Warning, although Gundam Build Fighters is perfectly legal to watch on the Gundam YouTube page: watching the show may result in you purchasing Gundam model kits/Gunpla (which is the main purpose of the show).
This series was the reason I reviewed Gundam Origins and Gundam Seed, as this series is very meta when it comes to Gundam and you don’t get as much out of it if you dont know a bit about the Gundam franchise. Not that the series can’t be enjoyed by people who enter this blind, in fact one of the main characters knows nothing about Gundam.
We enter a world (mainly Japan) where a strange particle has been found that allows plastic models to act as if they were what they were based on, and this technology is exclusively used to bring Gundam kits to life and fight each other in battles. Now I know what you’re thinking, why only Gundam kits why not anything else aswell? The series actually raises this question itself. Because of this the Gundam series is now even more popular (and we’re talking about a series where they made a life sized Gundam) but not just in Japan but around the world thanks to the Gunpla tournaments. People build their own Gundam kits and often customize them and then bring them to life in the battles.
The series stars the duo of Sei Lori and Aria von Reiji Asuna or Reiji for short. Sei is a Gunpla fanatic and makes amazing work building them but is terrible when it comes to battle, Reiji on the other hand has no knowledge of Gundam whatsoever but is very skilled when it comes to flying them. So it’s basically a buddy series with the duo. But there are many MANY other characters, from all round the world and a lovely touch is that their Gunpla all reflect their personalites, which makes sense you personalize it to suit your tastes so it matches that person.
Because this isn’t one of the main gundam series where it had a focus on war, the Gundams in it (or non Gundams) are all VERY varied and have styles based from all round the franchise. You get ones from the original timeline, some from Wing, G, Seed etc which all make this a VERY colourful series. Heck it even has SD Gundams in it (chibi) which seeing them go up against the more serious looking designs makes it all a vibrant diverse series.
So anyway, The show focuses on the duo of Sei and Reiji as they work together to head to the championship. The first act is the local part of it with people who live in the nearby area while also introducing the rest of the cast who play more important roles in the second half which is the world tournament. Right at the end of episode 2 there is a WTF moment that completely changes what you were just beginning to think you understood, it doesn’t play too important a role till the second half of the series though.
You see people enter the tournament not just for the goal of being the best, but a decent number planning to find out the secret of that particle that is used to bring the Gundams to life, though the actions of the main villain make it clear he’s the main villain right away.
One of the main strengths of the show is how well I feel it catches a person passion, you feel Sei’s love for the hobby, he gets in deep, and you feel how someone’s love for something can pass onto their friends, just so happens that also involves fighting robots.
Gundam build fighters is a great series for those who love the hobby, or Gundam, and it’s rather enjoyable even if your new. The cast is diverse and distinct and as mentioned the fact that their Gundams match who they are helps add credence to the idea these are people’s personal pride and joys that they have put their time and effort into, just as anyone does when they get into a hobby. Maybe not watch it as your first Gundam series, but definitely watch it just be prepared to give Gunpla building a go, as you may end up buying one (you can get them online).