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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Heroic Age DVD Set 1 and 2 Impression

Fans of Fafner, get ready for a story that will please you in both telling and design. Heroic Age from FUNimation delivers a galactic tale of conflict, succession and growth. The power to dominate one another leads a group of races to discover more about themselves and their place in the galaxy and it all begins with a young boy on a devastated planet.

Heroic Age DVD Set 1Heroic Age Complete Series Part 1
The Gold Tribe, a race of beings with the power to shape and create planets, to create starways along the universe, a race that left for a higher state of existence and thus left the universe in the hands of the remaining tribes. First the Silver, powerful and close in stature to the Gold, next the Bronze, a bug type of race eventually put into servitude for the Silver. Next the Heroic tribe, a race of war driven destroyers locked away by the Gold tribe and finally the Iron tribe, man, looked upon as the weakest race but one that holds so many keys. The Heroic tribe did so much damage the remaining five members were punished by the Gold tribe, forced to server the lesser tribes and fulfill a series of labors, task, in order to gain their freedom. These Heroic tribe members are referred to as Nodos, and it’s the Iron tribes Nodos, Age, his alignment with humans that begins a conflict with the Silver tribe as each race seeks to fulfill the Gold tribes prophecy as to whole will succeed them.

Age is discovered on a ruined planet, found by the human princess Dianeira who has her own special powers. As Age joins the humans he comes into conflict with the Bronze tribe sent to destroy him and the human ship. An incredible transformation occurs as Age changes into the Nodos Bellcross, his true Heroic Tribe form. After this conflict Age agrees, in all his childlike simplicity, to join the humans as their Nods and he begins his education in what are his 12 labors to fulfill. As their journey begins conflict awaits in the form of Karkinos, one of the Silver tribes Nodos, a battle on the neutral planet of Titarros. Not a battle to the death but one where Nodos fight and try to reason with one another. There are further conflicts as the humans look to regain their long lost planet, Earth, a conflict which ends with dire consequences as more Nodos enter the fray and two royal brothers cause mass destruction in the hopes of furthering their own agenda. As the battle comes to an end it’s Age who enters a frenzy, a state in which the universe could be destroyed.

First up the animation. This is just, dead on, like Fafner. The characters all have unique, long, sleek looks but nothing too spectacular. Rock solid each one, but yeah, just like Fafner. The Nodos design are interesting as they are not mech, but rather creatures, ones with intense and scary power and while their human like appearance are usually gentle, once they change, Age and his other Heroic tribe buddies look plain badass. The story is very enjoyable and a lot of this is due to Age. He grew on a planet by himself, partly raised by the Gold tribe, so his exposure to the princess among other thing is fun to watch. While the background is well explained in each intro sequence overall it moves very quickly. We’ve got tribes and conflict, a prophecy to fulfill and some military and royal hierarchy not fully explained. What issues did I have, first the races. There is a neutral planet, Titarros, but its inhabitants don’t seem to fall into any one tribe. The humans don’t really reveal where they come from, but they want to get earth back. They talk of military and there is a princess, but overall structure is left unanswered. Ditto for the Bronze and Silver tribes. There just seems to be a lot of background missing, but at the end of the day the story still moves along. Age is the center and as long as viewer can keep their eye on the target, Age, then they will enjoy this series.

Heroic Age DVD Set 2
Heroic Age Complete Series Part 2
The princess steps in to help Age back from the brink of utter chaos as the battle for the Sol system resumes. This battle leaves one Nodos, Mehitok, weakened but he joins Age as he’s now fulfilled his labors. With a devastated Earth retaken the Iron tribe now decides to go after the Silvers home planet, to end their conflict. Very sure of their power, what Age provides them, it’s again the brothers who decide to battle in neutral space. The fight almost leads to the destruction of the Bronze home planet before it’s realized they are just slaves. The reasons for the conflict between Silver and Iron come to light as the Silver are not ruled by their emotions, have no true home planet to speak of and see themselves as the children of prophecy set by the Gold. They look to wipe out an inferior race in the Iron tribe and have no qualms about using their Nodos and the Bronze as pawns. As the Nodos continue to battle and fulfill their labors, it’s the Silver and Iron tribes who connect and seek to understand one another, an understanding that may be too late as there are those in the Silver tribe who seek destruction.

The princess works with the Silver tribe and learns of how to create Starways, a method only possible by the Gold before, a method that leads to the Gold’s home planet and hopefully revelations about the path the Gold took and what the answer to their prophecy is. The final conflict is at hand as two Nodos, Age included, enter a state of Fury. The final path is revealed, the Silver look to take it and the fate of Age and his fellow Nodos is set.

Ok, so there are a lot of story points I’m glazing over, many revelations by the Nodos, how they realize and coming into their own power, but unless I want to write an episode by episode synopsis I’ll stick with the above. The story is one of discovery. The Silver and Iron discovering each other and their place, the Nodos learning from their labors. The Gold tribe laid out an elaborate plan which (SPOILER) sees the silver follow them to the next plain via a gate created only by the cooperation of the Nodos and sees humans truly inherit the galaxy to continue to grown and evolve. The sad thing about the ending is what happens to Age, it’s quite bittersweet. The ending will leave viewers a bit happy, but also sad, it’s one of those.

Overall while I went over 20+ episodes pretty quick Heroic Age is a well designed anime that delivers a story, while filled with holes and gaps in background, does deliver some charming characters and the fulfillment of a prophecy that leaves viewers satisfied at the end. There is resolution, this is no Evangelion needing movies to make fans happy, and at the end of the day it’s a good mech-ish anime in the vein of Fafner. Enjoy, I do recommend this series.

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