Okay, I’ll probably loose some geek cred for this one, but I’m not a huge anime fan. I will even say that at one time I didn’t realize there was difference between the Gundam and Macross worlds. For years, I never delved into either properly. When I have tried an anime here and there I’ve never made it through more than 1 or 2 episodes.
Fast forward to this recent times. I think my love for Kamen Rider Gaim has been documented here, so maybe I’m liking Japanese styling more. The Fanholes Podcast has been covering Gundam Build Fighters episode by episode. Much like my experience with Gaim, I thought I would give an episode a try.
I’ll admit. The first episode confused me a bit. Maybe I was distracted, but I’m not sure. However, I watched a couple episodes, and then stopped for a bit. Then I went back and it really caught hold with me.
The story revolves around Sei Iori and a stranger he meets named Reiji. Sei is really interested in Gunpla due to his absent father competition history in the sport.
What is Gunpla, you ask? This is where the series kind of diverges from some of the more traditional Gundam series. Gunpla is the battling of model kits at a special table. The models are set on the table along with a “GP Base” for each fighter. The base is a cell phone like thing that allows control. The table then emits “Plavsky Particles” around the models. The particles are what allows the models to move. The system then constructs a random virtual environment for the battle. At the same time, a virtual cockpit is formed around each of the players.
Some of the players are excellent builders. The stronger model and more well built it is, the better it performs. Other players are excellent fighters. These players have an natural talent contolling Gunpla models. Sei is an excellent builder and through a series of events teams up with Reiji who is a natural fighter.
The main story line involves following the heroes through a local tournament and on to the Gunpla World Champoinship. In this universe, Gunpla is a world wide phenomenon and people are aggressively completing to win. Sponsorships and corporations get involved along the way to add intrigue to the competition.
Obviously, the only that is going to get damaged in the battles is the figures. So there is no real sense of danger for the characters. However, the story is immersive enough, the characters are putting their all into it. and the sense they are in the suit is real.
In short, think of this as the competition part of Glee for action figure collectors. It’s a competition, and they are working their way through the ranks. I really didn’t think I would be able to get into it, but it’s well done and pulls you in. The first couple episodes are a little slow, but keep going and give it a fair shot. The stakes keep getting raised and the adversaries keep getting stronger. I’ll put a link to Episode 1 below to get you started.
Engineernerd Score: 4 out of 5 Blue Slushies
PS. If you do proceed further, watch your searches and the results. The second series is “Gundam Build Fighters Try”. The key being the word “Try” on the end. Make sure you don’t mix the two up, because the search results will sometimes show both. As for Build Fighters Try, I may have already watch the whole thing. It’s connected, but only tangentially. And maybe I was inspired to buy something Gundam related that will show up in the near future….