Gunpla Battle Nexus Online (GBN) is a new network game that lets people enjoy a variety of missions using Gunpla in a virtual cyberspace dimension. Middle-school students Riku Mikami and Yukio Hidaka recruit their classmate Momoka Yashiro and dive together into this vast world. Becoming "Divers," or inhabitants of GBN, they meet a mysterious girl named Sarah who has an amazing sensitivity to Gunpla. They begin playing alongside her, but...
There are many other famous Divers, starting with Kyoya Kujo, the champion whom Riku admires. Multiple Divers can join to form a team called a "force." Meanwhile, the game is disrupted by Mass-Divers who use unofficial tools called break decals. Through many encounters and experiences, Riku and his friends will build not only Gunpla, but their own adventures as well!
If there was a word to describe the Gundam Build series, it would be disappointing. Ever since the first Season of Build Fighters which is one of my favourite Gundam shows the series had a big massive declined on quality where not only the shows that removed everything that made the original series great but they added stuff that shouldn't be in a Gundam show period.
Gundam Build Fighters Try was one of the most disappointing animes I have ever seen period, as it took everything that was good in the original series, threw it out the window in favour of adding in generic anime stuff
that clearly doesn't belong in a Gundam show.
Yes Gundam Build Fighters GM Counterattack was a thing, and it was great the problem with that it was just an epilogue for the original series. Yes, it fixed most things that were wrong from Try and Island Wars but sadly the damage has already been done for this series meaning these were certain wounds caused by Try such as a harem shit, stock footage, and asspulling were impossible to heal.
Now we have Gundam Build Divers the latest Gundam Build series entry.
Like with many Gundam fans on the net I was really excited for Gundam Build Divers because I thought that it would completely fix the series. Unfortunately Gundam Build Divers didn't do any of that, in fact, I honestly say that this is easily the worst Gundam show I have ever experienced. Unlike Seed Destiny and ZZ where there were a couple of good moments in it Build Divers is a complete void of entertainment and substance that has no charm or soul. I honestly cannot believe of how awful this series was so let's get started.
(Major Spoilers Ahead)
In the near future, Gundam plastic models (Gunpla) will become more popular than ever through the release of a Virtual Reality game called Gundam Battle Nexus (GBN), where users can "dive" into a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game world and pilot their Humongous Mecha first-hand. Middle school students Riku Mikami, Yukio Hikada, and Momoka Yashiro are three such "divers" who dream of becoming champions in the game's yearly Player Versus Player five vs five squad tournament, despite their lack of skills, experience, or even a full team. Their luck begins to turn around, however, when they meet a mysterious girl named "Sara", whose uncanny ability to judge people through their Gunpla start to give them just the edge they need to succeed in winning the squad tournament.
I'm not going to pull any punches with this but the story is awful. To start off this show has a serious identity crisis as the show starts off as a clam slice of life series where the main characters are just having the fun of GBN by doing a lot of activities as entering into five vs five squad tournaments. I honestly wished that the show had stayed true to it's best roots by being a being another fun tournament anime in an online setting. However, as this show progressed this series completely abandoned it's tournament routes in favour of being a series of boring and contrived events that barely makes any senses thanks to poor pacing which I will talk about in a bit. While Ayame story arc in the middle of the series was kinda as it gave the only decent character in the show characterisation but it was kinda enjoyable. It's such as shame that everything else especially the final 5 episodes story wise is a train-wreck.
It doesn't help the fact the show has a lot of asspulls during fights and while the asspulling is not as bad to compare to build fighters try it's pretty annoying and it really kills the tension of set fights. The worldbuilding in Gundam Build Divers is even worse. Now if you thought the worldbuilding for Build Fighters Try was bad enough, you ain't seen nothing yet. While the normal world being earth is fine, the problem with the world starts showing up once you dive into the world of GBN. The world in GBN is incredibly empty and hollow. There is not much interaction with other players and NPCs. The security is a god damm joke where there is no admit watching over the players ensuring that they are safe in a server and many of the worlds are for the most part empty that is avoided with any life whatsoever. One of the biggest problems I have with Gundam Build Divers as a whole is the show has no real stakes. In Gundam Build Fighters Try, they had a damage level system where C was the lowest damaged where the gunpla doesn't get damaged at all after the and A was the highest where if the gunpla got sliced in half or lost an arm during a tournament that arm is damaged personally meaning that unless you have an appropriate spare parts to fix that arm your just be left vulnerable and your team would have a choice to forfeit the tournament due to the lack of replacement parts or try the hardest to fix that part with replacement parts. In Gundam Build Divers gunpla are fixed in the by using a station where it fixes the gunpla in under a minute.
So much of having stakes Gundam Build Divers (Epic Facepalm)
Before I talk about the final 5 episodes of this scrapheap of a show let's talk this show pacing. Am not joking when I say this but Gundam Build Divers has the worst pacing I have ever seen from this franchise as a whole. Say all you want about Seed Destiny and Wing pacing but least the story for those series were somewhat interesting to follow despite all the plot holes and convenience. Gundam Build Divers is an unfocused plot-less mess of a series that has no idea to even establish its own plot correctly and as a result, most of the series is a soulless and tedious child pandering mess. I understand that Gundam Build Divers was meant to be more kid-friendly compared to the first 2 series but this was such a cheap way to dumb down the series just so it can appeal to children with it's snail pacing.
Honestly, when I watched some of these episodes when the series was airing I literally started falling asleep due to how slow, boring and badly written some of these episodes are. Screw this.
Finally, we have the final 5 episodes of Gundam Build Divers which quite possibly one of the worst final 5 episodes in any anime ever. Not only the direction was dogshit where the randomly decide to be bigger than it actually is but the writing became absolutely horrendous. It was also around that I started to hate all the characters in Build Divers as all devolved into preachy assholes who rather save Sarah (who is an AI bug) by rebelling against GBN Admins by breaking the game just so Sarah can be human in the real world. Honestly, when that happened in the show, I was rooting of the GBN sides because while they are idiots by not simply banning the Build Divers after that contrived speech of Riku they actually cared for the game health and safety as well the people that are in it.
The final nail of the coffin of final five episodes is how it ended. After the Build Divers rebelled against the GBN Admins as beating that massive another enemy in the game Sarah gets transported into the human world Framed Arms Girls style where she takes a form of a Gunpla like body. I wish I was joking.
What makes the ending more insufferable is when you go back to the previous episodes especially in the beginning, you will start to see how poorly structured this series is.
What did you gain from doing all this Build Divers because I know for sure you just gained a lot of notoriety from not only players but admins too for trying to destroy the game for everyone?
The writing and logic were so bad I literally wanted to punch the screen.Te Build Divers did not get punished yes they did save the game from destroy but the actions they made me during such as arguing with the GBN Admins as well Riku being able to hack the monitor system were not justified theses thing can break any online game. In the final few minutes of the show, I expected the admins to make the Build Divers team start from starch after all the game crimes that they committed but screw that this is a kid show and all kid shows though have a happy ending no matter what. Screw life lessons and consequences am I right?
Overall the story of Build Divers is garbage.
Now how are the characters? Aren't they even better? No, in fact, they are somehow even worst.
The main protagonist Riku is by far the worst Gundam I have ever the displeasure of following. He just a bland empty husk on screen who barely has the energy required of being a Gundam protagonist. He has zero personality of his own as he looks like your typical kid protagonist that we all seen before as he follows the whole I want to protect my friends from danger and have a good-time bullshit. I swear even Sekai has more personality than Riku and he was an overpowered dumbass who barely cared about the hobby of gunpla until the very end of the series.
When Riku is not being a bland husk on screen, he is a preachy dumbass where he believes that everything should go in his way otherwise he will fight. This side of Riku becomes more problematic in the final 5 episodes where he literally delves into a hypocrite where he rather goes against the people who run the game of MMOVRPG in favour of saving his pixel waifu. Am not kidding when I say this. This idiot would rather rebel the GBN admins where they are trying to protect the game from bugs and glitches so he can be with the pixel waifu. This was honestly the final straw for Riku as a character and I wanted him to suffer the concusses by the end but because this is kids show he doesn't get punished at all, in fact, the GBN admins literally forget everything that this asshat did. It was that point there where I literally wanted to throw something at my computer.
Screw this character and everything that this hypocritical husk stands for.
Next, we have Sarah. Sarah is not a character at all. She is just a boring plot device for Riku as well as the narrative especially at the final 5 episodes of the series. She has no personality whatsoever. She doesn't develop at all and she is overall a useless character
Along with the useless characters include Riku friends Yukio and Monoka. If you take away Yukio and Monoka friendship with Riku what did they actually do in the narrative? Honestly, if you talk out these two characters and replace it with two random GBN players than the story wouldn't have changed that much.
If there was one saving grace of Gundam Build Divers it would be Akane. Unlike every other character in this shit show, she's the only character that gets developed as she had a pretty decent backstory that was decently hold. Unfortunately Akane presence alone cannot save this dreadful character cast
The rest of the characters in Gundam Build Divers are nothing more but plot devices where they only exist the move the narrative alone.
Apart from Akane, the characters in Gundam Build Divers are awful.
Am just going to say this now the visuals in Gundam Build Divers are at best terrible.
Now at the first, the looks like your typical kids show that is colourful but believe you me this show has more animation shortcuts and art failures than Cardfight Vanguard G Next/GZ am not joking. Let's start with the characters design as they look like shit. Riki looks like a generic shounen protagonist that we all seen before, Yukio looks like your typical nerdy best friend characters. Sarah looks like a generic mysterious character and Kyouya looks like your generic final boss character. Don't get me started the furries characters designs as they all looked like they were fished out from a public swamp. Seriously what the hell were you thinking Sunrise? Now with the characters designs out the way let's look at the mecha designs which are awful.
Most of the mechas in this show range from bland, uninspired and downright awful especially the main suit of the series Gundam 00 Sky which is somehow worse than the Destiny Gundam itself from Gundam Seed Destiny design wise.
Now with the mecha designs let's talk about the animation which is by far the 3rd worst thing in the entire show outside of the atrocious final 5 episodes and pacing.
While the show itself didn't much stock, footage when compared to Build Fighters Try the fight choreography of the mecha battle is terrible. Many of the battles feel lifeless and stiff.
Lifeless is the best word to describe the soundtrack in Gundam Build Divers. Not only the tracks are unimpressed as hell but they all lack energy and excitement that a Gundam show should have. Easily the worst soundtrack I have ever heard in a Gundam show.
The first opening Diver's High by SKY-HI is a kickass opening theme that fits the light-hearted first half the series pretty well.
The second opening theme Infinity by SWANKY DANK is, unfortunately, a mediocre song that is easily forgetful.
Both ending themes are generic and they are not even worth mentioning at all.
I don't have much to say in the voice acting but I thought the Seiyuus did a pretty alright job with the character roles that they were given.
From this time of the review Gundam Build Divers hasn't a dub but let's be real here will I ever want to watch this dumpsterfire again dubbed? I don't think so.
Overall I can definitely say that Gundam Build Divers is not only a terrible Gundam series, but it's just a plan shit anime in general.
The story is awfully written, the worldbuilding is shit, the finale was abysmal, most of the characters sucked, the visuals were terrible and the soundtrack is horrendous.
Out of all the Gundam TV series, to ever come out Gundam Build Divers is by the worst one by far. If your a fan of the original Build Fighters series than I strongly recommended you to avoid this series at all cost like the plague. This show was so bad that it destroyed the Build series reputation. The Gundam franchise officially now has two joke timelines in its belt being the Cosmic Era (Seed) and sadly the Build series. The first Build Fighters series and GM Counterattack are the only good things to come out from the Build series everything especially Divers are a dumpsterfire.
Final Score 2/10
Just so you know. This series has no connection whatsoever with the previous two Gundam Build Series. I have watched all the episodes and there is not even one reference or returning character from the previous series. So despite it being called "Gundam Build" it really is a standalone anime.
The story is pretty basic. Riku tries out GBN a virtual world of Gundam and meets a mysterious person named Sarah and they decide to go on adventures in the world of GBN.
The first couple of episodes are mostly explanation of the world and small events within the world. Throughout the first half they
do build up a villain and characters get certain arcs to them. It isn't anything new but they do it really well. The second half contains a little bit more events but it honestly gets really ridiculous in the second half and over the top.
A good first half but a really over dramatic second half
The design of the gundams,environment and characters are very nice. There is also not a lot of CGI in this anime so the animation of Gundams don't look to outta place.
The music and sound effects are done really good as well. The openings and endings are actually pretty good too. The soundtrack does the job very well and fits the situation perfectly.
The characters are pretty stereotypical or generic as some would say but when they are as likeable as Riku and friends it is really hard to hate them. Throughout the series Riku develops in some form and some side characters even get their own development e.g. Yukio, Kouichi and Ayame.
Ayame especially is a very good character with a proper arc in the series. She is probably the best character in this series.
Despite not being a huge Gundam fan and disappointed at how this isn't a sequel to the previous two gundam build series. The series is still very enjoyable and you will most likely have a pretty good time with the series.
Anyone who even has a passing knowledge of Gundam can tell you that it is a big series. While it can seem daunting, people who want to get into it can take solace in the fact that given the number of entries, there’s a show for everyone. If you’re like me and enjoy dark and gritty stories, you can watch Zeta Gundam, Victory Gundam, or Iron-Blooded Orphans. If you want something more lighthearted, you may be inclined to watch something such as ZZ or Build Fighters.
Gundam Build Divers is definitely more on the lighthearted spectrum. As someone who’s favorite Gundam shows are the three aforementioned
“dark” entries, you might be inclined to believe that I’d write off this show without giving it a chance. While it’s true that this type of Gundam show is somewhat alien to me, I was willing to give it a chance, and if it had many merits, I’d love it, lighthearted or no.
Gundam Build Divers is centered around Gundam Build Nexus - an MMORPG based around Gunpla. The main characters frequent the real-life Odaiba Gundam Base (most notable for its Gundam Unicorn Statue). This was by far my biggest draw to the show. As a big Gundam fan, the concept of a Gundam MMO proved fun to think about. The possibilities are endless. Gundam Build Divers’ cameos were great as well. If you’re a fan of Gundam, you’ll be sure to see a reference to series you love. They even paid tribute to the box art for the Linkin Park Gundam!
So, besides fanservice, what does Gundam Build Divers bring to the table?
Not much, unfortunately.
The very thing I praised the show for, its setting, is one of the biggest things that annoyed me. Maybe Recovery of an MMO Junkie spoiled me, but GBN often doesn’t feel like a game. While it can be forgiven in that it’s a VR game, it’s still ridiculous for characters to act hurt or hungry, only to remember that they’re in a video game (multiple times).
GBN murders any tension the show tries to foster. Because GBN is a game, there aren’t any real stakes, so it was hard for me to get invested. Game concepts aren’t brought up nearly enough, and thus, while more than an afterthought, it felt like GBN was deemed not worthy of exploring.
What does Build Divers deem worthy of exploring, you ask? The characters. Unfortunately, they’re still explored about as well as other galaxies. The story primarily follows Riku, the blandest Gundam protagonist I’ve had the displeasure of following. He’s pretty much your generic middle-school shounen protagonist who converts friendship into the energy needed to tear through each and every obstacle that has the misfortune of being in his way. The shrivel of tension that exists in the show is brutalized by Riku, who, past the intro episodes, becomes a nigh-unstoppable force, making the show quite boring. It’s a bad sign that, more often than not, I was rooting for Riku to get his just-desserts. I came to roll my eyes whenever a character spoke of a low success rate, because I knew Riku would pull through all the same. It was extremely unrealistic to see Riku, a total newbie, absolutely brutalize most of his competition.
And if you thought Riku was too bland, Build Divers has you covered with Sarah - a mysterious girl whose sole purpose in this anime is to stand around looking cute. The less I talk about Sarah, the better.
The other characters don’t add much, though a lot of them do end up being more enjoyable than the main bunch. Though I must say, as far as the main group go, Ayame is a saving grace.
Again, battles aren’t that important in Gundam Build Divers. Sure, characters like to do battle, but nothing is really at stake with losing. While some of the Gunpla look quite cool, a lot of the battles lacked a certain “umph,” for a lack of a better term. My favorite challenges were actually the capture the flag events, probably because they added something new to the mix. The ending of the show has a really nice one, but it’s too little too late.
I wanted to like this show, especially since I began it with a friend, yet it didn’t do anything for me. It was hard to drag myself to watch another episode, and it felt like a chore. I didn’t really find the show funny, I didn’t find the action exciting, the characters were boring, and the story was anything but gripping. The only saving grace was - due to being a glorified commercial - the copious amount of fanservice, but even if you’re a Gundam show, it’s not really worth the watch.
Suffice to say, while I’m wary about calling the show terrible, it was quite mediocre.
When Gundam Build Divers began airing, I was excitedly showing my friends the cool custom Gundam designs that it was showcasing. In the second week of it airing, I was telling them about the kickass theme song and how the only character I liked was the gay one. By the third week, I was begging for it to stop. The team at Sunrise missed the mark with Gundam Build Divers so completely, that I can't even be arsed to write a proper thesis or remove the outline headings that I use to structure reviews. My thoughts are as follows:
How does it look?
Soulless, except for rare
moments when they actually sprinkle a little budget into a mech battle. The character designs are bright and colorful, and almost all of the mech designs are badass, but that's really all I can find to say about the visuals.
How does it sound?
Get HYPE BOI! Because here comes one of the most energetic, exciting opening songs of 2018! Enjoy it while it lasts, because it's all downhill after "Diver's High" ends. That's true in each episode, and the entire series after they switch the theme song to "Infinity" by--no joke--someone named "SWANKY DANK." Both ending songs are forgettable, the soundtrack never once caught my attention, and the Japanese voice work is pretty standard.
What does it present?
For how little I care about each and every one of them, I'm actually amazed at how many distinct characters I recall. I think this really is thanks to the character designs, because none of them are very deep at all. The main character Riku is as vanilla as you can get, and the same goes for his nerdy friend that isn't as good as him and his gal friend who is just getting into Gunpla. Note that how I just described them is the entire depth of their characters. They amass a team of fellow Gunpla builders who all have about the same level of personality, and make some bland friends and rivals along the way. It tries really hard to sell you on their friendship so it can reap an emotional payoff at the end when it tries to go full SAO, but for reasons I'll detail in the following sections, it just doesn't work.
I also find it impossible to relate to any of them, despite my own appreciation of Gundam and building Gunpla. The thing is, when I talk to my other friends with the same hobby, we don't talk about how we're going to "perfect our Gunpla" or that we want to "become stronger," we talk about what new models kits we want to build, and the quality of the molds, the articulation, and the color separation. I understand that with the Build Fighters line Bandai is trying to encourage people to customize their Gunpla by making it more accessible, but you can't sell me on the idea with hollow dialogue and shallow characters (Plus I've always wanted to customize Gunpla, and I didn't need a show to convince me).
In the world of Gundam Build Divers, an almost YuGiOh! level sensation has swept across the world. The Gunpla Battle Network is THE place to go to show off your custom built, real world Gunpla and use them to duke it out against other players online. However, any damage your Mobile Suit takes in the game is reflected in real life! Now this in and of itself is not the worst setup I've ever seen in an anime. Ever since I was a kid I've enjoyed shows like YuGiOh! and Beyblade that try to sell their toy line by making a world wide phenomenon out of it in their universe. The real issue that makes this premise unbelievable for me is that these Japanese school kids go to the Gundam Base in Tokyo to login to the game, and spend what seems like hours a day playing with Gunpla instead of studying. That just wouldn't happen. I can buy the ridiculous technology you would need to make the real world Gunpla interface work, and that the world is obsessed with Gundam models, but that just ruins my suspension of disbelief.
Worse yet is that I never feel any tension from Build Divers, because until very near the end there are almost no stakes. Let's compare it to Beyblade, where the main focus is also a competitive league that you use your customized toys to battle in. All of the Beyblade matches take place in real life, face to face with your opponent. There is palpable tension just eyeing down your enemy, but in Build Divers you may as well be playing an MMO from your bedroom because you will probably never even meet the person you're playing against. How about Mega Man Battle Network, where the battles are all virtual? Even in Battle Network, the outcome of their net battles directly affects the real world. The digital avatars have the capability to interface with almost every piece of technology from the net, and physically endanger people if they're not stopped--MUCH higher stakes than in Divers. Let's even look at Digimon, where (At least early on) there was no interaction with the real world whatsoever. In Digimon, however, they were all fighting for their survival so they could make it BACK to the real world and continue their lives! STAKES. When they finally had to battle to save one of their friends in the Gunpla Battle Network, I had been tuned out for so long that I could not have cared if my life depended on it.
It misses the point of Gundam:
What I think is the most saddening part about Build Divers is that it completely misses the point of Gundam. Yes, from the very first series, Gundam has been driven by toy sales, but it didn't need to dumb itself down to sell those toys. They just made cool stories with cool robots, and the toys practically advertise themselves. Now I'm not against animation produced solely for advertising--In fact such productions can be some of my favorite things to watch--But if one were to infer from the amount of screen time the toys get, the toys are not even close to the main focus. From screen time alone, this show is largely just kids hanging out in an MMO. I would sooner rewatch SAO if I wanted that. The OVA series Build Fighters Battlogue was a great example of putting the focus squarely on the toys even if it did miss the mark sometimes, because it didn't let itself get bogged down with interactions between characters that have no depth to them whatsoever. Instead, Build Divers felt the need to construct this flimsy narrative in hopes of appealing to kids and thereby their parents' wallets. The thing is, Gundam has never needed to dumb down its stories. Gundam has always been a story about war, and a war story that always had appealed to kids enough to make a profit. It doesn't need to strip itself of its identity to be marketable!
Who should watch?
But that's all from me--I mean, so who should watch Gundam Build Divers? Please avoid this series at all costs unless you're a glutton for punishment and a Gundam completionist like myself. The Build Fighters Battlogue OVA is much more worthwhile.