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Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: Memory of Eden

 

Review by Chris Guanche

October 15, 2014

 

Summary

 

Hundreds of years have passed since humanity began emigrating to space. In Advanced Generation (AG) 101, the Vagans, survivors of the failed Mars colonization plan, destroy Colony Angel and initiate a long war against the Earth Federation. In AG 140, Federation Forces fight the Vagans in the space surrounding Colony Nicholas. A Genoace II pilot takes heavy damage and manages to destroy a Baqto, only to be taken down in turn by a Dorado. Ace pilot Woolf Enneacle arrives in his G-Bouncer and issues orders to his wingmen. Nearby, a shuttle carrying Vagan infiltrators Daz Roden and Zeheart Galette is cleared for passage to Colony Tordia and receives a Federation escort. Daz notes the irony of receiving an escort from the people they're trying to destroy. At the Suzie Muscovy School on Tordia, 17-year-old Asemu Asuno confronts several bullies who are harassing his friends in the Mobile Suit Club. The bullies run off when a teacher approaches, so Asemu heads to the club with Macil Boyd and Shawee Belton. Romary Stone walks in and criticizes Asemu for getting in a fight and not coming to the party. She wishes Asemu a happy birthday as he leaves to visit the parts store. At home, Asemu has a birthday dinner with his parents Flit and Emily, his sister Unoa and great grandfather Vargas. Flit takes Asemu to the barn and shows him the Gundam AGE-1 that he piloted earlier in the war. He then gives Flit the AGE device and tells him to protect the family from Vagans if something happens. Asemu crosses paths with Zeheart and later finds out at the parts shop that he purchased a part Asemu needs. The colony's air raid siren is sounded when several Dorados infiltrate the interior and attack the residential area. Asemu rushes home on his motorcycle and runs into injured Romary along the way. Vargas helps Asemu with launch procedures and tells him the AGE-1 is more powerful now than when Flit used it. Asemu uses a series of jumps to reach the battlefield and is observed by Zeheart from his Zedas R. A Dorado destroys a Genoace II, so Asemu rushes in with two beam sabers and struggles to fight until Vargas reminds him to calm down. Asemu's thrusters kick up a cloud of dust, which he uses to his advantage to destroy both Dorados. He barely blocks a blast from Daz's Dorado and loses a saber. He manages to inflict damage and is attacked from behind by Zeheart. Daz rushes in for the kill and misses, which allows Asemu to retrieve a saber and stab the Dorado. Zeheart knocks down Asemu, but Asemu is able to punch him and stand up. Zeheart is forced to withdraw when a Genoace II squad arrives.

 

After the battle, the AGE-1 is moved to a secure Federation facility. Daz apologizes to Zeheart for his failure, and Zeheart notes that they can't underestimate the Gundam's power. Zeheart informs Daz that Downes doesn't have any available reinforcements, so for now their mission has changed to information gathering. Zeheart later shows up in Asemu's class as a transfer student, and Asemu unsuccessfully tries to recruit him to the club. Romary gives Zeheart a tour of the school and brings him to the Mobile Suit Club. Asemu gives a demonstration of their miniature mobile suit, but one of the leg joints malfunctions and causes it to go out of control. With Zeheart's instructions, Asemu is able to shut the suit down. Asemu thanks Zeheart for his help and finally gets him to join the club. Later, Romary takes the club to the beach for a team bonding exercise. Zeheart argues with Asemu that they should exploit the weaknesses of their enemies to win in the upcoming tournament. The fight turns physical until Romary, Shawee and Macil intervene and Zeheart leaves. Asemu brings Zeheart a soda on the beach and apologizes. Zeheart says he should just follow their lead, but Asemu tells him not to speak like that because they're friends. After several months of work, the club is finally read for the tournament, which Asemu wins. The club members also participate in a school performance of Peter Pan. Asemu, Romary and Zeheart take a space walk on the colony's outside wall, and she notes that everyone will go their separate ways when they graduate soon. Asemu is heading to military academy, which is more what Flit wants him to do than what he wants to do. Romary sings the graduation song, and while Zeheart recognizes the tune, the lyrics are different from the lullaby he knows. Romary asks Zeheart to teach them the lullaby, so he sings it for them. Back at the club, Romary looks at pictures of their time together during the last half year. Zeheart recalls telling Daz of their pickup date, which coincides with graduation. The air raid siren goes off, and Zeheart runs off when he gets a call from Daz. The Zedas R flies over to him, and Daz informs him that they have to leave immediately. Woolf's team heads to the scene, and Asemu calls Vargas to prepare the Gundam for launch. Vargas was already prepared and had it sent his way in a trailer. Zeheart destroys an Adele near the school, and Romary runs to the club to grab the pictures. A Dorado tries to target her, but Asemu uses the shield of the AGE-1 Swordia to protect her.

 

Zeheart destroys another Adele and is then attacked by Asemu. Zeheart is able to dodge all of Asemu's attacks thanks to his X-Rounder reflexes, but the Zedas R can't keep up with his reaction time. Romary reaches the club and finds that the photos have all burned. Zeheart corners Asemu near the school and gets the upper hand. He then emerges from his cockpit, and Asemu can't believe that he's a Vagan. Zeheart thinks they could've remained friends if he wasn't bound to his fate, but he has a reason to fight. He questions if Asemu has the same resolve and could shoot him. Zeheart thinks a kind person like Asemu shouldn't fight, and Romary is shocked when she sees Zeheart. When Woolf's team approaches, Zeheart takes off and leaves Tordia. After the battle, Asemu decides to not go to military academy and instead enlist in the Federation Forces. At the enlistment ceremony, Asemu is surprised to see that Romary also joined. He asks her later why she joined, and she answers that she isn't sure, but knows it's the same for him. He asks if it has to do with Zeheart, and she explains that she wanted to confirm things about herself and Zeheart's time with them. At Downes, Zeheart and Daz receive a video message from Vagan leader Fezarl Ezelcant congratulating them on their spy mission. Ezelcant then puts Zeheart in charge of the Earth Occupation Forces. Asemu reports to duty on the battleship Diva, where engineer Dique Gunhale shows him the new transforming Gundam AGE-2. Asemu asks about the AGE-1, and Dique explains it's being upgraded at Big Ring so it can be used without the AGE System. Woolf orders the pilots of his team to assemble, which includes Asemu, Arisa Gunhale, Max Hartway and Obright Lorain. With Romary working on the bridge, the Diva launches under the command of Millais Alloy and heads for Big Ring. Zeheart tells Daz that their orders are to capture or destroy the AGE System to stop the Gundam's evolution. Daz shows Zeheart his new mobile suit Zeydra, which is designed specifically for X-Rounders. Zeheart has to wear a mask while piloting to keep his X-Rounder abilities from overwhelming the suit. Vagan forces approach the Diva, so the ship launches the G-Bouncer, Genoace II, Adeles and the AGE-2. Zeheart flies through an asteroid field and wonders if Asemu will be able to shoot him now.

Woolf destroys a Baqto, and Asemu takes down a Dorado that Arisa and Max are having trouble with. Zeheart maneuvers through the asteroid field at high speed and attacks Asemu. Asemu sees that the Zeydra can read his movements and realizes that Zeheart is the pilot. Asemu asks Zeheart why he's doing this, and Zeheart accuses him of lacking resolve. Asemu asks Zeheart if he's the only one who thinks they're friends, and Zeheart dares Asemu to come after him. The two fight with beam sabers while maneuvering at high speeds in the asteroid field. They then cancel out shots from their rifles, but once again Zeheart gets the upper hand and slams Asemu into a large asteroid. Zeheart stabs near the AGE-2's cockpit and says that he never wants to see Asemu again. Back at Downes, Zeheart greets his older brother Desil, who has just woken up from cold sleep. Desil is unhappy to learn that his little brother now holds a higher rank. Asemu lies in bed and thinks about the power of X-Rounders. Zeheart meets Dole Frost, commander of the Magicians Eight team, who cautions Zeheart not to waste the lives of his soldiers. The Diva arrives at Big Ring, where Flit informs Millais that they're being assigned to defend Colony Nortrum from an impending Vagan attacks. Asemu hears about a test program for pilots to measure X-Rounder ability and decides to participate. Obright asks Dique about the Genoace II's maintenance and is introduced to young mechanic Remi Ruth. Asemu runs into Romary and tells her that he fought Zeheart again. Asemu later checks his test results and is shocked that he only rated D for X-Rounder aptitude. Woolf finds Asemu and sees that Asemu is bothered by his test score. Woolf takes Asemu to the Madorna Workshop and has him fight in a simulator loaded with Zeheart and Flit's combat data. Asemu feels overwhelmed, but Woolf encourages him to do what he can and not try to copy Flit. Woolf encourages Asemu to move more freely and in a way that feels natural. Asemu stands by a lake in a colony and is approached by Zeheart, who asks him to stop fighting and stay a kind person. Asemu counters that he has nothing else and needs to fight to be acknowledged by people. Zeheart pulls out a gun and says that Asemu stands in the way of him being a warrior. Romary runs over says she's wanted to see Zeheart for so long. Asemu charges Zeheart and grabs the gun, but Romary gets in the way so he can't shoot. Zeheart then runs off and escapes in the Zeydra, which was hidden in the lake. Asemu encounters Romary later on the Diva and ignores her.

 

On the Amadeus, Frederick Algreus is shocked by the sudden appearance of Downes and multiple Fa Bose class ships. Zeheart outlines the plan, which is to capture Nortrum and link Downes to it so that the colony's production facilities can be used as the forward operating base for the Earth invasion. Flit tells Algreus that he'll command the operation from the Diva. Zeheart prepares to launch and is yelled at by Desil, who is angry about being placed on standby. Zeheart thinks that Desil's hatred of Flit blinds him, but Desil doesn't care. Remi tells Obright to return safely and accepts his earlier marriage proposal. Romary apologizes to Asemu and asks him to come back alive. Asemu launches in the Gundam AGE-2 Double Bullet, followed by the rest of the Woolf team. Dole asks Zeheart to reconsider the plan because it's too reckless, but Zeheart explains that he vowed to help create Ezelcant's Eden. Zeheart takes off in his Zeydra, followed by Daz's Dorado, Desil's Khronos and the Magicians Eight in their Zedas Ms. Electromagnetic terminals are deployed in a ring around the Diva and begin charging. EFF ships fire beam dispersing missiles to deflect the incoming fire. Woolf destroys a Baqto and receives some help from Asemu when he destroys a Dorado. With the Double Bullet's long blades, Asemu is able to slice apart multiple suits simultaneously. Desil attacks Asemu and quickly realizes that he isn't Flit, but he ends up fighting both Asemu and Woolf. Zeheart has an X-Rounder reaction and calls Medel Zant with emergency orders to move Downes. Dole balks at Zeheart's order to retreat, and Zant activates the Gigantes shield before the Diva fires the photon ring ray. Thanks to the Gigantes shield, Downes is undamaged by the blast. Desil uses his X-Rounder power to take control of two Zedas Ms remotely and use them as slave units to grab Asemu. Woolf destroys both units and pushes Asemu out of the way, but Desil stabs the G-Bouncer through the cockpit. Mortally wounded Woolf tells Asemu it's too late for him, and he knows that even if Asemu isn't an X-Rounder, he can become a super pilot. After the G-Bouncer explodes, Asemu furiously attacks Desil and kills him. Dole asks Zeheart if he planned to let Desil die, and Zeheart responds that no one will get in the way of creating Eden.

 

Flit wonders why the Vagans haven't attacked Nortrum and realizes they plan to seize control of it. He then takes off in the upgraded Gundam AGE-1 Flat and leaves Algreus in charge. Asemu engages Zeheart, and his improved abilities catch Zeheart by surprise. Flit leads a squad of Adele Cannons and Shaldoll Customs into battle and fires his Zefuld launchers at Downes. Daz sets his Dorado's Mu-szell to full power, giving him a kamikaze X-Rounder boost to take on Flit and inflict serious damage before dying. With the AGE-1 Flat heavily damaged, Flit returns to the Diva. Algreus has an idea and fires the ship's photon blaster, which hits a Fa Bose and causes it to crash into Downes, thus bringing down the Gigantes shield. However, the damage to Downes' propulsion system will cause it to crash into Nortrum. Flit has the photon ring ray fire again, but it doesn't have enough power to destroy Nortrum. The fortress veers off course and crashes into the Diva, taking both toward the atmosphere. The Diva is stuck inside one of Downes' arms, and the photon blaster is damaged, so Remi repairs it with a mobile pod. A Zedas M fires at the bridge, but Remi absorbs the damage. Obright then pushes the Zedas M into the path of the photon blaster as it fires and breaks the Diva free. As she dies, Remi tells Obright that she wanted to have a family with him. Obright rushes over to the pod and opens the cockpit, but it's too late. Asemu takes off and tells Flit that he intends to blow up Downes' core before it enters the atmosphere. Romary pleads with Asemu to return, and he responds that he was filled with anger and jealousy, but now his purpose is clear. Zant informs Zeheart that they can't self-destruct, and Zeheart decides to destroy the core so that Earth isn't damaged. Zeheart follows Asemu inside and tells him they need colony destroyers to damage the core. After attaching the colony destroyers to the core, Asemu comments that he never expected they'd work together again. Zeheart comments that there's very little one can do alone, but Asemu points out that he's saving lives now. Zeheart wants Earth to be an Eden where the Vagans don't have to fear disease and war. Asemu was filled with jealousy before, but he and Zeheart shake hands. An explosion creates an escape route for them, and they fly out of Downes as it explodes. Zeheart saves Asemu from being hit by a chunk of debris. The Diva begins re-entry, and Dole sacrifices himself to prevent Zeheart from burning up in the atmosphere.

 

In AG 164, Zeheart wakes up from cold sleep and is haunted by the images of everyone who has died under him. He's then greeted by his new subordinates Fram Nara and Leil Light, who inform him he's on Second Moon. Fram tells Zeheart that Dole was her brother and that she'll judge whether Zeheart was worthy of the sacrifice. They catch Zeheart up on the current plan, which involves using the space fortress La Gramis to destroy Big Ring as the opening move of an Earth invasion. Zeheart looks up EFF records and sees that Asemu married Romary and had a son named Kio, but went MIA in battle 13 years ago. Later, Kio pilots the Gundam AGE-3 in battle on Earth when Zeheart's Ghirarga leads the invasion force. After Zeheart doesn't kill Kio, the images of Dole, Daz and Desil taunt him for being weak. Desil torments Zeheart by saying that Asemu's life matters more than all of theirs. Zeheart sees himself drenched in a glowing pool of blood. Fram finds Zeheart in distress and tries to wake him up. She reports that they've taken control of the Federation's Luna Base, and he vows to make Project Eden a success for the sake of Vagan and their fallen comrades. He tells her that she's free to kill him if she ever finds him unworthy of Dole's sacrifice. Algreus leads the EFF fleet as it begins its operation to recapture Luna Base. Kio's new Gundam AGE-FX takes down a Danazine while Asemu's pirate ship Baronoke attacks from above with the other ships. Fram asks Zeheart to let her join him in battle, and Kio's X-Rounder abilities sense the approach of the Ghirarga and Fawn Farsia. Fram presses her attack with funnels, and Asemu arrives in the Gundam AGE-2 Dark Hound to help his son. Zeheart and Asemu fight each other and crash on the Moon's surface. Asemu tries to reveal the truth of Ezelcant's Eden plan, but Zeheart refuses to listen. Asemu goes on to explain that Ezelcant only wants to select a superior human race from the Federation and Vagan, but Zeheart still refuses to listen. After the battle, Ezelcant addresses his people on Second Moon about their impending recapture of Earth.

 

Zeheart asks Ezelcant what Project Eden really is and states that he's given up everything for the utopia he was promised. He asks if Ezelcant was deceiving him, and Ezelcant answers that he's selecting a superior human race to live in Eden. Zeheart asks him if he's trying to become God, and Ezelcant answers that Vagan conquering Earth will just lead to more fighting and people becoming like animals. Zeheart thinks that Ezelcant just wants to become a dictator, but Ezelcant explains that he read the history of warfare recorded in the EXA-DB. The human suffering convinced Ezelcant that an ideal utopia can't be created. Ezelcant coughs up blood from the Mars Ray disease and tells Zeheart that he wants humanity to evolve. He asks Zeheart to lead Vagan and make Project Eden a reality. Zeheart asks if Ezelcant wants him to be God, but he answers that he wants Zeheart to be the light that leads humanity. Zeheart decides to carry out Ezelcant's wishes and lead Vagan. In his head, the images of Desil, Daz and Dole mock him for following Ezelcant's mad plan. Zeheart states that he can't turn back now and has to keep fighting and bear all the hatred and sin. The EFF fleet gathers to face the Vagans, who have positioned La Gramis to protect Second Moon. Zeheart addresses all of Vagan and vows that they will take Earth and create their Eden. Algreus speaks to his fleet and tells them they must destroy La Gramis to prevent the Vagans from capturing Earth. Kio launches in the AGE-FX, followed by Asemu in the AGE-2 Dark Hound. Flit notices something odd about the Vagan fleet formation and realizes that the center fleet is a decoy. La Gramis fires the Digmazenon cannon and destroys multiple Federation ships. Fram pleads with Zeheart not to fight in the battle, but he insists that he must bear all the hatred. He thanks her for staying by his side and says he needs her. Zeheart sorties in the Gundam Legilis that he inherited from Ezelcant. Leil's Ghirarga Custom fights Seric Abis' Clanche Custom while Kio slices apart Danazines. Kio uses his funnels to block an incoming attack from Zeheart, who deploys his light funnels as a barrier. Kio creates a barrier around himself, but Fram intervenes to back up Zeheart. The Diva fires its photon blaster and creates a path through the Vagan fleet. Fram asks Zeheart to return to the ship and direct the battle while she deals with things. Zeheart tells himself he can't hesitate now and must eliminate all obstacles. He calls Ocramud and orders him to link up La Gramis with Second Moon and use its engines to fire the Digmazenon cannon again. Ocramud notes that their own soldiers would be caught in the blast, but Zeheart is willing to make that sacrifice for Eden.

 

The pieces of La Gramis separate and reform around Second Moon. The images of Daz, Desil and Dole once again question Zeheart about his devotion, and he vows that he can't turn back now. Zeheart calls Fram and asks her to lure the Gundams and the Diva into the Digmazenon cannon's line of fire. Despite knowing that it will cost her life, Fram accepts the order and takes off. Fram attacks Kio, but Asemu comes to his aid and takes over. Asemu uses his flasher to blind her until he's kicked by Leil. Kio and Flit both have an X-Rounder reaction to the impending firing of the Digmazenon cannon. Flit launches in the Gundam AGE-1 Glansa and tells everyone that the Diva's crew is retreating, but they need to stay until the last minute so that the Vagans don't catch on. Obright's Genoace O-Custom destroys the Ghirarga Custom, and though he's fatally wounded by Fram, he manages to do the same to her. Fram sees the image of Zeheart, and he apologizes for sacrificing her, vowing to make both her death and Dole's matter. Fram kisses the image of Zeheart and asks him to obtain Eden. The Digmazenon cannon fires, but Flit and Kio hitch a ride to safety with Asemu, while the Diva's crew evacuates to the Baronoke. Zeheart is shocked to see that the Gundams survived and is overwhelmed by images of disembodied hands dragging him into a pool of blood. He then launches again in the Gundam Legilis and vows to defeat the Asunos. Using his funnels, Zeheart destroys multiple mobile suits and battleships. Asemu attacks and rams into the Gundam Legilis with his lance. Asemu asks Zeheart what he's trying to accomplish, and Zeheart shouts that he's sacrificed everything for the sake of Eden. Asemu uses his lance to damage the Gundam Legilis' face, but Zeheart crushes it. Zeheart then kicks Asemu away and attacks with his funnels and beam saber. Asemu asks Zeheart what the point is of a cause that requires sacrificing one's own humanity. Asemu uses a beam saber to destroy Zeheart's rifle, and Zeheart slams Asemu into a battleship. Asemu uses his flasher to break free, but Zeheart destroys the ship. The two then punch each other, with the Gundam Legilis losing its arms and then being stabbed through the torso. Zeheart wakes up when Asemu calls out to him and floats over to his damaged cockpit. Zeheart is mortally wounded and tells Asemu that he hasn't changed. Asemu asks Zeheart why he changed so much, and Zeheart states that Ezelcant's real plan was not what he wanted, but he couldn't give up after so many sacrifices. He wanted to grant their wishes and leave a mark on history, even if it led to a false future. Zeheart thinks about how the future might've been different and if he could've remained friends with Asemu and Romary. Asemu says that no matter what paths they go down, the time they had was real and they'll always be friends. Zeheart pushes Asemu away and flies off before the Gundam Legilis explodes. On Earth, Romary looks up at the falling stars of the battle's destructions. The war eventually ends, and by AG 210 the Federation and Vagans have signed a peace treaty.

 

Commentary

 

It's no surprise that I was disappointed by how Gundam AGE's story developed during the Third Generation and Three Generations arcs. But then this compilation OVA comes along and removes much of that. Memory of Eden is a rather odd duck in terms of Gundam compilations because it doesn't seek to retell the entire story of the TV series. Instead, it narrowly focuses on the friendship and rivalry of Asemu and Zeheart. As a result, Flit and Kio hardly factor into the story and have all or most of their arcs cut down. The opening spends a lot more time developing the friendship between Asemu, Zeheart and Romary in new scenes. This has the effect of giving a bit more sting to Zeheart's eventual betrayal of Asemu. Asemu and Romary's relationship has also been changed to have them be childhood friends rather than strangers who have just become friends. When the story jumps forward to AG 164, it's all shown from Zeheart's perspective as he struggles to realize the dream of Eden. A new addition is the constant mental taunting Zeheart receives from the images of dead underlings, which reflects his own feelings of doubt and hesitation. It certainly gets bit creepy later with imagery of pools of blood and hands dragging Zeheart down. These scenes serve to show his mental imbalance and the twisted logic he employs to convince himself that he has to fight for a future he doesn't even want. Perhaps the biggest change is the final battle between Zeheart and Asemu. In the TV series, it was over in about a minute because Zeheart acted like a rage-fueled idiot who lost almost instantly. Now, he and Asemu have a much better fight that serves as a fitting end for their long rivalry. And with Zeheart's death, the story ends. Everything regarding Sid, Vagan Gear and the actual end to the final battle are not included here. The OVA adds some cosmetic changes to the battles, including Asemu using the AGE-1 Swordia from the PSP game and the Gundam Legilis being repainted in Zeheart's standard red colors. I'm not sure that Memory of Eden works as a standalone story for someone who has never seen the TV series before. However, if you have watched it and want a tighter focus on Asemu and Zeheart, then this OVA does a good job of providing that.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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