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Episode 21: Amid the Glimmering Particles

 

Review by Chris Guanche

March 28, 2014

 

Summary

 

Reiji demands to know what "Aina" is doing, but Barthes tells him that he's mistaken because her name is Aila. Reiji vows that he'll never forgive Aila and that he'll beat her in the next battle on the honor and pride of the royal house of Arian. Mashita hears that and freaks out because it confirms that Reiji is Prince Aria von Reiji Asuna. Later, China wonders why Aila gave them a fake name, and Mao thinks it's because she fights in such a cruel way and might be embarrassed. Sei comments that although he barely knows Aila, he doesn't think she'd fight that way. Nils wonders if her suit has some special system, which Sei compares to the Berserker system from G Gundam. Mao dismisses that speculation because such a system is against tournament rules and would merit disqualification. Reiji declares that the reason doesn't matter because Aila doesn't respect her opponents. He says she's their enemy and that they'll wipe her out. Reiji walks off alone, and Sei wonders how things turned out this way. In the Nemesis trailer, a scientist tells Barthes that Aila's body is healthy, so her problem is psychological. Barthes recalls the encounter with Reiji and is angered by the idea that Aila is losing her skill over a crush. Barthes remembers his first encounter with Aila as a poor young girl who displayed a talent for seeing Plavsky particles and predicting movement. Barthes brought her to the Flana Institute and created the Embody system to link her brainwaves to the control system, making her unbeatable. Barthes worried about potential rules problems, but the scientist explained that the suit only responded to Aila, so to anyone else it would look like a cosplay outfit. Barthes doesn't want to lose since he's invested so much time and money in Aila. Reiji eats a hot dog alone in a park and starts kicking a tree until Fellini walks up to him. Reiji vows to avenge Fellini, but Fellini counters that he doesn't want that. He tells Reiji that if he needs to hate an opponent to fight them, he should forget it. Full of anger, Reiji rushes in to punch Fellini. Aila recalls her painful training in a Qubeley Mass Production Type and Barthes' threats to send her back to a life of poverty. The pain made her hate Gunpla Battle, and she wakes up in a panic when she thinks of Reiji. Barthes tells Aila to forget about emotions and just keep winning battles. In the park, Kirara patches up Fellini's bruises from his fight with Reiji. Fellini explains that he had to fight to get the message across that Reiji shouldn't battle with hatred. Sei holds his GP Base with the jewel Reiji gave him and wonders what he can do.

 

Mashita asks Baker if things will be ok this time, and she assures him things will be fine since the opponent is Aila. China stops Aila in the hallway and gives her a charm for good luck. Barthes tells Aila to wear it and learn how to interact with fans. Nils wonders if Reiji will be ok, but Mao reminds him that Reiji is pretty tough. China signals Sei, and Reiji tells Sei that he couldn't figure things out, so he's decided to just not think. The battle begins in a forest level, with the Star Build Strike opening fire on the Qubeley Papillon. Aila dodges and launches her clear funnels, so Reiji fires the vulcans loaded with paint rounds to make the funnels visible. Reiji destroys the funnels until Aila rushes in with her lancer bit, but she falters and misses. With her numbers plummeting, Barthes pushes the Embody system to full output. Aila begins moving differently, forcing Reiji to be defensive. She knocks aside Reiji's weapons and destroys the Universe Booster's cannons. She hesitates when trying to behead the Star Build Strike, giving Reiji the chance to recover. Barthes yells at Aila to finish Reiji off as he punches her, so she rips off his left forearm and launches funnels. The gem on Aila's neck activates and resonates with Reiji's bracelet, causing a Plavsky particle reaction. Mashita's gem glows as well, and he realizes that Arista has been activated. Reiji hears Aila say she doesn't want to fight. He tells her she should just stop if she doesn't like it, but she explains that she has no family and nowhere to live. Reiji tells her she can live anywhere and offers to let her stay at Sei's house. The funnels fall to the ground as the Embody system fails. Reiji asks Aila why she hid her identity, and she says that by fighting, he might lose. Reiji calls her a fool and says he's going to win, which angers her. Aila declares that she won't listen to Barthes anymore, tells Josef to shut up and says if his grandson wants a trophy, he should become a fighter. Aila and Reiji charge toward each other to continue the fight, and Reiji activates the RG system to use the Build Knuckle. Aila says that attack won't work because she can see particles, but the amount of particles is overwhelming and too much for her to dodge. Reiji punches the Qubeley Papillon through the torso and destroys it, giving Aila her first taste of a real Gunpla Battle. Sei thanks China for delivering the gem to Aila and says he wasn't sure it would work, but he didn't know what else to do. Reiji gloats about his victory, and Aila demands that Reiji keep his promise about letting her live at Sei's house, to Sei's shock and dismay.

 

Commentary

 

The Reiji/Aila battle comes to an unexpected conclusion in this episode. Up to now, Aila's situation has been definitely channeling the vibe of Gundam's many enhanced female pilots who share a connection with a main character and usually meet a bad end. There was definitely some drama with Reiji's anger and the seriousness of Aila's situation. There's also the fact that Barthes is a total jerk and doesn't mind risking someone's life in the name of business. We do get to see her back story, which shows she was a poor child who possessed the amazing ability to see Plavsky particles and thus predict Gunpla movement. The battle looked bad for Reiji, until Sei's trick allowed them to speak in a strange white space, akin to Gundam 00. I'd previously compared the Embody system to G Gundam's Berserker system, so it was amusing to see Sei make the same comparison. When Aila breaks free, things take a decidedly lighter turn as she and Reiji argue and mock each other while they fight. The shift in tone is a welcome change from a situation that could've ended with too much drama.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
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Gundam Build Fighters Episode 21 Gundam Build Fighters Episode 21

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