"Gundam plastic models... Gunpla. Building them or fighting them, it all depends on you. Unlike the Mobile Suit Gundam story, we're not in a state of war, and we don't have to put our lives on the line. It's just played for pleasure. But... No, for that very reason... People can be enthralled by Gunpla and Gunpla Battle. Because it's a game, they can take it seriously!"
— Mr. Ral
Gundam Build Fighters is a 2013 Gundam animated series directed by Kenji Nagasaki (No. 6) and written by Yosuke Kuroda (Gundam 00). It takes the idea of Gunpla battles from Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G further.In the near future, new technology has been invented that allows people to animate and control plastic models in sporting competitions known as "Gunpla Battles." The protagonist, Sei Iori, hopes to one day make it into the Gunpla Battle world championships using his custom model "Build Strike Gundam." Unfortunately, despite being an excellent model builder, he's a terrible pilot. Sei's luck turns around, however, when he meets a mysterious boy with incredible piloting skills named Reiji. Together, they set off to realize Sei's dream To Be a Master.The show is known for being Mythology Porn with numerous mobile suits, cameos, and so forth from previous Gundam series appearing alongside original model designs. A listing of these Mythology Gags can be seen here.Gundam Build Fighters aired from October 7, 2013, to March 31, 2014, on TV Tokyo and Gundam.Info. A prequel manga entitled Gundam Build Fighters Amazing was released midway into the series, with focus on Tatsuya Yuuki's childhood long before the events of the main storyline. A sequel called Gundam Build Fighters Try has been confirmed for a Fall 2014 premiere.
Ace Custom: Wholly encouraged and practically the main selling point of the franchise, in and out of universe. Any well made custom gunpla will beat bog standard ones in terms of performance.
Adorkable: China, especially when she's pining for Sei.
Affectionate Parody: Arguably, to the entire genre of "collector battle" anime like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Beyblade, where kids treat games as Serious Business. Gundam Build Fighters uses the same kind of concept, but is utterly tongue-in-cheek and full of comedy beats and Lampshade Hanging over how ludicrous the entire concept is. Of course, it does have its moments of genuine drama, as well, though generally on a personal level rather than the world-spanning conflicts of previous Gundam series.
All Part of the Show: In episode 11, PPSE claims that the 1/48 Mega Sized Zaku storming the battlefield was part of a special stage event.
Almighty Janitor: Despite largely being a side character and not an active Fighter, Mr. Ral is instantly recognized (and respected) almost everywhere he goes, and has a vast knowledge of the Gunpla world that allows him to influence events.
Animate Inanimate Object: Gunpla are able to move thanks to the Plavsky Particles interacting with the type of plastic they are made of.
Art Shift: In Episode 20, Sei gets treated to some hypnosis, which causes him to recite all of Amuro's lines from Mobile Suit Gundam. During this, his face is redrawn to mirror the style of the original series.
Ascended Meme: EVERYWHERE. Several memes get nodded or ascended to.
Even one of the show's own memes (Gundam Valhalla) became ascended, with Word of Paul (as related by Mao's VA Minami Fuji) confirming that all Gundam characters exist in Build Fighters' world and live happy, peaceful lives.
Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: More of Attack Of The 5 Foot Whatever, Episode 11 ends with an appearance of a giant 1/48 Mega Size Zaku II vs 1/144 scale Gundams that are normally 7 inches tall.
Audience Surrogate: As both Reiji and China are new to the world of Gunpla at the start of the show, they're often used by the writers to have someone for Sei or Mr. Ral to spew Exposition at.
Badass Normal: While many of the new fighters such as Sei, Nils, Mao, and Aila have Gunpla that can manipulate Plavsky Particles, there are plenty of other fighters like Fellini, Luang, and Kawaguchi who get by with pure skill, experience, and determination.
The cake has to go to Takeshi Iori, who made it all the way to the World Gunpla Battle Championship finals in the RX-78-2 Gundam, a machine that is pretty much outclassed by almost everything his opponents fielded.
Baseball Episode: Towards the end of episode 13. Possibly the strangest thing done with moving plastic models yet.
Batman Gambit: Sir John Ayers Mackenzie fakes a heart attack, so that his grandson Julian will replace him in the semi finals, and ensures the gunpla he'll use is Julian's old F91 Imagine - all so that Julian will return to Gunpla Battle.
Beta Couple: Fellini and Kirara qualifies as an example of this by Episode 20.
Big Bad: Chairman Mashita is the closest the series has to one, doing everything in his power to eliminate Sei and Reiji from the world tournament because he is a criminal from Arian. Made more apparent by the second opening, in which Mashita is shown sitting in classic Bond Villain styling and sporting a Slasher Smile while the silhouette of the Exia Dark Matter flashes its eyes in the background.
Big Damn Heroes: In episode 11, when Reiji and Sei come to the aid of Ricardo, who's severely outnumbered by Team NTR. And then, when it seems like they're in over their head Mao pulls off an epic One-Hit Kill to finish off the fight.
In episode 12, Nils manages to destroy two of the Mega-Zaku's missiles before they could take out Mao and Ricardo, while Meijin stalls it long enough for Reiji to deliver the finishing blow.
Mao shows up with the Crossbone Maoh and unleases his Wave Motion Gun, clearing the way for the team to storm the fortress.
The guard team (Fellini, Kirara, Mao, Nils & Caroline) are on the ropes, and are about to be overwhelmed... and then there's a dramatic entrance and Combination Attack by Ral and Master Chinan! Kirara sums it up best.
Kirara: They're...absurdly strong...
China and Aila are down, Sei and Reiji are desperately trying to protect them, and are close to being overwhelmed... and then Yuuki arrives in the Amazing Exia Repair and curbstomps the mooks.
Yuuki: Rage on, Exia! TRANS-AM!note ''Moeagare, Exia! TRANS-AM!
Even then, he just buys them a little breathing room, until Takeshi shows up in the Perfect Gundam and blasts a hole through the Colony Laser, and then unloads his beam cannon on the mooks, giving Reiji and Sei the chance to go for the crystal.
The Big Race: The penultimate stage of the World Tournament preliminary rounds is a free for all gunpla race.
Black and Nerdy: Nils Nielsen, who is obsessed with samurai culture, in addition to holding three Ph.Ds.
Blank White Eyes: Everyone's "WTF?!" reaction during the climax of Reiji and Aila's battle in episode 21.
Blink And Youll Miss It: In the final episode. When Aila goes to Arian with Reiji, observe the Arista she's wearing - it's glowing.
Book Ends: Sei and Yuuki's final match in the final episode is an exact mirror of Reiji's first battle against Sazaki in the first episode, with Sei emulating Reiji's fighting style.
Breather Episode: Episode 23, which is a relaxing episode that serves as the crowning Heartwarming episode in the show. At least, until the plot kicks in at the end...
Buddy Picture: Sei is the Gundam builder, Reiji is the Gundam fighter, and together they are Gundam Build Fighters!
But Not Too Foreign: Nils Nielsen, the African-American Gunpla Battle champion, is half-Japanese (on his mother's side).
Similarly, Caroline Yajima. She's half-Japanese and half-European, but the only thing that really sets her apart from the other Japanese kids is her blond hair.
But Now I Must Go: In the finale Reiji is forced to return to Arian now that the source of Plavsky Particles on Earth is destroyed.
Butt Monkey: AU suits in general tend to be treated this way when going against their UC counterparts. Special mention goes to the SEEDnote outside of Sei and Nils' suits units, which can't seem to catch a break anywhere. However, UC and CE have notably more units to use than all other series' and thus make the most cameos. As well as the show's nature where custom gunpla trump stock or repainted gunpla all day every day.
Call On Me: Reiji promises to come and help Sei, no matter where he is or what crisis he's facing.
Cassandra Truth: Reiji believes this whenever he reveals his backstory of being the crown prince of a country from another world called Arian, since everybody who hears it laughs at how ridiculous it is. Except for Mashita, a petty thief from Arian who stole the artifact that made Gunpla Battle possible at all in the first place.
The Cameo: Several mobile suits from various Gundam side-stories have made appearances as assembled kits in the background, including the S Gundam, the Crossbone Gundam X-1, and the Gundam Aesculapius from the Wing side-side story G-Unit. Hell, even the G-Saviour (from G Saviour, which has been essentially ignored by Sunrise and the fandom both since its release in 2000) has made an appearance.
In many cases, even the fighters or various audience members are obvious shout-outs to various Gundam characters, such as Jerrid and Kacricon from Zeta Gundam being paired together in the pre-qualifiers, or Sergei Smirnov from 00 cheering from the audience in the same episode that a brunette Soma Peries pilots the Kyrios.
There's also Chibodee Crocket from G Gundam who appears in Episode 14 in his own Gundam Maxter.
And the blond (and female!)Heero Yuy piloting a Mercurius from Wing alongside our heroes for a 3-on-3 battle, as well as the black-haired Allenby Beardsley piloting a custom-colored Nobel Gundam.
He hasn't appeared on-screen, but the fact that Patrick Mannequin, aka "The Immortal" Ensemble Darkhorse from Gundam 00, is a finalist in the tournament made many fans very excited.
Just look at the Mythology Gag page. It also doesn't hurt that one of the voice actors has said that "In the world of Build Fighters, all Gundam characters live in peace," making this a sort of Gundam Valhalla for the franchise.
Char Clone: Sei and Reiji's rival, Tatsuya Yuuki, uses a customized version of Char's custom Zaku II from Mobile Suit Gundam. He even has the nickname Crimson Comet, a play on Char's Red Comet moniker.
Plus that he is masked later with a different name.
Chekhov's Gun: The stone Reiji gave Sei in first episode becomes this in Episode 21. Sei has China give Aila the stone, which allows Reiji and Aila to reconcile and connect together. Chairman Mashita also has a similar stone that reacts to this as well. Nils also finds out the stone is made out of pure Plavsky Particles. And then in the final episode, Aila uses the Arista she was given in Episode 21 to follow Reiji to Arian.
Aila's helmet as well. Previously implied to just be used to hide her identity, episodes 20 and 21 reveals that it actually has a program in it called the Embody system which helps her see Plavsky Particles as well as improve her combat skills, at the cost of her consciousness.
Cherry Tapping: When challenging the fighters at the Zeon Bar, Reiji deliberately asks to take the weakest Gunpla they have, which is a simple Ball. He then proceeds to utterly trounce his opponents with it.
In Episode 8, Aila proves her skills by trashing a championship player's Devil Gundam. With a Jegan.
The Chew Toy: Poor, poor Cziommer. Bad enough that he lost his girlfriend, but now he's become Fellini's personal Team Patrick.
Mao kind of goes through this for a few episodes after his date goes very wrong, culminating in the Gundam X Maoh getting blown to bits in a training battle against Julian's F91 Imagine.
Color Failure: Sei in episode 2, while freaking out about Reiji's teleportation skills.
Rainer Cziommer in episode 11, after MaoOne Hit Kills his gunpla moments before he's able to deliver the finishing blow to Ricardo.
And then Nils gets this in Episode 19, when Caroline unilaterally declares him to be her boyfriend.
Rinko, Sei and China get those in Episode 22, when they see Aila coming out of the bathroom wearing a towel.
Combat Breakdown: Happens often in the really big fights, as missing limbs, malfunctioning equipment, and one Wrecked Weapon after another take their toll on both players' suits. Particularly spectacular examples include the battles between the Build Strike Full Package and Zaku Amazing in Episode 6, between the Star Build Strike and Wing Gundam Fenice in Episode 15, and between the Kampfer Amazing and GM Sniper K9 in Episode 18.
Combination Attack: An absolutely devastating one pulled off in episode 25 by Mr. Ral and Master Chinan. Ral uses his Gouf's Heat Rod to create a vortex that sucks in vast numbers of surrounding enemies, leaving them easy prey to the Chinan Kick!!.
Star Build Strike mixes elements of Stargazer into the Build Strike.
Contest Winner Cameo: Three of them, in Episode 23: the red-and-yellow Deathscythe was the winner of a custom color contest, the white and black machinenote For the record : Geara Doga head, God Gundam arms and body, Red Frame Kai legs and katanas, and a Sword Striker backpack piloted by GBP's version of Al Izuhura won a Gundam Breaker design contest, and the heavily customized Zssa that blasts Reiner's Zakrello was the winner of a Gunpla contest (the runners-up appeared in Episode 17 on Master Chinan's shelves).
Cosplay: In 1st end credits, various giant versions of the main characters dress up as their Gunpla Models.
Sei as Build Strike Gundam Full Package in Spring.
Reiji as Build Gundam Mk-II in Summer.
Yuuki as Zaku Amazing in Fall.
China as Beargguy III in Winter.
Curb-Stomp Battle: happens often. The first Zaku Amazing/Build Strike duel, ALL of Aila's battles except against Fellini and Reiji, and the Renato/Luang battle.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Aila to Fellini's Fenice and the Dark Matter to the Star Build Strike in the first half of their fight.
The greatest and most hotblooded example of this is in Episode 25, when Ral and Chinan use their Combination Attack to destroy a ridiculously awesome number of mooks, before just killing the fuck out of everything they see.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Averted, funnily enough. When Baker mentions that Mashita could use PPSE's resources and technology to essentially take over the world, Mashita brushes off the idea, saying that world domination is too much work and he's happier getting rich off Gunpla battles.
However, played straight in his grudge against Reiji. Even after knowing that Reiji doesn't recognize him at all, Mashita puts way too much effort into trying to eliminate him from the tournament, even resorting to outright illegal methods that could get him and his company in serious trouble if he were found out.
In Build Fighters Amazing, Yana tries to invoke this with her Nyaia Gundam note a Gaia Gundam mocked up to look like a ridiculously cute kitten; the idea is that it'll be so cute, it'll distract her opponents, and they wouldn't be able to bear attacking and damaging it. Sadly, Yuuki's hotbloodedness means he's immune to its charms.
Day in the Limelight: Episode 8 focuses almost entirely on newcomers Nils and Aila. Sei only makes two brief appearances.
Episode 17 is entirely focused on Mao and his backstory.
Typically whenever one of the major rivals are about to lose in the tournament, a good chunk of the episode is dedicated to them and their motivations. The ones so far have included Fellini, Mao, the Renato Twins, Nils, and Aila.
Ricardo Fellini proves himself to be made of similar stuff, especially in Episode 15.
Didn't See That Coming: Meijin did not expect the GM Sniper K9 to have an EXAM system. At the same time, the Renato brothers didn't expect Meijin to lead them to the forgotten jettisoned weapon binder, and were definitely not expecting his gatling gun.
Most of Baker's plans to get Sei and Reiji eliminated should have worked, if not for them pulling out something she had no reason to expect, such as the RG system in Episode 13, fighting Fellini to a draw in Episode 15, or defeating Nils note no selling his Partical Fai Jin with instant glue and Ailanote By Reiji having a heart to heart talk with her and then flirting his way to victory, along with some mild Gone Horribly Right for Aila..
Dirty Old Man: Master Chinan's favorite female Gundam character is SEED's Murrue Ramius. His reason for liking her? Her boobs Gainaxing whenever the Archangel took a hit. Even so, he's unashamed to admit it (complete with hentai eyes and drool), which quite ironically is a hint toward the Gunpla Shingyo School's true philosophynote which is actually played straight and completely non-perverted.
Disappears into Light: Reiji's body fades into red motes when he teleports back to wherever he came from, much to Sei's astonishment, though it only happened once. Until the finale, where both Reiji and Chairman Mashita disappear like this.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: Upon seeing Reiji at the tournament, the CEO of PPSE freaks out. So much so that he spills his drink all over the crotch of his pants.
Doing It for the Art: In-universe. Mr. Ral explans to Reiji that not everyone builds Gunpla to battle, but to represent their love for Gundam and anime like his HG Gouf that he doesn't use in battle, and to reenact scenes from the franchise.
Double Knockout: In episode 15, Star Build Strike and Wing Gundam Fenice's match ends with a final, explosive blow that leaves both gunplas non-functioning. The fight is even declared a draw.
Dynamic Entry: Several times in Episode 25. First is Mao unleashing the Crossbone X Maoh's Satellite Cannon on the mooks, and then Master Chinan and Ral, who barge in, rally the cast, and then unleash their ridiculously awesomely hotblooded Combination Attack.
Early-Bird Cameo: A meta example: We can see the Real Life-sized Gundam from Odaiba along with the real-sized Char's Zaku II, who is planned to be built in Japan in 2014. Since the series takes place in the future, it's very possible the statue was already finished by that time.
End of an Age/Dawn of an Era: After Greco's defeat at the hands of Nils, Fellini reflects that the old guard of Gunpla fighters are quickly being supplanted by a new generation of upcoming fighters. He outright calls this a "reformation" of the entire sport.
To be specific, the era of Fellini and Roman was characterized by fighters who were highly skilled with slightly custom Gunpla. The "new" generation, epitomized by Nils, use highly modified Gunpla which manipulate Plavsky particles to their advantage. Ral and Master Chinan prove that there's still a place for the old guys, as their Big Damn Heroes moment proves.
Enemy Mine: One for the villains. Baker hires the Flana Institute, who were previously supporting Team Nemesis, so she can use their Embody System to power up the Meijin.
Enthusiasm vs. Stoicism: Nils (stoic) and Greco (enthusiastic)'s fight in Episode 8 is a clear-cut example. In particular, after the Tallgeese Valkyrie loses its arms, Nils tries to convince Greco to surrender and Greco responds by trying to ram the Sengoku Astray into a nearby rock formation.
Everybody Lives: Although given the show's setup you wouldn't expect characters to die, it's still Gundam...
Evolving Credits: With Episode 8, the background and characters present have changed in the running sequence, indicating a new leg of the story.
Eureka Moment: In Episode 9, China says she gave her Beargguy III a backstorynote He was an ordinary teddy bear who turned into a robot, which is why she stuffed the model kit with cotton. This makes Sei realize that he's been hamstringing himself by trying to keep the Build Strike consistent with the Gundam anime's design ethos, and that if he wants to succeed in the finals he needs to let his imagination and creativity flow freely.
Four Is Death: The battles in Episode 13 are preceded by the entrants using a lotto machine to determine which weapons package they will be given. Sei draws 44, which he and several others take as an ill omen.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: During episode 12, the windmill that Don Quixote is charging towards is the Nether Gundam. During episode 15 we have a Leon Szpilman (Poland) vs Rosemarie (Jamaica) match, both are main characters from Roman Polański's famous films.
Friendly Rivalry: While they are rivals in the World Championship, the majority of the named gunpla players are very supportive of each other, and in in some cases outright cheer their competition on.
Gets a major lampshade in episode 15: After their big fight, the post-credits scene show Sei and Fellini working side-by-side to repair their Gunpla; Reiji remarks that the way they're acting you'd hardly believe they were fighting so hard not that long ago.
Friend or Idol Decision: A variation in episode 15: Going into the final round, Fellini's already got a lock on a Top 16 spot. His opponents are Sei and Reiji, which leads to a conflict of friendship versus pride: let the boys win in order to get them into the finals, or fight for real and run the risk of eliminating them and smashing their dreams. In the end he decides that he didn't build Wing Fenice to sit on a shelf and gives it all he's got, resulting in an epic battle that ends in a draw, which still gives Sei and Reiji enough points to make the Top 16.
Genre Shift: The battle in Episode 13 revolves around each competitor being limited to one random weapon that they are given at the start. What are Sei and Reiji given? A baseball mitt, visor and three Ball-motif balls. And then the stadium rises around them...
Episode 14 takes the cake with Gunpla Temarii (ala Sport Days in Japan) and Gunpla race (ala Wacky Racing)
Getting Crap Pastthe Radar: For a kids show Sunrise doesn't seem too concerned with the what parents might notice in the show, as the lyrics for the background music of episode 15 during Nils battle includes them saying "I don't give a fuck about..."
Genre Savvy: Nils, realizing that despite Ms. Baker's words, there was no guarantee PPSE would uphold their promise to let him visit their factory if he defeated Sei and Reiji. So he sneaks into PPSE's particle factory in Episode 23, except it turns out that Baker also expected he'd do that.
Everybody who sees Star Build Strike's Absorb Shield immediately starts thinking of counters to it. Notably, Luang, Fellini and Aila make neutralising the Absorb Shield their first priority.
Gone Horribly Right: A softer example. Aila has the ability to sense and see the flow of Plavsky particles. This usually allows her to preempt her opponents, but in her battle with Reiji, the RG System's particle output is so high it blinds her, allowing Reiji an easy hit.
Heroic Second Wind: Episode 15. Despite his Wing Gundam Fenice getting the crap beat out of it, Fellini rises to his feet and fights the Star Build Strike to a draw.
I Let You Win: Subverted in episode 15. Everyone expects Fellini (who has a guaranteed place in the top 16) to give Sei and Reiji an easy victory, not only so that they can secure their place in the finals, but to also preserve both their gunplas from damage. However, his pride in both himself and his gunpla refuses to accept this outcome, and he chooses to charge into battle guns a-blazing.
Nils offers to take a dive for Sei and Reiji, if they'll tell him the secret of Plavsky particles (since he suspects PPSE will welch on their promise). Both boys refuse, and Reiji challenges him to fight for real.
Imagine Spot: Both Sei and Mao have one where they imagine the battle between their Gunpla. Mr. Ral puts a stop to it so they can have a proper fight that isn't in their imagination.
Improbable Weapon User: Everyone becomes this in episode 13, since the battle is themed around random weapons. Some people get more standard weapons (Kawaguchi gets tonfa, his opponent gets a railgun), some get weird but still functional items (Fellini gets heat scissors that he wields like a sword, Nils gets a yo-yonote If that seems odd, remember that the yo-yo was invented to be a weapon, and has a track record of being used as such by humongous mecha), and some fall squarely into this trope (Mao gets a paint spraygun, Sei and Reiji get baseballs).
Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Rainer Cziommer, the German champ, has a major revenge-on against Fellini for stealing his girlfriendnote though Fellini insists that she came onto him and he just has an "open door" policy. He doesn't even care about the championship, just about ruining Fellini's chances. Unfortunately for him, he's becoming less and less of a threat as time goes on; compare his debut, where he would have gotten Fellini if not for Mao, to Episode 14, where he's literally not even a bump in the road.
This can be justified, as he spent most of his time building a mobile suit carrier, which doesn't have an official model. So he probably spent all of his time building that. Since it was destroyed, he was forced used an older model which he probably never upgraded unlike Fellini's Fenice. Leaving him with an outdated model.
Invincible Hero: Star Build Strike becomes this after episode 15. While the Sei and Reiji team making it to the final fight is to be expected, the way each of their battles go after the duel with Fellini is very underwhelming. Once Star Build Strike activates its RG System and launches the Build Knuckle, nothing can stop it. Nothing. It doesn't help that Build Knuckle is relatively boring for a Finishing Move. It's somewhat justified since the Absorb/Discharge System is no longer useable (as everyone and their grandmother knows its weaknesses), which means the RG System is the only super attack that the Star Build Strike has left. Still rather jarring however, especially when the Star Build Strike's main selling point (such that it's a standard feature with its model kit) is its horribly underused Plavsky Wings.
Showy Invincible Hero: While it finishes fights with the Build Knuckle and wins 99% of the time (hey didn't some other guy always end with the same finisher?), what leads up to the Build Knuckle can vary wildly and is typically fun to watch. In one episode the Star Build Strike can be in a strategic battle that echoes the UC Century, but in a later episode it'll be in a kung-fu battle straight out of G Gundam. And the Absorb/Release System gets one final hurrah in the next to last episode, where the Aqua Mode is finally revealed.
Joke Character: Ral-san's favorite Gunpla. He's a decent pilot, and the Gouf itself a great machine... but his kit is a Best Mecha Collection Gouf, a really old model with crappy articulations that really can't compare to the newer stuff in terms of mobility. Reiji keeps trashing it (a melee oriented suit at that!) by rushing in and beam saber-ing it to death.
Yuuki's Zaku Amazing plays this straight, with plenty of missiles, a heavy sniper rifle, revolvers and heat machetes.
Ral is also a believer in this. His Gouf R35 is equipped with ten autocannons and two heat swords.
Leitmotif: "The Crimson Comet ~ The Usual Flamenco at Three Times the Passion~", Yuuki's theme, which is heard severa times: Episode 2, Zaku Amazing vs Build Strike, Episode 6, Zaku Amazing vs Build Strike Full Package, and in Episode 18, Kampfer Amazing vs GM Sniper K9. It's also remixed for "Meijin ~ Six Times The Passion Of Ordinary Flamenco", which plays in Episode 22, Amazing Exia vs F91 Imagine.
Actually discussed in-series; Reiji asks why people take Gunpla Battle so seriously, and Mr. Ral says that since it's not a real war like the original Gundam anime and no lives are at stake, people can have fun and become very passionate about it.
Lost in Translation: In Japanese, the name of China's Beargguy III is pronounced "Beargguy-san", i.e. "Mr. Beargguy" in English. The official subtitles resolve this by rendering the name as "Mr. Beargguy III".
The Mafia: Episode 15 reveals that there's a Gunpla Mafia, who'll take any dirty job (including "C"'s attempt to disqualify Sei and Reiji in the previous episode). Sei's reaction serves as a lampshade on how ridiculous the idea sounds.
The Magic Goes Away: In the end, the giant Arista, source of the Plavsky Particles, is destroyed, marking the end of Gunpla battles... only to be Subverted in the epilogue, where it's shown that Nils and Caroline have successfully synthesized the particles.
Meaningful Name: Wing Gundam Fenice, Italian for Phoenix. The meaning becomes very clear in Episode 15, as we see how Fellini keeps rebuilding it after every defeat, until it becomes the Ace Custom it is today.
Its second form is the Fenice Rinascita. "Rinascita" is Italian for "rebirth".
Metagame/Gameplay Derailment: A variation: A lot of the newer powerful Gunpla fighters out there have learned to fight using not only their skills and their Gunpla's simulated weapons, but also by manipulating the very particles moving their models. A point is made that Gunpla fighters who haven't adapted, like Greco Logan and Ricardo Fellini, are at a disadvantage.
Midseason Upgrade: Typically a Gundam last at least 14 episodes. Build Strike Full Package and Zaku Amazing lasted 6 episodes, and each received an upgrade at episode 11.
Miracle Rally: In episode 14, after breaking free from the enemy gunpla that was holding them up, Sei and Reiji active Star Build Strike's Discharge Mode and make a mad dash for the finish line. Unfortunately for them, it's Discharge Mode runs out of juice in the final straight, causing Star Build to come in second place.
Mood Whiplash: Episode 21 piles on the feels, with Reiji's hate and Aila's despair, then heartwarming as they reconcile... and then Aila calls out Barthess, Kankaansyrjä and his grandson, then Reiji and Aila get into a shouting match over who's going to win, and then they spend the rest of the match flirting while beating each other up.
Episode 23 is a dedicated breather episode, with funny and heartwarming moments aplenty and a thrilling battle between Reiji and Sei at the end. Fast forward to The Stinger where we see a very brainwashed looking Tatsuya standing with the completed Exia Dark Matter, saying that it's time to battle.
Mundane Utility: Technology has been created that can give life to inanimate plastic models. Mankind has decided to use this technology for sporting competitions. The Hand Wave is that the Plavsky Particles only react to the plastic in Gundam model kits.
Plavsky Particles are later revealed to be made out of antiparticles, which has many potential uses in many fields of science. However the company that produces Plavsky particles keeps the production process completely secret for unknown reasons.
Sei and China, who are paired up quite early in the show, and are implied to have started dating by the world tournament arc.
Aila and Reiji, whose encounters are filled with Belligerent Sexual Tension. One of Aila's themes is even called "Aila – Reiji's Custom Tsundere". Aila also follows Reiji back to Arian in the finale, after wishing they could stay together.
Nils and Caroline, with Caroline initially saying Nils is her boyfriend, and then upgrading him to her fiance a few episodes later. In the end, they're still together, and were on the International Space Station recreating Plavsky Particles.
Ricardo Fellini and Kirara/Mihoshi, who start dating during the world tournament and appear to still be together after the one year time skip in the season finale.
Power Glows: The frame under Star Build Strike's armor glows bright blue whenever it uses its RG system Super Mode.
Puppy Love: Borderline, as most of the cast are in their early teenage years, yet every romance (or potentialthereof) is portrayed as innocent and down to earth. Major example is Sei and China's dynamic.
Recruited From The Gutter: Aila was "rescued" as a poverty stricken orphan by Nine Barthes, who treats her less than pleasantly. Later Reiji rescues her from him and she goes to Arian with him in the finale.
Mao's debut episode shows the Extreme Gundam, originally from the Gundam Vs Series. The latest game in the series, Extreme Vs. Maxi Boost, is slated to add Build Fighters to its burgeoning roster.
Reed Richards Is Useless: Nils points out that the existence of the Plavsky Particle has massive scientific potential, but PPSE keeps the method of manufacture secret and only seems interested in using it to animate Gunpla.
Also seen with Nils and Caroline. At first, he's just her belonging. Then, in Episode 19, Caroline upgrades him to her boyfriend. Then, in Episode 23, she declares him to be her fiancee. Though the show prefers to play it for laughs. Though the epilogue implies they're pretty much together for reals.
Self-Deprecation: In episode 16, the show takes a little rib at itself at there being endless versions of the same gunpla.
Reiji: Just how many of these Zaku things are there?
Serious Business: Considering there are next to no stakes in battles between miniature plastic models, fights get surprisingly dramatic.
Justified by Mr. Ral in Episode 6. People take Gunpla seriously because it's a hobby they don't have put their lives on the line for, unlike in the wars of previous Gundam shows. Gunpla battling can be a pure expression of personal skill / creativity / passion.
There's a "Gunpla Mafia", along with an "International Gunpla Police" who can arrest you for cheating in Gunpla Battles! Sei lampshades the ridiculousness of the former. note That said, every sport will have its own regulatory and enforcement bodies to ensure no cheating is taking place.
She Is Not My Girlfriend: Sei denies Caroline's presumption that he's China's boyfriend, only to get embarrassed when China doesn't deny it too.
Ship Tease: Sei x China and Reiji x Aila get heavily implied throughout the series, without either actually becoming a couple. The ending pretty strongly implies both couples are together.
Played for Laughs in case of Fellini x Mihoshi, who appear to be dating during the world tournament, only for Fellini to regularly screw things up, though they eventually hook up. And as Episode 23 shows, when it comes to Mihoshi, Fellini is completely whipped.
There's also Mao and Misaki, which again is also Played for Laughs, because even though he does manage to go on a date with her, it quickly ends when he tries to kiss her.
Heck, even Nils and Caroline fall into this, particularly with Caroline's unilateral relationship upgrades.
The Gundam X Maoh's ability to compress and release Plavsky Particles and the special feature of the Star Build Strike's Absorb Shield has a sound effect and function that is almost similar to Accelerator'sVector Manipulation.
In episode 4, the scene depicting Kirara's idol agency has a poster of an idol who looks suspiciously like Mami Futami from The iDOLM@STER. Makes more sense when you know that both series are owned by Bandai.
The "Meijin Kawaguchi" title is an honorary shout-out to Gunpla builder Katsumi Kawaguchi, who works for Bandai Hobby and is essentially their spokesman for all things Gunpla, and builds their display models.
The Noble Gundam Deco's color scheme for the chest, torso, and skirt somewhat resembles Sailor Jupiter.
Nils's parents are an ace detective (father) and a martial arts master (mother), referencing Detective Conan.
Caroline Yajima's SD Knight Gundam does the Shoutmon X4B when it changes into Centaur Mode.
The three fighters Meijin fights in his debut battle in Episode 11 are Geki (F91), Kai (GN-X), and Yoku (Ground-Type GM Head) from Brave Command Dagwon.
In the second opening, Wing Fenice does Klein Sandman's trademark pose from Gravion (another Masami Obari anime).
In episode 15, Build Strike and Wing Fenice headbutt each other in a reference to S-CRY-ed. note doubles as an Actor Allusion; the two rivals in s-CRY-ed were voiced by Soichiro Hoshi and Hikaru Midorikawa, who also played Kira Yamato and Heero Yuy - the pilots of the Strike and Wing Gundams respectively
Takeshi introduces himself to Gunpla Mafioso C using Cutey Honey's "Sometimes I'm X, sometimes I'm Y, but the truth is Z" intro speech.
Team Nemesis' bus in the world tournament is the same one used by Zero in season 1 of Code Geass.
Probably unintentional, but the design of the Exia Dark Matter, especially with it's visor, makes it look like an Armored Core,
Episode 22 introduces a Briton named John, his grandson Julian, and a Gunpla named "Imagine". Sound familiar?
During the final battle, that same Gunpla performs the Spinzaku Kick.
The Star Build Strike's Build Knuckle may be just a powered up punch, but its awfully to the signature move of another mecha fan turned pilot, namely Ryusei's T-Link Knuckle.
The Sengoku Astray tends to be animated differently than the other suits, with highly-emphasized highlights, strong shadows, and dramatic poses. Which is awfully like the animation style of another mecha anime.
Most of the show's models actually do have highly articulated, "perfect" real world matches. The in-show models are also noted to have been sanded, painted and generally customized by their makers.
In episode 3, Mr. Ral's Gouf, from an older line of kits, is accurately depicted as being stiffer and less detailed than its modern counterparts. note this also matches the Gouf's animation in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, making it strangely enough show accurate too!
Becomes a plot point in Episode 9, where Sei realizes that Show Accuracy (making Build Strike something you might actually see in the Gundam SEED universe) is holding him back. He needs to use all his creativity if he wants to compete with world-class Builders.
Sniper Duel: The battle between Tatsuya and the Renato brothers in Episode 18 kicks off with a particularly spectacular one.
So Last Season: The new generation of Gunpla fighters have surpassed many of the previous generations, with newcomers defeating long time tournament fighters and even the previous World Champion. In particular, clever manipulation of Plavsky particles becomes at least as important as traditional building skills, and those battlers that don't keep up get annihilated.
"Stop Having Fun" Guys: In-universe. Yeah this show does get a bit serious with it's toys but most of the characters play it in good fun. A couple do have this mindset however such as the Renato brothers and Meijin and only seem to care about winning. However, in the later's case, it's a ruse to subvert the image set upon by the second Meijin, who believed in this, and show that Gunpla is supposed to be used for fun.
Surprisingly Good English: Throughout the series, the random bits of English text shown on computer screens are always in perfect English; examples include Nils' research on Greco in Episode 8 and the Internet comments about Kawaguchi in Episode 18note The latter even pulls off a Pun, with one comment asking "Is the Kampfer Amazing because he's 'A Meijin'?". However, there is one noteworthy instance of Engrish: In the final episode, the sub-header on the news article announcing that Nils managed to re-create the Plavsky Particle. Justtified, the article is on Japanese website.
At one point, Allan shouts out a well-accented "Perfect!" in the middle of an otherwise Japanese sentence.
In general, nearly all of the random battles have U.C. era suits prevailing over their AU counterparts, especially those from SEED; this was observed not only by members of the Western fandom, but also of the Chinese fandom.note On the other hand, most of the main Gunpla employed by the main characters are from AU series, and often trounce UC mobile suits in return.
The early episodes poked fun at units that rely on giant beam weapons by having them get taken down before their long charge rate can finish. Such as Wing Gundam's Buster Rifle getting disarmed by a shield toss, and Gundam Double X getting comically destroyed as it charges its Satellite Cannon.
Technician Versus Performer: Best represented by the battle during the finals against Nils, with Reiji and Sei as the Performer and Nils as the Technician. As is often the case with this trope, Nils is portrayed as the scum that doesn't really understand what Gunpla Battles are about and has to learn a lesson. Ironically, early in the series during China's battle against Caroline, the situation is inverted with Caroline being the spirited competitor relying on drive (and some outside help from Nils) while China has a cute but basic Gunpla and winds up winning because she followed the directions to make the Bearguy too closely.
Tender Tears: Sir John Ayers Mackenzie has this in Episode 22, watching the conclusion of Julian and Meijin's battle, and seeing Julian's return to gunpla.
Theme Song Power Up: In Episode 12 when Sei and Reiji begin charging the Star Build Strike's BFG, the ending theme "Imagination > Reality" starts up.
In Episode 18, Meijin is on the ropes, and the Renato Brothers move in to finish him off... and then his leitmotif kicks in and he spectacularly turns the tables on them.
And then a more spectacular example occurs in Episode 22, as Meijin activates Trans-Am set to "Meijin - Six Times the Passion of Ordinary Flamenco."
And then the first OP plays during Episode 24, in the Star Build Strike's battle with the Exia Dark Matter.
And the second OP gets its glory moment in Episode 25, when Sei and Reiji are charging at the Giant Arista inside of A Baoa Qu.
This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Master Chinan says this to Takeshi in Episode 24, when the latter prepares to have the Sei/Reiji vs. Kawaguchi fight suspended due to the blatant rules violation of a mid-battle field change.
Trailers Always Spoil: Bandai's Gunpla release schedule pretty much spoils what mobile suits will show up later in the series.
Trailers Always Lie: On the other hand, The second opening shows six silhouetted Gunpla behind Chairman Mashita, implying that they're going to be part of his attempts to eliminate Sei and Reiji. However, out of the six, only two (the Hell Zeong and Exia Dark Matter) were actually enemies, while all the rest belong to good guys like Reiji and Aila.
Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: After Chairman Mashita identifies Reiji as the Prince of Arian, he goes to ridiculous lengths to try to boot him and Sei out of the World Championship. He does get called out repeatedly for his behavior, not that it does much to stop him.
Undercover Cop Reveal: Sometimes he's the owner of a back-alley model store. And sometimes, he's a Gunpla fan, travelling around the world to promote Gunpla. But his true self is...International Gunpla Battle Official Referee, Takeshi Iori!
Unexpected Character: Episode 8 start with Nils fighting a G-Saviour. The thing was ignored by Sunrise and Bandai for more than a decade, got excluded from all supplement materials as if it never existed, and even caused faulty rumor among fans that it got removed from Universal Century timeline. Yes, it's truly The Unfavourite of Gundam. Yet, it makes its anime debut here.
And that episode scored a double whammy by introducing an explicitely Shout-Out-based design, namely Thai champion Luang Dallara's custom Abigor themed after Aura Battler Dunbine's titular mech.
In episode 23 marks the animated debut of the Shuffle Heart, which was detailed in Mobile Fighter G Gundam's side materials but never appeared because its proper owner (Master Asia) had his own Gundam to use.
Villainous Breakdown: A humorous example. In episode 13, when Mashita's secretary's plan to get Sei and Reiji eliminated from the tournament fails, she refuses to speak and looks away in shame for the rest of the episode.
She also has been losing her cool more and more as Sei and Reiji continues through the tournament finals; by Nils's defeat she is left speechless.
Wave Motion Gun: One was spotted inside the A Baoa Qu fortress in episode 25, which took out China and Aila's Gunpla.
We All Live in America: Well, Japan in this case. A very egregious example happens in episode 20, when everybody from Team Nemesis bows towards its president the Japanese way after he left the scene, except they're supposed to be Finnish.
On the other hand, this is defied like hell in the same episode: One can suppose Kirara, being Japanese, could easily understand the reasons why the Italian Fellini is trying to self-destruct his Gunpla. It turns out she's calling him out for trying to do this kind of behavior and he changes his mind after that.note It's very possible since the series is geared toward younger audiences, Sunrise doesn't want to promote suicide, even if it's handled in a figurative sense. Taking into account how common this problem is in Japan, this is justified.
Wham Episode: episode 14. At the beginning of the episode, Sei and Reiji are on an unbroken winning streak and are among the top contenders... then the Chairman's latest meddling results in them almost getting eliminated from the tournament altogether. On the other hand, the Chairman's reaction to a very (and rightly) pissed Reiji kicking down his door was priceless...
Episode 20 is this too, by having Aila destroying the Wing Gundam Fenice and Reiji's Beginning Gundam without any hint of regret or self-constraint (Due to the berserker-like system imposed on her). All this just so the Chairman can see his grandson see the Qubeley Papillion win... and also pulls out The Reveal towards Reiji.
Reiji: I said what are you doing, Aina?!
Episode 24, all of it: the chairman is a wanted criminal of Arian who arrived on Earth the same way Reiji did, and the reason he antagonizes him is that he doesn't want to be identified; when cornered in the end, he accidentally summons an entire Space Fortress in the middle of the stadium.
Wham Line: episode 21. Reiji drops the bog-standard heroic "I'll beat you" speech which itself isn't unusual... until he says something that instantly makes the Chairman goBlue with Shock.
Reiji: In our next battle, we'll beat you for sure! ON THE HONOR AND PRIDE OF THE ROYAL HOUSE OF ARIAN!!!
Wham Shot: Nils and Caroline exploring underneath the tournament arena at the end of episode 23 and finding a gigantic plavisky particle crystal.
Episode 24: a entire Space Fortress manifested in the middle of the world tournament's stadium.
The Stinger for episode 23, which shows Yuuki with the infamous Embody System.
The Stinger for episode 24, which shows A Baoa Qu materializing in the middle of the stadium.
Sazaki showing off in his Gyan Vulcan, to a little girl who looks remarkably like him. (Presumably his sister).
Mao and Chinan fooling around with some kitbashed gunpla (which were made by Sei and Iori's voice actresses in real life!).
Misaki working at her inn, now aided by Tatsuzo and his gang.
Kirara performing at a huge concert, with Fellini watching on from the back.
Yuuki and Allan working a Gunpla workshop for some young kids, with Yuuki apparently successful in reforming the image of Meijin.
Mashita and Baker selling the new PPSE mock-Gunpla in Arian.
Caroline and Nils together at the International Space Station, successfully synthesising the Plavsky Particle. Also, Yajima Trading has absorbed PPSE and is now organising the Gunpla Battle World Championship.
China, Takeshi and Rinko watching Sei compete in the 8th Gunpla Battle World Championship Qualifiers.
"World of Cardboard" Speech: Sei gives a speech during his final battle with Yuuki, stating how his friends and family have helped him become a better Gunpla builder and fighter.
Xanatos Speed Chess: The battle between Meijin and the Renato brothers basically amounts to them trying to counter each of the strategies and weaknesses of the opposing Gunpla.