Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gundam Build Fighters: A Quick Take

Sei and his well constructed gunpla continue to get crushed by the evil Sazaki until one day another boy with no common sense shows up to break the conventional rules of plastic model mobile suit piloting. Sei is very much a fan of building models of mobile suits from his favorite mecha franchise, but he just happens to be very bad at piloting them in a simulated battle. Sazaki wants to pilot one of his creations, but he fights in a style that Sei finds unfitting of his creations. He wants someone who can pilot like his father, a 2nd place finisher in the world championship. Fortunately, he finds one in someone in Reiji who can do the job just like his dad.



Let's just get this point out of the way quickly. It's a well-funded advertisement of a series that is meant to sell more plastic models to young kids. There's no way around it. Yet, I think this episode shows that the series is so ridiculous it may just get around that problem. I mean who has heard of a successful shop that only sells plastic models of mecha from just one franchise. Is someone going to go down the street and go to the rival Macross gunpla shop. I don't think so. Because marketing that's why.




To this show's credit, they do manage to work this story like a Gundam plot. Young character whose father left him behind (to go to work), a genius pilot that goes by just one name and Wing Gundam getting owned like it has always deserved to are just some of the things going on in this story, but there are others. Want the narrator from SEED to play the mother? Why not? Ramba Ral to be a regular customer of the store? Hell yes. A nearly shot-for-shot remake of a battle from 0083? We need something to hit the mark for the database fans of this franchise.



On the downside, I think there's a recognition that the old days of Gundam fandom are gone. No more stories like the old UC days. The toys have to be resold as doing cool stuff in battle against other mobile suits not even from the same universe in order to gain attention. The references to those stories from the 80s and early 90s is really an attempt to make this into a cross-generational promotion. Nostalgia comes from assembling your Hyaku Shiki while your son builds whatever that thing is from SEED or 00. I can't really say that this series is ruining the franchise because the franchise has always been about selling merchandise to begin with. Bandai needs their money from manufactured nostalgia.



REASONS TO CONTINUE WATCHING



* There's something for anyone who has watched a Gundam series

* This is the only mecha series going (unless someone in the comments can think of anything else besides Meganebu!)

* It's ridiculous enough to be entertaining



REASONS TO DROP



* A blatant attempt at trying to cash in on the nostalgia of parents and children alike

* Really, the in-episode adverts are just the icing on the cake as to what this series is really about

* The mecha battles could have been animated 20 years ago and looked just as good



MY VERDICT: I haven't stuck with a mecha series in a long time. This one is just so ridiculous that I may end up staying with it. I don't give a damn about the kids in the show though. Give me Mr. Burning and Mr. Frontal showing up in the store one day, or Saji Crossroad getting punched in the face. Also, please have Hurricane Gundam show up somewhere and have the Tequila Gundam built by a terrible Mexican stereotype. That's all stuff that I as a fan of the absurdity in this franchise wants.
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