All Those Wonderful Toys
I don’t have a rich history with the Mobile Suit Gundam series. While I’ve seen parts of Gundam SEED and watched through Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team earlier this year, it’s always been a series that I just forgot to properly try to get into.
And sure, I realized that Gundam: Build Fighters may not be the show you’d turn to when you wish to get into the series as a whole. But it’s what’s currently airing, so why not give it a shot y’know? After all, it’s pretty sweet.
Gundam: Build Fighters is basically a glorified toy commercial. It focuses on Gunpla (Gundam Plastic Models) and kids that build them and fight with them. If you’re expecting a standard war-torn action mecha show, look elsewhere, because this is basically Yu-Gi-Oh! with plastic models instead of trading cards.
And I’ll be honest, it does a damn fine job at being a toy commercial as the show did make me want to try and get a hold of a model kit or two and try building a model myself. So it nailed that aspect of the show perfectly.
Story-wise, we follow Sei. Sei is a middle-school kid who works in a family owned plastic model store, currently run by him and his mother. Sei is great at making models, but he’s not that great at fighting with them. In what is practically lifted from the Kaiba Corporation in Yu-Gi-Oh!, there’s these arenas that generate a battlefield for the models to fight in while the builder is sitting in a virtual cockpit controlling the models. As we join Sei the 7th Gunpla Worldwide Tournament is coming up and he’s torn on entering until he meets the mysterious boy Reiji.
It’s a very simple but fun premise, fitting of the kids show it is. While parallels can be made to almost every other merchandise driven kids-anime, the first episode plays with it enough that it becomes enjoyable and fresh enough to avoid any sense of staleness that easily could have come from it. While we’ll certainly have to see if the show manages to keep up a interest for the full run, the first episode passes with great results on the set-up and writing.
The show is beautiful as well. After having so many CG mecha shows, for better or worse, it’s nice to see some amazing 2D animation be put into robots beating the crap out of each other. The kids also have a nice unique design and look to them, which is always a nice bonus for shows like this. While the show retains a kid-friendly and safe look to the real world interactions of the characters, the fights between the models are dealt with as if they were full-scale giant robots duking it out on a major battlefield. It’s exciting and great in every way it should be.
I loved the first episode of Gundam: Build Fighters. No, it’s not a serious mecha show in any sense of the word, but as a fun and charming window into the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise it delivers what I wanted. I’m very interested in seeing more of this show in the coming weeks.
Episode Rating: 4/5 – Small Mecha. Great Fun.