Series Recommendation: Gundam Build Fighters TRYin’ to get it right

Jegan How Are You!

After a laid-back journey yet intense climax, Bandai/Sunrise has realized the potential of the “Build” series. Before, Gundam is a franchise that disguise toy commercials under a serious war story. But after about 35 years of that, the audiences has changed and wanted something new – more unique and exciting. So they went “Why not just literally make a bonafide toy commercial about Gunpla building?” and they struck gold. The model kit hobby has never been more widespread and opened to many more people of all ages. Making an anime that put a twist on it while literally owning the fact that it is an advert did bring them many benefits. So after Build Fighter concluded, Bandai decided to further capitalize on the success of GBF, and made a sequel just one year later. And this time they TRYied really hard to capture the magic of the first series.

GBF TRY takes place after the event of GBF, with an entirely new cast. Well, we say new but our main character – Sekai Kamiki – is basically a fusion between Reiji and Domon. Unlike Sei and like Reiji, Sekai is a complete newbie at Gunpla building and fighting, however, he has astounding martial arts skills. His eager senpai at school – Fumina Hoshino – convinced him and another builder – Yuuma Kousaka – to form a team and compete in a gunpla battle tournament. But they have to do it as a team

+ Plot: The series basically take where GBF left off and create a new format for battle – 3 vs 3. This format emphasize understanding between the team members and require teamwork to function – not just individual skills. It is a refreshing format since in GBF, it was mostly 1v1 fights. This allow a variety of battle tactics and gimmicks to be deployed in battle, which in turn is a boost in toys sales. For character arcs, the main cast all have a comprehensive development, however most of them felt a bit shallow at times. With 3 character to focus on, they definitely has less room to work with compared to GBF. But some fan-service of returning characters are super nice. Some side-char also left quite a bit of impression on viewers. One can compare this to the MHA tournament arc, it’s not super intense in terms of stakes but has its highs.
Animation: If you were mesmerized with Plavsky particle shenanigans in GBF, then be prepared because TRY has even MORE particle shenanigans. Where as in GBF, Sei and Reiji were using the Build Strike quite traditionally with some occasional Plavsky gimmicks, in TRY every attack Sekai uses involve crazy particle release. In Build logic, more clear parts = more power. Luckily, aside from Sekai, his teammates Fumina and Yuuma use relatively traditional Gundam beam weapons. So you basically have a shonen fantasy Gundam in a “normal” MS battle with lots of crazy moves. Sekai’s rivals are also using suits with similar crazy stuff, so the fights in TRY is very colorful and fantasy-esque.

Mecha Design: TRY took the idea of custom build a step farther in terms of looks. There are more original design in the series than GBF. While GBF is more of a “build upon existing suits or combine them together”, TRY has many completely original scratch-build designs – including the main Gundam – the Build Burning. It’s very reminiscent of Domon’s Shining Gundam (which you will understand as the show goes on). One of the better use of the show’s design is combination and transformation gimmick, especially with SD mech. The Winning Gundam is one of the better design in the series.

Music: It wouldn’t be a Build series without a Back-On track. The music in TRY keep the same energetic vibe as BGF and instill a positive energy into the viewers. The 2nd OP by EDGE of Life is also in the same vibe. Generally the Build songs are quite uplifting and has a positive/relaxing vibe to it.

+ Conclusion: Gundam Build Fighter TRY want to inherit the magic of Fighter and elevate it one step further. However, premiering so soon after Fight is a hard act to follow and TRY fell short by not giving enough depth to the characters. The fights are still well-done and is very entertaining to watch. But that’s where most viewers remember about the show. The character arcs didn’t hit as hard as GBF. Overall, TRY suffer the same sequel curse as many other series, but it’s still a decent series to watch. Furthermore, hearing characters shouting cool attack names is a great tribute to G and Super Robot in general.

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