Riku and the others travel the world of GBN to receive training from the mighty Tigerwolf! And Momoka finally picks a Gunpla! Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. After three weeks of build up, Momoka finally gets to enter the world of GBN. Of course, there’s one problem with being thrown into the deep end of the Gundam pool: you don’t know what the heck anyone’s talking about! She’s trying to pick out a Gunpla to build, but she can’t actually decide because there’s countless models and upgrades of those models across the dozens of Gundam series. Fortunately, the shop owner Nanase helps her by offering her a rental Gunpla for now–pre-made suits for players who don’t know what they’re doing yet.
Momoka picks out the AMX-109 Kapool from Turn A Gundam because it’s cute, and we’re off. I’m not mad at the reasoning, though it was hard not to want to smack Yukki for pointing out, “it’s typically piloted by girls, so its a good choice”. All three of them head out for the latest adventure only to learn Momoka’s rental suit actually can’t fly, since the Kapool in Turn A couldn’t fly either. Yukki mentions whoever built it must really be a stickler for the show, and we’re rapidly approaching the point where they start to tell us in big, glowing neon signs Nanase’s a Gunpla nerd. There are some timing issues making me wonder if she’s Magee, but I bet those are handwaved off and that theory remains true as well.
2. After watching the Gunpla Champion in action, Riku can’t help wondering how to get stronger. He asks Magee what’s the best way to grow, and gets directed to someone named Tigerwolf. He and the rest head out to meet him, locating him at a monk temple protected by the Toraburyu Force. They manage to get in thanks to Magee’s recommendation, but it doesn’t mean much at first. Riku approaches asking to get stronger, and Tigerwolf immediately tells him he should just do what he wants and then says to get out.
It’s your fairly typical “seek out master for training, master refuses until you figure out a riddle/question/mystery” deal, but fortunately Divers actually decides to skip that nonsense. Even though this series has two cours, if we’re going to see Riku throw down with the Gunpla Champion we’ve gotta get things rolling. Momoka and Sarah both point out how Tigerwolf’s being mean and should just freaking help, and since women are apparently the scissors to a Monk’s paper, the guy immediately relents.
3. Tigerwolf’s training:
Which is actually a lot cooler in practice than you’d think. Turns out, the limitations of GBN actually depend on the user. Riku, Yukki…and everyone, really…have been looking at their Diver personalities as an extension of their real life selves. But in GBN there are no such limitations. He has them do several normally difficult tasks which turn out to be really easy because Divers don’t get tired, but its not until he creates a giant crater in the ground with a single punch that they understand. Without limitations, their strength is technically limitless–so long as they learn how to use their character differently than how they use their bodies in real life.
Tigerwolf (and the Toraburyu Force)’s mantra is: “Polish thyself. Polish thy Gunpla.”, and from that mantra the two of them gradually start growing in strength. It’s taken four episodes to get here, but I’m actually glad Divers has taken its time to develop the two core protagonists. I am a little irked they left Momoka out of the physical training, though she does do quite a bit of work to get used to her Gunpla this episode as well. Still, now when the group enters their first big tournament or does their first Force battle, it won’t feel like main character powers when they win. They’ve studied under one of the best trainers in GBN, and gotten advice from the Gunpla Champion–they should win.
The end of their training is having the two of them face off against a training Leo with no Gunplas. It’s absurd, but with the rules firmly in place it works. Working together, they manage to injure one of its arms before Tigerwolf tosses a boulder on top of it to crush it. A more absurd, G Gundam-esque series would probably feature characters fighting Gunplas without their own in a more serious capacity, but I’d guess we won’t see much of this at all in future episodes, unfortunately.
4. Just as our heroes are about to finish their training, things start to go wrong. A member of Tigerwolf’s force gets tossed into their path by a new challenger: Daniel, of the Desperado Force. Piloting a customized Tequila Gundam (because this whole episode is a big tribute to G Gundam) and carrying a “coffin” filled with missile chambers, he challenges the Toraburyu force in the hopes of getting points. But before Tigerwolf can actually fight him properly, he’s forced to deflect a blow aimed at the girls and winds up out of action.
That puts Riku and Yukki back on board in their Gundams, and we get to see what they’ve learned. They’ve started to fight more in sync, but unfortunately they’re still no match for Daniel, and get swatted away multiple times before Tigerwolf returns in his Gundam. If you were expecting another G Gundam suit, surprise! We get a customized Altron Gundam instead, courtesy of Gundam Wing. Since Wufei’s suit always felt like one of the designs from G that didn’t make it in on time, this lines up. Displaying mastery over the world of GBN, he’s able to block missiles with an energy shield I’m not entirely certain didn’t come from himself rather than the Gunpla, then fires his own special technique of energy blasts shaped like a dragon.
Afterwards, we learn from Tigerwolf that climbing to Rank C in GBN grants you the ability to create your own special technique for your Gunpla. This also explains the weird move the Champion used in episode 3–it wasn’t just the build of the suit, but something GBN specifically allowed him to create. They’re easing us into it, but its obvious things are only going to get more insane from here on out, as top-tier characters display their own special moves which doubtlessly are just as insane.
All of this heads towards something I complained about in the first episode: Riku working to build his own Gunpla better in order to take advantage of the abilities GBN allows players to have.
5. Next Episode: Early in the episode, we see someone watching Riku’s adventures offline. After the end credits (and before the Next Episode Preview), we see the ninja girl from the opening credits being told to keep watching Riku. Since she’s featured so prominently it was believed she would be a member of Riku and Yukki’s force…but will his group have a traitor in its midst? The mystery intensifies…
In the meantime, Riku and the others are headed to visit a city of amazing builders. At this point, Divers is starting to perfectly straddle the line between the mechanics behind suit building and developing this virtual world. This show started off kind of iffy, but it’s development is starting to make me believe more and more the show might actually become good.
Gundam Build Divers is available on Crunchyroll.