I was not expecting this show to be any good. I legitimately thought it was going to be boring corporate schlock crapped out of Sunrise but I was proven so wrong and Im glad I was. The entirety of Gundam Build Fighters is so honest in what it wants to be that its a miracle that it even turned out the way it did. Sure it might be some ploy to sell Gunpla but its a damn elegant one at that. There are so many hidden references and little nods to a bunch of different Gundam series that its hard not to lose your mind as you fanboy/girl over the tiniest things. I laughed my ass off seeing the Nether Gundam referenced it didnt even have to explain a thing for me to get the joke I got it. Hell even Mr. Ral being a character was a treat in of itself. Kids will be entertained by this show Gundam fans will be entranced by its copious amounts of Gundam fanservice that comes from the heart. Gundam fans will appreciate the effort put into this show as they see even the most obscure mobile suits make their appearances. Even just seeing various mobile suits fighting got me feeling like a little kid giddy with excitement. I kept smiling knowing the series that each mobile suit was from and liked seeing how much of a super fan the protagonist was. It was even great to witness certain characters select the kinds of mobile suits to use in battle acting like an extension of their personality that just kind of works. It takes a unique spin on the usual battle anime by using plavsky particles as a way to use Gunpla as holograms. Besides being an onthenose reference to Minovsky particles and followup incarnations it just gives the show some fantastical depth that doesnt really need to be explained for kids or fans doing so would ruin the mysticism of it all. Theres just so much that clicked with me during my viewing. The fights while not overly detailed was like watching a Gundamized version of Super Smash Bros.. I cant emphasize enough how great the callbacks are especially for hardcore fans that can decipher every little detail that the average viewer might not pick up on. Lets also take a moment to talk about the bloodpumping soundtrack too. Yuki You Say Run Hayashi does a stellar job at making dramatic moments feel intense. Even if it might be a show for kids Hayashi breathes life into the battles with plenty of energy. Im literally just watching two plastic Gunplas fight it out and yet Im here getting chills watching it. Theres a few stand out tracks that really play with some different genres that kind of meld together. I havent even talked about the openings and endings which I never skipped. Speaking of My Hero Academia though its the same director and it definitely shows in the superb action sequences especially when the Gundams seem like a 1:1 recreation of All Might moves. Ironic considering this show predated the now widely acclaimed hero series. Since the mobile suits have no real pilots with true consequences they were able to go batshit crazy with the combat scenes. Its just an allaround solid package in the production department. The animation couldve shined more for the more slice of life scenes but realistically I dont think it needs to because it helps juxtapose the insane action. It still effectively portrays the Gundam fanbase from all walks of life without getting too complex. Making it overly animated would only detract from its simplistic storytelling and relaxed energy of the everyday scenes. I get so many vibes from the various battle shows I watched as a kid and the overall structure does a great job at bringing me back to the simpler days of my youth watching shows like YuGiOh it has quite a few similarities since both series feature a highprofile character from another world who helps the protagonist fight battles. The main thing as an older fan is that Build Fighters does tend to step into anime cliche territory at times. Certain characters are very rudimentary lacking nuances of proper characters that other series might have. Its something that can be forgiven as this shows main target demographic isnt people like me at least immediately. Its geared more towards younger fans so some leeway is necessary for my criticisms. Of course thats not to say many of them arent charming because theyre all special in their own way. The narrative can get a little bit lost sometimes and it doesnt always justify its choices with the most rational decisions. This means that the pacing can meander it plots a route for its protagonist only for them to get sidetracked with irrelevant albeit entertaining sideadventures. Some of these stories do somewhat flesh out the minor characters history just a little with certain ones getting either half or a full episode dedicated to them. It works well but sometimes it can feel a bit aimless. For example Maos halfepisode felt necessary it just should have been written to center around the whole Build Fighting and not martial arts just my two cents. Sure many of the characters feel very surface level juvenile even but they get adequate development over the course of the show. The biggest elephant in the room is the fact that the dub of this series is absolutely horrendous. Fandub levels of bad. I thought I had stumbled upon one and didnt realize I was watching an official version on GundamInfos channel. Big letdown and it does upset me that the dubbing which wasnt handled with the same care. If you watch Build Fighters watch it subbed the voices are so much better. Im not usually one to be the sub elitist but here Ill make an exception. The actors barely put emotion or enunciation in their character portrayals. Save yourself the trouble of a dub that has no standards. I dont know how they even allowed this one to receive the dub it did its an outrage for a show like this and kids should not be subjected to it. Good kids show dubs can and do exist already. With all that said this is a great series for the younger crowds regardless. Really the only thing to make me cringe was the dub so really as a kids show its damn solid in its presentation. Build Fighters becomes one big tournament arc in the latter half which isnt necessarily a bad thing as it begins to hit its stride later on. Of course this big endtournament arc while entertaining could have had more of a buildup see what I did there in order for characters to really grow and train properly. With that said the final few episode battles were very adrenalineinducing. If theres anyone who doubts that the show never reaches a peak upon ones initial viewing then I strongly urge you to stick with this show until the very end. If you like anime thats in the same ballpark as YuGiOh then youre in for a wild ride. Build Fighters does make me envious because we rarely get any kind of series with passion behind them in recent years when it comes to shows based games or brands. In fact Im a little surprised actually that Bandai didnt jump on the whole toystolife trend that was a huge thing back when this show was airing because it works so thematically with the universe plus I wouldve been completely on board with that idea. Build Fighters will remind you why you love Gundam in the first place. Its not going to wow you with its thrilling plot or depress you by constantly killing loved or hated characters. Thats not the point. In fact its not meant to even be gripping either. Its just pure unadulterated entertainment for fans of Gundam. Gundam Build Fighters treats its audience to a spectacle that strays far away from being a petty cashgrab. Its a celebration of what I and Im sure many other Gundam fans will adore. Build Fighters has so much intricate care put into the entire show its hard not to love it for just existing. I highly recommend this series. Its the perfect distraction from the usual mainline and AU spinoffs. Its so enjoyable in fact that you can just flip on an episode whenever Gundam decides to depress you with its overly serious presentation. Its been a while since Ive seen anime so unafraid of acknowledging how fun it can be and theres a lot of unexplainable nostalgia for a show I literally just finished. The people working on this Build Fighters know their audience well enough to have me caring long after my viewing was finished. This is aimed to be a timeless Gundam piece that has enough lightheadedness and magic that will be enjoyed across the generations. Build Fighters isnt a shameless toyfocused show its an open love letter to fans of Gundam where the merchandise is just the added benefit.
85 /100
6 out of 6 users liked this review