Gundam Build Fighters Try
by Lauren Orsini,
As a Gundam fan, I'd kill to live in the world of Gundam Build Fighters Try, and who wouldn't? During our preliminary world-building episodes, we've been introduced to the glorious power fantasy of Gunpla battling, supposedly an even better rush than the martial arts. Now the show introduces us to G-Muse, a Gunpla megastore the likes of which you might find in Times Square, complete with refreshments and an indoor Ferris Wheel.
However, the plot has to progress sometime which is why we're given a transitional episode here. Rumors of Team Try Fighters' Gunpla battle prowess are starting to disperse among the championship's major contenders. We see them so briefly that I can't begin to guess at their fighting styles, with the exception of a Gunpla battling swim team that is clearly going to bring it with aquatic models. (I guess Sunrise heard from KyoAni that swimming anime was hot right now.)
The major antagonist of this episode is a guy named Sakai Minato who clearly has it out for Sekai. (Sekai versus Sakai… did they run out of names or something?) Before we speculate about the chip on his shoulder, let's talk about dating. I am definitely missing the joke about Mr. Ral's itchy bottom, but nobody can miss the way this show is wasting no time in pairing its characters off.
The Gundam Build Fighters series does a great job balancing the two very different types of drama between cast members and battle opponents. Whenever a standard Gundam show fails to connect with audiences, I think it's because it focuses too much on drawn-out battles and less on what characters are fighting for in those battles. Sekai and Fumina's “date,” comically supervised by Mirai, is an interesting way to show the two's deepening bond in advance of a stressful moment on the battlefield for their team. It's interesting to see what Try chooses to play for laughs and what it decides to paint in an entirely serious light—like the SD Gunpla battle.
Last season, Caroline Yajima piloted Gundam Build Fighters' only SD suit, Knight Gundam. But since Caroline's battle was during a one-off side tournament and we already knew her as an over-the-top princess, it didn't come across as very serious. Chubby and chibi, SD Gunpla aren't the most dignified looking suits, but in Try, their conflict is pure badassery. It's a great precedent to set for when Fumina inevitably switches over to the SD model she has in the opening song: her battlefield antics won't be comic relief then.
One thing I'm a little cool on for this season are the increasingly overt lessons that frame every episode. From the beginning, Sekai has been the viewer avatar, and his naive view of the world (having never heard of Gunpla or dates) makes him the natural recipient of other character's lessons. This time, Sekai wraps the episode up neatly with a lesson he learned while Gunpla battling. Sadly, there was no obvious G-Gundam reference this episode, breaking our marvelous streak. That is, unless you consider how similar Musha Godmaru is to Domon's God Gundam.
It's no small number of series that sacrifice a whole episode to introduce an army of new characters for the oncoming plot. This episode just didn't have the usual Gundam Build Fighters magic, but I have high hopes for next week. There are a lot of loose ends right now, (how did the Plavsky particles come back?), but it heartens me that I can't recall a single detail left unexplained last season, so I doubt they'll miss anything this time around either.
Gundam Build Fighters Try is currently streaming on Gundam.info.
Lauren writes about anime and journalism at Otaku Journalist.
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