5 Point Discussions – Gundam Build Divers 20: “Truth”
by Sage Ashford
Team Build Divers welcomes it’s newest member to the group! And elsewhere, the programmers behind GBN have finally tracked down the source of the bug plaguing their servers. And what’s the secret behind that bird? 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. Once again I’m forced to ask just how much work went into programming this game? “Truth” starts with our group welcoming it’s latest member: Nami, who enjoyed her time in GBN so much the first time she decided to become a permanent member. Imagine that, a game where new players are welcomed by veterans.
Anyway, Nami gets all excited at the prospect of being in GBN, but she wants to celebrate her membership through customizing her room with cute items. So, she located a list of missions to get what she wants and the group agrees to help her out.
I’ve been used to some of the more basic things you can do in this game, but this episode takes it over the edge, with a montage of mini-games that would give the Yakuza series an inferiority complex. Yukki starts flying a plane, which wouldn’t be anything like piloting a Gundam, and that’s when I realized this game is basically GTA Online with Gundams: it must have sold so incomparably well, Namco-Bandai in this universe just kept supporting it until you could do literally anything in the world.
2. I was under the impression this series had only four episodes remaining, but apparently they told the show’s writers something different. For weeks now they’ve been hinting towards building up to a Raid Battle to end the “season” with. That sounded exciting, since all the missions they’ve created so far have been creative and pretty great shoutouts to old Gundam history. But this episode sees Riku and the others reveal they’re preparing for a mini-tournament where they’ll be working separately. Looking at the bracket, there’s at least four matches on it that would need to be the main fight of an episode, and there’s nowhere near enough time to pull it off. All that and we’re not even counting this episode’s plot, which…well, let’s get into that.
3. The answers come fast this episode. The GMs have finally managed to track down the source of the bug to the people involved in last episode’s Nadeshiko-athlon. They realize this bug has the potential to surpass the Break Decals, and they aren’t wrong–eventually it surfaces again and causes massive storms across the server.
Before this, they send out Guardian Bots to test all the women in the contest, before finally recognizing Sarah as the problem. Sarah tries to run, but after failing to be fast enough to escape a giant freaking robot, she freezes it with her powers, which causes the bug. Just as things look their worst, the mysterious bird finally appears again to save Sarah, transforming into a giant Birdramon-esque clone that erases the Guardian bot and takes Sarah and Team Build Divers somewhere safe.
The bird is actually the original developer of GBN. She built the system and knows it in and out, and she detected Sarah awhile ago in the aftermath of the Break Decal incident. And she’s finally able to reveal who Sarah is. When players scan their Gunpla into the system, there’s a tiny amount of excess data that remains in the system even after logging out. The creator theorizes this is the players’ feelings toward Gunpla. Over time, the collective feelings about Gunpla coalesced into a living, sentient being–Sarah.
But an emergent AI is putting massive strain on the system, and even more since giving 00-Diver those wings of light, spreading her code all over GBN. Given a few more months, the creator points out Sarah’s existence will eventually destroy GBN itself.
4. …Or Sarah could get killed. Having recognized what the flaw is, the GM and service staff are working on a “patch” to fix the bug, which would erase all the excess data and kill Sarah. For whatever reason, he arrives to Build Divers’ Force Nest in the belief she’d just turn herself in. But hearing the truth of her existence and how dangerous she is to everyone, she’d already left on her own. Viewing this as an attempt to escape rather than a mental breakdown, the GM broadcasts Sarah’s information to the entire server, painting her as a dangerous entity people shouldn’t interact with.
The one problem I have with this episode is how the GM writes her off as a “bug”. How you gonna act like Sarah’s existence isn’t amazing?! She’s sentient artificial life and and they wrote it off like a bug! She has emotions, thoughts, has built a social circle. This is straight up murder and yet for some reason they just write it off like it’s a clerical error instead of literally the greatest scientific discovery of all time.
Also, the last shot of this episode is an emotional gutpunch–listening to the end theme play against the scene of the entire world turning on Sarah before the close up on the shot of Build Divers and Sarah’s infectious smile had me tear up a little.
5. Next Episode: The whole world knows who Sarah is now, and it’s only a matter of time before GBN works to erase her! But in the midst of that, why is Ogre challenging Riku to a battle? Plus, where’s Koichi going?
Surprisingly, the creator of GBN doesn’t have an actual answer for how to save Sarah. But it looks like Koichi’s going to visit his old friend, who was a good enough programmer to create the break decals without ever being tracked. Why he’d bother to save Sarah is unclear, but he does seem like the last, best hope for her.
Gundam Build Divers is available on Crunchyroll and Bandai’s GundamInfo YouTube channel.