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Gundam photo

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

New Gundam series for everyone!
Sep 30
// Salvador GRodiles
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 and Hulu on Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Japan Standard Time/3:30 a.m. Pacifi...
G-Tekketsu photo

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

The Gundam We Saw That Day
Jul 15
// Salvador GRodiles
[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...
Code Geass: Akito photo
Code Geass: Akito

There is, in fact, a 3rd episode of Code Geass: Akito the Exiled

He really was exiled
Mar 29
// Josh Tolentino
Wow, and here I thought Code Geass had just about departed from living memory, when Bandai releases a trailer to remind us that no, we're not done yet. Or rather, that we'll finally be done soon, since the trailer revea...
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 ...

Anime photo

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

Two announcements are better than one
Mar 12
// Salvador GRodiles
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...

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.

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episode 12

Dec 27 // Josh Tolentino
As expected of a three-time consecutive World Gunpla Battle Championship winner, the Meijin cockblocks all of Saga's best shots with his Amazing Red Warrior, which besides being red is a pretty cool tribute to 1982's Plamo Kyoshiro, the granddaddy of Build Fighters' "gunpla as videogame" conceit. But Alan stops the battle short just before he can unleash his ultimate move, the Plavsky-powered Dead End...something, we'll find out when Yuuma takes him on in the Nationals, presumably. We do get to see the full, cape-free form of the Gundam The End, and it looks as weird as its name implies, complete with a strange set of rainbow-hued "eyes" that, when open, make it look a bit like Ryuko Matoi from Kill la Kill in her combat outfit. The body reminds me of Gundam 00's Seraphim Gundam, that sub-suit that formed the "face" on the back of Tieria Erde's Seravee, but otherwise it seems like an original creation. [embed]33400:4369:0[/embed] Saga, predictably, wants to go on to the World Championship and take on the best of the best, namedropping season 1 folks like Ricardo Fellini, Luang Dallara, and Greco Logan. Considering the new team-based structure of Gunpla Battle, I wonder who those three have teamed up with... For his part, Sei collapses from the stress of whatever "assimilation" is (it seems even Mr. Ral knows about the phenomenon), and he gets taken to the clinic to sit out the episode while Yuuma abandons the arena in a fit of angst. Again, I can't help but bring up how petty his issues seem, but I do remember getting riled up and emotional over dumb bullshit when I was a teen, too, so I can't exactly hold it against him. What these kids need, it seems, is a dose of hands-on therapy, courtesy of the Meijin and the mysterious blonde bombshell, "Lady Kawaguchi", inheritor of the Kawaguchi name. Given that Yuuki Tatsuya is still the Meijin, I have to wonder just what that means. She's too old to be Yuuki's daughter, and they don't seem to be married, so the "Kawaguchi" must have to do with the position of Meijin. Did she beat Yuuki to become next in line for the title? It's been seven years since Build Fighters, which means that the Meijin lost the World Championship at least three times, so he could've lost to her. Maybe she's the Meijin's teammate, part of a "Team Kawaguchi" that competes in the championships? Anyway, both Fumina and Yuuma learn about what they're missing through the power of getting their asses handed to them in battle.  The Meijin proves the Lightning Gundam's potential by using it to beat Yuuma, who gets the privilege of piloting the Amazing Red Warrior himself. Yuuma realizes he's been fighting not to lose, when the key is to, er, fight to win. It's a lesson not unlike the last one Reiji taught to Sei, where the reason Sei sucked at controlling his Gunpla was that he loved his models too much to risk damage in pursuit of victory. On a side note, it's a goddamn crime that the Amazing Red Warrior's "Total Intensity" statistic is anything less than MAXIMUM. Please fix this in the disc versions, Sunrise.  Lady does the job in her SD-model Zero Gundam. It seems a bit sexist that all the women are fighting in SDs right now, but the Zero Gundam appears to be in stock configuration, so I doubt that's what she'll be using when the chips are down. Despite putting on a good show - and showing off the immense amount of gimmicks packed in the Winning Gundam, like a buzzsaw shield and a V-fin crossbow - Fumina can't quite grasp what she's missing. Until she does, but we'll have to find out exactly what that is next week. If I were to hazard a guess, it's that she's built her Gunpla to enable Sekai and Yuuma, rather than fight for herself. Worse, she can't handle most of her own gadgets, despite a valiant effort to use the Winning Launcher with her own beam rifle. Fumina certainly gets the need for a team's captain to hold up her members, but has been doing so by sacrificing her own role. There is such a thing as being too selfless (see: Shirou Emiya), and Fumina is that, at the moment. The coming weeks would be a good time for her to have a rethink on the Winning Gundam, or to prove that she isn't the weak link in the team. And what of Sekai? He gets to meet the obligatory mysterious beauty, right before the credits, as well as, through his absence, affirm that he's the poster boy for Build Fighters Try's philosophy. He's not in need of any particular attitude adjustments. On the contrary, both his friends end up (or will end up) improving themselves by being a little more like him. It's a bit of an odd message considering that another core theme of Build Fighters is that everyone enjoys Gunpla (and by extension life) in their own way, but there's no denying that of the trio, Sekai's had the least in the way of baggage. Maybe it's part of the martial arts training or something, but he's been copacetic so far.
Build Fighters Try photo
Let's Get Amazing!
Another week, another installment of my third-best anime of 2014. But as a fitting Christmas Eve present (the episode went live on December 24th), we get to unwrap the lovely gift that is the timely arrival of Meijin Kawaguchi III, and his legendary Gunpla, the Amazing Red Warrior.

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episode 11

Dec 22 // Josh Tolentino
But first, how about that reference? It's absolutely adorable to hear Sekai and Fumina singing along with the most eighties-ass '80's anime theme ever made, Gundam ZZ's "Anime Ja Nai": [embed]33378:4362:0[/embed] It's as charming as watching the Girls und Panzer girls sing along with "Katyusha", and I wish it could go on forever. But alas, the story must move forward, and the Try Fighters get their first glimpses at the next level of competitive Gunpla Battle at Yajima Labs, the top-tier training and research facility run by none other than Nils "Samurai Boy" Nielsen Yajima, former world championship competitor and current top-class husband. I'd really have liked to see how the missus turned out in the intervening years, but there are many episodes left in the show, so I'm holding out hope. We also check in with the prospective competition must first check in with the competition, which initially seems to be team White Wolf, who that took down the G-Masters last year with their Zaku II-based gunpla, and all the skill and bravado of four-time national contenders. Which means, of course, that they're far too plain to be the real rivals. This prophecy proves all too true, as they quickly get slapped down in a three-on-one match with none other than Gunpla Academy's Saga Adou, the very guy that traumatized Yuuma into quitting Gunpla Battle for two whole years. The revelation, and Yuuma's hot-blooded, rage-fueled intervention, ends up unintentionally hilarious, given that the root of Yuuma's grievances are that Saga was mean to him after winning a match. Talk about a fragile ego! But of course, this is a good excuse to show how outclassed the Try Fighters are in the face of a dude who goes to a school built specifically around the idea of winning Gunpla Battle tournaments. Both Sekai and Yuuma get their butts kicked by Saga's Gundam The End, which seems to be an unholy fusion of Devil Gundam, Gundam Deathscythe, and Gundam 00's Regnant and Throne Zwei, all done up in a "masked gunman" theme. It's kind of nuts. During the fight, Saga gets to drop some hints that there are others in the upper tiers of competition who know how to use the Jigen Haoh School with a Gunpla. Just who is this "Junya" fellow?  But thankfully, before more permanent damage can be inflicted to pride and plastic, we get a run-in from none other than Tatsuya Yuuki, also known as Meijin Kawaguchi III, and his personal unit, the Amazing Red Warrior. I have to say, it's a fine change from his last Gunpla, the Amazing Exia and Exia Dark Matter. Those two suits never seemed to feel right for the character. Tatsuya always seemed at his best in simpler, more militarized units, like his Zaku and Kampfer Amazing. Also, it really helps that the legendary Masami Obari was directing the mecha sequences for this episode, as the appearance of the Amazing Red Warrior comes across like it's the frickin' Second Coming of Jesus Christ Optimus Prime. Look at that a-hole, descending from heaven on an orchestral remix of Tatsuya's character theme, the particle residue bringing dead plants back to life.  Way to upstage the heroes, ya dope!
Build Fighters Try photo
Yes, it IS Anime
With the team high on the sweet taste of victory, we take a break from the road to the national championship for the customary training section. This is where we learn just what the Try Fighters are up against, now that they're playing in the big leagues.

Gundam The Origin photo
Gundam The Origin

Gundam the Origin's subbed trailer shows off blue-eyed Char

Deikun's baby blues!
Dec 04
// Josh Tolentino
In case you haven't gotten enough Char in your life from the last Gundam The Origin trailer, it's time to have some in a language you can understand! Yep, they've officially subtitled the first trailer in English, which...
Gundam photo

Get a little Char history in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Blue-Eyed Casval

Three times the history!
Nov 21
// Hiroko Yamamura
Man, I totally had no idea this was happening. Somehow I totally missed the news that there was a new OVA series coming out about some back story about our favorite Gundam characters. First up is the ever mysterious and char...

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episode 6

Nov 12 // Josh Tolentino
This week's episode sees the team take on the second round of regional qualifiers, running up against Seiren Technical School's Science Club. That said, their opponents come across as less "mad scientist" than "military nerd", and the match itself seems to mirror that of Meijin Kawaguchi against the Renato Twins from the first season. Like the twins and their GM Sniper K9, the Seiren team's gunpla strike a strong military motif, derived from the Gundam Ez-8 of The 08th MS Team OVA. That series is pretty much the holy grail of any Gundam fan who pines for more "real" in the "real robot" genre, and the three distinct, specialized designs emphasize the team's use of coordinated tactics and tailor-made strategy to rule the battlefield. And it works, too...for a while. A Try Fighters victory is preordained by narrative necessity, but the Seiren team puts up a good show, exploiting weaknesses that both they and the audience have read into the Try Fighters' composition and tactics. Indeed, neither Sekai nor Yuuma are naturals at team play, and both their gunpla (the Build Burning Gundam in particular) are hyper-customized towards a unique, borderline-rigid style of play. But what they didn't account for was Fumina. Everyone - even devout Gundam fans - tends to underestimate both girls and SD Gundam, so it's marvelous to see Fumina assert herself both as the team's leader and bridge between Yuuma and Sekai's disparate approaches. Sekai and the Build Burning may be the poster children for Build Fighters Try, but it's Fumina and the Winning Gundam that is the team's heart, and it's by her will that they'll eventually triumph.  I can only hope that the show continues to recognize that dynamic, even as rivalries and "fated duels" develop as the show goes on. It's also pretty awesome, both of Build Fighters Try and Fumina's quality as a character, to note that the road to victory she came up with was to fully dedicate her gunpla to maximizing the rest of her team's effectiveness, to the point that Winning Gundam's secret trump card is for it to split apart and become a bespoke set of power-boosting accessories, in the form of the Winning Knuckle for the Build Burning Gundam, and the Winning Launcher to hyper-charge Lightning Gundam's beam rifle.  That's really cool of her, though it's a bit sad that she felt she needed to go that far to support the team. Fingers crossed that Fumina will get a chance to shine in single combat at some point. Maybe against Gyanko, who, unlike her brother, seems to be poised as a returning, formidable contender. Build Fighters Try is really heating up, and while it's still yet to truly leave the shadow of its predecessor, there's no denying that it's an equally fun ride.
Build Fighters Try photo
What It Takes To Winning
Though we took quite a break between installments of our coverage of Gundam Build Fighters Try last time, I'm not about to let a good battle pass by, especially not as things are beginning to heat up for Team Try Fighters. Plus, this week's engagement, though short, is a lovely treat for anyone who loved the Universal Century's more realistic spinoffs.

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episodes 2-5

Nov 10 // Josh Tolentino
There is, however, one notable difference between this round of Gunpla Battling and last season's, and that's the much earlier - and much more visible - playing up of what's best described as Build Fighters' "puppy love" angle, its romantic aspects. Mr. Ral's butt must be incredibly itchy around these blushing teens. Now, it's all pure, harmless fun, especially with a show as light as Build Fighters. Nary a hint of PG even made its way to the first season, staying both chaste and adorable. That's fine and admirable, given the target audience. At the same time, though, this is clearly one of the ways Sunrise is altering that balance of appeals - between kids hungry for a cool mecha program and old-school Gundam fans - to include that all-important third demographic: the Otaku. And Otaku sure do love their shipping. If the amount of fan art generated in the past month or so is any indication, Sunrise have definitely managed to hit the right notes without alienating the people who can, in fact, remember that these teens are all in middle school.  [embed]33185:4289:0[/embed] The last three-odd episodes of Build Fighters Try have covered all the basic needs of the narrative, bringing the Try Fighters together and working through the necessary trials of teamwork, right before the regional qualifiers for the World Championship. Along the way, the trio take on a bunch of opponents, all with something new to teach the principals. First it's Gyanko, sister to the Gyan-obsessed first opponent from last season, and a frankly adorable new character in the vein of last season's Caroline Yajima. Then there's the successor to Mao's Shingyo building school, who teaches Sekai how to be a Gundam through the magic of SD quick-assembly.  And before long, we also get the first matches of the final, where Sekai, Fumi, and Yuuma debut their new machines and moves, using the lessons they've learned. Fumi's SD-proportioned Winning Gundam is a particular treat, as the SD series has never gotten especially good representation outside its niche. Also, Sekai's new move involves a rotating drill whirlwind punch, so that's always great as well. We also gain more insight into the motivations of Fumi, who idolizes a particular Gunpla fighter, someone I initially pegged as last season's Aila Jyrkiainen, until I remembered Build Fighters first-season ending. That said, it looks like her and her Gundam Stargazer-derived Gunpla may be this season's Meijin character, a definite plus in a show that had been lacking in girl characters with a truly central role. Of course, we'll have to wait until the next few episodes drop to see how the arc pans out. If what they say in real life about meeting your heroes ever pans out, Fumi may be in for a rude surprise come go time.
Gundam Build Fighters Try photo
Middle School is hookup central
It's been a while last we checked in with Build Fighters Try, but for a fan of the first season, things have been going about as well as can be expected. Sunrise has once again managed to deliver an easily digested, intricately produced action show that also manages to mine the nostalgia of Gundam fans old and young. So far, so good.

Gundam photo

Rejoice: Right Stuf to distribute more Gundam shows in North America

More Mobile Suits are heading your way
Oct 11
// Salvador GRodiles
At long last, Right Stuf's deal with Sunrise has expanded outside of Gundam UC, as the company's been given the rights to release the original Gundam series in North America. On top of that, Right Stuf is distributing Gu...
Cross Ange photo
Cross Ange

Sunrise unveils its new dragon-hunting anime

And also awful character designs
Aug 04
// Josh Tolentino
It's August now, dear readers, and you know what that means: Getting hyped for anime that's not due out until October! Yay! First up on the block is a new show from Sunrise, maker of Gundam and a lot of stuff that'...
Gundam: RiG photo
Gundam: RiG

Gundam: Reconguista in G gets way more info

Tomino's latest Gundam show gets detailed
Jun 23
// Pedro Cortes
Sunrise dropped a ton of new info on the official Gundam: Reconguista in G website. In addition to a newly available trailer, we now have updated info on staff and cast, as well as several of the main 'bots you'll be seeing ...
Gundam BF photo
Gundam BF

Get yer gunpla ready, Gundam Build Fighters season two is a go!

Hopefully with more God Gundam
May 15
// Pedro Cortes
After the surprise hit that was Gundam Build Fighters, we were left uncertain as to whether the popular show would be getting a second season. After all, everything in the story was wrapped up in a nice bow with only Sei's fu...
Gundam photo

Gundam/Zaku kicks are definitely one way to show your passion

They still make pump-action sneakers?
May 13
// Pedro Cortes
We've seen some pretty interesting examples of Mobile Suit Gundam-branded clothing in the past, but this one collaboration that piqued my interest on several different levels. Reebok is releasing two special versions of their...
Video Games photo
Video Games

Mobile Suit Gundam: Side Stories has a new 9 minute trailer

Spoilers: there are robots in it
May 03
// Elliot Gay
Bandai Namco's latest PS3 Mobile Suit Gundam game is going to be one hell of a package. Gundam: Side Stories isn't just a single game, but rather a collection of six new and remade old titles from the Side Story series. I ha...
Cowboy Bebop photo
Cowboy Bebop

Burlesque show inspired by Cowboy Bebop premieres early May

Probably won't be blue afterwards
Apr 12
// Pedro Cortes
I love me a good burlesque show. Artful stripping to themes that are close to my heart? Please, give me more! It's one of the reason why I loved both Cosplay Burlesque shows when they were featured at Otakon several years bac...
Gundam Unicorn photo
Gundam Unicorn

Final volume of Gundam Unicorn gets another trailer

Comes in sub and dub flavors
Apr 11
// Pedro Cortes
It's been four long years, but we're finally at the end of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. The OVA series, extended to seven episodes from the original solicitation of six, premieres its final episode in several Japanese theater...
Animazement photo

Animazement adds several seiyuu from original Mobile Suit Gundam

You've got Char, Amuro, Kai and Lalah
Apr 07
// Pedro Cortes
I was already going to Animazement. Their announcement of KOTOKO as the main musical guest was enough for me to plop down the cash for a weekend pass, plane tickets and a shared hotel. With their latest guest announcements, I...

Final Impressions: Gundam Build Fighters

Apr 02 // Pedro Cortes
With golden Plavsky Particles shooting all over the place, the adults start evacuating all the audience members. While getting people out, the Arista crystal disappears and turns the entire arena into A Baoa Qu, the legendary location of Zeon’s last stand in the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Most of the cast meets up and goes to leave, but Mashita begs Reiji to do something about the giant crystal. That "something" i tos get every character that has a working gunpla to attack A Baoa Qu and destroy the crystal hiding within. What follows is a glorious orgy of gunpla destruction. Felini, Kirara, Caroline, China, Nils, Aila, just about every character that has gotten their hands on a model jumps onto the battlefield. In case you thought it was going to be easy, the promotional unmanned gunpla that were being held in storage come out to meet everybody. Sei, Reiji, China and Aila go on ahead to penetrate the fortress, leaving everybody else behind to keep back the grunts. Before they can get overwhelmed, they’re saved by Ral and Mao’s master, who wrecks dozens of suits. Back in A Baoa Qu, the base's main cannon nearly fries Sei and Reiji. Saved by China and Aila, they try to save the girls, but the recharging cannon forces them to leave them behind. Enter Yuuki and Takeshi, who save the girls and allow the boys to go further into the base. The two make into the core and use the RG system to destroy the Arista crystal. The attacking suits deactivate and A Baoa Qu dissipates. With the crystal gone, Mashinta teleports back to Arian with Baker in tow. With limited time left, Sei and Reiji challenge the clear-headed Yuuki to one last fight. They engage in a forest and truly enjoy the thrill of fighting with plastic robots. Interestingly enough, Sei finally realizes that his fear of harming his suits is what was limiting his piloting capability. Reiji gives the Star Build Strike’s controls to Sei and lets him finish the fight against Yuuki. Right before he can land the final blow, the system powers down and Reiji teleports back to Arian…with a certain meat bun lover along for the ride. The credits roll and show that a year later, Sei has entered the Gunpla World Championship on his own with the goal of one day facing his old buddy on the gunpla battlefield In complete seriousness, this is one of the best final episodes I’ve ever seen. It manages to not only give viewers a huge final battle with epic scope, but wrap up character arcs and loose ends. Hell, everybody has a happy ending here, even jerk-face Mashita and Baker. Funny thing is, it didn’t bother me. Normally I’d want Mashita’s head on a platter, but ending up as a gunpla peddler in Arian doesn’t seem like an awful fate overall. The last scene between Sei and Reiji was handled quite well, not devolving into sappy goodbyes, but into a promise for the future. Sei has grown quite a bit since the first episode, and being able to pilot on his own shows that he can truly enjoy his hobby without reservations. Then there’s the copious amounts of robotic fanservice. In a show that was completely based off of pleasing fans of Gundam, this last episode pulls out all the stops by introducing several new suits at the end and dropping a couple of surprises. Having A Baoa Qu serve as the location of the final battle was perfect, especially as it was jutting out of the ruined stadium. We also got a chance to see the vets strut their stuff. In particular, seeing Ral kick some ass was pretty sweet, as was seeing Mao’s master rock the Master Gundam. It wasn’t the God Gundam, but I’m beyond pleased to see G Gundam get some more love in the last episode. As a whole, Gundam Build Fighters was a massive success. It took a concept briefly touched on in a brief three-episode OVA and expanded into a full series. The pacing for the show was great, no doubt helped by Sunrise’s choice in keeping Build Fighters at a lean 26 episodes instead of the usual 52. There was little to no fluff and any sort of non-action material either built up character personalities or gave us some great references to past shows. While Build Fighters probably wouldn’t have the same effect on those that haven’t experience a ton of Gundam, this show is an absolute must-see for anybody that loves seeing a white, blue, red and yellow robot flying in the sky and kicking other machines in the face. This show is pure joy. [You can watch Gundam Build Fighters over at!]
Gundam BF photo
Boyfriend/Best Friends/Bro Fist/etc
It’s finally at an end. After 25 episodes of unfiltered Gundam love, Build Fighters has reached its climax. Starting off as a kid who couldn’t find the right pilot for his beloved gunpla, Sei has gone farther than...

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Episode 23 & 24

Mar 29 // Pedro Cortes
Episode 23 is basically a Gundam fan’s dream come true. There are dozens of cameos from older characters, both living and dead. People like Chris and Bernie from War in the Pocket, Kai and Miharu and Char and Sayla from the original Mobile Suit Gundam, and Lichty and Sierra from Gundam 00 are some of the cameos that you’ll see pop up in the crowds during this episode. Stuff like this makes me love Build Fighters that much more, as you can tell these people are big fans of the entire franchise. In terms of action, Sei and Reiji face off against each other in an exhibition match. It’s neat to see how far both of come since the beginning in their reflective positions. Sei is a much better pilot and Reiji has put together a pretty decent suit in the Beginning Gundam. You don’t always get character growth in Gundam shows, so it’s nice to see that both have become better overall pilots and builders. Oh, Nils discovers a giant crystal that’s putting out Plavsky Particles. No biggie. Oh wait, no, that’s huge. We finally see that what Mashita has been hiding this whole time. It confirms that he’s a felonious refugee from Reiji’s kingdom and the item he stole is solely responsible for the Plavsky Particle. Makes sense with everything that’s been hinted at thus far. When the final begins, we see that Yuuki has gotten all grim-dark and his Exia reflects the visual change. Why the motif? Well, Mashita decided to stack the odds in his favor and forcefully jam the Embody system onto his representative. The upgrade (and new Exia) not only makes him more vicious, it adds dubstep to the soundtrack. A powerful addition indeed. In a fantastic fight that spans several planes of battle, Sei and Reiji manage to overcome some pretty crappy odds and beat Yuuki. Oh, did you think that it was over? No no no, there’s still another episode to go! While the boys may have won the tournament, a larger threat looms over everybody. Mashita’s whiny freakout causes the giant crystal to lose control and vent Plavsky Particles all over the arena. What does it do? Well, we’ll have to wait for the finale next week to find out. The preview shows everybody fielding their gunpla in a fight, but I’m hoping we’ll see the 1:1 Gundam and Zaku come to life and duke it out! [You can watch Gundam Build Fighters at!]
Gundam BF photo
Where your dream pairings went after the show
Gundam Build Fighters has been coming to this point during its entire run. As more of the competitors were eliminated from the general tournament, it was pretty clear that Sei and Reiji would be facing off against their senpa...

Review: Tiger & Bunny: The Rising

Mar 21 // Pedro Cortes
Tiger & Bunny: The RisingStudio: SunriseLicensed by: Viz MediaRelease date: 2/8/2014 (Japan) | 3/14/2014 (US) Kotetsu/Wild Tiger (Hiroaki Hirata, Sanji from One Piece) is working with a group of B-tier heroes due to his failing powers. No longer able to maintain his Hundred Power for four minutes, he can no longer keep up with the other people on Hero TV. With the changing financial climate, Apollon Media is purchased by another company that immediately fires the older and more accident-prone Kotetsu. The new owner replaces him with Golden Ryan (Yuichi Nakamura, Alto from Macross Frontier), a cocky hero from abroad that does everything he can to have the camera on him at all times. Without a job, Kotetsu tries to fit back into civilian life while a trio of NEXTs start recreating apocalyptic events from a well-known nursery rhyme. These rogue NEXT tear up the city during a city holiday, forcing Kotetsu to come out of his retirement and help save the day. Cue massive amounts of masonry falling apart, cue explosions, and cue all the heroes celebrating their victory in the middle of a trashed Sternbild. I was surprised to see The Rising start after the end of the series. Considering that The Beginning ended in what I guess is the early parts of the show, it’s interesting that Sunrise skipped the rest of the show's events. There are references to what happened, so it’s not like they’re erasing it from canon, but it makes it less accessible for those that only saw the first movie. How did Barnaby find the man who murdered his parents? Wait, Kaede has NEXT powers? When did that happen? Why is Kotetsu’s Hundred Power time reduced down to a minute? These questions will remain unanswered, as The Rising assumes that you already know what's going on. It isn’t an impossible hurdle to get over, but those that only saw the first flick will be confused at certain points. Brought in to punch up the ratings, Ryan he immediately clashes with Barnaby. Unlike Kotetsu, Ryan is mostly concerned with how good he looks on film and how many points he's earned, perhaps even more so than Barnaby was when Tiger & Bunny began. The two clearly annoy each other, but there's some growth throughout the film. By the end, Ryan is shown to be a real hero, despite his rough exterior and his love of the camera. I ended up really liking him, despite his rather abrupt introduction. His suit looks pretty awesome and he has some interesting powers. The writers could've easily gotten lazy with his gravity powers, but they found interesting ways for him to use them. I hope that he'll make another appearance, should Sunrise choose to continue the franchise. On the other hand, the villains don't make quite as positive a contribution to the film as the new superhero. The bad guys have a questionable vendetta, which is explained in a throwaway monologue set to a series of still images. It felt like a pretty lame reason to cause so much destruction in the city, but hey, it gave a good excuse to have some fun action scenes. On the plus side, at least Sunrise didn't use the well-worn "Hey, the new guy is a traitor!" ploy that I was afraid of for a while there. On a different note, the film spends a lot of time on the character Fire Emblem. For those that saw Tiger & Bunny, he’s the flamboyantly homosexual black man in red that can control fire. He was one of the few characters that I didn’t really like in the show, as I felt that he wasn't developed whatsoever. By the end of the show, he still felt like an over-used stereotype. Well, not here. He falls victim early on to one of the rogue NEXT, falling into a deep sleep and experiencing a nightmare world that causes his powers to go out of control in the reality. During these parts, we see how people’s reactions to his sexuality scarred him, as well his gender identity issues. While he still may fall into the man-eater homosexual stereotype, I'm pleased that Sunrise gave him some depth. While the show looked pretty good, it’s clear that Sunrise sunk a ton of money into The Rising to make it look extra hot. Sternbild looks gorgeous and the action set-pieces do a great job of tearing the city apart. Just about all of the fight scenes were well-choreographed, especially the Origami Cyclone/Sky High/Rock Bison battle and Tiger facing off against Lunatic. One thing I really appreciate with the animated medium is that it can bring to life insane fights that I don't think would work in a live-action film. The fights in the The Rising deliver those types of fights and I'm thankful for it. Besides some weak motivations for the villains, I absolutely recommend Tiger & Bunny:The Rising to fans of action films, especially those that loved the TV show. The only thing that keeps me from recommending this flick to everybody is that it requires previous knowledge to make complete sense. Those making the jump from The Beginning to The Rising will be confused during chunks of the flick. TV fans will go gaga over the new character designs, the slavishly animated action scenes and, well, all the fan service. Fans of all genders will find something love here. 8.5 – Great. A great example of its genre that everyone should see, regardless of their interest.
Tiger & Bunny photo
Rise to the occasion
Tiger & Bunny turned out to be a surprise hit for Sunrise. It had well-animated action scenes, an interesting story across both seasons and a set of main characters that had some great arcs. Not only that, but the show en...

Mobile Suit Gundam photo
Mobile Suit Gundam

Gundam 35th anniversary brings new movie, OVA, TV show

Tons of robots coming down the pipe
Mar 21
// Pedro Cortes
I hope you're ready for a whole lot of Gundam in the next couple months, because the air is about to get thick with Minovsky Particles. To commemorate the 35th year of Gundam, Sunrise is prepping an onslaught of media for fan...

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Episode 22

Mar 12 // Pedro Cortes
Yuuki and Alan prep for their next battle, against a 78-year-old Brit named Sir John Ayers Mackenzie. The old man battled the previous Meijin, so it seems apropos for him to fight the latest one. Unfortunately, the old man collapses and has to hit the hospital, where he’s visited by his grandson, Julian. After a rather touching speech from his dying grandfather, Julian decides to take the old man’s place in the tourney. Of course, the second Julian steps out of the hospital room, John reveals it’s all a sham to get Julian to pilot his Gundam F91 Imagine. Sneaky old coot, trying to get his grandson back into gunpla battle. You see, Yuuki and Julian were once classmates in the Gunpla Academy (!) until Julian decided to quit. Julian was so good that he was set to become the next Meijin. Oh, and he has a 7-0 record against Yuuki. Not even the mighty Meijin is sure that he can beat his old buddy. So when Mao fights Julian in a free battle, the poor kid gets decimated. Like, the Gundam X Maoh is left in pieces afterwards. The only trick that Yuki has up his sleeve is that he’s piloting a new gunpla, the 80 percent complete Amazing Exia. The battle itself is a pretty straight forward affair. There isn’t a whole lot of strategy, just the Amazing Exia and the F91 Imagine darting around each other. The crux of the battle is that Julian thinks that Yuuki sold out and became heartless while Yuuki wants to prove that he isn’t a jerk like the last Meijin. The fight devolves into who can out-speed the other, which the Amazing Exia wins with the use of the Trans-Am system. Yuuki wins, Julian’s faith in gunpla is restored and Sei/Reiji know who their last opponent will be. As if anybody doubted it. I was actually a little disappointed with this episode. With a name like Meijin vs Meijin, I was expecting some wild, tactical fight. The battle itself was pretty boring, though I’m so happy to see the Exia finally show up. I get incredible amusement whenever anybody activates the Trans-Am mode. Baring the fight, Nils actually does something useful and borrows Reiji’s green gem. As you’d expect, it’s chock-a-block full of Plavsky particles. Looks like all Reiji’s blather about being from another world might actually hold water. You know, besides the utter terror of the PPSE chairman, who was blissfully absent this episode. So with two or three episodes left, what’s next? Well, I expect some sort of either filler or story heavy episode next. There wasn’t anything hinting at the final fight in the episode preview. There has to be more with Reiji’s origin and Sei’s growth as a pilot. It just has to happen. Considering how well-paced Gundam BF has been thus far, I hope they deal with all the plot leading up to the final fight so we can get a nice, long, sweet battle. [You can watch all of Gundam Build Fighters over at the Youtube channel!]
Gundam BF photo
More like Senpai vs Kohai
The episode title Meijin vs Meijin confused me. I mean, at this point the only Meijin is Yuuki. I was thinking that there’d be a dark horse that would ride on in and take over at this point. The preview showed a young-l...

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Episode 20 & 21

Mar 05 // Pedro Cortes
After Sei and Reiji beat Nils, they’ve decided to try to help him out. The means that Nils is gonna try some good ol’ fashioned hypnotherapy. All he manages to do to Reiji is knock him out, so he switches his attention to Sei. The result? Sei recites the entirety of the original Mobile Suit Gundam. From memory. Acted out. Impressive from a fans perspective, but perhaps indicative of different problems all together. Also, it doesn’t get Nils any close to discovering the source of Plavsky Particles. Fellini’s life isn’t as care-free. He’s got a helluva hill to climb in Aila and her Qubeley Papillon. A pep talk from Ral gets him ready for battle, which is good because Aila comes out of the gate swinging hard. Fellini figures out her secret: clear funnels that are hard to see with the naked eye. Fellini uses the smoke from his bike to spot them and he destroys them. Another wave of visible funnels get destroyed, forcing Aila into close combat. Unfortunately for Felline, Aila’s handlers decide to flip the switch on some sort of helmet that amps up her Newtype-esque abilities. She goes berserk and wipes the floor with the Fenice. Even after Fellini forfeits, she continues pounding his suit. She collapses and Reiji see’s behind her mask. Let’s just say that he isn’t very pleased that his meat bun companion lied to him. So mad is he that he reveals where he’s from: Arian. While it doesn’t register to anybody else, it makes the Chairman freak out. Reiji becomes pretty sullen, requiring a scuffle with Fellini to snap him out of it. On the other side of the gunpla table, Aila’s handler continually reminds her that the only reason she has a home and any sort of support is because of her ability to see the movement of Plavsky Particles. She’s going into her fight with Reiji fairly dejected, but Reiji is able to enter with a clearer head. When she starts resisting the battle, her handler activates the same system that made her go berserk. Thanks to some earlier intervention from China, her cries reach Reiji and he’s able to comfort her in an odd Newtype moment. The two finish their fight on equal terms, leading to an easy victory for Reiji. Next time, Yuuki is set to battle against somebody else who was up for the title of Meijin. That’ll be another pretty awesome fight, no doubt. Man, these two episodes were full of amazingly subversive Gundam moments. Fellini acts like the older senpai who would usually die horribly at the hands of the manipulated Newtype. Obviously, he doesn’t have to die here, so he gets to stick around and deliver the necessary “senpai punch” to his younger ward. Aila acts the part of the special pilot being jerked around by the mysterious institute. Since the stakes really aren’t that high, we don’t have to see her getting blown to bits by the heroes. Instead, she gets what other Newtypes like Four Murasame could never get: a happy ending. And the fact that it’s done via a Newtype mental moment? Genius! Oh, and it looks like either Baker or the Chairman will be piloting some version of the Exia at the end. I’m pretty damn happy about that. [You can watch this week's episode over at the Youtube page!]
Gundam BF photo
Clash of the Meat Buns
We’re getting close to the end now. We’ve got the last battle to determine the Elite Four of the Gunpla World Championships. It’s a battle between “Italian Dandy” Ricardo Fellini and Aila, the st...

Gundam BF photo
Gundam BF

Get a golden Bearguy III with second Gundam BF Blu-ray

A shiny bear is the best bear
Feb 28
// Pedro Cortes
As you may have read, I'm quite fond of Gundam Build Fighters. The show is pure fun and knows how to craft some amazing battles from a fairly silly premise. That said, it's a glorified gunpla commercial. Well, you can argue t...
Gundam Wing photo
Gundam Wing

Ladies vote on which Gundam Wing pilots get chocolate

Who got the most boxes this Valentine's Day
Feb 26
// Pedro Cortes
If the ladies of Japan could give one of the Gundam Wing pilots chocolate, who would get all the cavities? That's what asked their female readers leading up to Valentine's Day and the Blu-ray release of Gundam Win...

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters episode 19

Feb 19 // Pedro Cortes
After an easy victory that reveals the gimmick behind his twin blades (particle-altering coating, natch), Nils is approached by Baker. She proposes that PPSE sponsor Nils in return for their superior equipment and workshop. Nils pushes to get a tour of the PPSE factory, but all he gets is a nebulous “after the quarter-finals” timeframe. Knowing that it’s a put-off, Nils agrees and leaves, thinking of another plan. That evening, Nils invites Sei and Reiji to talk in a park. He offers to forfeit if either one of them tells him the secret behind the Plavsky Particle, deducing that the PPSE chairman’s fear comes from either Sei or Reiji’s knowledge. The boys take offense to Nils offer and vow to beat him the next day. The next day, their battle takes place, appropriately enough, on a Japanese castle. With the Absorb System useless and the rifle a no-go, Reiji tosses the shield and gun and Sei activates the RG system. The two dance around each other for a minute a two before going in for a physical exchange. The Build Strike’s Build Knuckle destroys the blades, but Nils shows off the Sengoku Astray’s other surprise: particle hakke. Similar to Naruto’s Neji, Nils uses Plavsky Particles to blast energy back at the attacker. Unfortunately for him, the Build Knuckle is too powerful and is blown apart along with the Build Strikes arm. The two exchange another set of blows and blow apart their other arms. Armless, they dive at each other, but Baker forces a 60 second intermission to allow repairs. Nils just replaces the arms, but Sei looks like he’s got a trick up his sleeve. They repeat their clash, but this time the Build Strike’s arm stays in place. The secret? Extra glue on the arm joints. They slap each other around for a bit, but the Build Strike is too much for the Sengoku Astray to handle: Sei and Reiji are your victors. After the battle, Nils rushes up to Sei and Reiji and states that he’ll beat them next time, completely forgetting his original goal. Thus is the power of hot-blood and gunpla. While the fight was exciting as usual, I'm a little disappointed. Not so much with how the battle turned out, but just how simple the solution was. On this show, people have come up with some interesting solutions to match their opponents strengths, so this slug fest seemed a bit on the simple side. Then again, Sei’s glue-in-the-joints trick was pretty neat. It also shows how he’s grown since he saw China stuff that poor Bearguy full of fluff. Next week should pick up the pace, as it’s Fellini versus Aila. Unfortunately, I know the Italian playboy and his sturdy Wing Gundam aren’t going to win; either Aila or Yuuki have to be in the finals, so he’ll have to get whipped. Based off the preview, it looks like Fellini will at least get a couple of good hits in, so here’s hoping that we’ll find out how Aila’s Qubeley Papillon works. [You can watch Gundam Build Fighters over at the Youtube page!]
Gundam BF photo
Samurai Boy versus the Gundam buddies
Next up in the quarter-finals are Sei and Reiji versus Nils Nielsen. It’s a battle between a pair of kids that are all about gunpla and a kid who could care less about it; all Nils wants are the secrets behind the Plavs...

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters episode 18

Feb 12 // Pedro Cortes
First, we see what happened in the Luang/Renato match. Luang dove at the brothers after forcing them out of their sniper nest, put the pressure on with his dual scythe, and then his suit fell apart at the joints. That’s it, no real hints as to what happened. This mystery forces Yuki and his PPSE partner to spend some time reflecting on what they should do in the match. Yuki doesn’t act too worried, but he’s definitely bothered by it. All the twins want is to bring down the Kawaguchi. After that, most of the first half of the episode is spent with the kids going about town. Mao heads off on a date with the innkeeper’s daughter while Sei and China are off on their own. Aila happens to be ogling the food at the same spot, so they hop into the restaurant after Reiji catches up with them. While the four of them are eating, Mao comes back from his failed date. Confirmed: Mao is a creeper and should probably spend less time with his perverted master. The following day, the Renato twins and Yuki have their match. Held in rainy ruins that resemble a locale from the original Mobile Suit Gundam, it’s terrain that favors the Renato’s GM Sniper K9. Yuki begins blasting the likely sniper nests with his Kampfer Amazing, forcing the twins to send out their mobile backpack as a second shooter. Using a series of clever tripwire traps, the twins force Yuki to hide in an abandoned stadium with only one exit. While it looks like a good place to hide, it actually assists the twins in their plan: sending out 1/144 scale Zeon soldiers with bombs and placing the explosives on the Kampfer’s joints. Luckily, Yuki had the Kampfer’s joints greased beforehand and was able to slip the explosives off before they blew. Yuki has the twins on the ropes, but the Argentinians reveal their final trump card: the EXAM system. The newly mobile K9 whips out a pair of beam sabers and proceeds to perforate the Kampfer Amazing. The twins manage to destroy most of Yuki’s weapons, but they fail to notice that the Meijin has been moving the fight toward a location where he had dropped a weapon earlier. With a mighty powerful gatling gun, the Kampfer manages to blow up the K9 and the mobile backpack and win the match. Victory! Next time, Sei and Reiji face off against Nils Nealson. That’s bound to be an interesting fight, as Nils' bland greatness should prove a steep hill for our leads to surpass. I’m expecting the Star Build Strike to leave the fight in pieces…again. What a great fight! With good tactics, clever combat that used the environment, great mobile suit animation and an exciting conclusion, the latter half of this episode rocked. It isn’t my favorite battle in the show thus far (that honor goes to the Yuki/Reiji battle that wrecked the Zaku Amazing and the original Build Strike), but it might have been the ‘smartest’ one. The use of the tiny Zeon soldiers was fantastic. It took a setup that was incredibly dumb from the original Mobile Suit Gundam and actually made it a clever tactic; hats off to whoever thought that one up. The first half also had some decent yucks in it, with Mao being a confirmed creeper. I also found Sei’s shyness with China to be pretty damn cute. I’m glad that he’s not hiding it like a lot of other protagonists would. [Catch Gundam Build Fighters over at!]
Gundam BF photo
What's awful in one series is awesome in another
The end of the last episode had a shocking finale: the capable Luang Dallara of Thailand was defeated by the Argentinian Renato twins. What’s worse, nobody could figure out how they did it. Reiji and Sei came rushing in...

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters episode 17

Feb 05 // Pedro Cortes
After Nils continues his childishly arrogant assumptions about upcoming battles, we cut to Mao. Lying down under a shady tree, he breaks down potential strategies for his fight the next day. In a chess-like fashion, he starts with a move and predicts how Reiji would react to the attack. As he keeps going, he realizes that he can’t come up with any solid strategies to deal with the Star Build Strike’s RG system. After spending most of the day building himself into a panic, he rushes off and jumps on a train home to get some last-minute training from his master. Meanwhile, we get a lot of back story on how Mao became involved with the Gunpla Shingyo school. As a younger kid, Mao was a cocky punk and thought he was the best out there. Then one day he saw his master wipe out several Gunpla with a single move. Impressed, Mao followed the old man home and bugged him about becoming his disciple. Over time, and a lot of grandfather-ly activities like fishing and bug-hunting, Mao began to improve his building and fighting skills. Back in the present, Mao’s master throws the kid around all night and in the rain, no less. The next morning, Mao wakes up and finds that his master is gone. All he left is a single note under Mao’s hat. While initially annoyed, Mao finally realizes the lesson his master was trying to teach: to be completely absorbed in the battle with an unclouded heart. Mao returns to the stadium and begins his battle against Sei and Reiji with a clear head. Using the Satellite Cannon several times at the start of the match, Mao manages to destroy the Star Build Strikes energy-absorbing shield. Reiji returns the favor by destroying the cannon, forcing both pilots to bring their battle closer and closer. Eventually, Mao uses the solar panels on the Gundam X Mao to generate a giant beam saber. Sei responds by activating the RG System and powering up the Star Build Strikes hand into the Shining Finger-esque Build Knuckle. The two dash at each other, but the Star Build Strike is able to withstand Mao’s giant saber and it flies in for the kill. Afterward, not even the presence of the cute inn-keeper’s daughter from a few episodes back can keep Mao from running off and weeping at his loss. Despite the result, Mao’s master is pleased with his work, leaving Mao encouraged for the future. Post-credits, Sei and Reiji are still resting after their fight with Mao, but their surprised to find that Luang was defeated by the jerk twins. As Build Fighters gets closer to the finale, we’re finally going to see a lot of these match ups that we’ve been waiting for. The Mao/Sei fight has been hyped up since they first met each other a dozen episodes ago, and I was pretty pleased with the result. Like most of the fights so far, it was well-animated and filled with hot-blooded energy. The explosions were pretty and the final clash was great to watch. It was also pretty great that Mao was the main character in this episode. Build Fighters has done a great job with moving the point of view around to different characters. These guys feel more fleshed-out than a lot of other characters in some Gundam shows and they’ve managed to do it in a shorter time frame. These last several episodes are going to be great, I feel it. [Watch Gundam Build Fighters on the Gundaminfo Youtube channel!]
Gundam BF photo
Star Build Strike VS Gundam X Mao
With about eight episodes left, Gundam Build Fighters has made it into the finals of the World Tournament. All of the blood, sweat, tears, paint, sandpaper and destroyed plastic has led to this. Right now, everybody that Sei ...

Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters episodes 3-12

Jan 23 // Pedro Cortes
Starting from where I left off, Reiji dukes it out with Ral and beats his old Gouf pretty easily. This leads Ral to invite Reiji to a dingy bar full of Zeon fanboys who live, breath and eat gunpla. Reiji decides to take on everybody in the bar in the weakest suit they have. Hopping into a Ball, Reiji surprises everybody by dominating in the circular deathtrap. However, things get a little dicey, requiring some assistance from a guy controlling a green Wing Gundam. The guy is Ricardo Fellini, the Italian champ. Being a boy of immense pride and pluck, Reiji demands a battle with Fellini. Later at the regional qualifier, Sei is waiting for Reiji with the new and improved Build Strike Full Package. It looks like Reiji will miss the battle, but the redhead manages to make it just in time. Seems that he stayed at the bar the whole night fighting with Fellini. The two easily win, meaning that they move on to the next round. The next day, Sei meets Mihoshi, secretly an idol called Kirara, at his gunpla shop. While China shows a bit of jealousy, it’s clear that Sei just wants to talk ‘bots. Unfortunately for him, Mihoshi has more nefarious plans, conning Sei later and sabotaging the Full Package. During the next round, Mihoshi turns out to be the next opponent. Despite the damage done by the sneaky gal, the guys manage to pull out a victory. As a side note, we see that Yuuki is forced to leave the qualifier due to familial sickness. The next episode introduces Mao, a student of the Gunpla Shingyo school. This somehow makes it so that Mao can manipulate Plavsky particles, which has differing affects on weapons and the battle field. While the episode is mostly fluff, it does end with Yuuki officially being pulled out of the tournament, much to Reiji’s chagrin. The strange space-prince is quite sullen through the next episode, but a surprise appearance by Yuuki brightens him up. Sei and Reiji battle with Yuuki at the school gym in an amazingly animated right that would put a lot of final Gundam battles to shame. The Full Package and Yuuki’s Zaku Amazing tear each other to shreds, with the Amazing coming out on top at the end. While somewhat disappointed, Sei and Reiji feel the satisfaction of at least facing off with Yuuki. Thankfully, Sei has the Build Gundam Mk. II as a backup to use while improving the Build Strike. After winning the qualifier with the Mk. II, Sei and Reiji reap the benefits of victory and head out on an all expenses paid trip to the beach and a hot spring. It’s your usual beach and hot spring episode wrapped up in one, so you get some delicious Rinko in a bathing suit. The group also runs into Mao at the hot spring. He’s also celebrating his victory, and boy has he got a thing for the innkeeper’s daughter. Their fun times are interrupted by some rough yakuza-types and the only thing that stops a potential violent situation is Ral, who the lead yakuza knows. Mao offers a deal: if he and the other boys can win in a Gundam fight, they have to leave the inn alone. The yak agrees and they all do battle. While the yak’s Apsaras III seems like the superior kit, Mao uses some of Plavsky manipulation to gain the victory. The ending of the episode shows that Yuuki has not only taken on the name of Kawaguchi, but that his organization has provided him with a new suit, the Kampfer Amazing. The next episode is interesting in that it introduces several other major players into the scene. We meet Nils Nielson, a teen genius that wants to use Plavsky particles for other applications and is entering the tournament to get close to the Plavsky creators. We also see more of Aila Jyrkiäinen, who only saw briefly in previous episodes. Both kids not only beat their more experience opponents, they manage to do it in record time with no damage to their respective suits. Following that, we get the complete opposite and have a China-heavy episode. Here, she enters a girls-only tournament being held by a frenemy of hers. With some help from Sei, China builds the Bearguy III, an adorable ursine mecha. While it doesn’t do too well at the tournament, China does manage to top her jealous semi-friend and, more important for the story, influences Sei to let got of his preconceptions about gunpla. After all that build up, we finally arrive at the World Tournament! Following a series of scored single, team and endurance matches, those with the highest scores will move on to the finals. Following an amusing evening where Reiji bumps into Aila on a snack journey, the battles begin with a serious four player free-for-alls. The expected opponents make it through and Sei debuts the Star Build Strike Gundam to massive success. The bigger surprise is Kawaguchi/Yuuki’s entrance into the finals representing PPSE, the organization that created Plavsky particles. The next round is a Battle Royal with all 90 combatants on a literal world stage that ends when 30 mechs are left. Highlights include a vengeful team of men attacking Fellini for the crime of stealing their girlfriends and the giant Mega Zaku that attacks afterwards. What’s more interesting is that the PPSE CEO recognizing Reiji and sending the giant mech at the Star Build. Besides trying to set up Sei and Reiji for failure, I wonder what further roadblocks he’ll try and throw their way in the second half of the show. Gundam Build Fighters has thus far proven itself a worthy successor to the Gundam name. Yes, it isn’t a serious look at the horrors of war, or the evolution of man through space travel, or the eventual discrimination against those changed through their environment. It’s essentially a shonen fighting show involving a ton of fan service, both in terms of robots and character callbacks. However, what it does have is a love of the history of the Gundam franchise. It shows this with the quality of its robot fights and the general whimsy of the whole tournament. Instead of going for yet another drama, they have gone a different way that has endeared me to franchise. If Sunrise can keep it up, it’ll have a top-tier show on their hands and will more than make up for the disaster that was Gundam AGE. That’s saying a lot.
Gundam Build Fighters photo
On to the second phase!
Things have been quite interesting since I last talked about Gundam Build Fighters. For one, the show has really grown into its own. While mecha fan service is prevalent throughout every episode, the plot and characters have ...

Japanator Arena: Allen Walker VS Kazuma The Shell Bullet

Nov 17 // Salvador GRodiles
In the Red Corner: His main goal is to aid the Black Order in preventing the Millennium Earl and the Noah Clan from wreaking havoc in our world. While Allen Walker’s left arm looks deformed, the young exorcist is capable of wielding powers beyond your imagination. Also, he can turn his arm into a giant sword after detaching it from his own body-- ridiculous! In the Black Corner: Due to the nature of his explosive attacks, Kazuma has earned the title of The Shell Bullet. On top of that, his punch can unleash a powerful shock wave that's capable of decimating any opponent that meets Kazuma's Alter Fist. Despite his reckless nature, the man knows what he’s doing when things get serious! It looks like we're in for a brawl based on how both fighters use their arms. At the end of the day, your votes and persuasion skills will give each fighter a helping hand. By giving a +1 to  the person that you vote for, you will be rewarded with an organized brawl that won't confuse the referees.  This showdown will last from today untill Thursday, so make sure that your vote goes up on time. After the confrontation comes to a satisfying end, you can drop by during the beginning of the next match to see who wins! Since our security was effective last week, we’re going to improve the Jtor Arena by reinforcing the area's framework. Hopefully, the new materials should be able to withstand the strongest explosions in the universe. [Editor's Note: Um, who's paying for this?] *ding, ding, ding* Let's Start Up The Reckless Fire!
Japanator Arena photo
The ultimate arm wrestling match of the century!
*ding, ding, ding* It's Over! It's hard to believe that Adol wasn't able to triumph over the Link last week. While Adol could've ended the match with his time-stopping spell, Link countered his move with the help of his Magic...

First Impressions: Valvrave the Liberator Season 2

Nov 04 // Josh Tolentino
Well, sort of, anyway. There may be no stopping the train, but there is slowing it down, and it's worth noting that while Valvrave originally took about 30 seconds to go nuts (back during the first insane twist in episode 1), the show's second season's taken a whole three episodes to go anywhere near its previous levels of weapons-grade nonsense. Before that, the first two episodes of the new season were spent either confirming things we already knew or could guess - like the fact that the Magius are space vampires who secretly run both the ARUS and Dorssia - or fleshing out character dynamics that aren't especially surprising - such as the whole story between the Renbokoji siblings and the root of Akira's going full hikkikomori in high school. In fact, some folks were joking that the "big twist" of the last few episodes was that there was no twist. That kind of attitude suggests more about the roots of how I (and a lot of other people, I'd wager) enjoy Valvrave. Simply put, I'm in it for the twists, turns and flips in this harebrained plot. Speculating as to what could happen next was as much or more fun than actually learning what happened when the show aired. Watching forum threads EXPLODE as new twists hit, almost in real-time while watching live streams of the episode as it aired in Japan. Now that motivation has evolved somewhat now that Valvrave's laid its foundations. It's probably best likened to that one episode of Breaking Bad where Walter returns to a certain place. You know what I'm talking about. Unless you haven't seen Breaking Bad (what are you doing?!) in which case I'm talking about flash-forwards. Yes indeed, where once I looked forward to next week's BIG TWEEST, now I want to piece together just what happens between now and year 211 of the Third Galactic Empire. How did Saki turn so mellow? When did the Valvraves get the "Strike Freedom" makeover (golden joints and all)? Who's this kid who looks like L-Elf but talks like the swimming coach? How did Akira become a godmother? Why did the Yatagarasu logo change? Where the hell is Haruto? And so on and so forth. Of course, these are different flavors of the same anticipation, but I think the difference is significant. Now I'm invested. Now it's more than just morbid curiosity and having a laugh at the Fall Season clown. This isn't to say I think Valvrave is good now, mind you. Then again, if there's anything we've learned from Japanese cartoons (and geek culture in general, to be honest), it's that things don't need to be good to engage us fully. Valvrave is oftentimes a groin-clenching mess, but it's one you can't look away from.  Well, I guess I could have avoided typing all this blather if I had just said "Trainwreck" and posted this lovely image: That about sums it up, doesn't it?  
Valvrave the Liberator photo
No stopping this train
[Editor's Note: It's a little late in the season for First Impressions, but you know what? It's Valvrave. How could we resist?] When last we left Valvrave the Liberator... Actually, that phrase is a tad bit awkward, in my cas...

First Impressions: Gundam Build Fighters

Oct 15 // Pedro Cortes
Now, a lot of people in the world of Gundam Build Figthers are seriously into the Gunpla Battles. So much so that there's an officially-sponsored World Gunpla Battle to determine the best pilot and model maker. Years prior to the start of the show, Sei Iori's father was the runner-up in the second World Tournament. Unfortunately, all Sei got from his now-missing father was exceptional model building skills and a tiny model shop in the middle of the city; he doesn't have a drop of his father's piloting skills. Luckily for him, a chance encounter with a mysterious, red-headed foreigner named Reiji leads to Sei finding the right pilot for his model kits. The problem is, Reiji has absolutely no interest in being a Gunpla fighter--all the lazy kid wants to do is bum a spot at Sei's house and work off his debt with Sei's MILF-y mother.   Thinking all is lost, Sei leaves Reiji asleep at his place and heads to school, calculating ways to improve his Build Strike Gundam. Yuki Tatsuya, the high school president (and head of the model club) presses Sei about entering the World Tournament, but Sei admits that he has no piloting skills. Back at the Iori Model shop, Reiji gets bored and decides to visit Sei at school. Accosted by one of the upperclassmen, Yuki convinces Reiji to Gunpla Battle with the upperclassmen with Sei's Build Strike. Reiji easily wins the battle, but comes face to face with Yuki's Amazing Zaku. Yuki handily defeats Reiji, enraging the foreigner and convincing him to become Sei's pilot. With that settled, Sei notices a halo of light around Reiji, followed by the redhead disappearing up into the sky. It makes sense in context.   Really this show is a Gundam fan's dream. Right away you see a bunch of suits from old shows in Sei's display case. Everything from the RX78-2 to the Exia is on display for everyone to see. There's also a familiar old man with a mustache named Ral who comes in to drop some knowledge on these punk-ass kids. If you're not familiar with Gundam history, the character is based off of Ramba Ral from the original Mobile Suit Gundam and is even voiced by the same guy. Everything in these first two episodes rewards long time viewers; it's the show that Sunrise needed to make after AGE. It's good fun, not po-faced and wallowing in its own misery. These kids just want to fight with their model kits and be the best. It isn't terribly original, but still preferable to another war-orphan fueled retread. I can't wait to see which suits pop up week to week and engage each other in the Plavsky-Particle drenched light of the Gunpla Battle. Check out Gundam Build Fighters over on the official Gundam site.  
Gundam Build Fighters photo
Cheerfully rescuing the franchise from the rubble
To say that Gundam AGE was a disaster is an understatement. While the show started off well and had good intentions, it fell victim to holier-than-thou protagonists spitting out anti-war propaganda messages that made little t...

Gundam photo
Gundam to simulcast Build Fighters

Its time to bbbb-bu bu bu build!
Oct 01
// Tim Sheehy
If any of you have been holding out hope for a Gundam Build Fighters simulcast, your prayers have been answer. It's been announced that the upcoming series will be streamed in select regions via, with new episode...
Japanator Arena photo
Can the Caster outgun the Angel Arm?
*ding, ding, ding* It's Over! Well, what can I say? You can't mess with Jack Frost, and Blaze the Cat's flames were not enough to melt the ice. Since this Jack Frost was fused to resist fire, our ‘Hee-Ho’ shouting...

Tiger & Bunny  photo
Tiger & Bunny

Viz reveals their plans for Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning

Kotetsu and Barnaby are almost ready to suit up again.
Sep 24
// Salvador GRodiles
September is almost over, and Viz is ready to give us the rundown on the upcoming release of the first Tiger & Bunny movie! Obviously, the Blu-ray version will be the one to go for, as it comes with the most extras. I mea...
Funimation photo

Otakon 13': Funimation announcements

See you space cowboy
Aug 12
// Josh Totman
Funimation and Sunrise announced a slew of new acquisitions at Otakon. As you heard earlier today, the big announcement was Cowboy Bebop coming next year. The other announcements are as followed: Outlaw Star  Escaflowne:...

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