recalls Zeheart's words about the power of an X-Rounder and keeps chasing after the dummies. Later, the Diva docks at Big Ring, and the crew heads into the station. Asemu sees Flit and Algreus and runs over to greet his father. Flit says he's the commander of Big Ring, not Asemu's father, but he then laughs and pats Asemu on the head. Millais reports to Flit, and he tells her that the mission to send the Diva to Earth has changed. Their intelligence has discovered that the Vagans are planning a large scale attack on Big Ring, so the Diva is being reassigned to participate in the station's defense. Later, Asemu wonders if Zeheart will be part of the attack and sees the other pilots looking at a screen for the Advanced Pilot Training Program. Arisa wonders what it is, and Obright explains that it's an advanced training program for next generation pilots. He adds that it's a program created by Flit to determine a pilot's attribute's and lead to better coordination, but it also tests X-Rounder aptitude. Max asks if he can take the test, and Obright answers that it's meant for pilots with five years of experience, but there aren't any official restrictions. Asemu decides to take the test and runs into Max, who claims he just wants to test his potential (but is actually upset that Asemu outperforms him despite his lower rank). An officer then outlines the rules of the test and wishes everyone good luck. Asemu takes the physical test and then a cockpit simulator, saying to himself that he'll catch up to Zeheart and Flit as quickly as possible. Obright asks Dique for the maintenance records on the Genoace II because the left leg's response time was slow during the last battle. Dique answers that he doesn't maintain the Genoace II and asks young mechanic Remi Ruth for help. Obright explains the problem to Remi, and she tells him the drive actuators are incompatible with the new data transfer system. She explains a workaround for the problem, but he's busy checking her out. Asemu finishes the test and runs into Romary, so they walk off to talk. She asks him about his outfit and why he wants to be stronger, and he says he wants to fight better. He then tells Romary that Zeheart fought him in the last battle, and she says she's jealous.

 

Asemu sticks his card into a computer terminal to check his test results. Although he scores highly in many areas, he's shocked to see a 'D' for X-Rounder aptitude. He wonders if this means he can't become an X-Rounder, and an officer tells him his results weren't bad for a rookie, but his concentration was terrible. Back in his quarters, Asemu watches a video message from Flit, and Flit says despite the X-Rounder test score, he knows Asemu can do it. Woolf runs into Asemu in a corridor and comments on his test scores, but he sees that Asemu isn't happy about the X-Rounder score. Asemu says he took the test to become an X-Rounder, and if he couldn't do it then, it'll never happen. Woolf asks Asemu if he's going to quit and says he'll take a resignation at any time. Woolf tells Asemu that he overthinks things and wants to take him somewhere that's a better distraction than shooting balloons. Woolf and Asemu take a shuttle over to the Madorna Workshop and are greeted by Madorna and Lalaparly. Their son Rody comes over and welcomes Asemu, and Madorna asks Rody if the thing is ready. Rody brings Asemu a drink and says it must be hard to have a famous parent. Rody says he gets compared to his dad a lot and that it sometimes bothers him, but Asemu points out that they seem to get along well. Rody says he admires his dad and loves messing around with mobile suits. He adds that he probably can't surpass his father in what he does, but there's things only he can do. Woolf then takes Asemu to a mobile suit simulator made by Rody from an old Genoace cockpit. Asemu gets into the cockpit and is told by Woolf that it's been loaded with data from the AGE-2 Normal. Two enemies appear on screen, and Woolf explains that the AGE-1 Normal's data is from the War of Bat Extermination, while the Zeydra's is from the last battle. The targets open fire, and Woolf tells Asemu this is his chance to beat Flit. Asemu says he can't fight the two together, and Woolf tells him to do what he can. Asemu pulls out a beam saber to fight the Zeydra, but he loses an arm to the AGE-1 Normal. He reclaims his rifle and takes damage from the Zeydra while dealing some damage himself. Madorna comments that Asemu is doing well, but Woolf says he won't last more than three minutes. The AGE-1 Normal then fires several blasts and destroys Asemu. Woolf asks Asemu what it was like to fight his father, and Asemu answers that he wants to try again. At Downes, Zeheart tells Ezelcant that they're preparing for the upcoming operation, and Ezelcant reminds him that success is important. At Big Ring, Flit addresses the troops and states that if Big Ring falls, the Vagans will have a direct path to invade Earth. He says it will be a fierce battle, but he's counting on their courage. The Vagan fleet launches from Downes, and Zeheart orders the start of the operation.

 

Commentary

 

The Diva arrives at Big Ring and gives us the first reunion between Flit and Asemu in a while. The message of this episode isn't subtle at all: Asemu is obsessed with catching up to Flit and Zeheart, but he learns a Very Special Lesson that he has to do things in his own way. We're introduced to cutesy young mechanic Remi Ruth, and it's clear that Obright has an instant crush on her. We're also reintroduced to Madorna and Lalaparly, and it looks like Madorna hasn't aged at all in 25 years (although he did look old to begin with). Asemu meets Rody and has that important conversation with him about excelling at the things only he can do. Although Asemu doesn't perform well on the X-Rounder test, given that he's the current main character, I don't think there's any doubt that he'll eventually awaken those abilities. After Asemu's brief conversation with Romary, it's clear she still has some interest in Zeheart even after all that's happened. I'm sure that will create problems in the future. In the background of this episode is a new development: the Diva's trip to Earth has been canceled due to an upcoming Vagan attack on Big Ring. It looks like it'll be quite a battle.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Gundam AGE Episode 21 Gundam AGE Episode 21
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