If you noticed when I first talked about Gundam Build Fighters, I never mentioned how the series could easily be compared to G Gundam. It is also possible say that the Build Fighters series is the successor to G Gundam because it’s a good, modern update to the Gundam tournament formula from that series. Instead of nations having stereotyped gunpla, nations are instead represented by invidual builders who have their own gunpla building and fighting style. But anyway, I haven’t really mentioned this until now because it’s really Try that really is the successor. There is more G Gundam like content and references in this show then there was ever in the OG version. This is where I can truly say, Gundam Build Fighters Try is the real successor to G Gundam. I hope we get another Build Fighters series soon. At least the second season of Build Divers is good.
Ok, one more thing to say before I jump forward into Build Fighters Try properly. I think the immediate response when talking about Build Fighters Try is how immediately comparing how it’s not as good as its predecessor. You know what, it’s kind of true. It feels like the original Build Fighters is that lightning in a bottle that can only be captured once and never again. The series did so much in terms of creativity, character, and plot can’t be matched by a lot of things. All fair things, but that doesn’t mean that Try isn’t good. Or does it? I feel like the “it’s not as good” kind of got over played to where people look down on it more than they should? Try is it’s own thing and should be looked at that way. Read the rest of the post to find out my thoughts on this because that’s why I’m writing this.
Seven years after the original series, like the time difference between the original Gundam and Zeta Gundam, we jump into Build Fighters Try. (Insert bad joke of Gundam Build Fighters Bi existing.) The world of Gunpla battle has changed. In general, Gunpla battle has gotten more popular and even just building the best gunpla kit has its own content and contest. Now, gunpla tournaments come in the form of team battles. As the Try in the title suggests, the team fights involve teams of three vs other teams of three. The world must have gotten bored with the limitations of how much you can do with solo gunpla fights and wanted more variation. Completely fair honestly. Holding an audience’s attention is really hard and this is how they adapted.
Unfortunately, seven years hasn’t helped Seiho Academy where Sei Iori was going to school in the original series. The Gunpla Fighters club itself was almost nonexistent with a certain Fumina Hoshino as the only member of this club. Everyone else involved in Gunpla after school activities are just members of the Gunpla Builders club. You know, the more boring part of this series though it’s cool in concept. (Gunpla building is fun after all.) With the appearance of a certain transfer student who beat up a gang by himself and got in trouble for it on his way to school by the name of Sekai Kamiki, everything changes. You know, despite not knowing anything about gunpla or hearing about it which I kind of believe because there are people who don’t know about Star Wars. I’ve seen that myself IRL.
Anyway, we should continue looking into this high school drama. Sekai joining Hoshino’s club because there are no martial arts club leads to some conflict with the gunpla builders club in which Hoshino’s activities would be swallowed up, but they win and the Try Fighters team forms when Yuuma Kousaka from the gunpla builders club. A person with a lot of trauma from when he was a competitor. Somehow, Sekai’s insanely positive fighting spirit got to the cold logical guy’s heart, even if he was pisssed off by Sekai’s idiocy, and joined the gunpla fight once again. A fantastic resurgence. So begins the “Try Fighters” push for dominance in the gunpla field as the infinite underdogs.
Like its predecessor, Gundam Build Fighters Try is like a sports tournament anime. Also, it is also tonally in line with tons of things that aired in the 90’s and early 2000’s like Beyblade, Pokemon, Angelic Layer, and such. It’s one of those toy-based kids shows that might have came out years too late for it to make it big. But here’s the thing, Try is also shonen action based as hell. When I say Try is G Gundam’s successor, that’s completely what I mean. Try cuts off some of the creative narratives from the original series and focuses itself on different things. The original build fighters have fighting spirit, but Try jumps into this aspect without blinking while also laying supports to make it stronger. Possibly even a foundation. The show knows what it wants to do.
That’s how Try seperates itself from the original series besides the three on three fights. Sekai is a shonen protagonist. He is a new comer in an established situation, is a himbo that unintentional gains a small harem squad, has multiple rivals in which one of them is fighting over the combat style he uses, using a gunpla that is an off shot of Burning Gundam, has a huge ability growth rate, and gains friends as he goes on his gunpla tournament journey. If Build Fighters Try aired in the 90’s, besides looking visually shinier, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference compared to other shows that aired during that time. That’s one of many ways Build Fighters Try is a very throwback sort of anime before talking about Gunpla. I love it.
With that regards comes the lack of creativity that is prevailing the series. How the series is formatted is pretty generic with some solid execution to make up for it. You get the build up with rivals meeting and exchanging their problems, then the battles happen for an episode or two. There are some episodes and time dedicated to opponents and such, but we mostly see the opponents through flash backs and short asides while combat is happening. There are also no fun games for fun’s sake until the end. No gunpla racing, no gunpla baseball, or anything. Instead, you just straight on fights with the focus on our protagonists all the time. The only difference are the locations. Luckily, all of these fights are incredibly interesting to watch. Sekai learning to run in space is where the show took off for me because that’s general super robot and shonen battle B.S. that I love.
I have talked about Sekai, but the other two members of Try Fighters are pretty interesting too. All their development is shown through their use of gunpla too. Yuuma is the colder, more logical one with a sniping gunpla. He constantly gets into fights with Sekai because their personalities clash, despite having fallen in love with Sekai’s older sister. He slowly gains confidence in which he can be a more upfront fighter using some gunpla kits he made. Hoshino is like the mother of the group and is mainly a supporter for a while who tries to get the other kids to stop fighting. She builds a gunpla that can combine with other units to enhance their play style. Later on, she is able to defeat opponents by herself. She’s grown stronger too. Sekai himself doesn’t change, but reinforces his personality which also means supporting his gunpla to make sure it does what it does better. Exactly Sekai’s story.
The opponents themselves are pretty interesting as well. Hoshino herself doesn’t have any built-in opponents besides the gunpla builder’s club, but she does build a fun dynamic with other opponents as time goes on. Mainly from girls crushing on Sekai and her constantly getting jealous which is what it is. Fun sometimes, annoying other times. Otherwise, Sekai and Yuuma have opponents come from it. Sekai’s rival comes from when he was training in martial arts. A person that used to be the support in his life, but went in a different direction eventually. Yuuma has two built in rivals. One of them is from someone who lost to him in a Gunpla Builders competition. The other one is the reason he left fighting and came back for revenge. Yuuma is the most dynamic character. There are other rivals, but they aren’t nearly as important to the story.
The main rivalry unit of Build Fighters Try, the gunpla academy, are worth talking about in detail though. They are such a unique group to watch. Saga Andou is the character that pushed Yuuma away from gunpla fighting in the first place and you can see why. He’s a really good player, but he’s also angry, disrespects his opponents, and could be called the a berserk in how he plays. If you lost to someone like that, would you want to come back to something? Most likely not. The strange thing is the other two members don’t share this ideology. Wilfrid Kijima is a nice, reasonable guy who seeks a rival because he’s bored. Luckily, Sekai shows up for him to make things interesting. Otherwise, he’s kind of boring. He didn’t get any more characterization until Sekai and him fight in the tournament and he’s just a very straight laced leader. His sister, Shia is also on the team and is an expert gunpla builder beyond normal levels. Her crush on Sekai starts when helping him rebuild his gunpla and continues from that point on. She also really loves gunpla and won’t damage other people’s units unless she has to. A very fun, peace lover. Fun times all around.
Of course, this series takes place seven years after Build Fighters so I need to talk about some cameos. Yeah, Ramba Ral is here too even if I didn’t mention that in my original post. Meijin Kawaguchi is back and ready to do the Lt. Quatro actions of supporting young protagonists to become stronger while never getting the spot light. He also has a wife who is incredibly powerful and does the same thing towards female competitors. Nies Nielson is now Niels Yajima after he got married to Caroline Yajima and has to make an appearance because the protagonists go to Nielson labs with other people who made it to nationals to prepare for nationals. Of course, that is the location where drama and the forming of opponents for nationals happens. It’s really clunky and cheap, but it happens. Also, Sei Iori has a small cameo in the end of the series when he just smiles. At least, I think it’s him. All kind of necessary considering that Sekai is using Sei’s gunpla. A gunpla that was built for Reiji. Awww man.
Gundam Build Fighters Try is another visually interesting and beautiful show like the original Gundam Build Fighters. There was obviously a lot of heart and work put into this one just like that one. There are all sorts of character designs, sizes, hair colors, outfits they wear, and everything. Like Sekai wears his gi and no one else wears one like. Same with Hoshino’s crop top outfit. No one else wears that. The difference in Try Fighters wearing difference outfits while the others wear uniforms with some small differences so they feel like teams and individuals at the same time. Also, character animation and everything else was great too. It’s a product from Studio Sunrise and they usually have some absolutely stellar production values. You know, unless you are Double Decker and your production values sharply fall towards the end of one cour. Sigh.
Let’s talk about Gunpla and general mecha action. I was waiting on this part for a long time there is so much effort put into the gunpla in Try and it’s amazing. There are so much smaller bits of animation put into the already stellar looking gunpla fight sequences and it’s all so amazing. For instance, Hoshino’s gunpla connecting to other people’s units is stellar to watch. Same with the epic moments of Sekai activating his super mode and firing special abilities at everyone. It’s just so crazy. Gundam fanservice is just all over the place here and I love it. Of course, I do need to talk about the Tryon 3. It’s a genuine super robot made out of gunpla designs by Yuuma’s builder rival and references a lot of older super robot series. There is a super robot transformation and everything. It’s so awesome to see a rocket punch matched up against Sekai’s burning fist and other stupidly fun things. Holy crap, man. Is me looking at the Tryon 3 what it’s like to be in love? I think so.
Whether Gundam Build Fighters Try is compared to the original Build Fighters or not, I honestly can’t help but recommend this series and give it a solid rating. Yes, Try went another direction then the OG series and went the 90’s shonen tournament fighter route instead. It tastes different and feels different, but I feel like the general quality of it is still really good. I don’t think it’s perfect because it’s a very clunky series and a lot of the opponents are after thoughts aside from a core few. That is something I couldn’t say about the original series where opponents stayed throughout the show’s run, but it’s a more then decent follow up to something stellar. It’s hard to follow up a series as perfect as Build Fighters in the first place, but the fact that Try did and can stand by itself without Build Fighters supporting it is a good thing. Watch both if you get the chance to.