Annotated Anime: Gundam Build Fighters Try episode 9


Sick (Build) Burn

Y'know, I like Build Fighters Try and all, but in retrospect, it's kind of nuts that it took this long for someone to put the "Burning" in "Build Burning Gundam". 

But hey, it finally did happen, and it was awesome.

Well, now we're in it! Team Try Fighters are up against arguably the toughest opponents yet: Team G-Master, runners-up at the Nationals, and with Gunpla Academy Alum Akira Suga in tow. They just trashed poor Gyanko, who seems more competent than her elder brother ever was (despite not advancing as far, relatively speaking), and our hero trio are next.

But first, a dose of humanity. Build Fighters is not the kind of Gundam show where anyone truly comes out as a "villain". Even Chairman Mashita, the big bad guy, was kind of a putz. Not a good guy, by any measure except Ms. Baker's, but not a monster. Which would explain why Akira seemingly leaves character to administer Bright-style discipline upon Sakashita when she can't help gloat. I say it seems out of character because just last episode I had Suga pegged as the kind of guy that doesn't respect the purity of the competition. But here he is in all the fullness of a true warrior's spirit. Odd.

It's a similar deal with G-Master's captain, Sudou, pilot of the Mega Shiki. Perhaps it's an artifact of not having enough build-up for the G-Masters, but Sudou hadn't come across before as the type of character so obsessed with winning that he'd sacrifice his bride as a Gunpla builder and go into the tourney with a commissioned Gunpla. I suppose the earlier note about his shock at having to play at Model Damage Level A for the first time back during his Nationals bout would cover it, but character motivations like that require more than a throwaway conversation to stick and not feel contrived.

Not even the heroes are entirely spared the inconsistency. Build Fighters Try has been struggling to give Yuuma a more compelling motivation, so in Yuuma's suicidal sucker-saber trick, we see his determination to win and go past his typical builder-esque conservatism. At the same time, though, the show hasn't exactly established much tension between Yuuma's attitude as a builder and his attitude as a fighter, never mind the fact that Sudou's own character arc in the same episode (as well as Build Fighters' first season) renders that dichotomy absurd. Gunpla battle is inseparable from Gunpla building, but both fighters and builders can have fun, however they play.

It might sound like I'm down about this episode, and in some ways I am. Build Fighters has had a lot of success at making good characterization seem effortless, but this week things felt a little bit too forced for comfort. But who cares, because the action was awesome.

Everything you want out of Gunpla battle's inherent silliness is here. Gundam references, teamwork, insane G Gundam martial arts feats (blocking an Itano Circus with your elbows?!), Fumina splitting the Winning Gundam, and the most pitched battles of the series so far. It gets so intense that both teams end the fight with impromptu triple combinations. Let it never again be said that "you can't punch someone in the face with a Core Fighter".

And of course, Sekai goes full Super Saiyan, activating the Build Burning Gundam's secret system, setting the Plavsky Particles on fire and achieving such perfect synchronization with his machine that injuries to the Gunpla appear on his own body. Given how utterly nuts that is, I'm guessing that that might have something to do with why whoever built the Build Burning Gundam (Sei, perhaps?) sealed it away. Having a system that causes physical injury feels anathema to the positive vibes of the show, not to mention the similar "Embody" technology from last season was the closest anyone came to true villainy.

That said, it's interesting to see that type of gimmick turned to a just cause, and have it look really great, besides.

Next week, Build Fighters Try takes a load off, with a swimsuit episode. Now now, don't groan. Mirai gets to pilot some Gunpla, and judging by the preview, there'll be plenty for true fans as well as fanservice hogs.

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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures



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