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Episode 13: Duel

 

Review by Chris Guanche

March 26, 2019

 

Summary

 

Kyoya hosts a reception at Avalon’s Force Nest to celebrate the victory of the Coalition of Volunteers over Tsukasa and the Mass-Divers. Rommel addresses the crowd and notes that there have been no further appearances by Mass-Divers since the battle. Rommel asks Kyoya where their guests of honor are, and Kyoya tells him that the Build Divers had other plans. He also mentions that Riku doesn’t know how the 00 Diver Ace generated the wings of light that put an end to the Break Decal bugs. Kyoya wonders if it was caused by the instability of the Main Program, but either way the Administration is examining the log data and working on a patch to prevent the use of Break Decals. At the Build Divers Force Nest, Riku thinks about Ayame saying she can’t forgive herself for what she did and leaving. Since then, she logged out of GBN and hasn’t returned. Later, Riku meets with Kyoya to discuss the fallout of the Break Decal incident. Kyoya reports an “anonymous” leak from Ayame, who logs in with notifications to her force turned off. Riku asks if she’s going to be banned from GBN, and Kyoya explains that no records remain in the logs of anyone using Break Decals, so no one will be banned. Riku wants to do something so that Ayame can return to GBN without any worries. He then meets with Sarah and says that he wants to collect furniture accessories to surprise Ayame. They’re then approached by a player named Zen who has a message for Riku. In the real world, Riku thinks about the message, which asks him to go to an address if he wants Ayame’s Gunpla back. The conditions: Riku can’t tell anyone, has to come alone and bring the 00 Diver Ace with him. Riku doesn’t show up to a meeting in GBN, and Sarah explains what happened with the message Riku received. After school, Riku walks to an abandoned warehouse and ignores Yukki’s calls. Tsukasa emerges from the shadows and pulls a cloth cover off of an old GPD machine. He explains that GPD caused real battle damage to a Gunpla, making it a real battle. Riku wants Ayame’s Gunpla back, and Tsukasa tells him he can have it if he wins a GPD fight. Tsukasa can’t believe one of Riku’s teammates was also messing with GBN’s Main Program, but Riku doesn’t understand what he means. Riku pulls out the 00 Diver Ace and agrees to the fight.

 

Tsukasa tells Riku that GPD and GBN use the same control system, but he’s going to give Riku some time to get adjusted to the game. The 00 Diver Ace flies through a desert landscape littered with the ruins of Angel Halo. Riku is surprised when he sees Tsukasa’s heavily customized Gunpla, the Gundam Astray No-Name. The battle begins with Riku blasting Tsukasa and having no effect due to beam coating. Riku immediately notices how heavy everything feels, but he’s on the defensive. Tsukasa throws his sword and pins the 00 Diver Ace to a large column. Riku breaks free at the cost of losing his left forearm, and Tsukasa asks him if he feels what GPD is about now. He states that GBN is fake because people have forgotten the cost of battle. Riku counters that GBN isn’t fake because their feelings of delight are real, and Tsukasa tells him he doesn’t even love Gunpla. Tsukasa activates the n_i_t_r_o System, and Riku gets a phone call from Sarah in GBN. She knows he’s in trouble, but can’t come to help him. Yukki gets Riku’s coordinates and rushes over with Koichi and Momo. Riku takes repeated damage from Tsukasa’s DRAGOONs and activates Trans-Am. He and Tsukasa repeatedly attack each other in the air and crash into the ground, both heavily damaged. Tsukasa rushes in for the final blow, but Riku dodges and attacks. Tsukasa beheads the 00 Diver Ace, but Riku stabs the Astray No-Name. Riku sees that Tsukasa loves Gunpla, but he has to stop denying the love that others feel for it. The battle ends with Riku as the winner. Yukki and the others reach the warehouse and find Riku alone with his wrecked Gunpla. Koichi notices something and chases Tsukasa out into the rain. Koichi can’t believe that Tsukasa was the mastermind and asks why he did it. Tsukasa answers that this happens when you fall behind the times and that he wishes GBN would disappear. He pushes Koichi away and knocks him over and says he won’t just accept things the way Koichi does. Koichi asks why he’s crying and tells him that his new friends helped him remember why he loved Gunpla. He asks Tsukasa if he felt that love of Gunpla again while fighting Riku, but Tsukasa says nothing and walks away. Ayame visits the old Force Nest for Le Chat Noir and runs into Kozy and Su, who show that they got back the Gundam. They thought Ayame did it, but she realizes it was Riku and the others.

 

Commentary

 

This episode serves as an epilogue of sorts to the Break Decal storyline. Tsukasa has been defeated in GBN, but he wants to still prove the superiority of GPD to Riku. The result: a battle reminiscent of Build Fighters, minus the Plavsky particles. Riku does see the difference in combat between GPD and GBN, and this is probably the the best battle in the series so far. However, it doesn’t stop Tsukasa from being a gatekeeping jerk who thinks he’s special because of his extreme love for Gunpla. I know this is a purely commercial product meant for a young audience, but I can’t help but see some accidental commentary on the current state of the online world that the villain is a toxic gatekeeping jerk who thinks he’s a “real fan” compared to other people. Also, owing to the continued mystery of Sarah, how is she even able to sense that Riku is fighting, when that GPD machine doesn’t seem to be networked to anything? On a side note, the brief appearance of Zen marks the first crossover between the TV series and the side story manga Build Divers Break.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Gundam Build Divers Episode 13 Gundam Build Divers Episode 13

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