In the year Advanced Generation (AG) 108, the space colony Orvan comes under attack from the Unknown Enemy’s Gafran mobile suits. Seven-year-old Flit Asuno ruins through flaming wreckage and finds his mother buried alive underneath a pile of rubble. His mother gives him the AGE device and tells him it contains something that he has to do in the future. She says that she’ll entrust his fate to the Gundam as she’s buried in more rubble. As a Gafran scans Flit, he calls out for his mother. In AG 115, Flit wakes up after having another dream about his mother’s death. As Flit hurries to get ready for school, he hears a news report about a Colony Express cargo ship coming under attack from the UE. The news report mentions The Day Angel Fell, which was the first UE attack in AG 101 that destroyed Colony Angel. Flit’s friend Emily Amonde knocks on the door and comments that Flit must’ve been working late since his eyes are red. Flit then knocks his Haro aside and runs off to school with Emily closely following. Flit and Emily run by the Federation Forces’ Arinston base and greet its commander, Hendrik Bruzar. Bruzar tells Flit that mobility tests will start later, and Flit explains to Emily that soon the Gundam will be able to move on its own. Haro jumps ahead of them and is nearly run over by a mobile pod equipped with the Gundam AGE-1‘s right arm. The pod is piloted by Emily’s grandfather, an engineer named Vargas Dyson. Flit wants to know why Vargas is using the Gundam AGE-1’s arm without telling him, and he demands that Vargas tell him in advance before doing anything involving the Gundam AGE-1. Flit and Emily barely reach their bus in time and head for school. Emily laughs about Flit being so serious when it comes to the Gundam AGE-1, and he says the Gundam AGE-1 is special to him. He recalls a butler in his old home on Orvan showing him a painting of the legendary savior Gundam that brought peace to the world and has long been connected to the Asuno family. Flit and Emily reach their class, and Dique Gunhale mentions the alien attack. Flit asks if he means the UE, and Dique says that since they’re unknown, they must be aliens. Dique thinks their home colony Nora is safe, and the teacher comes in to begin class. He asks Flit if he’s ok, and Flit in turn asks the teacher about the UE attack and if Nora should be preparing itself. Other students whisper about Flit being paranoid, and the teacher says if they were in danger, there’d be a report about it. Flit then shows his teacher a mathematical equation that he says proves Nora will be the next UE target. The teacher then yells at Flit that his head is filled with nonsense from working with the military. Flit thinks to himself that he’s not wrong and that the UE will attack Nora. In space, three Gafrans approach Nora and attach themselves to the colony’s exterior. Later, Flit and Emily go to a park for planetarium night. He wonders if he worries too much about the UE, and Emily comments that people on Nora think of UE attacks as a faraway thing because they’ve never experienced it. Flit wonders if the UE are really aliens and shows Emily the AGE device, which contains the specs for building the Gundam AGE-1. He believes that his mother wanted him to build the Gundam AGE-1 and fight to save the world. Several explosions go off in the city, and Flit spots the Gafrans.
The Gafrans land on the street and begin indiscriminately attacking both civilian and military targets. Bruzar tells deputy commander Grodek Ainoa to coordinate the defense for several colony blocks, but Grodek is momentarily distracted by the sight of Gafrans. Flit and Emily run to Arinston, and Vargas tells them to come inside. A Gafran destroys an APC and prepares to shoot Flit, but a Genoace emerges from the hangar and opens fire. Flit and Emily run inside the base, and Emily comments about the UE mobile suits, but Flit counters that they’re monsters, not mobile suits. Flit sees that the Gundam AGE-1 has been loaded into the trailer, and outside the Gafran destroys the Genoace. Flit wants to send the Gundam AGE-1 out to fight, and pilot Largan Drace agrees. Vargas says the Gundam AGE-1 isn’t ready to fight, but Flit insists that it is. Flit asks Largan to use the Gundam AGE-1, but Largan decides to instead use a Genoace. Flit then runs over to the trailer, but Vargas grabs onto him and tells him he isn’t a pilot. The hangar door opens so that Largan can launch, but the Gafran is crouched outside and immediately blasts the Genoace’s leg. Flit breaks free and watches several soldiers pull the injured Largan out of the Genoace. Flit insists that he has to fight because everyone could die, so Vargas relents. Vargas asks a soldier to take care of Emily so he can raise the trailer’s deck. Flit hops into the cockpit and activates the Gundam AGE-1 with the AGE device. Emily doesn’t like the idea of Flit fighting, but she thinks about how dedicated he’s been in building the Gundam AGE-1. Bruzar is shocked to hear that Flit is piloting the Gundam AGE-1 and asks him to make sure he survives. Flit launches in the Gundam AGE-1 Normal and heads outside of the hangar where the Gafrans are waiting. A Gafran turns and attacks Flit with a hand cannon, but the AGE-1 Normal deflects the shot. Another Gafran joins the fight, so Flit jumps over and attacks with a Genoace beam spray gun, which has no effect. He then pulls out a beam dagger and stabs the Gafran multiple times in the torso before pushing it away. A third Gafran scans Flit from the sky, and the second Gafran destroys the downed unit before the two fall back. Flit’s hands begin to shake, and Emily runs out to see the AGE-1 Normal. Largan limps over on a crutch and wonders how Flit got so good. Bruzar declares this as the first victory over the UE, but Grodek says defeating one enemy won’t change things. The Gafrans fire a colony destroyer at Nora from space, and Grodek says The Day Angel Fell is repeating.
To say the announcement of Gundam AGE was controversial would be an understatement. The announcement of any new Gundam series is always greeted by some complaints from Western fans, but AGE brought it to new levels. There were endless complaints then and now about the series appealing to a “kiddy” demographic. To be sure, AGE is appealing to a younger audience with its character designs and the involvement of Level 5. But that doesn’t automatically mean that it’s bad. What we have here is a pretty standard (if predictable) opening to a Gundam series that resembles the mood of early UC shows. There are some differences, of course. The Federation is under attack by the Unknown Enemy that remains unknown after 14 years of attacks. Given that they’ll destroy their own suits to prevent examination by the enemy, that’s not surprising. Since people assume the UE are aliens, I think that pretty much guarantees they won’t be. I expect a situation similar to Nadesico where presumed aliens turn out to be humans, but we’ll have to wait and see. As far as Gundam protagonists go, Flit Asuno seems to be cut from a different cloth. In a way, he’s the opposite of Shinn Asuka from DESTINY. Whereas the traumatic loss of his family made Shinn angry and vengeful, the same trauma has caused Flit to want to be protective and save everyone. This episode is not without its problems, however. It lays on a bit too thickly the notion of the Gundam being a savior. Flit also comes across as a Doogie Howser of mobile suits given his young age and genius that surpasses adults. I can accept that the kid’s gifted, but hopefully he won’t always be right about everything. As far as the savior aspect goes, the Gundam painting evokes thoughts of Turn A Gundam, with talk of historical Gundams saving the world. Only time will tell if there’s anything more to this, or if it’s just a visual nod to the RX-78-2 that many shows throw in. Gundam AGE doesn’t come across as the horrible baby’s show that some made it out to be, and I’m curious to see where it goes. I’ll temper my expectations in that regard – I’m an adult Westerner, so I’m clearly not the target audience for this series, but that’s ok.