Gundam Build Divers – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Gunpla Battle Nexus Online (GBN) is a new network game that lets people enjoy a variety of missions using Gunpla in a virtual cyberspace dimension. Middle-school students Riku Mikami and Yukio Hidaka recruit their classmate Momoka Yashiro and dive together into this vast world. Becoming “Divers,” or inhabitants of GBN, they meet a mysterious girl named Sarah who has an amazing sensitivity to Gunpla. They begin playing alongside her, but… Through many encounters and experiences, Riku and his friends will build not only Gunpla, but their own adventures as well! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Gundam Build Divers offers some solid 2D Mobile Suits designs and art, with plenty of great battles, particularly in Episode 0, to showcase just how visually spectacular this series is going to be for hardened Mech fans. Episode 0 is perfect for long time Gundam fans as it’s all action and no story, which we’ll get to in a bit. This gives a solid 13 minutes devoted to the crazy action sequences and simulated warfare, perfect for the mix and match of Gundam wide franchise designs to really strut their stuff.
Linny: Once the first episode starts, it becomes evident that Gundam Build Divers is aimed at garnering a bigger young demographic to join the Gundam cul…..fandom ( I got more of these jokes so brace for it). Our leads are in middle school but their youthful looks and personalities should draw in the attention of younger viewers as well. Riku and Yukio feel somewhat generic for now with most of their conversation being about how amazing the sport and world of Gundam Build Diving is. They’re naive, enthusiastic, basically your token kid leads.
Tom: The leads really aren’t anything to write home about. Our hero, Mikami Riku, is your overly basic lead. His greatest characteristic is his fascination and drive for Gundam Build Diving. The only other way we come to understand him is through his dislike for losing, even if he’s a total newb at Gundam fighting. His friend, Yukio Hidaka isn’t much better, also feeling particularly thin. While the series does manage to introduce a mysterious girl as a potential through line to guide the narrative, more focus is put on introducing us to the world of Gundam Build Divers than any other element.
Linny: It’s hard to ignore the ad-like parts of Build Divers’ first episode as we enter the world of Build Diving with our leads. Our leads spout praise after praise for the Gundam designs and the game while the camera pans over shot after shot of the Gundam Base Store, an actual store that is devoted to selling Gundam model kits in real life. But what could potentially be the show’s biggest hurdle is the lack of real risk and danger. As all of the action is taking place in a digital game, it’s hard to take any purported threats seriously.
Tom: It’s true there’s no real danger for our heroes, and that’s what perhaps really solidifies this series as most exclusively kids entertainment. Without any real consequences for failing, things hinge so much more so on damaged pride, and that’s not really enough to carry a show outside the intended demographic.
Linny: Gundam Build Divers is a perfectly solid show to indoctrin…I mean introduce younger audiences to the world of Gundam, in particular those too young to be exposed to the more gritty or tragic elements of the series. The youthful leads and their personalities are perfectly suited to appeal to that demographic and the eye catching designs and battles are sure to entertain as well, perhaps even for an older and devoted Gundam fan.
Tom: Graded as a kids series, Gundam Build Divers has a decent start. We get a self-insert lead for kids, an introduction to the virtual world, and some nice mech action, although the real showcase is in Episode 0. As far as adult viewers go, Gundam Build Divers doesn’t have a lot to offer, unless you’re just in it to see Mobile Suits with sweet designs go head to head, celebrating the visual breadth of Gundam design aesthetics. Maybe Build Divers will expand its appeal in the coming weeks, but for now it remains something primarily for the kiddies and Gundam obsessives (like myself.)
Gundam Build Divers is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.