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 a Continuity Cavalcade, with numerous mobile suits from previous Gundam series appearing alongside original model designs. Gundam Build Fighters started airing in October 7, 2013 on TV Tokyo as well as on Gundam.Info for the English sub.
Gundam Build Fighters contains examples of the following tropes:
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. Gunpla Builders 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. On top of that, thus far the stakes haven't gone any higher than ownership of a run-down inn.
Call On Me: Reiji promises to come and help Sei, no matter where he is or what crisis he's facing.
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.
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.
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.
Doing It for the Art: 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.
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.
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.
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 Bearguy 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.
Irony: Sei is very good at making Gunpla, and his father was a world champion-level Gunpla Battler... but Sei himself has crap reflexes, so he has to rely upon someone else to "pilot" his machines.
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.
Lost in Translation: In Japanese, the name of China's Beargguy III is pronounced "Bearguy-san", i.e. "Mr. Bearguy" in English. The official subtitles resolve this by rendering the name as "Mr. Bearguy III".
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.
Merchandise-Driven: Even more than regular Gundam, with Bandai deliberately making the Original Generation models very Toyetic and then releasing their unique gear (like the Build Strike's flight pack) as separate models which can be installed on practically any existing Gunpla thanks to provided adapter parts.
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.
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.
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.
China's Beargguy III is not based on a regular Acguy, but is in fact a modification of the Beargguy model kit from Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G. It's a custom model kit (presumably) meant to do model kit-based combat, modified from a piece of merchandise of a custom model kit meant to do model kit-based combat from an anime series about model kit-based combat, IN an anime about model kit-based combat.
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.
Serious Business: Considering there are next to no stakes in battles between miniature plastic models, fights get surprisingly dramatic.
Fridge Brilliance: The models themselves can suffer actual physical damage, forcing the loser to spend time and money rebuilding creations they've spent days / weeks / months on.
Actually lampshaded and justified in Episode 6. Reiji says that people take Gunpla seriously when they're just toys. Mr. Ral explains that people take Gunpla seriously because...they like it a lot.
More than that, Ral points out that unlike the original Gundam, where it's a life-and-death war, Gunpla battles may just be a hobby. But it's because people don't have to worry about putting their lives on the line that they can enjoy it so much, and thus they become really passionate about it.
The Gundam X Maoh's special ability of compressing and releasing Plavsky Particles has a sound effect and function that is almost similar to Accelerator'sAttack Reflector.
In episode 3, Blue Destiny Unit 1's visor lights up in a manner similar to Space Runaway Ideon's.
Yuuki's alter ego "Kawaguchi" is a shout out to noted real life Gunpla builder Katsumi Kawaguchi.
The Noble Gundam Deco's color scheme for the chest, torso, and skirt somewhat resembles Sailor Jupiter.
Caroline Yajima's SD Knight Gundam Centaur Mode has the same pose as Shoutmon X4B.
Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy: Leans toward both ends simultaneously, naturally, being a show about toy robots based on another show. Interestingly it even portrays the differing levels of show accuracy between different lines of models. While most are modern, highly articulated, "realistic"-looking model kits, in episode 3 Mr. Ral uses a Gouf from an older line of kits that is accurately depicted as being stiffer and less detailed, and generally looking like the less-polished animation of the original Mobile Suit Gundam TV show, making it the most show-accurate of all.
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.
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.