Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE ?
Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE has the highest stakes of any show in the Build Fighters universe, and the protagonists barely even notice. While Gundam Build Fighters, Gundam Build Fighters Try, and Gundam Build Divers based their plots on wins and losses in competitive gaming for the most part, Re:RISE has thousands of lives at stake. It's been clear to the audience for a while that Eldora just might get its name from the El Divers that inhabit it, and the dramatic irony of the series has been how few of the Build Divers suspect this. With the prophetic title “Last Mission,” this episode follows our protagonists as they finally get it through their thick skulls that they have the chance to become real heroes, not just play them in games. This episode is better than usual because it addresses the audience's curiosity at a time that the characters still aren't quite on our level.
Protagonist obliviousness status: two out of four. Hiroto, who got injured in real life after a digital mission, and May, an honest-to-goodness El Diver are clued in to what's really at stake, but they haven't told Kazami and Parviz for increasingly unforgiveable reasons. If Kazami knew what was going on, I'd say he was a jerk for telling their glowing purple enemy about the rebel base of operations, but he has made it repeatedly clear that he's confident this is just a game. Really, Hiroto and May are jerks for not setting him straight before he started running his mouth. Right now it's just an information race, and whichever side figures out what the other side knows first is going to have the advantage.
Unfortunately, Alus, the enemy entity has all the cards in that case. “Why are you with that thing?” it asks, referring to Freddie. The use of “thing,” suggests that the opposition knows that Eldora is a planet of El Divers and is working to keep their population at bay. Perhaps it is a holdover from the Gundam Build Divers era—remember how just a single El Diver, Sarah, was enough of a data drain to compromise the game? This is getting bigger than Team Build Divers and is giving the audience a lot of new things to chew on, plotwise: why is there an orbital cannon inside Eldora's moon? What is Alus's purpose? And what does all of this have to do with the Coalition of Volunteers and Eve's disappearance?
I'm not sure if this is a 12 or 24-episode show, but either way this is the penultimate episode of something, either an arc or the series itself. This has become more like a Gundam show than a Gunpla-focused spin-off—possibly everything is real, including the lives at stake. I think that's the purpose of Stola's arc in particular; his determination to fight for his people humanizes him, and his people as a whole, even if they are digital lifeforms that Alus thinks of as “things.” Then, right before the episode ended, the sheer number of enemies the Build Divers will need to fight appeared to be an impossible task. Like in Gundam 00 or Gundam Wing, a handful of teens in mobile suits are our last hope for saving the world. By returning to a tried-and-true Gundam multiverse formula, this show has gotten its groove back.
Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren helps Gundam fans build their own model kits at Gunpla 101.
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