Once I finished the preview for this OVA when GundamInfo released it on Youtube, I was instantly hyped for it and after months of patiently waiting and finally clicking the video to play, my hype died becoming nothing more than a disappointment at the conclusion.
If you read the title of this OVA, “Island Wars” and thought that the cast got invited to a large free-for-all tournament being held on an archipelago, introducing new Gunpla and characters to the Gundam Build Fighter franchise, you are wrong. Instead of an OVA worth to be hyped about we get the cast who get to be testers for
a new Gunpla Battle Simulator and when things go wrong, the cast team together and pulls off the same shtick the final episode of Gundam Build Fighters did.
To me, this OVA fells like just like a normal episode of Gundam Build Fighters: Try without bringing anything unique. What really got under my skin about this OVA is that it was mainly used to pamper to people who watched Gundam Build Fighters completely for a bit of fanservice.
The ending left me speechless, not in a way that wants me to re-watch again and again, but in the form of cringing because the ending was so rushed and was not very compelling. Not even a single particle of awe.
What's the difference between the original GBF and GBF Try? GBF (especially the ending) makes my heart cried a lot, while GBF Try (as a whole) makes me cringed a lot.
The reason why you want to watch this is most likely you want to see more of Mirai and Fumina's (or Gyanko too if you like her) tits, that's it.
I personally watched Try because i watch GBF and i watch this OVA because i watch Try, and i regret it. Try is already so wrong in the first place, and this OVA still keeps it. It's too.. shonen. Really. A lot of screaming, a lot
of exaggerated beam, and thick plot-armor.
After the winning the tournament, we return to the buildfighters to see them in their glory by continuing to explode my senses of 'What happened?'
I will give them credit for allowing us to see the characters and side characters in action to warm up within the lime light, but I believe Build Fighters Try along with this special are completely missing the point when comparing it to the first Build Fighters. There are two main problems with Build Fighters Try.
The first being the fights themselves. Don't get me wrong, we get some over the top action in Build Fighters Try and its special, but it's
how they present those action scenes that miss the bar by a long shot. That meaning that the direction of how the fights are done in general. In the beginning of try, the first few episodes that introduce the characters and side characters used fluid like animation to have their little plastic mechs move around and trade decent blows. But as the series went on, it all came down to 'Who has the best magical powers.' That being said, the jist of it all comes down to hyper beam spamming and throwing. Despite Sekai being a fist fighter, he fires more lasers then moving his mech around to actually use those fists for the sake of...you know...FIGHTING. Most of the action we see in the special is exactly that but on a grander scale. Almost all...no, ALL of the mechs use High Mega Cannons and that blow everything in sight. Don't get me wrong, giant death beams are awesome, but you can't spam them because standing still and firing death lasers gets VERY boring after awhile. It's another reason why people dislike SEED and SEED Destiny's choreography due to the reliance of beam spamming. You need to have a good balance of close quarters combat and long range combat to really get the most out of shounen. When all the characters are basically using the same moves and aren't doing much in close combat, the uniqueness of characters and their mechs diminish when the only difference are just visuals. The original Try had the same problem with a few great exceptions. I see this due to animating close combat takes time and more money than just standing there and firing death lasers.
The second has to be with the characters. Though Try did a bad job in characterizing their rivals and side characters due to having too many characters in the span of over 20 episodes, the special highlights on the other problem. The women in Try are terribly one noted. When I mean one noted, I mean the problems of most crappy harems have. The women are ONLY focused on one thing, the main character's attention. This results in the women fighting over who gets to ride the 13 year old dick who clearly doesn't show any signs of female interest and would rather train to get stronger. What the hell do women see in a guy who is too focused on one thing and clearly shows no interest in them? These dense harem leaders, if written well, can be hilarious. But dense main characters have become such a cliche in harems that it's starting to get really annoying. Just because your main character is dense doesn't mean the women within the show could just STRAIGHT UP TELL THE MAIN LEAD THEY HAVE FEELINGS FOR HIM...but no. That would only end the harem once the main character picks a female. If the guy is dense, THROW EVERYTHING AT HIM. TELL HIM HOW YOU FEEL.
Fumina in the beginning of Try didn't show so much interest in Sekai. In fact, when Gyanko lost, Fumina did a really cute move. She got Sekai to take Gyanko on a date because she is well aware that Gyanko has feelings for Sekai...and then all of the sudden she starts forming her own interests out of blue for no reason at all. Then she starts fighting over Sekai? This characterization and change of Fumina made her quite unlikable once you remember the idea she did something nice and completely undermines it by trying to take Gyanko's man. Then Fumina devolves into the annoying type 2 tsundere. The kind that constantly switches from tsun to dere because she won't admit to Sekai how she feels. Though her characterization for the winning road was a decent idea so she can fight with her own power, it's a shame that the special continues to push Fumina into this awful and old as steam stereotype.
Update on the above: I got my facts wrong. Fumina didn't suggest Gyanko and Sekai to date. Guess I remembered it wrong, but regardless, Fumina is still a flat character. The show and even this special continues to suggest that Fumina only exists for Sekai's oblivious harem instead of being the team leader and glue of the Try Fighters.
Gyanko has a similar problem, but you gotta give her credit for being a bit forward to Sekai. The same thing goes for miss mary sue herself, Shia, to ride in on the success. Gyanko and Shia's existence in this OVA has only one purpose, to have the entire female cast besides Sekai's sister(Thank god) to fight and berate the dense fighter when he does nothing wrong. Even when all three see Sekai hang out with a small girl, they QUICKLY give him death glares and don't even think logically that "Nah, Sekai is too dense for that shit anyways." This characterization just makes the females in Build Fighter shallow and only exist to be unlikable bitches who only exist to fight over Sekai. Though they might form friendships, it's completely undermined.
Kousaka and Sakai are undermined here too. Instead of fleshing out their rivalry a bit more, all they do is exchange some dialogue and completely left them to just skip to it and starting blowing stuff up...*Sigh*...what happened to their rivalry? Maybe if the focus wasn't on the harem aspect of the show that we all know for sure won't go anywhere, their characters just seem like a one note.
And we saw it coming, everyone. We know the girl in the end was obviously Aina and Raiji's daughter...I mean look at her. She feels so shoe horned and basically almost murdered EVERYONE just so she can have a PLASTIC MODEL... So apparently she can make the crystals hostile...wait. If she can control them all, why didn't she just control that orange gunpla to fly out of there instead of just standing there and wa- Nope. Thinking too logically. Gotta have our heroes destroy endless canon fodder by endless boring death lasers... She feels so shoe horned and the way she gets away with almost killing everyone in the way because she wanted a plastic toy feels so disappointing. If she wanted a gunpla on her own, why didn't she just ask? Don't say she is Shy, because she is CLEARLY capable to walking over to Sekai and greet him.
The plot itself is a mess. You know? The power goes out but CONVENIENTLY the only gunpla controller station that has power is conveniently next to the building. Didn't they say they ran out of power? Why that one spot? Does it have a back up generator? Well??? It was so obvious that it actually felt like the show was insulting my own intelligence. Nils isn't gonna report because no one got hurt? YOUR ENTIRE FACILITY IS DESTROYED. That is gonna cost A LOT of money! So how are you gonna explain that to your funders? "Uuuuh the entire thing blew up. Lol nothing suspicious here." I never thought that they would brush it under the rug like that.
And then the ultimate nail that gets hammered into your skull comes at the bitter end. Aina and Reiji's daughter gets the cool orange gunpla...and Fumina says that she can't have it because the girl needs to make her own gunpla...Did...did they actually shoe horned in this message? And they put another BEAR GUY together, because females in gundam MUST have cute gunpla and SDs, not actually legit gundams that aren't feminine at all((At least Shia and Fumina can pull off actual gundams and still make them feminine))...and all done...just...
This entire special is just awful. I'm giving it a six because at least it's short and has some flashy lights and all...but...I'm giving it way too much credit because the story really is bad. But I'm giving it a bit more because the potential for Build Fighters using technology to use Gunpla outside of the base gives off SO many ideas. Especially for Try to take their story into a serious direction. But going dark and edgy and messing it all up is a recipe for disaster.
Update: Decided to change the score to a 5. I honestly feel like giving it a six is too generous. I should be more honest with how I score shows, especially shows like this.