|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Gundam Build Fighters
Gundam Build Fighters is pretty much tailored as a promotion to real-life Gundam model kits (also known as Gunpla), though this series depicts the Gunpla in question being used by their builders to participate in virtual battles that can simulate differing terrain and bring the Gunpla to life to be controlled by their creators. Sei Iori is the Gunpla maker of focus in this series who is a horrible Gunpla pilot in spite of his talent to create excellent quality Gunpla models. He encounters a mysterious boy around his age named Reiji who claims to be from a different world and offers to become his pilot for Gunpla battles, as the boy quickly picks up on piloting them in spite of his lack of experience with participating in battles. The two partner up to take part in an international Gunpla tournament where they compete against Gunpla builders and pilots from around the world, a number of whom having differing reasons for their participation in the tournament.|
Build Fighters is really different from typical Gundam fare in that it is quite light-hearted in its mood and content, doesn't revolve around war, lacks the high death count common with many titles in the franchise and obviously follows in the vein of merchandise-driven titles like Yu-gi-oh and Pokemon that fixate around battles involving the product that they are trying to persuade viewers to buy. The series seems to cater heavily toward both younger viewers and Gundam fans, the former due to Sei and Reiji being young boys made to be relatable to younger audiences with their simple personalities and the latter due to the fanboy fantasy one can get of seeing crossover battles between mobile suit units coming from differing anime, manga and light novel titles in the Gundam franchise.
In terms of the Gunpla battle gimmick to the series, Build Fighters is actually rather engaging on that end. There are a varying number of mobile suit units used by the various Gunpla fighters in the series, a number of which having a good number of modifications done to them that alter their weapons and capabilities as portrayed from whichever title they originated from. The virtual system used to simulate the Gunpla battles create a varying number of battle terrains to provide variety to the types of battles fought such as a mountain, city, forest and even outer space. The Gunpla fighters have varying degrees of knowledge in implementing the capabilities of their Gunpla, adapting on the fly, the battle terrain and knowledge of the game's technology to try getting the upper hand on their foes in varying capacities. The use of Gunpla capabilities and tactics make the battles involve intellect to a good extent and they are nicely animated when in action. However, some of the later battles in the series do resort to some rather convenient resolutions thanks to deus ex machina gimmickry similar to the Newtype powers milked in Universal Century titles in the Gundam franchise.
Beyond the Gunpla battles, Gundam Build Fighters is mostly typical fare as it milks conventional plot elements and character types common within shounen and merchandise-driven titles. The series has its fair share of hot-blooded characters, teasing of possible romantic pairings, overconfident characters showing off their mecha of choice, "power of friendship" plot devices and diehard Gundam/ Gunpla fans whose obsession is such where they frequently refer to mecha, characters and events from differing Gundam titles. The series also drops hints over the owner behind the Gunpla battles having some rather shady means in which he obtained the technology and being nervous with Reiji's presence in the Gunpla international tournament, but are either typical fare or not taken seriously thanks to the owner being a mostly comical threat. While Gundam Build Fighters is wise not to make the character types in this series obnoxious, many of them lack much dimension or depth to their personality and background, thus they are not really a memorable presence compared to the mobile suits that they fight one another with.
Overall, I suppose Gundam Build Fighters would make for a fun diversion for Gundam fans as it goes for something completely different from typical Gundam fare with its "model kit virtual battle" gimmick as it lacks the dark mood, deaths and storytelling about war found in most other Gundam titles. While the Gunpla battles are a treat, the plot and characters to the series are mostly cliched and don't offer any new ground to break for a shounen and merchandise-driven series. I'd only recommend this baby to either seasoned Gundam fans who would know about the various mecha and events referred to or younger audiences who will get suckered into the title's merchandise-driven storytelling.
Last updated Saturday, April 18 2015. Created Saturday, April 18 2015.
|Official Japanese Series Web Site||http://www.gundam-bf.net/2013/|