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Gundam

Anime Expo '17 photo
Anime Expo '17

Meet the real Meijin Kawaguchi at Anime Expo '17


Will he wear the flashy shades?
Jun 21
// Salvador G Rodiles
Now here's a familiar name from an awesome Gundam anime. It turns out that Bluefin will have the Master of GunPla (Gundam and plastic fused together), Meijin Kawaguchi, appear at this year's Anime Expo. Of course, the pe...
Gundam Twilight Axis photo
Gundam Twilight Axis

Look forward to more Universal Century anime goodness this June with Gundam Twilight Axis


Will 2017 be the Year of the Gundam?
Mar 26
// Salvador G Rodiles
With Gundam Thunderbolt's second season launching on GundamInfo, Sunrise revealed that they have another Gundam project in store for us. Just like the current Universal Century show, their new title, an adaptation of the...
Gundam photo
Gundam

Unicorn Gundam to replace Gundam statue at Odaiba


Hello Unicorn, Goodbye Gundam
Mar 06
// Red Veron
If you never got the chance to have your picture taken with the life size Gundam in Odaiba, well I regretfully must inform you that last Sunday was the final day to view the Mobile Suit from the titular Mobile Suit Gundam. Th...
Gundam Wing photo
JUST COMMUNICATION with the staff
The fine folks from Nozomi Entertainment just announced that they will be releasing the Blu-ray and DVD of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing in the US later this year. Soon, you shall be able to relive the glorious moments of...


Vertical photo
Vertical

Vertical announces a lot of manga licenses at Katsucon


Read Arakawa manga while under a bridge
Feb 22
// Red Veron
Last weekend at Katsucon, North American publisher Vertical announced a few interesting licenses for you to enjoy in the physical format. Why am emphasizing the "physical" aspect? One of the first few licenses they announced ...
Free Anime photo
Free Anime

Hey USA, chill out and watch some free streaming anime


You deserve a break today
Nov 08
// Red Veron
Hey there, USA. I hear you've got a big day today. If you've done your civic duty as a US citizen and/or just tired of all the crazy stuff from the past year, it's time to chill out for a little bit and maybe enjoy some free ...

Review: Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force

Sep 03 // Red Veron
Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS Force (PlayStation Vita)Developer: Bandai Namco EntertainmentPublisher: Banday Namco EntertainmentReleased: July 12, 2016MSRP: $39.99 Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is the first time that the long running Gundam VS game series from Japan has ever hit the overseas markets. First thing to make clear, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is not a one of the many third person shooter games that litter the gaming landscape these days nor just a simple action game at first glance. Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is more that of a competitive fighting game, and can get technical with each Gundam unit acting as its own unique playable character with its own moves and style of play. Another thing that makes this game different is that the controls are more arcade action game which is no surprise since this game first started out as an arcade game then came to home consoles. This may turn off those wanting to pick up a Gundam game expecting to be a bad ass and start blowing stuff up like in the many previous games in the franchise. The game is split between two types of play: "Versus" type, where you and a partner fight two other opponents at a time in small arenas; and "Force" type, a MOBA-like mode that focuses on different objectives to win the mission. Versus type is a head-to-head duel with an AI partner against one or two opponents, sometimes even more. This mode focuses on solely trying to defeat the enemy force until their bar depletes to zero and they cannot respawn anymore. Force type is a tactical mode wherein two sides fight to take over different points on a battlefield. Captured turret points spawn minions that provide a little bit of resistance to the enemy side but can help contribute to winning missions. Win conditions can vary from destroying all enemies to capturing all the points in the map to escorting allies to points. This mode gets even more tactical with capturing points yields force points that allow power ups that can increase your side's attack power or defense to even using your ally spaceship's large gun to attack the enemy ship. The main campaign mode new to the series in this game, Extreme Force mode, will let you go through a series of Force mode scenario missions with some Versus mode duels sprinkled in the game. The missions in the game can be replayed with mini-goals that increase replay value, these vary from finishing it under a certain time, taking no damage, not losing any units, etc.  This single player mode has a very lean story used as framing device as a way to allow you to replay various story segments primarily from the main Gundam universe, with a few from the alternate Gundam universes, and some original "remix" missions unique to the game. Each mobile suit has a unique style and weapons with most mobile suits handling differently from each other such as certain mobile suits focusing on melee combat while others excel in projectile and ranged combat. The controls do take getting used to and learning each one does take a little bit of time but sometimes new missions will drop you into the cockpit of a new suit that completely controls differently than the last and will not let you switch to any familiar suits until you beat that mission. Though this seems counterproductive to player progression, it does let the player try out the different suits and helps out in finding one that suits your style (no pun intended). The degree of learning and involvement that required to progress with the game may slow down some players, but the option to somewhat brute force your way into the game by trying different tactics or even spending extra points on some a temporary boost can help quite a bit, which I did while trying to learn the different Mobile Suits. One gameplay mechanic that is integral in surviving in the game is dodging enemy fire by using your mobile suit's boosters to dash quickly, which takes some practice to get down and can be a challenge, sometimes it seems like you need to be psychic (or a newtype) to be able to dodge the barrage of enemy fire. The lack of right stick aiming might turn off players but the auto-targeting makes all about timing your shots carefully. I'm not a fighting game fan and I somewhat steer clear of fighting games because of the sheer technicality and depth found in the genre that impresses and intimidates me at the same time because I don't think I will be ever good enough. However, this game has me hooked and has me coming back for more. The aforementioned control system is very much designed for fighting in an open field with one or two enemies, this is perfect for versus mode where this system was designed in mind whereas it might trip you up in Force mode when enemies aren't focusing on just fighting you. The lock-on also becomes a bit of problem when disengaging a lock-on with an enemy that flies past you while you still want to move forward. The whole control system reminds me of those old Gundam games on PlayStation 2, but much more refined and surprisingly works well for establishing a uniform control system for all the mobile suits despite the uniqueness of the suits. Gundam fans will enjoy this game with the lineup of mobile suits from the original series all the way to the latest entry, Iron Bloded Orphans. Gundam fans will enjoy it more than non-fans, knowing the characters and settings adds to the experience but is not really necessary for those wanting some robot action. Visually, the game looks good on the PlayStation Vita's screen while in motion (as well as PlayStation TV), the screenshots in this review do not give it justice. I don't recall any slowdown while playing this game and does keep up well with the intense twitchy action. One thing that the game does lack is an online enabled multiplayer mode with only an ad-hoc mode available for multiplayer. Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is not for everyone, but do not let this scare off anyone interested in wanting a game that rewards those willing to learn all the ins and outs without much hand-holding. Nowadays, more and more games are leaning towards that direction and this game came at the right time for those looking for a bit of depth in their giant robot action game.  [embed]35190:5810:0[/embed]
Gundam EXVS Force photo
This is not an anime
The Mobile Suit Gundam franchise is a franchise known worldwide and is often dubbed as Japan's equivalent to Star Wars, this long enduring saga since its debut in 1979 has spawned a multimedia empire with thousands of TV...

Turn A Gundam photo
Turn A Gundam

Moonlight Butterfly: Right Stuf to release Turn A Gundam on Blu-ray


DVD owners are in for a sweet deal
Aug 14
// Salvador G Rodiles
Right Stuf has been on a good roll with their plan to release the older Gundam titles on Blu-ray. During their Otakon '16, the company mentioned that Turn A Gundam is getting the Blu-ray treatment next year. For those who bou...
Daisuki.net photo
Daisuki.net

Daisuki jumps on the premium service bandwagon


Will this improve the Website's quality?
Jul 06
// Salvador G Rodiles
As many streaming sites are currently offering premium services, it was only a matter of time until the gang at Daisuki would add this feature to their Website. Lo and behold, this day has arrived, and the beta for the premiu...
Super Robot Wars V photo
Super Robot Wars V

Maximize your body temperature with nine minutes of Super Robot Wars V


There's no stopping this heat
Jun 05
// Salvador G Rodiles
Ever since the Playstation 4 came into existence, I was waiting for the day that we would get a crossover Super Robot Wars title on the system. As Bandai Namco reveals Super Robot Wars V as the second game in the series to c...
Gundam photo
Gundam

This Lobster Shell Sazabi model looks as cool as the real thing


Who needs Gunpla when you have lobsters?
Mar 14
// Salvador G Rodiles
Move aside, plastic. There's a new material in town that can be used to make Gundam models and it can be obtained from a delicious delicacy. Instead of hunting down a Gunpla kit, Niconico User Nurezokin's younger brother dec...

Annotated Anime: Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans episodes 4-5

Nov 10 // Josh Tolentino
Iron-Blooded Orphans' fourth episode mostly consists of place-setting, giving out more details as to the situation between Earth and Mars (more on that in a bit), as well as emphasizing what's at stake for the people involved. Now that Tekkadan has its first job - escorting Aina to Earth to appeal for Martian independence - the crew need to go about the hard work of, y'know, getting her to Earth. With Orga and the other leaders off getting CGS' old space-ride up to spec (and sleazebucket Todo planning some kind of betrayal), Mikazuki and the others get some downtime, which they spend picking corn from Biscuit's family farm. It's here that the orphans' hard-luck situation is underlined further. Crappy economics and the stigma of being "Human Debris" - slaves, basically - mean that Tekkadan is their only chance at an honest living. Incidentally, the episode also lays out a little bit more background on Earth's history in the Iron-Blooded Orphans setting. I love this sort of stuff, mainly because of sci-fi anime's propensity for redrawing the map in hilarious, color-coded ways. It's always fun to see the way a given setting organizes its world can clue you into its own worldview. In this case, Earth's four power blocs include the U.S. and Latin America united in the SAU, East Asia, Australia, Oceania, and the subcontinent in their own little co-prosperity sphere, and Europe largely absorbed by Africa, the Middle East, and West Asia. Poor Russia has to make do with Canada and Alaska. All things considered, it's not quite as farfetched as some other anime world maps I've seen, though one can't help but wonder just what in the world took out that huge chunk of New South Wales. A meteor capable of making a crater that big would compare favorably to the one that killed the dinosaurs! Mikazuki also has a run-in with Fareed and Gaelio, who are on Mars trying to investigate just what it is Major Coral is hiding. A bit of bad driving later, Mikazuki accidentally starts a rivalry with both Gjallarhorn agents, and Fareed gets to pull his Candy Man schtick on a couple of kids.  All the setup here pays off in episode five, where the Tekkadan heads to space for the first time. Todo's betrayal - selling out Aina to the Tekkadan's would-be guides and Gjallarhorn - goes down, only to reveal that Orga had it thought through. He's a smart guy not to trust the smirking geezer sporting a Hitler mustache. This is where Tekkadan's own White Base, an assault ship redubbed the Isaribi comes into play, debuting with an asteroid-based anchor turn straight from that awful Battleship live-action movie. It looks better than it sounds. What doesn't look as great is Gundam Barbatos' first turn at space combat. Conceptually, it's great. Nobody in Iron-Blooded Orphans has any beam weapons yet, so it's all about bullets and heavy steel axes, including Barbatos' awesome hybrid of poleax, lance, and pile bunker. For a guy who's never flown, Mikazuki seems a natural at space combat, something Fareed puts down to the kid's Alaya-Vijnana System. Simply put, not only do the horns on Mikazuki's back make the Gundam behave like his own body, but expand his awareness like some kind of Cyber-Newtype (but without the whole thing with "This Pressure!!!"). Strong as that is, though, it's a thing Fareed quickly learns to exploit, targeting the extraneous, spiky bits that Mikazuki can't "feel" naturally, like Barbatos' thrusters. You don't mess with the chocolate man. On a side note, it's interesting to see the closest thing this Gundam has to the "Newtype" archetype cast as something forced on only the lowest of the low classes. Everywhere else, Newtypes are the future of human evolution. In Iron-Blooded Orphans, they're a form of mutilation and, like Gundam Frames, a relic of an old, irrelevant war. That's a contrast I'm actually hoping the show is bold enough to take further. With a bold rescue and a traitor disposed of, we're 2 for 2 in Tekkadan's favor, and despite the fact that Orga, Mikazuki, and the crew have come out ahead pretty much every time they've gone up against the odds, what's fun about Iron-Blooded Orphans is that it still feels pretty great to root for these perpetual underdogs.  [Check out Iron-Blooded Orphans every week on Daisuki and YouTube!]
Iron-Blooded Orphans photo
The Candy Man Can
It's been a little while since we last checked in with Iron-Blooded Orphans, and as a result, we're a little behind. Stuff is definitely happening, though, from table-setting in cornfields to the beginning of what is clearly the Tekkadan's rise to power. Now, won't you take these sweets as a form of apology?

Gundam photo
Gundam

Raise your flag for Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans' chiptune opening


Mars has gone retro
Nov 01
// Salvador G Rodiles
With a new Gundam show airing this season, it was only a matter of time until Studio Megaane would use his amazing skills to give Barbatos a retro upgrade. Once again, the guy did an amazing job with capturing the essen...
Gundam the Origin 2 photo
Gundam the Origin 2

Have your first lengthy look at the next episode of Gundam: The Origin


That Artesia, she sad
Oct 21
// Josh Tolentino
It looks like the hot, shirtless boys of Iron-Blooded Orphans aren't the only game in town when it comes to Gundam. There's also the undying chronicles of the Universal Century, which Bandai will never abandon so long a...
Iron-Blooded Orphans photo
Iron-Blooded Orphans

Annotated Anime: Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans episode 3


When Iron Flowers Bloom
Oct 20
// Josh Tolentino
Back when first wrote about Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, I noted that the show's more morally ambiguous, grittier approach seemed to set it apart from its peers in mainline Gundam fiction. As of the latest episode, that sentiment continues to hold true.
Gundam Iron Blood Orphans photo
Gundam Iron Blood Orphans

First Impressions: Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans


Steel Yourself
Oct 11
// Josh Tolentino
Another year, another new Gundam series. My interest in Sunrise and Bandai's flagship has waxed and waned over the years, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm rarely attracted to the "mainline" shows that make up the core ...
Gundam photo
Gundam

Simulcast GET: Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans heads to Daisuki.net and Hulu


New Gundam series for everyone!
Sep 30
// Salvador G Rodiles
It looks like there's another good reason to be a Gundam fan this year, since the upcoming series, Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans, hits Daisuki.net and Hulu on Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Japan Standard Time/3:30 a.m. Pacifi...
Gundam VS Force photo
Gundam VS Force

Praise G: Gundam Extreme VS Force heads to Asia in English


Cheers, Mobile Suit fans!
Sep 17
// Salvador G Rodiles
Now here's something that you don't see every day: During TGS '15's SCEJA Conference Asia Session, the folks at Bandai Namco have announced that they're bringing Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force, the upcoming title i...
G-Tekketsu photo
G-Tekketsu

Rejoice? The next Gundam series gets Anohana's Director and Writer


The Gundam We Saw That Day
Jul 15
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: GundamInfo posted a recap video of the show's press conference, which can be watched below] Now this is what I like to call an unexpected turn of events. During the live stream for the next Gundam series, Mobile Sui...
Gundam photo
Gundam

AX '15: Right Stuf to release Zeta Gundam, Victory Gundam, and more


Believe in the Sign of Zeta
Jul 05
// Salvador G Rodiles
Good news, everyone; during Anime Expo '15, the gang at Right Stuf have revealed the next phase of their Gundam distribution deal with Sunrise. This time around, the company plans to release Victory Gundam, Gundam X,&nbs...

Final Impressions: Gundam Build Fighters Try

Apr 06 // Josh Tolentino
Really, Build Fighters may have the scrappy, underdog attitude, but the loud, proud commercials for the HGBF line of new plastic models, carefully timed to come after every opening theme and every credit roll, speak to the depth of support the show actually has. Hell, the first season was the Gundam show of its season, with no other "name" to share the slot. It wasn't a one-off, never-to-be-repeated side journey. This was Bandai doing what Bandai does with Gundam, and growing a new limb in the series' ever-branching fictional universes. The Build Fighters universe stands as an equal peer along the siblings that birthed 00, SEED, and the rest. Heck, in a meta sense, it might even last longer, since some of the modularity and universality introduced with the Build Fighters models is sure to trickle into future lines, long after the series have come and gone. But back to the thing I said about scrappy attitudes and such. Regardless of how much of a sure thing Sunrise and Bandai did or didn't believe it would end up, Build Fighters went in like a show with something to prove. It never let up and reaffirmed that the most important thing about Gundam in this day and age isn't sudsy ruminations about war and peace, or about pretty boys getting angry with each other, or even the sci-fi applications of large robots and the mysterious particles that power them. Don't get me wrong, that's all pretty important, but most important thing is having a love of plastic models (especially Bandai's many Gundam-branded plastic models) and the buying, assembling, and customizing thereof. As in the case of Reiji, a love of the Gundam fiction isn't even required, just a love of Gunpla and Gunpla Battle, which represents the prime good and ultimate virtue of joyful competition.  In a sense, then, it's all the more fitting that Build Fighters Try ends at the Meijin Cup, a thinly veiled reference to the yearly Gunpla-customization contest that Bandai holds, though of course, the Build Fighters-verse's Meijin Cup is a contest held with all the pageantry of the Oscars or Golden Globes, all to celebrate some hot-ass customs of all your favorite plastic robots.  The Meijin Cup is right where everyone loves Gunpla for what it is in both this and other worlds: a lovely little modelling hobby. It's where models are judged not on their battle prowess but build quality, where a young Sazaki brother can build a budding bromance with the sickly little kid that never used the stickers, and where you can put together designs as conventional as a Zeta reinterpretation of the Lightning Gundam to...a horrifically embarrassing tribute to everyone's favorite Try Fighter, Fumina. Side note: The designer for Super Fumina is none other than than Fumikane Shimada, known to girls-with-robot-bits-on-'em connoisseurs as the guy behind Strike Witches and more than a few Kantai Collection Fleet Girls. And he did a pretty good job, too, referencing Fumina's first Gunpla, her Powered GM Cardigan, in the design. Anyway, the episode's basically a long victory lap, waxing eloquent about how transformative Gunpla fandom can be, or more philosophically, being a fan, and engaging (positively, of course!) with the subculture that fandom provides. It makes a best-case scenario for when subcultures conquer the world (though to be fair, Gunpla is mainstream "over there" in ways it will never ever be in our universe), and treasures the joy that can only come from experiencing the deeper aspects of fandom for the first time. That said, for as much thematic weight as this last episode carries, structurally it falls prey to the same weaknesses that doom Build Fighters Try to live in the shadow of its predecessor. With the drama all over last week, this week's episode feels weightless, as inconsequential as it is in truth. It's quite similar to the "Gunpla Fair" episode in season one, as it features lots of downtime, low-stakes dustups, and friendly, "let's all be Gunpla Battle fans together" character dynamics. And like season one's version, it would've been much better before the final fight. It's all well and good that Build Fighters Try is striking out for itself, and building its own mythology and stable of original designs. Frankly, I'm not that big a gunpla fan, so I don't even care that most of the biggest stars of the show couldn't possibly be reconstructed using stock parts, the same way that the Star Build Strike, Zaku Amazing, or Wing Fenice were "based" on something "real" to the Gundam fiction. It doesn't really matter that Sekai had to have had access to a 3D printer or nanomachines to have made his Kamiki Burning Gundam a reality, because this is a show where magic fairy dust makes the dolls move like they do in the cartoons. Ultimately, the problems with Build Fighters Try were more in the narrative than in its world-building. Chief among these is that unlike the previous season, the kinds of rivalries and friendships that got built up over the whole series didn't get the room they needed to breath, grow, and establish themselves. In part this was due to the team structure. Many of the most compelling rivalries were between people who would never end up fighting each other. I'd have loved to see how Fumina could match her Star Winning against Sekai or Yuuma's Gunpla, and the series itself acknowledges as much when it refers to Wilfrid and Adou's never-to-be dream duel. But that's small change compared to the way earlier competitors were muscled out of the way once the Nationals started. I can guess that the creators were intent on giving the Try Fighters good opponents from the get-go, to avoid the stint of mook-victories Sei and Reiji went on on their road to the World Championship, but that only makes the pain of seeing Gyanko and Simon Izuna sit on the sidelines for episode after episode more acute. Sure, the Gunpla Academy, Sekai's senpai, and even the SD-R triplets were more compelling adversaries, but it's impossible not to imagine how much better those matches would've been had we, the audience, been nursing a desire to see them fight for realz on the promised day. We cared about the fight between Fellini and Reiji because Fellini had spent most of the series mentoring Reiji - it was a classic master-student showdown. We cared about the fight between Sei and Mao because Mao had been so friendly and helpful every other time, and this was finally were the gloves had to come off. And so on. Build Fighters Try needed to let those relationships grow to bear that sweet emotional fruit, but sadly the show planted the seeds halfway through, instead of at the start. That aside, Build Fighters Try's only crime is in being less impressive than its forebear, and being slightly less awesome than something that's pretty awesome is a decent enough failure to live with. I for one, can't wait for the planned OVA to surface later this year. 
Build Fighters Try photo
A Good Try
In my mind, in the story I've built for myself for lack of genuine information, Gundam Build Fighters is The Little Gundam That Could, a show and concept that someone in the bowels of Bandai or Sunrise had to fight ...

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episodes 23-24

Mar 30 // Josh Tolentino
If you were thinking that Sunrise would be using up two of the season's last three episodes for the battle everyone's been waiting for - the championship bout between Celestial Sphere and the Try Fighters - you'd be wrong. Episode 23 is all prep work, which feels a little bit ludicrous. Don't get me wrong: I'm no fan of overly drawn-out fights, but honestly, the kind of pep talks and character building and introspection involved in episode 23 hardly merits taking up all the allotted time. If I were in charge, I'd have compressed the sequence to the first half and spent the second half and the rest of episode 24 on the fight proper. For better or worse, though, I'm not in charge, and episode 23 reiterates a number of points we've heard before, including the not-exactly-new revelation that Sekai considers himself an amateur, unqualified to truly call himself a "build fighter" (title mention!) due to his inexperience with the building and Gundam lore aspect of the Gunpla Battle scene. That seems a bit at odds with Build Fighters' "enjoy Gunpla however you like" philosophy, but it does stand to reason that the idealized Gunpla Battler would be someone who's at least willing to try engaging with Gunpla on its most involved terms. Let's remember that even if Reiji never watched a Gundam episode in his life, even he got to building his own Gunpla. Besides the brief episode introducing Minato Sakai, Sekai's yet to fly his own work, content to win in Sei, then Yuuma's assemblies.  But of course, now's not the time to play snap-build, because there's fightin' to be done and championships to be won, and while I have my issues with the pacing of the episodes (and the series as a whole), there's no denying that this final battle is one of the most intense Sunrise have delivered for the franchise to date. Going above and beyond the previous encounters, everyone involved in the championship match gets a moment to shine, as well as work together as a team. There's something for every kind of battling fan here: For the teamplay enthusiasts, seeing everyone cooperating, doing combo attacks, and actually using tactics is a treat. Fans of one-on-one dueling and precious drama get that in spades too, as Fumina, Yuuma, Adou, and Shia all take each other out of contention with all the theatrics and epic, trope-filled Gundam gloriousness expected of a marquee mecha show. Heck, Adou and Yuuma even experience the classic "pilot's face dissolves into a white outline" mecha-explosion "death" moment, and it's great. In the end, though, there can only be one (against one), and it's Wilfrid and Sekai that close out the proceedings with a sudden death overtime match, their gunpla cobbled together from the parts of their partners' devastated machines. I can't help but wonder if Bandai will be selling Sekai's Try Burning Frankenstein's Monster, because that'd be a pretty good opportunity to sell gunpla fans on the modular nature of the GBF model kit line. Universal polycaps are almost literally the key to victory in the fight to end all the fights, and even enable Sekai to pull off some truly inventive combinations using the features of the Lighting, Winning, and Burning in complement.  As expected, though, it's the Try Fighters that come out on top, ending the Gunpla Academy's six-year winning streak, rewarding fans with the only glimpse of Sei Iori we're likely to get, and hinting at potential future seasons as the Try Fighters prepare to resolve their respective subplots. After all, Fumina at least has to beat down her heroine, Lady Kawaguchi, right? Then again, there is still one last episode to go. I doubt that this is a thread Build Fighters Try intends to tie off, but you never know what can happen in a denouement.
Gundam Build Fighters photo
Fun, Isn't It?
Welcome to the latest installment of Annotated Anime, brought to you by the Church of GunplaBattology. In the header you can see the benefits being a Build Fighter™ can bring to your life. Our two latest recruits have g...

Gundam Origin photo
Gundam Origin

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin II is up to bat


Looking good, sounding bad
Mar 17
// Hiroko Yamamura
I have to admit that I wasn't blown away with the first Origin OVA. I think I might have built the whole thing up in my head a bit too much, and was hoping for some more juicy Char history. There's something about the style ...

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episodes 21-22

Mar 14 // Josh Tolentino
Despite the entry of Granada's team Von Braun, and the building up of Lucas Nemesis as a highly-skilled spoiler angling to take a crack at Sekai (and who isn't?), it's team Celestial Sphere and the Gunpla Academy kids that get the luck of the draw and treating viewers to a look at battle the way the pros do it. That's episode 21 in a nutshell, showing off a fight between two fully coordinated, committed teams. No offense to the Try Fighters, but in many ways, our three protagonists are essentially lucky amateurs, getting by on talent, heart, and the protection of narrative import. There's no denying their skill, but they're there as upstarts. Both Celestial Sphere and Von Braun, on the other hand, have been training for these kinds of moments for years, and it shows. In fact, Lucas may have been training for it for much of his childhood, judging by the way he name-drops his inspiration, Aila Jykiainen.  That isn't to say the passion is absent from the battle, but there's a coldness and almost clinical precision to the fight that even the hot-blooded antics of Adou and his Gundam-eating Gunpla can't dispel. Even the way Wilfrid wins his final clash with Lucas, after Celestial Sphere scuppers Von Braun's tactic of feeding Lucas' custom-tuned Crossbone extra Plavsky fuel, carries a kind of fatalistic air. There's no moralizing or speeches, no dirty tricks or discussions of philosophy in this match: Just two teams fighting to end each other the best way they know how. And Celestial Sphere comes out on top, thanks almost entirely to skill, and a bit of technical gimmickry, from Shia's highly convenient built-in Haro-powered repair system, and Wilfrid's own version of the Burning Burst System (it's the new hotness in heroic Gunpla action!). They certainly earn their victory, but the battle feels almost preordained. Contrast that to the next episode, featuring the duel between the Try Fighters and Minato Sakai's Build Busters, which is all hot-blooded passion, speeches, and the most bad-ass gunpla fighting you can ask for. The passion in question is Yuuma's. Minato  resents his eastern rival because he thinks Yuuma's a wishy-washy putz who can't commit, either to Gunpla Battling or Gunpla Building. And he has a point, Yuuma himself said as much, so one can hardly blame Minato  for his burning desire to be the blue-haired boy's...rival. Yes, rival. Just...rival. But again, it's all about passion. Minato 's passion to kindle their burning rivalry, Yuuma's passion to prove himself after being such a putz for so long, Fumina's passion to see herself and her boys take that Winning Road, the other Build Busters members' passion to have some good memories to leave high school with, and of course, Sekai's passion just to have a good fight. It's all hot, and all on display as the Try Fighters take on the Tryon 3 and its super duper mega ultra zebra Plavsky robot powers. Minato accuses them of not having respect for the romance of super robots when they try to interrupt the Build Busters' transformation sequence, but, c'mon, both teams are playing to win and you know that once a super robot gets its "gattai" on, winning gets a lot harder for the other guys. But this is (finally), Yuuma and Minato 's show, which provides Build Fighters Try another opportunity to display how weirdly dangerous Sekai's "Assimilation" gimmick is, after Tryon 3's Boomerang Stagger strikes the Try Burning in the spine. And it practically cripples Sekai! I can't wait to see what happens should team Celestial Sphere decide to kick the Try Burning in the crotch! The Try Fighters, thanks again to Fumina's incredible building skills - seriously, she's still admiring Sei Iori when from any reasonable standpoint, she's surpassed him in nearly every respect - survive the Tryon 3's ultimate attack, leaving Yuuma to finish the fight in a knock-down-drag-out brawl reminiscent of last season's duel between Sei and Reiji and Fellini. There's no draw, this time, though: Yuuma takes the win with a surprise beam burst that silences one of the only true Super Robots in Gundam history. Ye shall be missed, Tryon 3! These episodes seem designed to showcase two sides to the kind of passion people can bring to competition. Celestial Sphere's utter skill and professionalism as the incumbent champions, and the Try Fighters pluck, gumption, and other youthfully heroic passions. Now the two are set to clash soon, as the final match of Gundam Build Fighters Try kicks off.
Gundam Build Fighters Try photo
Highballin'
Ah, whiskey and pocky: The snack of champions. Gunpla Battle champions, that is! With the latest installments of Build Fighters Try out of the way, the road has been paved to the finals, with the buildup handled by two of the better engagements in the series' run so far. 

Anime photo
Anime

Right Stuf reveals Turn A Gundam and Please Teacher's release date


Two announcements are better than one
Mar 12
// Salvador G Rodiles
I may be a little behind on this thing, but I thought that this set of announcements were worth mentioning around here. For the first order of business, Right Stuf and Sunrise have announced that Turn A Gundam Part 1 com...

Impressions: Gundam The Origin I: Blue-Eyed Casval

Mar 01 // Josh Tolentino
Of course, Char's real name, Casval Rem Deikun - and his status as the lost sun of Zeon founder Zeon Zum Deikun - were plot points that have been known for coming on forty years now, when they were revealed in the original TV series.  The difference, though, is in the details, and this episode's aims are as telling as its that the title, "Blue-Eyed Casval". Not only does it refer to Char's true name, but also his eyes, which in most Gundam fiction, he takes pains to hide behind masks and hilarious wraparound shades. As might be imagined, we spend most of this hour in a period never before visited in the Universal Century: Char Aznable's life before he became "Char Aznable". And it looks like the word for that life is "rough". Not to say that he was by any means poor, but being the son of an embattled politician carries its own costs. The near-messianic aura of Zeon Zum Deikun, and his sudden death at the podium, hangs over the Deikun family for the whole episode, coloring every experience Casval and his sister Artesia (the future Sayla Mass) go through in the aftermath. "Blue-Eyed Casval" also steps in early to draw battle lines between the future Char and his enemies, the Zabi family, as well as establishing his extended "family" of allies in the form of a younger Ramba Ral and other Zeon loyalists. Given Gundam The Origin's status as a refinement of the original TV series' plot, the fact that Sunrise have opted to start adapting this story arc first (it originally appeared much later in The Origin's publication timeline) means that this story may well be the accepted "canon" for the foreseeable future.  [embed]33588:4546:0[/embed] That said, though Casval is the title character of the episode, he and his sister are still just children, and their lot in life is to be shuffled around by the schemes of both the malicious and well-meaning. Ramba Ral and the Zabis, by comparison, have far more to say and do as things fall apart in the Republic of Munzo, and both factions end up humanized a great degree by the end of the hour. Dozle, Ramba, and Kycilia Zabi in particular get moments and motivations that make their future deaths seem all the more tragic. Stylistically, Sunrise has gone harder on the retro angle here than they did for Gundam Unicorn. Where Unicorn was a fairly modern Gundam anime with faux-retro character designs, Gundam The Origin includes callbacks not only to the faces of yesteryear, but its sense of humor as well. With all the orchestral swell and the weight of history behind it, you wouldn't expect a whole scene of Ramba being flustered by Artesia's admiration and getting himself mauled by the Deikuns' pet cat. You also wouldn't expect Gihren, the arch-villain, to play a hilariously elaborate game of computer Go during a portentous conversation. But they do, and it's a relief to be disarmed so, especially given modern Gundam's reputation for self-seriousness. Given its premise, the episode is somewhat light on hot mecha action, which is understandable. That said, what is in there, like a lavish view of the Battle of Loum, and a Guntank brawl later on, is satisfying to watch. Sunrise's CG work is impeccable, and conveys speed - a critical requirement for portraying the Red Comet - in a fashion unlike the usual stereotypes of awkward anime CGI. It's also a treat to see the Black Tri-stars in their first outings. It remains to be seen just how far this adaptation of Gundam: The Origin will go, but if this episode is any indicator, future installments will make this series a look back that's worth taking.
Gundam The Origin photo
Red Comet, Blue Eyes
Char Aznable. In all of Mobile Suit Gundam's long history, there's perhaps no better icon of the franchise (besides the Gundam itself) than the Red Comet and his trademark mask. In fact, Char himself has become a fixture of G...

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episodes 18-20

Feb 25 // Josh Tolentino
It's true. In pretty much every respect except being able to blow up the world the way Sekai does when gets really hot under the collar, Fumina is the star that guides Build Fighters Try. Not only is she the team captain and the girl who started this whole thing, but she's got the most creative gunpla, and of the three of them has been the most adaptable and tactically minded. Her display against the SD-R triplets and demonstration of the Star Winning Gundam's secret technique - the ability to transform into a frickin' real-type Gunpla (i.e. a Gunpla with standard, non-chibi proportions) cements her as a builder that's equal to or exceeding the show's designated craftsmen: Makoto and Yuuma. And even during the following two episodes, which pitted Sekai against his power-mad fellow student, Junya Inose, it was Fumina who exploited her Gunpla's versatility to pull off the most creative kill of the match. Yes, I'm calling it the most creative kill, even after Sekai got himself powered up to deploy his ultimate...something, a strange Jigen Haoh School mega-attack that had more than a few shades of a Gunpla-themed version of Cloud Strife's Omnislash move. After all, it's not every day that you beat down a guy shooting lasers from weirdly-proportioned legs you just grew out of your robot like it weren't nothin' special. But, these really have been Sekai's episodes so far, and while they haven't disappointed - who could be disappointed by the Shining Finger finally making a Build Fighters debut? - the lingering disappointment over the issues caused by Build Fighters Try's uneven pacing continues to cast a shadow over everything that's happened. If nothing else, we've got at least two big fights left until the Try Fighters set up to take on the Gunpla Academy. Yuuma has yet to make himself really stand out as an equal member of the team, and their match against Makoto and his Super Robot needs to be the stage where that happens. And now, with Junya's departure, Sekai's got a new guy to take on: The thoroughly intimidating Lucas Nemesis, who's finally been officially confirmed as the grandson of Team Nemesis' owner from back in season one. The kid really took Aila's advice to heart, and also seems to know that the Crossbone Gundam really IS the coolest Gundam.  
Build Fighters Try photo
Mirror Match!
It's been a while since we last checked in with Gundam Build Fighters Try, but being able to watch the last few episodes in quick succession as I caught up to the latest developments has led me to one, inescapable conclusion: Sekai might be the Try Fighters' ace, but Fumina is their MVP.

Gundam: The Origin photo
Gundam: The Origin

Watch 7 minutes of the Red Comet in Gundam: The Origin


Watch the veritable Red Comet in action!
Feb 17
// Red Veron
Fans of the Red Comet, rejoice! We finally get to see Char Aznable in action in this new trailer for the upcoming first part of the OVA adaptation of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin. The trailer features Char Aznable laying w...

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episode 17

Feb 08 // Josh Tolentino
Speaking of knowing better, the Try Fighters begin their battle the trap-happy triplets from Toritsu in Team SD-R by playing right into the little punks' hands. Having fought another team that wins through battlefield control, you'd think they'd have the good sense not to walk into the very obvious Castle of Doom. Heck, with all the Plavsky magic at their disposal they could probably just level the whole building to smoke the siblings out, but I suppose that kind of cheesing wouldn't fly with the "hero" team. Maybe they'd have been in less trouble if they'd gone with the Try Fighters B-Team of Sekai, Gyanko, and Shia: But what's done is done, and the trio are trapped in the death cave with SD-R's otherwise identical SD Gunplas, the Dragonagel, Giracanon, and Snibal. And thanks to the trailblazing work of Sei and Reiji in previous years, their Plavsky magic is top-class, complete with beam and particle absorption pinning down Yuuma and Sekai. Dumb kids will be dumb, though, and their rookie mistake is leaving the team captain in a hole with nothing but a time bomb as company. This is Fumina's moment, and she and the Star Winning Gundam save the day in truly badass fashion.  Let's take a moment to appreciate just how great Fumina is: For one, she built her own, original Gunpla. Even the best custom builders on the scene use a base of some kind. Look at Yuuma, who's supposed to be the Try Fighters' best builder. He built the Lightning Gundam off a Re-GZ. But for Fumina, all the evidence points to the Winning Gundam being almost a complete custom job, with no clear base model. That is nuts. In many ways, its she who is the true disciple of Sei Iori, with all that unbridled creativity on display. The triplets are no slouches, either, though, since their Gunpla leverage the SD Gundam franchise's calling card of wacky transformation gimmicks to form a triple-combo hydra, revealing their trump card just in time for the episode to continue...next week.  It's a bummer that we'll have to wait until next week to see the Try Fighters come out ahead, but it's also exciting, because given the amount of new-fangled wizardry Fumina's managed to stick onto the Star Winning (including gun bits that turn into funnels that turn into fangs), it'll be a treat to see just how her "Winning Road" trump card has evolved. [Catch Gundam Build Fighters each week on the Gundaminfo Youtube Channel!]
Build Fighters Try photo
The Florence Nightingale of Plastic Robots
It's worth pointing out that among many similarities to other episodes in the series, this week's installment of Build Fighters Try is the second time they've spent the opening minutes on the puppy-love angle between Fum...

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episode 16

Jan 29 // Josh Tolentino
Indeed, the Build Busters and their ZZ-based Gunpla, Tryon 3, bring the burning spirit and hot-blooded heart of Gundam's Super Robot forebears to the competition. The triple-machine assembly, complete with flashing logo and coordinated screaming, is absolutely a tribute to the mecha shows of a bygone age, which is kind of hilarious considering the crowd's stunned reaction to his victory. Has Gundam so thoroughly dominated popular entertainment that people had forgotten what Super Robots are? In a world ruled by Gunpla and Gundam, is there any place for three animal robots that combine into a bigger dude-shaped robot? The answer, of course, is yes, as Minato's robot is frickin' awesome. I still don't quite agree with some fans' assertions that he should've been the lead character - perhaps he might be the best lead for the job if Build Fighters Try were more like the original Build Fighters - but he's certainly the most characterful of the Try Fighters' rivals so far. That's not to say that Adou, Wilfrid, and Shia - Team Celestial Sphere - are exactly slouching, though. Shia's just-completed G-Portent, a seeming fusion of the 00 Gundam and the fan-favorite Sakibure, is a marvel, dancing through clouds of missiles and literally surfing on laser beams. It manipulates Plavsky Magic in a way that I imagine might make Niels Nielsen Yajima proud. The unfortunate victim of Shia's reluctant wrath (she seems to hate "hurting" others' Gunpla) is Kei Karima and his mobile armor, the Vagan Gear K. Looking as weird as it does (Sunrise even used CG to animate it, in a break from the usual pattern), I had to look it up, and it seems to be based on a Gundam AGE villain. Given many fans' low opinion of AGE (deserved or otherwise), perhaps it was for the best that poor Kei get the knockout.  The rest of the tournament is host to its own moments, including the creepy triplets in Team SD-R, with their emphasis on traps and ambushes, as well as a proud showing by the White Wolves, who I had earlier dismissed as being too plain to last beyond their debut. Given that I quite like their Zaku-based Gunpla trio, I'm glad that I was wrong on that count. Better still, they even acquit themselves well by demolishing a squad of hilarious ninja-themed Gunpla. Other cool takeaways this week include the first mention of Sei Iori in, like, forever. It seems he's alive and well, and watching the tournament on Twitch.tv or something. I hope we'll actually see him at some point, though. The Meijin may be the "key" Season 1 character here, but surely it'd be good to hear from the elder hero sometime, yes? [Catch Gundam Build Fighters Try on Bandai's Gundaminfo Youtube channel!]
Gundam Build Fighters photo
Tryon Harder!
Despite its reputation for grit and mature storytelling about deep subjects like war and..stuff, the extended Gundam franchise is host to a great many ludicrous and silly things. For me, one of the silliest things about ...


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