In an attempt to discuss something fun and positive before my Friday post, let’s have a good time with another installment of the Gundam Build series. No, I will not be writing about Build Divers anytime soon because I still have some horrible flashbacks from that series. Flashbacks which originally lowered my expectations for this series walking into it. Yeah, the OG Build Divers was awful by being a completely unfocused mess at a minimum. Re:Rise was a massive surprise in how good it actually was. While its kid focused like the other installments of the Build series, it was very charming and had a lot more going underneath the hood to make it special. You know, alongside the usual gundam references as well with innovative gunpla models. It’s just fun, ok? Sometimes being fun is good enough.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean outright ignoring the existence of the OG Build Divers when it comes to this series. Let’s not get into the details of that series too much, but two years before Re:Rise, an incident happened that shaped the online gaming platform called the Gundam Build Nexus Online Network for fover. The El Diver incident that was forced by the original Build Divers team. Against many opponents, the original Build Divers team fought single handedly against every other member of G.B.N. to save the life of their El Diver, an electronic life form in GBN. It sounds exciting, but trust me when I say this arc was lame as hell. Following that incident and the deletion of a lot of El Divers, we begin.
Re:Rise is the journey of four separate people eventually coming together to fight against one goal and it’s a long journey to get there. Hiroto Kuga is the person who was directly affected by the El Diver incident. Ever since his electronic girlfriend disappeared, he’s been a mercenary for hire on gbn who accomplishes missions without any sense of team work. Parvis is a young, inexperienced individual who struggles constantly with self-confidence. Kazami Torimachi is an endlessly self-confident individual whose bark doesn’t meet his bite and wants to be famous. Pushed together by the mysterious women May, the three of them are form another group called the Build Divers with her to fight for the beings living on a planet called Eldora. They were called by a little one named Freddy as a contact.
Since this is a kid’s show, the direction of the show is rather obvious. We slowly uncover more about each of these characters over time as their backstories become relevant and things like that. There is nothing wrong with kids shows, people. Everyone should watch them because they are for everyone. Especially adventure shows where the protagonists are fighting against enemy gunpla with their gunpla to free the oppressed. You know, A group of furies inhabiting Eldora who are attacked for whatever reason. I find series like that very cool and very important. Everyone slowly uncovers their greatest weaknesses over the stresses of battle. I don’t know, I just really like those kinds of arcs. Especially the ones here where the group grows together.
The most genuinely interesting moment to me was how the new Build Divers handled the situation at El Dora at first. Considering that each diver makes their way to El Dora through GBN, it’s no surprise to anyone when each character just treats the people living there as pieces of a game. Kind of like how they are only characters to get one emotionally invested in the situation at hand when there are real dangers for these people. Extinction. Through all that team work in which the citizens of El Dora had to just deal with the unenthusiastic group of people who thought they were in a game until the realization happened. Can you imagine relying on jerks like that for survival? Even when they came together in the end for the survival of El Dora, space still kicked their butt in the end.
Which leads to the second half after the deaths and chaos on Eldora from Alus and his giant moon laser. Alus was meant to protect Alus originally, but his program became skewed towards annihilation. Not to mention the actually the Masaki Shido, a build diver, that was captured by Alus. That’s where the second half starts, in a very sad and negative fashion. Surprisingly, this second half is way more positive than expected. Especially since the main protagonists never feel overwhelmed at all and how character focused it is. The secrets of May are completely uncovered and the Build Divers work closer with the people of El Dora to make sure they don’t repeat their mistakes. Hiroto regains his sense of positivity, Parvis becomes bolder, Kazami gains some fame, and May’s secrets are revealed. Wild times.
If there is one major complaint that I have, it’s the fact that Alus is completely outmatched. Maybe it’s the realization that the new Build Divers are connected to a network and can prepare for their massive assaults that come unlike Alus who has nothing. All that awesome planet destroying went out the window completely. There is that realism in having GBN being full of gunpla users that are ready to fight when they need to which plays into the finale as well. Same with GBN just being fun. Still, I feel like the writers took a little too much of a threat out of Alus. Even when not fighting, there were ways to stop him attacking again until the Build Divers were ready. Not to mention that they had awoken an ancient dragon too. The odds were just in their favor and it’s not as exciting that way.
Still, Re:Rise was great in how well lived in the world was. Especially around our heroes. Hiroto is our main protagonist so the focus is on him. It’s pretty cool to see his parent’s live as freelancer writers who are constantly working in the background and take turns cooking every night. Same with his best friend (because they aren’t dating) Hinata who support each other in their own activities. Not much is known about Kazami, but seeing him smaller in real life makes sense for his ego. Parvis being a cripple in a wheel chair makes sense for his story as well. Going to ignore the best girl May here because once again, that’s a spoiler. Regardless, it’s excellent to know each of them from all walks of life.
The world of GBN and El Dora are wonderful and lively worlds that feel so immersive. We do know GBN, its characters, and its vast openness from Build Divers, but it’s here again in all of its glory once again. Then the planet El Dora is really pretty and vast as well. So many places to explore like the original home stead to the massive city that had celebrations going on. Lots of cool people to meet from the civilians to members of El Dorian society to the resistance who are constantly at war against Alus and his gunpla like minions. It’s a well thought out series with a lot of beautiful environments to look at and think about. That’s why their destruction in the end of the first half is so hurtful.
The gunpla are great too. Everyone has their own unique gunpla designs. Hiroto has tons of awesome transformation sequences from his planetary gunpla system. The moments when he transforms from one form to the next in each episode are absolutely the high lights. May has a gunpla based on a Wadom from Turn A Gundam and it’s wonderful. Always down for Turn A Gundam representation. Parvis has a dragon Gunpla and it learning how to fly is a part of his design. Finally, its Kazami with his Infinite Justive gunpla unit and it’s fine, I guess. A cool shield and armor. Way too cool for him to use at first because it’s definitely over compensation. Some gunpla units are evil and so cool. I love the asymmetry for some of them because that’s rare for gundam. Finally, Alus’ gunpla units are pretty solid and have their one eye to his designs. They are copies, but very cool copies considering how evil and zeon are tied to singular eyes.
Gundam Build Divers RE:Rise is a good time. I don’t think it hits the same level of solidly bad ass things as Build Fighters and Build Fighters Try, but it’s still a cool experience in its own right. It also has that meta element of the protagonist hating the previous protagonist from Build Divers, so I feel very positive and vindicated when watching this series. That meta elements helps bring everything and such. Otherwise, the show is good leaning on being a solid. Some weaknesses hold it back a bit, but so what? It takes a lot to recover from the black hole of Build Divers and it did it. I am excited for more Gundam Build projects when they show up. Sunrise, please make them soonish. Thanks.