It’s no big secret that Bandai makes a killing off of selling gunpla(Gundam plastic) model kits with new kits being released each year based on the latest series. Those series are in turn meant to sell these model kits and other related merchandise and calling it a merchandising empire is an understatement because Gundam has life size statues dedicated to it and I believe it even has its own department store. So naturally when Gundam Build Fighters was announced it was seen as one big toy commercial, and rightfully so because it is all about the joys of gunpla set in a fictional future where people build gunpla and then battle them om arenas that breath life into them.
The first season of Gundam Build Fighters centered on a young model builder named Sei Iori who sucked at controlling his own models and thus he could never win in any battle competitions. And then one day he meets a strange boy named Reiji who has the control skills of a god and together the two of them shoot for the world championship. The battles in the show are staged like actual mobile suit battles from the various Gundam series and it’s fascinating to see mobile suits from all these different timelines duke it out evenly despite specification differences. It was very grounded. Sure, there were a slight few things that were fantastical, but it was nothing major and had very little effect on the show itself. But then we get to the second season: Build Fighters Try.
Build Fighters Try did a number of things different compared to the first season(or first series depending on who you ask.). For one it introduced the Mobile Fighters from G Gundam into the mix which was already pushing it because you had Gundams performing martial arts moves. G Gundam was already considering the black sheep of the franchise because it was in essence a super robot show contrary to Gundam’s nature as a real robot franchise. That doesn’t change here because Mobile Fighters are still super robot-esque. Not that including them was bad, just that it changed how things worked. And then we get to the real core of the show: creativity. A bit sticking point was trying to get people to express their creativity through building gunpla... and this resulted in some very weird things. The biggest offender is obviously the MS you above, the Tryon 3, it’s basically a combiner super robot. A legitimate super robot disguised as a Gundam. It gave us a great battle, don’t get me wrong, but I mean come on, that’s more Super Robot than a Mobile Fighter. And then you have three SD Gundams that combined into a freaking three-headed dragon, there was no way there were enough parts, let alone plastic, to pull that off.
The biggest offender, however, and the one that solidified my dislike of Try, was the somewhat recent OVA Island Wars. The culprit is the image you see at the top of this article. Essentially what happens is that 4 or 5 gunpla pass through a power gate and turn into energy that then combines with the Kamiki Build Burning to give it a massive power blast, at which point it basically creates a giant phoenix gundam that proceeds to wreck everything. The problem I have is not that it basically summoned another gunpla, no that’s fine and par for the course when it came to G Gundam’s imagery, that’s an homage, my problem came with the five actual gunpla that simply vanished, turned into energy and disappeared. What?! I’m all for creativity, but at least with the first season the creativity was bound by actual rules, Try just stopped caring and tried to go bigger with everything by unshackling the show from any sort of grounding.
I realize some people may not agree with me, and I’ll admit that I still watch Try for the fights because they are all cool and the show is meant to sell toys, but at least the first season made everything seem plausible, the second season just said “screw it” and the writers started throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what stuck. Not to mention apparently everyone is a master builder now and their creations defy the laws of physics.