Series Recommendation: Ryosangata Riko: Puramo Joshi no Jinsei Kumitate Ki

Thanks to Pla Models, I have gained so many things…

While the Live-Action Gundam is in development limbo, and the mainstream war-torn Gundam series most likely won’t have anything new soon, it’s a good time to change to a different series. A Live-Action about Model-kit buildings, but this time not just Gunpla or for Gunpla fighting, but about daily life conviction and and some important lessons in society. All the while having a super cute girl being the main builder and character. Welcome to Ryosangata Riko – aka Mass-Produce Riko!

Ryosangata Riko follows Riko Komukai – an employee of an event planning company. Her department is a combination of very, very different personalities, but the common thing is they aren’t too concerned about the fact that their team is doing badly in terms of performance. Riko was even called a “mass-produce” type of person who has no intention of improving – a “ryosangata onna”. Each episode is a challenge presented to Riko and her colleagues, whereas they get frustrated and find comfort in Model Building. Riko – being a complete newbie who hasn’t built any model kit before – found this new hobby exhilarating, but after completing a model kit, she always found new meaning in life – and in the people around her. The series has 10 episodes and was released in 2022 – with a sequel broadcast in 2023.

+ Plot: The show is pretty much about human drama – where the clincher also revolves around model kit building. Each model kit from each episode carries with it a specific lesson that we as mecha fans don’t really notice before. And the model kits aren’t all mecha or Gundams either – we got Gunpla, Evangelion, a 4WD, Yamato etc… There are many lessons drawn from the show that carries significant impact in human’s daily life. While some of them deriving from the model kit is a bit cheesy and a bit of a stretch, it is still an understandable development. Each side characters also help build Riko’s development through each episode, further bringing her into the hobby and learning many more things.

There are no crazy action in the show, but rather the “implied” impact of the model kit. Just like when she build a Zaku we got some dramatic effects and the Gundam BGM. The model kit store’s owner’s super serious attitude when it comes to model kit represent us as both builders and mecha content consumers. We channel them into life as if they are real and become very fired up when discussing about it. The show also did a very nice job “convincing” the new people to try out the hobby, not by saying “oh, it’s very simple, you just do this” but rather appeal to their passion and guide them through the process with a very, very firm hand. After all, building model kit should be enjoyable, but for the characters in the show, there’s more than that on the line. The sense of urgency and importance add some very good fuel to the drama, and the payoff is extremely satisfactory.

Riko – the main character – is a very cute young woman in her early twenties. She follows a very ordinary routine of going to work everyday, then go home and relax to prepare for the next day’s work. In a sense, you can say she’s stuck in one place, with a fear of regressing but also no determination to take a step forward. It is also a problem with many youths these days and before they know it, time has passed them by. Riko is a great juxtaposition between a new builder and a person with daily worries. She’s curious about the hobby and was able to use it to gain new views of life. Yoda Yuuki did an amazing job portraying the character.

Furthermore, it’s not just simply building a model kit, but the show shows you decaling and painting as well. There are some advanced level techniques being shown such as airbrushing and seams-removal. However, due to time constraint or logistics, they skipped out on the nub mark processing. There are virtually no nubs cleaned in the show and it might trigger some people. However, please understand that it is just for the sake of drama and normally anyone would clean it somewhat. At least they showed you the double cut technique where you cut away from the part, then cut another time closer to the nubs.

Music: The openings and endings from the show is very uplifting and energetic. Interesting to note that no matter what model kit they are building, the build BGM will always be that Gundam 0079 tune lol. I guess it’s the cheapest to license and the most iconic. There’s also some great emotional tracks during critical moments. So overall it’s very decent.

+ Conclusion: Ryosangata Riko is far from a mecha series – but rather focus on model kit building as a way to draw inspirations for real life situation. It’s not done as a competitive hobby but as a way to change someone’s perspective in life through the process of building a model kit. While we mecha fans love to dwell into the fictional world with actual giant robots, it’s also interesting to take a step back and look at the building hobby as more than just a money sink-hole. I’m sure after watching the series, you can also get inspired by what you have in your collection and it may even help you get better in life as well as model kit building. And if you like the series, you can check out the sequel: Mou Hitori no Puramo Joshi no Jinsei Kumitate ki!

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