Gundam Build Fighters Try
Episode 17

by Lauren Orsini,

Wow, that Sekai sure is dense when it comes to girls, huh? I only wish I could share in his ignorance. This Gundam Build Fighters Try episode had me pondering some scientific and ethical questions that were fun to consider but took me out of the spirit of the show.

This week, Team Try Fighters is up against the triplets. They remind me a bit of The Renato Brothers, the similarly navy-haired twins from last season. Not only have the triplets figured out Sekai has an edge, they also claim to know the science behind it. It's a placebo effect that allows him to assimilate with his Gunpla, and a nocebo effect that causes him to take physical damage when he does. Wait, what? It's bad enough that we're explaining away the magic of Sekai's ability with junk science, but worse that placebo and nocebo already have well-documented meanings, and this is not what they mean.

There's an old saying that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. The Gundam Build Fighters universe has a bad habit of coming up with explanations for some apparently magical phenomena and completely ignoring others (like Reiji's interplanetary excursions). All I need to know is why things do what they do, not how. Plavsky particles interact with the Gunpla plastic to make them act real in battles. I don't need to know where they come from. I'm here for awesome robot fights!

Now, the triplets diagnosing Sekai's ability is questionable for another reason on ethical grounds. They realize that Sekai receives physical damage when he assimilates with his Gunpla, and their goal is to take advantage of that. “If you simply bent the Gunpla's joints backwards, the fighter would suffer severe pain.” Does this make the triplets evil? The usual goal in Gundam build fighting is to destroy or otherwise incapacitate the other team's Gunpla. If somebody participating has an ability that makes fighting painful, should that be disclosed? Should Meijin Kawaguchi (who is well aware of Sekai's ability) call for special precautions to be taken to ensure Sekai's safety? Should the Gunpla Police be notified?

Furthermore, it hasn't been addressed whether Sekai himself is aware of his ability. We saw in the hilarious introduction scene that he doesn't know anything about love. Does he realize that it's not normal to pass out after a battle? Is it Mr. Ral's obligation to tell him? Is Ral a bad chaperone for allowing Sekai to battle despite the complications? Ethics in Gundam Build Fighting is heavy stuff to think about.

As usual, the best part of the episode was the battle. Rather than being disappointed by the cliffhanger, I was energized. I'm glad that Gundam Build Fighters Try is switching up the pacing and giving us a long multi-stage battle. The field of this one, with its haunted house (and Gundam gargoyles!) was creative and fresh, and gave our heroes a lot of new ground to explore, and the second half of the episode was incredible for it. And not once was I concerned about the science behind those cool explosions.

Rating: B-

Gundam Build Fighters Try is currently streaming on Gundam.info.

Lauren writes about anime and journalism at Otaku Journalist.


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