5 Point Discussions – Gundam Build Divers 25: “A New World”
by Sage Ashford
With the Coaition defeated, one more opponent stands in the way of getting Sarah into the real world. As the team faces ff against the most powerful Raid Boss of all time, do they have any hope? 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. It’s probably not the best idea to start your epilogue episode doing more plot stuff, but this surprisingly had a bit more importance than I was expecting. Last episode we saw Team Build Divers and all their friends team up against the Coalition in order to save Sarah’s life. I’ll admit I thought we could close on Riku being successful, but I was wrong. Doing so would have ended on a more sour note than what the series was aiming for, with the world of GBN still being rather iffy on our heroes risking GBN for Sarah. This episode puts that idea to bed, as the Coalition accepts their loss gracefully and works alongside Build Divers to shut down the raid boss and help Sarah actually exit the game.
It’s not an easy fight, as this boss is much like Tsukasa’s mobile armor from the mid-season finale: extremely tough, with almost infinite regeneration. Where Tsukasa’s armor was powered by the Break Decal hacks, this boss is actually inspired by other raid bosses on servers around the world constantly feeding it energy. It also made it impossible for anyone to log out, something I’m glad they saved until the end because I’ve had more than enough of video games where the players are trapped inside.
Even the Game Master finally decides Sarah’s life is worth saving, betting on the possibility of Team Build Divers pulling off a miracle. He becomes the deciding factor in their battle, showing up with a modified version of the program to neutralize Sarah and using it on the raid boss to stop it from regenerating, allowing Riku and Kyoya to strike the final blow.
2. With the raid boss finally defeated, they’re finally able to give Sarah a chance to log out of GBN. Tori gives her a warning that logging out comes with the risk of being exposed to cyberspace, and we briefly see Sarah almost lose her sense of self while traveling from the virtual world into our own. Man, I can only imagine what happened when she saw GBD’s equivalent of social media. Or the questions she had for Riku once she got outside. I could watch an entire OVA based on her trying to figure out what TMZ’s about.
Anyway, surprisingly when she logs out the Gunpla model she taps into turns into basically a humanoid version of herself, despite looking…far more Gundam like the last time we saw it. It tows the line between being cute and creepy, and hopefully at some point they team up with Shahryar and get her a life-sized model she can pilot instead.
3. In a move that would be considered unwise in most cases, after surviving the events of the last few episodes Team Build Divers agrees to meet all of their friends IRL. Everyone looks mostly the way you’d expect them to, so just ignore all the stuff I wrote about Magee and gender identity and all that. Jeez, I bet Rommel’s friend can totally walk, too.
The real shock comes when Shahryar pops up and you learn he’s some kid from the middle east who’s ridiculously, absurdly rich. He shows up in the Mr. Fantastic of stretch limos and brags about how he’s got a private freaking jet. There’s also a chance he might’ve banged Magee, but they don’t stick on that enough for us to be sure. He’s so rich he rents an entire place out for the group to hang out and get to know each other, which is…pretty cool, though that makes me wonder how many people try to buddy up with him once they realize he’s loaded and pretty free with spending his cash.
4. And so the series comes to an end with a karaoke party. Okay, not really–the group leaves the bar they’ve been hanging out at to go play more GBN because they’re a bunch of dorks obsessed with Gundam, but I’m going to pretend it does. You know, I wonder how many people Riku and Yukki talk about GBN with and how awesome it is and what cool shit they did before they wind up getting shoved into lockers.
The karaoke moment is really cute though, as it gives you more insight to their real life personas. Some characters play to type, so of course Ayame wants to sing a song from SD Gundam, and Tigerwolf’s persona demands he sing something “manly and cool” like Here comes Char, even though he should totally have picked something from G Gundam. Then others are more enlightening, like Magee being a fan of TM Revolution’s INVOKE or Yuki being a total emo boy and wanting to sing Two-Mix’s Rhythm Emotion.
5. Final Thoughts: And that brings us to the end of our show. How did I feel about it? Well, it’s decidedly NOT the worst Gundam series I’ve ever seen–or even second or third. I’ll take discussions over what decides how sentient an artificial intelligence can be any day over Jesus Yamato, Reconguista in G’s space cannibals turned hippies, or literally anything about garbage-ass Gundam AGE.
But this is easily in the lower tier of Gundam series, and is the worst Gundam Build series by far. While the Sarah story was cool and all, I absolutely preferred the parts where Riku and Yuki were making their way in the world of Gunpla Battle Nexus Online, making friends, taking on quests, and building their force up. This series tried to stray from its roots as a dream match show where you get to see Gunpla from different series go at it, but then the series is at its best when it’s doing just that.
There are people who say that the Build franchise has been on a downward spiral from the very beginning, with Try not being nearly as good as the original. While I’m not sure I agree with that, I do think Divers is a precipitous drop-off from both, and if they’re going to do this again they need to go a different route. Maybe actually bring back the more beloved cast of the original for a reunion show, or maybe finally give us the World tournament that Try kept building towards but never got to.
However, I understand the ratings for this series weren’t terribly high, and that’s kind of a bummer. It means they’re more likely to toss ALL of Divers rather than try and keep what worked, and there’s a lot of that there. An expansive virtual world rather than the virtual arcades of Build Fighters and Build Fighters Try has a lot of potential, even if this show never quite lived up to it.
Gundam Build Divers is available on Crunchyroll and Bandai’s GundamInfo YouTube channel.