5 Point Discussions – Gundam Build Divers 17: “Joint Front”
by Sage Ashford
Yukki realizes his friend is leaving him behind. Will he be able to pass a new mission to close the gap between them? 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. Once again we’re stuck with an episode that probably should have happened earlier in the series. With Yukki starting to see himself as the weak link of Team Build Divers, he decide to figure out a way to “level up”. So with nowhere else to turn (aside from all the other mentors they know), Yukki turns to the unofficial Team Mom, Magee. They suggest Yukki take on the Mirror Battle, and refuse to explain what that mission entails–even though it should be blatantly obvious—but instead chooses to point out that all the mentors Yukki and Riku look up to have all taken on the mission at some point in a desire to level up.
Now potentially this could have been a great chance to allow Yukki to get introspective by taking on this mission alone, but instead he winds up being tossed into the Mirror Battle mission alongside Do-ji, Ogre’s kid brother and the griefer he met in the first episode. After the first stage–where they nearly get wiped out by a bunch of weaklings, the next three stages are completely unrelated to Gunpla Battle: batting practice, solving puzzles, an obstacle course. They keep complaining this has nothing to do with Gunpla battle, and that’s fair for Do-ji, but Yukki already went through training under Tigerwolf a dozen episodes ago! He should already understand what it means to polish oneself for the sake of improving their Gunpla abilities. It wouldn’t be so frustrating if Tigerwolf hadn’t taught them such cool tricks possible only in GBD…and if Tigerwolf wasn’t appearing in the next episode so it’s like they couldn’t even be bothered to do their research on earlier episodes.
Of course later both characters have improved thanks to their trials from earlier on but…y’know…we knew that would happen.
2. After falling into ice cold water during the obstacle course, Yukki and Do-ji get to have a heart to heart on why they’re trying so hard to improve without their teammates’ aid, and while I’m still not interested in Do-ji as a character at all, his reasoning is much more compelling than Yukki’s. It’s easy to understand how Do-ji feels like he simply can’t measure up to someone as powerful as his older brother, and how he feels like he has to prove himself to feel worthy. But on the flipside, Yukki’s just upset that Riku passed him so easily when he was supposed to be the expert.
Starting out behind and then having to catch up is relatable, but Yukki’s just upset he got complacent.
3. I’m not sure this episode contained the most sound lesson for the kids this week. When the two get to the final stage, it unsurprisingly turns out to be a match against clones of themselves, using data from their past performances. Now at first, the two of them talk about how they should try to embrace versatility–Yukki’s been a long range fighter, and he wants to try to master close range, while Do-Ji wants to learn how to be a support fighter. That’s a good lesson, because thinking outside of the box and becoming more well-rounded isn’t a bad thing.
But thanks to a glitch caused by Sarah’s presence in the mission, the two mecha combine into this creepy fused version, and they immediately switch back to their old roles to great success, clearing the mission in a matter of minutes. Now there’s nothing wrong with being proud of what you’re good at, but immediately discarding attempts to cover weaknesses doesn’t seem like the best lesson to teach anyone, much less impressionable young ones. Also, they beat this thing by shooting it in the taint, which I wouldn’t describe that way if they hadn’t expressly pointed out how the weak spot to this monster was in its butt.
4. Team mascot (and her new pet Molly) Sarah tags along for this mission, playing as moral support to both Yukki and Do-Ji. Every step of the way she gets “challenged” too, but her challenges are innocuous and cute–like on the first stage, where she meets a little robot goon that plays Rock Paper Scissors with her. It goes well until the final level, when she’s forced to confront a “Dark Sarah”, which evaporates on touching her and glitches the mission in a similar way to the old Break Decals.
The guys take it out with ease, but elsewhere the GMs notice what’s happened and have decided they need to be much more proactive this time around. The answer behind what Sarah’s capable of won’t stay hidden for much longer.
5. Of course at the end of it all despite getting a shiny badge for beating the mission and having more confidence in himself, Yuki finally realizes the only proper solution: build a new Gunpla! Riku and Ayame have both done it to great effect, and let’s face it: a GM isn’t exactly the most threatening of mobile suits. Granted, Yuki’s a UC nerd so he’s swapping from a GM to a Jegan, but that’s better than nothing, I guess. Real strength comes from spending more money on Gunpla, naturally.
Gundam Build Divers is available on Crunchyroll and Bandai’s GundamInfo YouTube channel.