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Episode 5: The Strongest Builder

 

Review by Chris Guanche

November 6, 2013

 

Summary

 

A boy named Mao Yasaka hitches a ride to Tokyo with a trucker, who thinks he's too young to be traveling alone. Mao explains that he has permission and pulls out a Kshatriya kit. At Iori Models, Sei gets excited when he inspects a weathered HG Gouf that Ral built. Reiji wants to fight against it, but Ral explains that people don't just build Gunpla to fight, but also to appreciate the anime and create dioramas of certain scenes, or to build their favorite suits. Reiji asks if it's fun to just build Gunpla and look at them, and Sei tells him it is. Ral mentions rumors of there being an amazing builder in the Kansai region who is of similar age to Sei. Mao gets off the truck and gives the driver the completed Kshatriya as payment, which he built during the ride. He looks around and wonders how he can find Sei. Sei conducts a web search for Gunpla from Kansai and is impressed by the pictures he finds. Reiji asks about repairs to the Full Package, but Sei assures him it'll be done by the quarterfinals. Sei mentions that he wants to add something since they're facing Yuuki in the future. He notes that the Zaku Amazing had been tuned up during its last match, and he's sure it'll be powered up even more. Reiji tells him not to be afraid, and Sei says he'll do as much as he can to prepare. Sei asks Reiji how he can be so confident, and Reiji answers that thinking about losing is pointless. At a cafe, a waiter gives a beautiful woman a Victory Gundam kit built by Fellini, who proceeds to hit on her. He's interrupted by Reiji, who wants to train, which allows the woman to slip away. At home, Sei works on repairing the Build Strike. The next day, Mao searches for the Iori shop and stops to get food. As they walk home from school, China thanks Sei for helping her with her kit. China asks Sei if he wants to get a sherbet at her family's restaurant, where they encounter Mao trying to pay with an Extreme Gundam kit. Sei freaks out as he examines the kit, but Mao is ashamed since he just built it. After clearing up the situation, Mao says that he's jealous of Sei having such a cute girlfriend. Sei can tell from Mao's accent that he's not local, so Mao explains that he's looking for Iori Models. Sei says that's his family's shop, so Mao declares that he's Sei's lifelong rival, and after winning the fifth block of the Japanese Gunpla Battle championship, he intends to become the best builder in the world. Sei wonders if he attracts weird people, and China agrees. At the Zeon bar, Reiji uses the Victory Gundam in a fight against Fellini's Wing Gundam Fenice, which has the advantage. Fellini wants to stop, but Reiji isn't ready to give up.

 

Mao examines Sei's display Gunpla, and Rinko asks China if the two of them are friends. China isn't sure, and Rinko says they're about to become friends. Mao mentions that he's loved Gunpla since he was little and thought he was special, but his master Chinan showed him otherwise. Mao showed off a Gundam X kit and asked if he could become the heir to the Gunpla Shingyo school, but Chinan yelled at him that he had to travel and learn more. Chinan mentioned that he once feared a talented builder: Takeshi Iori. That's why Mao came from Kyoto, and Rinko is happy that her husband is respected by such an important man. Mao comments that he sees no imagination in the kits, but Sei says they're just samples. China asks if they're going to play Gunpla Battle, but Mao answers that there's no need to because a talented builder knows a good kit from a single glance. Sei and Mao dramatically show off their kits, the Full Package and Gundam X Maoh. In their heads, they imagine a battle in space where they're controlling their kits. Mao dodges a beam rifle attack from Sei and immediately guesses that the Build Booster is a transformable fighter. They attack each other with beam sabers, and Mao's vulcans have no effect on the Full Package. Rinko doesn't understand what's happening, but China thinks they're fighting in their imaginations. Mao disperses Plavsky particles from his forearms and repels Sei to create distance. He then points to the Moon and activates the chargers, which receive the microwave laser from the Moon. Mao fires the hyper satellite cannon and unleashes a huge blast, but the Full Package survives because Sei knows he has Reiji as his pilot. The fight is about to continue, but Ral interrupts it because it shouldn't be confined to their imaginations. Mao agrees and vows to face Reiji in Gunpla Battle. As Mao leaves, Rinko tells China that Mao and Sei just became friends. At the tournament, Reiji uses a new beam rifle to destroy a GP02A and win the match. Sei and Reiji are shocked to hear that Yuuki has bowed out of his next match, which makes Sazaki the winner by default. Elsewhere, Yuuki stands in front of a large tank filled with Plavsky particles.

 

Commentary

 

This episode takes a break from the tournament and focuses mainly on Sei overcoming the fear of facing Yuuki. We're introduced to Mao, who has traveled to Tokyo to see Sei's skills for himself. He has a funny idea about using Gunpla as currency, and it's amusing that he comes from a Gunpla school that resembles a movie martial arts school, complete with the ailing old master. I won't even begin to guess how Sei and Mao could have a battle in their imaginations (or how Ral could see it), but I guess I'm not supposed to. There are a bunch of great homages in this episode. It's odd to see Fellini use Gunpla as a hook to pick up women, but it's nice to see the Victory Gundam again. The poses the Wing Gundam Fenice makes with its rising head are a direct homage to Gundam Wing's opening. A diorama depicts the classic moment of the God Gundam's activation. The dramatic "duel" between Sei and Mao pulling out their Gunpla is straight out of a Western, with a plastic bag serving as tumbleweed. I never expected to see anything from Gundam X in animation again, so it was great to have not just the suit but also Mao dressed as Garrod Ran. On a separate note, it's curious that Sei doesn't correct Mao when he incorrectly refers to China as his girlfriend. Finally, the mystery around Yuuki grows with his withdrawal from the tournament.

 

Overall Rating

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

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