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Part A: Beginning Gundam

 

Review by Chris Guanche

March 31, 2011

 

Summary

 

Fifteen-year-old Haru Irei, his father Hinode and best friend Kenta Sakazaki travel to Odaiba to see the 1/1 scale RX-78-2 Gundam statue. It's Haru's first time seeing a Gundam, and he's amazed by it. They visit the tent shop to look at gunpla, and Haru tells Hinode that he wants a model kit of the RX-78. He reaches over to grab the last HG kit of it, but a girl grabs it at the same time and pulls away, causing Haru to trip and fall. A model kit for the Beginning Gundam falls off the shelf in front of Haru, so he decides to take that one instead. Later, Haru watches some Gundam anime at home, which makes Hinode nostalgic about his days building gunpla. He notes that the kits have come a long way because you don't need glue, and since they're molded in different colors they don't need paint. Kenta wants to build their gunpla right away, but Hinode gives Haru a pair of nippers as a present so he can cut the parts out of the runners. Rina Noyama comes over to visit, but Kenta tells her there's no point in talking to Haru because he's focused on building his gunpla. As Haru continues to build the gunpla, Rina lays on the bed doing nothing while Kenta plays his PSP. Haru finally completes the Beginning Gundam, and Kenta comments that it doesn't look bad for a first effort. Haru says he liked how it slowly came together over time, and Kenta suggests they try something even cooler: Gunpla Battle. As they run through the street, Kenta explains that people who have built Gundams can fight in the Gunpla Battle video game. They reach the Axis Hobby Shop, where Kenta tells the manager that Haru will be fighting in a Gunpla Battle. After Haru changes into a pilot suit, Kenta is surprised by the arrival of Koji Matsumoto, a famous gunpla collector. Koji sees the Beginning Gundam and is surprised that there's a Gundam he doesn't have. Koji challenges Haru to a Gunpla Battle with his custom color Hi Nu Gundam, which his two fangirls freak out about. Koji offers to buy Haru any gunpla in the shop if he wins, but if he loses he has to hand over the Beginning Gundam. Haru is reluctant, but Rina steps in and accepts the challenge on his behalf.

 

Haru isn't sure how he'll do in his first battle, but Kenta tells him the emotions he felt while building the gunpla have an effect on the battle. Haro gets into the game cockpit unit and puts the Beginning Gundam inside of a Haro that scans it into the game. The game is set up as a 3-on-3 battle, with Haru and two guys named Ono and Urushibata against Koji and his fangirls Iwamoto and Igawa. Rina sees that Haru's stats are lower than everyone else's, but Kenta explains that's to be expected since it's his first battle. The game begins with Haru launching from the White Base, and he immediately comes under fire from Iwamoto's Zaku I Sniper. He dodges her shots as he closes in and blows off her right leg before using her head as a stepping stone. Ono is distracted by Haru flying by, so his Dom is destroyed by Igawa's pink Bawoo. Koji fires his bazooka at Haru and then rushes in to attack at close range. He says there's no way Haru can win since his Gundam is right out of the box and unpainted. Koji gloats about the Internet reviews of his kit and launches his fin funnels. He explains that he bought three kits so that he could use all six fin funnels. Koji blows off Haru's left arm and shield and kicks him into the Bandai Hobby Center building. The Beginning Gundam then loses power and begins to recharge. In the air, Koji uses his fin funnels to destroy Urushibata's Asshimar. The Beginning Gundam then emerges from the building, and Haru uses three beam sabers to slice Igawa's Bawoo apart. Haru then kicks Koji away and gets him tangled in wires, which prevents him from using fin funnels. The polycaps in the left leg break, and Koji blames his manager for not building it right. Haru says the whole point is to have fun making your own gunpla, so he rushes in and makes the killing stab. Koji's fangirls cry over their loss, but next time he says he'll fight with a Gundam he builds himself. Haru's cockpit then reactivates for a 1-on-1 battle against a mysterious man named Boris Schauer and his Forever Gundam. Boris says he's a Gunpla Meister and wants to see Haru's skills, along with the power of the Beginning Gundam.

 

Commentary

 

Gundam has always been about merchandising, but at first blush the concept of this OVA sounds utterly ridiculous. However, it manages to be very self-aware and fun. Using the actual 1/1 scale RX-78 as a starting point, Haru becomes a gunpla convert. As a model kit builder, I like that they showed the process of building a kit, from cutting the parts out of the runners to sanding down the plastic nubs that stick out. A lot of first time builders don't paint their kits, and Haru is the same. What makes this series more than a gunpla commercial is the Gunpla Battle. I'll admit, if such a game actually existed and worked the way it does in the anime, I'd play it all the time. Although the battles play out like from the actual anime, the mobile suits breaking down as plastic parts and polycaps are a nice reminder that it isn't the real thing. Haru's Beginning Gundam is a totally new design, but it does definitely have some influences from the Victory Gundam. We get to see some custom color variations of mobile suits like the Bawoo and the Hi Nu Gundam, which is making its first animated appearance ever in this OVA. Haru wins his first battle, but he's then pulled into a fight with the mysterious Boris Schauer, who is a Char fanboy if ever there was one.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Gunpla Builders Part A Gunpla Builders Part A
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