5 Point Discussions – Gundam Build Divers 12: “Shining Wings”
by Sage Ashford
The showdown between the creator of the Break Decals and the Coalition enters its last stage. Can Riku and the rest of the Coalition save GBN? 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. Ah-ha! The big bad behind this was…a Haro? Riku and Sarah finally confront the person responsible for bringing so many break decals to the world of GBN, and the resulting conversation is significantly less enlightening than I would’ve hoped. Riku’s all full of righteous fury about some guy (who we still have no name for) trying to ruin the game he and so many thousands of others love, and the guy’s full of just as much righteous fury about destroying the whole thing.
I confess, I’m not often in favor of making villains seem like these incredibly layered people who’s motivations you totally understand and identify with. We want art to imitate life but in real life villains are usually shallow and hurt people for stupid reasons. Still, twelve episodes in I’d at least like to know what his reasons are, shallow or not. The most crucial question I have at the moment? Why not just…stop playing? It’s still just a video game, why can’t you let people enjoy it?
In any case, the Captain, Shahryar, and Tigerwolf finally catch up to Riku and Sarah, but when Tigerwolf tries to capture the decal dealer, we learn his human figure itself is a hologram! A purple Haro bounces away from the scene, revealing he’s been using a guest account all this time, which we probably should’ve realized weeks ago. If he hates the game so much, why would he invest time into creating an actual character?
2. Because our lead heroes are a bunch of goofs, the Dark Haro gets to hop off to the secret within the asteroid satellite–a Big Zam! The Big Zam played a major part in one of the last battles of Mobile Suit Gundam, and as a mobile armor it’s imposing enough to be a threat to the Coalition of Volunteers even if it weren’t using cheat codes, especially when it’s over three times the size of the original. But using the otherwise unknown “final” level of break decals, it suddenly becomes impervious to all damage and able to control all the other mass divers’ Gunpla suits.
With the decal usage having reached such a heavy level, it seems like our villain’s finally reached his goal; the Champion gets a message from the Game Master and we find out GBN as a whole is falling apart! The Champ thinks it’s enough if they close the server off, but this latest decal has gone beyond that and has become an imminent threat to the entire game. Guess they’d really need a miracle to pull off a win now…
3. Speaking of miracles. After eleven episodes building up to Riku using his 00-Diver’s ability to activate Trans-Am, Sarah finally gives him the okay…and it proves to be absolutely worthless. He shatters both his swords against the Big Zam’s hull, then nearly destroys the 00-Diver’s hand punching it.
That’s definitely how things should have played out given how absurdly busted the Big Zam is set up to be, it’s just…we’d been talking about how much of a game changer a 00 suit’s Trans-Am abilities are up to this point. Then Riku finally gets it and it accomplishes absolutely nothing. Still, apparently his love for GBN is just so great that it unlocks some hidden ability within him, causing the suit to sprout giant green wings. The wings deactivate the decals in all the Gunpla that have been dealing with the Big Zam’s override, then turns the shield making the Zam impenetrable off. Then with the help of Shahryar, the Champion, and Tigerwolf’s ultimate attacks, they’re finally able to destroy the Zam once and for all.
4. What frustrates me the most is the close of this episode. Koichi asks the question we all want to know, and both Yukki and Momoka yell at him because he’s not wondering how Riku and Sarah are. It’s as if the show’s saying “Why are you worried about the plot, what about the characters?” Which is fair, but..instead of wasting time with that, some explanation on how a kid who’s played this game all of three or four months found a power-up to counter a guy who found a way to hack GameShark cheat codes into an MMO.
5. Next Episode: The decal dealer isn’t down yet. Riku confronts him in real life to see the meaning behind all his talk of “real battles”, and we wind up in a spot that’s very familiar to long time fans of Gundam “Build” series. It’s starting to look like the villain really is one of Koichi’s old friends…and it looks like Riku’s about to catch another demoralizing beatdown.
Gundam Build Divers is available on Crunchyroll and Bandai’s GundamInfo YouTube channel.