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Anime Review – Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders Beginning G March 13, 2012

Posted by navycherub in Anime, Review.
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Commercials aren’t usually much fun to watch. Actually, most people see them as a chore if they really have to sit through them, or a bathroom break if they don’t. Occasionally one comes across a particularly funny one, but the memory of those few seconds rarely remain. Even so, this works out for advertising purposes. If one sees enough advertisements for the same brand or product, it is hard not to have a name associated with a product stuck in permanent memory. Anime like Mobile Suit Gundam have made a business by producing cartoons essentially created to sell products, toys in this case. However, before Mokei Senshi Gunpla Builders Beginning G (from here on referred to as Gunpla Builders), they had not made such a blatant push for a specific line of products in a full-length cartoon form.

Gunpla Builders is surprising in how enjoyable it really is, despite its nature and simplicity. At this point, fans of Gundam as a franchise have certain expectations when it comes to the plot points and quality of the story of their favorite series. At only three episodes, and only about forty minutes at that, there is not much time to develop the sort of extensive narrative Gundam typically portrays; however, one of the strengths of Gunpla Builders is that it is aware of its own essence. A young boy finds a new skill, meets new people, experiences new things, and eventually comes to become his own person through his adventures. While this is the plot of an innumerable amount of other cartoons (particularly Gundam as a whole), Gunpla Builders does not feel like a chore to watch like the rest do because it is so short. In forty minutes the viewer is given what other cartoons take anywhere from twelve to hundreds of episodes to accomplish. In addition, the ridiculousness of the mechanics of the show, such as the arcade game they play, are easily overlooked because Gunpla Builders never takes itself too seriously. The only serious complaint here is that, for a show about building models of robots, there was very little time given to the actual building and not much information given about how the process works. The occasional bone is thrown, such as showing different types of parts or how to paint the models, but it wasn’t quite as thorough as one would hope from a show specifically made about models.

On the other hand, despite the simple story, the animation in Gunpla Builders was very nice. The action scenes are quite fluid, giving the arcade game battles the same feel as one would have from a typical Gundam show, which is definitely appreciated for a glorified commercial such as this. During battles, action is constantly happening in the background, and even the shorter or less important skirmishes provide plenty of interesting and fun to watch material, on top of being well-animated. The theme of custom models was clearly given thought to in the battles, as non-traditional, especially creative mobile suit designs fly around constantly during every scene. Despite this, the connection to the usual Gundam universes is provided through the various battlegrounds seen in the show. The viewer is treated to a quick and dirty pass at the progression of any given Gundam series through Gunpla Builders’ steps through very familiar environments, one after the other, in a similar order that one would expect from the series. The score has a similar nostalgic feeling; though it isn’t quite as strong as the visuals, it is clear effort was put into making Gunpla Builders feel as natural as possible.

There’s not much to dislike about Gunpla Builders. It is, in essence, a more honest form of advertising, but it is also so much fun to watch that one can’t help but forgive it for its intentions.

Story: 5/10 | Animation: 7/10 | Sound: 6/10 | Characters: 5/10 | Enjoyment: 8/10

Overall: 7/10

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