5 Point Discussions – Gundam Build Divers 19: “Nadeshiko-athlon”

by Sage Ashford

The owner of the Gunpla shop finally decides to start playing GBN, just in time for one of the game’s special events! And the designers behind the game continue to track down the cause of the disruption to the game. 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. Well, we tried to keep the game going as long as possible but I’m finally forced to apologize this week, as the show finally squashes the possibility of Magee and Nanami being the same person once and for all. This week’s episode is about a girl’s only event known as the Nadeshiko-athlon, a rather lazy portmanteau of the word “nadeshiko”, the Japanese word for pure, feminine beauty, and “triathlon”. The triathlon is your standard three-part competition: running, swimming, and a bike run at the end.  Between each portion of the athletics are various checkpoints that cause you to slow down, giving the other girls time to catch up before the new portion. It’s sponsored by the in-universe corporation Sazameth, as an attempt by GBN to get more female players and more heavily involve the ones they have. Unsurprisingly, a fictional gaming company is more welcoming to women than a real one. Anyways.
Because Momoka is awesome and wants to make as many friends as possible, she invites Nanami to participate and she agrees upon learning the prize for winning the event was becoming an image girl for Sazameth’s next product. And so, after nineteen episodes, we finally get to see Nanami make her first appearance as a Diver. And if you thought maybe this was Nanami’s second character and maybe she just wasn’t logged in as Magee, well Magee spends most of the episode cheering on all the girls. I’m not sure if I’m proud of them for not going down the obvious road, or if they never even put that much thought into it to begin with.

2. Say what you will about Build Divers, but this episode is pretty solid, if for no other reason than it’s a perfect lesson in how to take a character from relative unknown to a favorite of mine in just twenty minutes. Because it’s a girls-only event, the game is populated with all the women we’ve met in the show thus far–from Stea and Kanari from episode 8, to the lead women of Kyoya’s Avalon and Ogre’s Hyakki Forces. The latter, Emilia and Rose respectively, spend most of the episode in competition with one another because they stand out amongst most of the remaining girls as ace pilots instead of casual players.
Up to this episode, Rose was more of a stereotype than a character–the cool, older player who stands out for their maturity and experience. But this week she became pretty fleshed out, as we watched her legitimately prove her superiority at the actual “triathlon” parts of the event…only to immediately fail the moment she had to take part in the “checkpoints”–from being asked to build a Gunpla model on the spot and picking one of the most complex suits possible, to picking a suit that couldn’t stand up for a Gunpla Sumo battle, watching her succeed so easily at some tasks while failing so miserably at others made her feel human and relatable. Plus the end features her give this hot-blooded speech to inspire the other girls to finish the race even though things had gotten dangerous. I’d definitely be down to see more of this character in the remaining episodes.

3. In the final part of the triathlon, the girls are forced to briefly stop thanks to an unexpected storm. Elsewhere, the game developers trace this to a bug in the game, which is really beginning to resemble the late stages of the break decal incidents. The storm gets so bad by the time the girls reach the last part of the triathlon it actually destroys the bikes.  It could still be Sarah, but that mysterious golden bird is still flying around anywhere so this could still be a toss up.
Still, good on all the triathlon participants for continuing after seeing that insanity.

4. The winner winds up being all the participants because girls are great and everyone came in first place at the same time.  No, seriously.
You don’t realize it early on, but by the end of the episode you realize all the women in the show are extremely supportive of one another throughout the episode. Nanami wanted to win the game at first but slows down to go at the same pace as Sarah. Emilia and Rose are easily superior to everyone else in the game and could have won easily, but they stop to offer advice to Nanami and Sarah to help them build their Gunpla at the first check point, even at the cost of falling behind several other ladies. Later, when Rose suggests they all fly their Gunpla after the bikes get destroyed, Nanami talks about how she’d really like to have a Gunpla of her own to participate with them…and the girls all help out so she can build one. At every turn, instead of anyone being mean or overly competitive they chose to be helpful and collaborative. It was pretty great.

5. Next Episode: My other ongoing theory finally looks like it’s going to be proven correct. As the bug affecting GBN gets worse, it looks like there’s a big secret Sarah’s going to reveal next episode. And considering in this episode she created a barrier around her and Nanami which destroyed this giant rock that almost hit them, there’s no way that secret is “I’m secretly not a fan of Gunpla.”
Also, from the looks of things, Team Build Divers is about to get a new member! Nanami loved her first time in GBN so much that she’s decided to join the team. Having positive gaming experiences leads to more people wanting to play video games. Who would’ve guessed.
Gundam Build Divers is available on Crunchyroll and Bandai’s GundamInfo YouTube channel.

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