5 Point Discussions – Gundam Build Divers 1: “Welcome To GBN”
by Sage Ashford
Enter the world of Gunpla battles, in the new game of Gunpla Battle Nexus Online! Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. Gundam Build has been gradually pushing further and further towards creating an anime series that would be better (or work equally as good) as a video game. The original Build Fighters was a simple series pitting Gundam models in virtual reality against one another in 1v1 combat. Gundam Build Fighters Try was a three on three battle that emphasized team based play. Now it seems we’ve evolved even further into a full on MMO!
Our main characters in this world are Riku and Yukio. Riku’s an outgoing kid who’s Good At Everything it seems, while Yukio is his best friend who’s still good at stuff, but not AS good despite being seemingly smarter. The two of them became heavy into Gunpla (Gundam Plastic Models) and the virtual reality battles after Yukio dragged Riku to a Gundam Battle when they were younger. Because in this world they’re smart enough to keep kids away from the internet until they reach a semi-reasonable age, both of them were unable to join the Virtual Reality MMO known as the Gunpla Battle Nexus Online until a few years later.
The two pick a pair of Gunpla models to enter the world with and after assembling their models in record time, enter the world of GBN.
2. If I have one major flaw to this week’s episode it would be the over emphasis of the MMO mechanics of this world while glossing over the mechanics behind building the actual Gunpla models. In the previous two series, how the model was built dictated how good their performance was going to be. Specialized coating determined resistance to beam attacks, while certain parts translated as different “engines” in game that gave the Gundam special abilities and techniques. Hopefully they were just trying to introduce us to all the new before delving into what’s changed with respect to model designs since the last installment.
Also this episode introduces us to a guide in the Gunpla Battle Nexus in Magee, a very colorful gentleman who helps new players figure out how to play the game. As it stands, he’s the most interesting character on the show, especially since context clues hint his true identity is actually Nanami Nanase, the owner of the store that Riku and Yukio are playing at.
3. The group spend their first time having a fairly low key battle, and almost immediately this show sets itself apart from the previous two series. Instead of being a series where the hero overcomes an immediately decent opponent, they just barely survive a trio of AI-controlled robots. Shouts out to the series for including some Leos, too! If you don’t remember, the Leo was the ground unit from the early half of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. They had a distinctly realistic look to them, as the baseline “soldier” units of most mobile suit armies.
The only real problem here is that Yukio gets his suit wrecked fighting these things. Yukio’s supposed to be the more experienced player, but while he successfully takes down more suits than Riku, he also manages to wind up with the more damaged suit. That’s not a good sign. But then again, guess that’s what he gets for picking a scrub machine like the GM III. If you choose to be a dweeb and pick a low-tech grunt machine, you’d better be good.
4. Before the boys can leave they get attacked by a griefer. For those unfamiliar, griefers are players who derive pleasure from ruining the enjoyment other players get from the game. Pretending to be sick, he tricks them into shutting off the safeties of a beginner match in order to take advantage of their naivete. It’s done in a comical manner, but it pretty accurately simulates what griefers are like in real life: pathetic losers who take advantage of inexperienced players for their own amusement. The only hang up here is that the player talked about gaining lots of points and that makes zero sense. These kids are level 1, barely. What points could you gain?
5. Next Episode: In the middle of his match against the griefer, Riku gets help from a strange girl with white hair! Where did she come from, and how will they deal with the friend of the griefing player that wants revenge?
As interested as I am in whether or not we watch these two struggle to get to the top or experience a meteoric rise, I’m more fascinated with the idea of GBN being an entire universe to explore. These guys must have really figured out the secret to making procedurally generated games not being a snoozefest.
Gundam Build Divers is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.