May 27, 2011

“It’s a 1/550 scale! Are you serious?!”

Kenta Sakazaki, Model Warrior Gunpla Builders Beginning G

Ah yes, Bandai’s greatest marketing campaign yet since forcing Tomino to grind out Gundam ZZ.

Gunpla Builders is a 3-episode OVA, each episode spanning 15 minutes and showcasing various plastic models from the Gundam franchise. It follows one Haru Irei as he gets turned into a recluse a master modeller, taking on the world with his legendary Gunpla starter kit, the Beginning Gundam!

No, really. I have never seen such devotion from a commercial. That’s Gunpla Builders at the core; a 3-episode, 45-minute long toy commercial, throwing every Universal Century model kit they think is remotely popular at you. Haru gets the Beginning Gundam, the original design of the show because he was too late to snag an RX-78-2 kit; he takes it home, builds it up, and gets sucked straight into the world of “Gunpla Battling”, which at the core of things is essentially Pokemon meets Gundam Vs Gundam. Enter the arcade simulator, put your Gunpla in a reader/scanner, and watch as it becomes life-sized in the game! The scanner also takes into account the quality of building, and the Gunpla in the game will fall apart if they get too rough with themselves.

If you’re sick and tired of Duel Masters, Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, Digimon and the likes, then you might want to give Gunpla Builders a miss despite of how short it is. It’s essentially every cliché in all the shows with the added bonus of a masked man from Gundam as well as accompanying Gundam clichés like the father building  a machine for his son.

Well, there are a few differences. Nonwithstanding the fact that the masked man Boris Schauer is a bit of a dick both figuratively and literally, the show’s main selling point is in the sheer number of multicolored custom Gunpla they manage to crank out into the span of 45 minutes. That’s not including some of the really out-of-nowhere custom jobs, like the Bearguy, like Kenta’s Byakushiki (oh, wordplay!), like Allelujah’s Tatsu’s Zaku F2000… ah yes, like that one Zeonic contender to the GP-03 Dendrobium Orchis kit – and no, it is not the Neue Ziel!

Not to mention accurate scaling.

The plot, if you really care about that aspect of such a short show, it pretty much average; it probably won’t shake hearts, but it’s not that bad. The one thing about this show is the battles; short, but well thought-out and good to watch. The entire thing’s up on Youtube, if anyone’s interested.

Probably the one definitive fault with the show is the length. With a concept like that, Bandai could have easily made it their new Gundam series; sure, oldfags might prefer Plamo Kyoshiro, but seriously, stranger things have taken place and it wouldn’t take much for some mad-hat at Bandai to tie the two together and make Gunpla Builders into some 52-episode contender to Digimon. To be honest, I found the entire concept of Gunpla Builders fairly interesting; but maybe that’s just the departure from HURRRRRRRR WAR IS BAD NO KILL HURRRRRRRR NEWTYPES HE IS A NEWTYPE DURRRRR.

Well, there isn’t really much to say about Gunpla Builders. A solid watch for when you’re on burnout or just want something short, and quality-wise you’ll find few things to nitpick about precisely because it’s a short series.


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