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Episode 17: Model of the Heart

 

Review by Chris Guanche

February 19, 2014

 

Summary

 

Mao recalls being a modeler as a kid and using an S Gundam in Gunpla Battle to defeat a Baund-Doc. However, he's awed when he sees multiple fighters fall to Master Chinan of the Gunpla Shingyo school. China thinks about the start of the finals and wonders how the finals feel. Rinko wakes Sei and Reiji up because they're already late in going to check the announcement of the bracket. They eventually reach the stadium and learn that their first opponent is Mao, which makes Reiji happy. Fellini encounters Nils, who boasts that he'll win his first battle. Fellini points out that his next battle will be tougher, and Nils sees that he'll be fighting the winner of the Mao and Reiji fight. Mao conducts practice scenarios in his head and realizes there's no conventional way for him to beat Reiji. He thinks back to his early training when he begged Chinan to show him special moves. Mao insisted on training with Chinan and went fishing and beetle capturing with him. Ral wishes Sei and Reiji good luck on their battle tomorrow, and Reiji spots Mao running away. Mao takes a bullet train back to Kanto and recalls Chinan's skills in Gunpla Battle. Mao still wanted to learn Chinan's tricks, but Chinan explained that it's not something that can be taught. To him, Gunpla is about originality and imagination, so it was up to Mao to learn on his own. Mao returns to the Shingyo school and begs to be taught the secret trick.

 

Mao knows asking is going against Chinan's teaching, but he exclaims that he wants to win his battle tomorrow. Chinan agrees and faces Mao in a martial arts sparring match that Mao loses. Mao wonders how this is supposed to help him because he's just getting thrown around. Chinan asks him if that's all he's got, so Mao gets up and rushes toward him. He then recalls asking Chinan who his favorite female character in Gundam was. Mao stated that his favorite was Emma Sheen, while Chinan pervertedly used oranges to indicate that his favorite was busty Murrue Ramius. Chinan explained that you don't need reasons to like something; you simply like it. Mao wakes up and finds a note from Chinan explaining that he got tired and went home. Mao recalls what Chinan said about simply liking something and has a revelation. At the stadium, China runs into Misaki, who has come to cheer for Mao. Reiji wonders where Mao is, but Sei is sure that he's going to show up. Mao then runs into the stadium and apologizes for being late. The battle begins in a space level, and the Gundam X Maoh immediately fires its satellite cannon, which the Star Build Strike dodges. Reiji returns fire, but Mao shoots again and destroys the absorb shield. Reiji damages the panels on the Gundam X Maoh and sees that they're solar reflectors, which would allow Mao to fire more without having the Moon. Reiji cuts Sei off and says that explanations don't matter because Mao is enjoying himself. Mao fires again, and Reiji gets in close to destroy the satellite cannon. Mao counters by destroying Reiji's rifle, so the two fight with beam sabers. Ral comments to Chinan that Mao is doing well and must've practiced hard. Chinan explains that Mao was simply clouded by having victory in front of him, so he cleared up his doubts. Chinan says that one's heart is reflected in Gunpla, which is the secret of the Shingyo school. Mao activates the Solar System and uses the microwave beam to charge the Gundam X Maoh and unleash the super powered Maoh Sword. Sei activates the RG system, and Reiji uses the Build Knuckle to block the Maoh Sword and break the solar panels. He then rushes in to make the final move. After the battle, Mao runs into Misaki in the hallway and thanks her for coming. She tells him he was awesome, but he keeps walking. Mao cries alone over his loss, and Chinan tells him it was an interesting battle. Mao wipes away his tears and vows to build better Gunpla. Sei tells Reiji that Mao will probably be a lot stronger when they fight him next. The next battle ends, and they're shocked to see that Luang's Abigorbine lost to the Renato brothers' GM Sniper K9.

 

Commentary

 

The tournament finals begin with the long expected duel between Reiji and Mao. This episode is mostly seen from Mao's perspective and features flashbacks detailing how he met Chinan and became his disciple. Mao is obviously feeling doubts about fighting Reiji, and much of the episode focuses on his attempts to clear those doubts. While he puts up a good fight against Reiji, it's not enough to win. And, frankly, coming off the previous fight with Fellini, this one isn't as impressive. On the cameo front, there's no lack of those here. Gundam Sentinel's star mecha makes its animation debut, and we get to see a host of weird Gunpla that were part of a real life contest. A number of posters help indicate just how much of a Gundam X fan Mao is, and there are plenty of lady figures from multiple series lining Chinan's shelf. The episode's stinger comes as a bit of a shock, since Luang's loss to the Renato brothers means he won't have a definitive battle with Reiji in the future.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Gundam Build Fighters Episode 17 Gundam Build Fighters Episode 17

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Buy the collection (eps 1-25) on Blu-ray or DVD from Amazon
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