Far, far away in a distant time, there is a tribe of people called the Golden Tribe who have the ability to create stars and foretell the future. They gave out a warning to those who have yet to mature: 'Move.'. Three tribes answered their call: the Silver Tribe, the Bronze Tribe, and the Heroic Tribe. Soon after, the Golden Tribe encountered a crashed ship in which only a baby human known as Age survived; they named the child's race the Iron Tribe and assigned one of the few living members of the Heroic Tribe to protect him and his race. Now, in a distant part of the galaxy, humanity is threatened with extinction at the hands of the other tribes. With only a prophecy to go on, they set out to the deepest depths of space to find their savior named Age -- humanity's last hope.
StorySci-fi has been one of my favourite genres since I first learned the meaning of entertainment; what's more, I have a mild, lay person's interest in anything to do with space, physics, philosophy, and politics. So Heroic Age, being developed around these exact topics, just could not go wrong in my eyes, right? To be fair, the premise is instantly gripping and full of endless promise; as we get to know the important characters which, on the face of it, appear wholly likeable, we are also introduced to a world steeped in a rich and distinctive history. Sadly, what subsequently follows is a senseless sequence of mecha battles coupled with an incongruous political subplot. Pretty much everything from the seventh episode onwards follows a familiar blueprint: the crew of the Argonaut, led by the beautiful psychic Deianeira, travel a little distance before inevitably coming across enemies whom they engage in a tactical space battle. Then they travel a little further, except, this time when they encounter the enemy, they are a bit cleverer and a bit harder to beat. I'm sure at some point the crew gets a brief respite on a peaceful planet somewhere, but soon they are off again, travelling and fighting, powering up and fighting, and so on and so forth until it all gets rather tedious. Heroic Age does attempt to establish a human political context as well, which, done well, would have added much depth to its sagging midsection. However, the answers to the dilemmas are too often obvious and who is at fault is always clear. I wish I could say the space battles make for compulsive viewing and thus help to relieve the bland plot developments, but that would be lying. Age and his adversaries spend several minutes roaring at each other and colliding with each other, and generally doing more damage to their environments than to each other. The battles are completely devoid of tension because the Nodos are seemingly invincible; it doesn't matter what they do - be it smashing each other through asteroids or blasting each other with black holes - they always come back unscathed. Needless to say, by the time I reached the halfway point, these problems had taken such a toll that even the elements built into the premise, such as the mystery of the Golden Tribe and the implications of the contracts they left to the Nodos, just could not hold my waning attention. Heroic Age also has a typical conclusion, the delivery of which shifts at various points from decent to senseless. Epic lessons are meant to be learned and interesting secrets of the universe uncovered, but the aforementioned flaws inevitably combine forces to cripple even that small experience; between the never-ending mecha fights, the overindulgent special effects, and the erratic and confusing monologues, the ending collapses without much effort into a cacophonous mess. Don't get me wrong - there are occasional highlights, but the overall product falls far short of the standard achieved by other contemporary titles such as Toward the Terra TV.AnimationWith shimmering galaxies, energy beams of all colours of the rainbow, and a token supernova in every fight, Heroic Age comes with enough gorgeous CGI trimmings to ruin an epileptic's day. Even the simple act of teleportation involves ethereal floating strands of light which must have dented the budget more than all of the other scenes put together. Sadly, for all that glitz and glamour, Heroic Age contains not an ounce of realism. For example, I can suspend my disbelief when Age, in his human form, traverses space without a protective suit - he is a mecha in hiding, after all. But when he can somehow stand on random floating bits of rock with no gravitational pull, and then breathes - yes, breathes - while a gentle space breeze musses his hair, my imagination really takes a battering. Although by no means the worst that I have seen, Heroic Age's aesthetic concept rarely looks more than acceptable; while the backgrounds are ostentatiously animated (albeit generic in design), the characters' hair and clothes are just blocks of colour with minimal detail, and their motion is not that smooth either. This contrast in quality is obvious at all times and does a lot to damage the viewing experience. On a more distracting level, every once in a while, a female will have overbearing breasts emphasised by the right gravity-defying outfit. Admiral Nillbar Nephew is an especially deformed case whose inspiring speeches are always undermined by the massive growths bursting from the front of her uniform.SoundHeroic Age is the kind of anime which accepts a well-known scientific theory, that because space has a lot of air, sound can travel with ease. Although this is a feature common to almost every sci-fi anime, Heroic Age, annoyingly enough, takes it to childish new extremes; for example, in Heroic Age's version of the universe, even insects will make an appropriate splat noise when blown up in the middle of space. As for the voice acting, it is decent most of the time, albeit not astounding; part of the problem is that half of the cast, namely the Silver Tribe, speak in hushed ‘mysterious' tones which, in fact, rob all of their scenes of any dynamism. The effect is such that whenever they hold a conversation, Heroic Age gets really boring really fast. The best Heroic Age has to offer lies with the soundtrack, which consists of fairly varied synthesised instrumentals. While the opening and ending themes are suitable yet unremarkable J-pop, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed all the themes in between; especially memorable are the eerie battle theme used for when events take a terrible turn, and Age's cheerful theme of flutes and plucked strings.CharactersWhat becomes clear by the time Heroic Age is halfway through is that none of the protagonists apart from Age have any distinctive backgrounds to speak of. They just are what they are, with no intricate motivations, no defining histories, no important memories... nothing. There is thus little to make sense of what drives them apart from the obvious wish to save their respective races from destruction. Perhaps the least enjoyable case of this would be Deianeira's stupid brothers, whose political scheming is about as subtle as a bullfight; they are the type of people who treat war like a game for glory and congratulate themselves for every massacre visited upon other races - they are in essence nothing more than stereotyped villains. Similarly, the Nodos are initially interesting because of their various skills and personalities, but they also fall into the trap of being clichéd slaves to the plot. Princess Deianeira herself is not much of a plus point either, since she spends the entire series being ‘brave' and cringing delicately as her psychic powers make her receptive to every damn battle happening light years away. Everyone loves her for her good sense, her intelligent decision-making, and her caring nature (and indeed, she is likeable for that), but what a shame that she is never tested in any meaningful sense in order to develop her personality. When she first arrives on the screen, she is bright and brave and flawlessly good, and when she leaves at the end, she is bright and brave and flawlessly good, and that's all there is to say about her. Probably the only individual who is a true pleasure to watch is the title's namesake, Age; he possesses a naive charisma and a childlike frankness which makes it impossible not to feel for him. Despite being unrealistically cheerful no matter what the war throws at him, he actually remains the most refreshing aspect of Heroic Age. His background as the only human to have been in contact with the mysterious Golden Tribe and his uniquely positive perspective make him intriguing in a way that the others are not; I often found myself enjoying the events a lot more whenever he was in a scene. Unfortunately, Age feels somewhat misplaced as a cast member because he gets so little screen time; apart from the first few episodes after the humans discover him, he is mostly fighting inane battles in his Bellcross mecha form. Because of this, he never develops either and Heroic Age's biggest asset thus goes to waste.OverallThere is just not an ounce of subtlety or originality to be found in Heroic Age - because of the poor character development and only the marginal role of human politics, it consists almost entirely of flashy, repetitive space battles. Still, Heroic Age builds largely on well-established clichés and is likely to remain mildly absorbing for any mainstream viewer; in fact, even if the subsequent events are far from innovative, for young teenagers and die-hard fans of space epics, there is definitely enough here to enjoy.
The story was well thought out, it was one of those animes which had everything planned from the beginning and almost or even every episode was story related. It could have had a bit more romance but there was some there. It had a great ending in my opinon, everything was cleared up and it didn't just end like other animes it ended with a new adventure. The animation was pretty good although I'm not really the one to comment on animations since I watch basically any animation. The action was nice, the main character was like super strong only 4 others stood a chance against him yet his fights with those 4 others were great, they last up to hundereds of hours at most (in the anime of course). The characters were good, the main character isn't one of those guys who has strength but always questions himself and has self doubt instead he just gives it his all. The Princess is a nice character you don't get to many animes where the main character falls for a girl like her most go for the tsundere girl most the time. The side characters were all good, and the I really liked how the pilot captain came to like the main character early on instead of trying to compete with him the whole time (those characters really annoy me, the ones who interfer with the main characters romance). Overall it was a great anime, it's probaly going to be a rewatch for me in the future, I really liked it the music wasn't bad either, I liked the song on the last episode. Give it a try.
This series is closer to seinen than shounen. I need to clarify this point because some people criticize the series for being a bad shounen. Many shounens tell the story of the hero's journey, from their home village like a fantasy epic arc Wheel of Time or Naruto. Heroic Age is right after the hero is at max power and comes back to the village to settle one last problem. Heroic Age is the story of what happens to the hero, to the human race, at the end of time and at the end of the hero's journey. It is not about a person growing up and maturing, the hero is already a mature warrior. The maturation process is actually seen in the other characters, the military leaders or fleet commanders. Another point of reference that's important, is that this series heavily revolves around the romance plot arc, and by romance I mean an actual 1 on 1 relationship, not a love triangle, not a drama about harems or teases in high school uniforms. The reason why I like this series enough to rewatch it several times, is because it shows a view most people will never see. The view of the strongest person in the universe. You'll have to watch the series to figure out what that means. A person that is immature or weak or insecure, that is always staring up at human society from the very bottom of the social resource ladder, cannot understand what it is to look down on humanity at the top of the tallest mountain in the world. It is a view, an accomplishment, that only the worthy deserve. There's also a bunch of psionic, telekinetic, psychic powers, that are combined with technology, except they never explain how it works. You just sort of figure it out as you go along, which makes it very easy to distinguish this universe from others with laser beams. It requires a significant use of brain power to guess or figure out why certain Tribes are more powerful than other ones, and why certain technologies are more efficient than other versions. Heroic Age demands a certain level of effort and ability to understand. The ending gets somewhat convoluted too, but not to the point where it spoils the early efforts. Also, if you ever had to deal with incompetent superiors that have totally trashed operations as a result of their refusal to listen to sound tactical and logistical advice, this series has a few episodes where it should trigger that flash back. One of those problems with going higher up in human society is that you tend to start meeting people who have been promoted beyond their competency level. Overall, the ending, aesthetics, music, and character development never got old when I watched this series. For people that like space opera on the level of the Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Heroic Age feels very similar. Also people who have played RTS or games like Homeworld or strategic simulators, will be in a better position to understand why certain leaders make decisions the way they do in this series. Unlike Shounen series which explain things over and over before and after they happen, they kind of expect you to know this already in this show.
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