5 Point Discussions – Gundam Build Divers 11: “Ayame’s Tears”
by Sage Ashford
Riku and Ayame face off, as we learn the reason why Ayame has been working as a double agent. Can Riku convince her to come back to the team? 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. With two episodes left until reaching the middle of our series, we’re finally closing in on a climax of sorts for the first major story the series has been building up. Thematically this comes down to “pro” gamers willing to do anything to win versus characters who genuinely love GBN because they’re fans of Gundam and the relationships they’ve managed to build in the game. The champion faces off against a guy who’s a pro gamer from outside of GBN, which is why he’s got no problem with what damage the decals are doing to the rest of GBN–to him, it’s just one game and if it goes down he’ll play another. Even Ayame’s story comes down her friends becoming obsessed with winning rather than simply playing together.
2. It felt obvious whatever reasoning Ayame had for betraying team Build Divers was going to be terrible but who know it’d be this awful? The first part of the episode goes into detail on Ayame’s history as a Diver–she starts out as a beginner who plays alone because she doesn’t know anyone else. She’s invited to the Force Le Chat Noir, a group of friendly people all brought together by their love of SD Gundam.
The group sees its numbers grow as they prove themselves impressive when working together, and they climb the ranks steadily. In honor of their victories, their leader assembles a monstrosity of a SD Gundam that looks more like a J-RPG final boss than a Gundam, and it serves as a symbol of their friendship and a mascot of sorts. At the same time though, a shadowy figure appears and talks about how the group won’t be able to continue winning using super deformed models, and “real types” will be necessary soon. And sure enough, as the group finally his the Top 30 Forces, they begin to find winning harder and harder. Their force rank starts to and having forgotten why they started playing together in the first place, their group gradually becomes toxic, until members start quitting….leaving Ayame alone.
Unable to accept the loss of her Force and her friends, she turns to the leader of the break decal ring. The group had traded away their team mascot in the middle of their series of losses in favor of a real type Gunpla in the hopes of winning, but it did no good. So of course, Ayame starts working to get that Gunpla back, performing shady jobs like distributing break decals and breaking up Forces for the sake of getting back what she lost.
On the bright side, Ayame already acknowledges that at some point she realized getting the Gunpla back wouldn’t bring back her Force members. She keeps working for her boss because she doesn’t think she deserves anything better, but that still doesn’t explain why she ever thought it was a good idea. Nonetheless, both Riku and Sarah insist that she has a home with the Build Divers no matter what she’s done, and realizing how forgiving and caring her new friends are finally snaps her out of the hold her boss had over her.
3. Away from Riku and Ayame, the Coalition is still struggling with the higher ups in the break decal ring. …Y’know, for like three seconds. All the tension vanishes the moment Shahryar, Tigerwolf, and the Champion decide to take things serious and use their special techniques. Regenerating is a powerful technique, but it only works if there’s something left to regenerate from.
Usually I’m all for moments like this–watching the hero pull out special techniques at the last moment is key to good action fight drama–but for most of them there wasn’t a reason for them to waste so much time holding back. At least in the Captain’s case he didn’t want to eliminate them until he learned why they were doing what they did, but everyone else only seems to go for it after their Gunplas are already beat to crap. Still, it made for a pretty cool moment when they all started to realize their enemies had no love for the world or the game, and thus deserved no mercy in being shut down.
4. After Riku convinces Ayame to stay with Team Build Divers, someone arrives to stop Riku from going any further. Fortunately, Ayame in her transformed real-type suit decides to take the hit for him. I suspect this will be one of the last times we see this version of her suit–unlike Fumina from Gundam Build Fighters Try, Ayame’s preference of SD Gundams was legitimately a way of life at first. Her team swapping to real types was the final thing leading to their downfall–that’s probably why her real-type Gunpla looks so evil. She holds off the last bad guy but can’t damage him until she takes control of his suit and uses its bits to attack both of them at once–coincidentally, all that’s left of her suit when its done is Zeromaru’s small form.
In any case, Riku finally tracks down the head bad guy just as he’s about to head out and do some damage himself. Hopefully that doesn’t mean we get cheated out of answers for why he’s doing this in the first place.
5. Next Episode: The reveals have started coming in pretty hot now. With Ayame’s backstory revealed and her storyline semi-resolved, it looks like we’re heading directly into seeing what the story is behind the guy running the Break Decal ring. And judging from Riku’s glowing cape looking thing he definitely hasn’t had in the last few episodes, we’re probably about to learn what Sarah’s story is as well. That’s a lot to wrap up at once for a story that’s got another 14 episodes to go.
Gundam Build Divers is available on Crunchyroll and Bandai’s GundamInfo YouTube channel.