5 Point Discussions – Gundam Build Divers 21: “Your Feelings”
by Sage Ashford
The Build Divers are working to try and find their teammate Sarah, but will they discover her in time, or will the administrators of the game find her first? 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. While the rest of the team is unsuccessfully looking for Sarah, Koichi appears to be the only person on the team with an actual plan. He starts looking up his old buddy Tsukasa, because even though finding Sarah’s important, it’s not really going to matter if they find her and don’t have a place for her before GBN shuts down. Their plan seems to be to give Sarah an actual body from which she can log in rather than having her entire existence on the server 24/7, which is a solid enough plan but…a few thoughts.
For one, if he figures this out, Tsukasa is a genius-level programmer, and GBN should probably instead be headhunting the guy. If he can hack into the system well enough to avoid detection, alter the game however he likes, and figure out a problem even the creator can’t then he’s clearly better than everyone working there. You don’t throw that guy in jail, you give him an internship with a decent-sized check attached, then promise him a top position at your company when he graduates high school. Also, they show the body they intend to place Sarah in and it’s just your average human-esque plastic model. Does no one else find that creepy? If it doesn’t magically transform into something more human or resembling Sarah then she’s basically trapped inside a plastic coffin until people log her in.
2. This episode wins the “Best Fight Scene That Shouldn’t Exist” award. Riku and the others have become so driven in looking for Sarah they can’t even sleep at night. Riku’s having nightmares about her being captured and erased, and can’t even focus in class anymore. He spends every free moment trying to track her down, which eventually sees him get randomly assaulted by Ogre.
Talk about a guy who’s completely disconnected from reality. Thanks to the GM of the game being a narc at the end of last episode, he’s fully aware of what Riku’s going through but he’s salty because the team withdrew from the tournament mentioned last episode. Because he’s still “hungry for battle”, he keeps attacking Riku while he’s busy trying to literally save a life, and the result is probably the best fight scene this series has ever had. Riku gets to show how much he’s grown since their last encounter, and the whole thing is beautifully animated and features my favorite type of “Build” fights–ones where the two Gunplas just obliterate each other because they aren’t actually being piloted by people inside. The only problem is it’s impossible to get emotionally invested because you’re too busy yelling at the screen about how stupid Ogre has to be not to understand why Riku has better shit to do.
3. This is probably the best point for why GBN is worth saving over the life of sentient artificial life: there are people using VR who get to be themselves in the game in a way they can’t be in real life. That’s fair–there’s no way Magee has the same buns of steel IRL. But, here’s my counter point: …Is GBN the ONLY game in this universe? I speculated about it being the most popular title, but is this some strange alternate universe where there’s only One Game, and that’s Gunpla Battle Nexus Online? Why can’t people log into other games while you try to save Sarah? Speaking of…
4. Eventually, Kyoya finds Sarah and tries to talk to her and understand what an EL-Diver is, but before he can get far into the conversation he’s tracked down by the GM and Rommel. Rommel’s argument convinces Sarah to turn herself over to a newly reformed Coalition of Volunteers, which decides to hold Sarah in custody until the patch, but behind the scenes they agree to try and figure out a way to save her in the five days before the patch is finalized.
Man. Riku put all this effort into trying to save Sarah and she gets caught before he can do anything thanks to Ogre wasting his time. They’re going to go back to being friendly rivals after this, but there’s really no way they should, right? Ogre put his desire for a good fight (which he could get from literally anyone else) over Sarah’s life–there really shouldn’t be a way back from that, but Build Divers is a little too pure to actually go that route.
5. Next Episode: With Sarah now under the watchful eye of a new Coalition of Volunteers, Riku’s really got his work cut out for him. He promised to save both Sarah and GBN, but at this rate he’s not going to be able to do either. Plus, exactly what sort of plan will Koichi and Tsukasa come up with?
Next episode feels like the kind where they waste over half the episode following one plot point, when you’d really rather they follow a completely different one. Riku’s pathos over being unable to save Sarah is compelling, but the story’s already given a solid lead on how she can be saved. It’d be much more interesting to talk about that than Riku’s attempt to take on an entire army of people for no reason.
Gundam Build Divers is available on Crunchyroll and Bandai’s GundamInfo YouTube channel.