Gundam Build Fighters (2013) isn’t just one of the top-rated recent Gundam shows, but one of the top-rated shows of the past decade, period. A veritable love-letter to Gunpla, Build Fighters is a show for, by, and about Gundam fans. It offers humor and heart through references so arcane, it’s clear the creators dredged the depths of the Gundam canon.
Welcome back to Deep Dive, Tom Aznable’s reader-favorite column all about catching the more esoteric aspects of the Gundam multiverse that make it into the show. Nothing passes Tom’s eagle eye for spotting this stuff (we suspect Newtype abilities), but this column focuses specifically on rare sightings and deep cuts. Read on to see what you may have missed:
Episode 06: A Reason to Battle
Jaburo, Mobile Suit Gundam (anime)
Tatsuya carries out his trial at PPSE in the Earth Federation’s underground military headquarters, Jaburo, likely based on its appearance during Zeon’s attack midway through the original Gundam series. His targets are flat cutouts of the mass production GM, which first appeared during those episodes. The destroyed Type 61 tanks, on the other hand, must just be part of the background since they are actually realized in 3D with the rest of the battlefield.
Patrick Colasour, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (anime)
The Gundam character lookalike who is handily beaten by a child here is Patrick Colasour of Gundam 00, who would of course go on to appear (in some form or another) in every episode of the Gundam Build Divers series! His Gunpla is a GN-X, one of several grunt mobile suits he’d use over the course of the show. Despite being a true ace of simulated battles, Patrick is inevitably taken out of action pretty quickly in any actual engagement he sorties in. Because of his preternatural ability to somehow survive despite being shot down constantly, he’s derisively nicknamed “The Immortal Colasour” by his peers.
Char Kick, Mobile Suit Gundam (anime)
One of Gundam’s most iconic action beats is what’s come to be known as the Char Kick, based on a moment in the third episode of the original Mobile Suit Gundam, “Vote to Attack.” In the original scene, the White Base’s forces attempt to attack Char Aznable’s ship while it is resupplying. Char is able to close the gap between his signature red Zaku II and the Gundam and delivers what should be a devastating kick to the mobile suit’s belly. The Gundam’s armor turns out to be too strong, and Char retreats back to his ship. This kick is a very heavily referenced image that even pops up in non-Gundam shows. Within Gundam, it’s perhaps most directly referenced in Gundam UC’s second episode, where the Sinanju plants a kick squarely to the Unicorn Gundam’s mid-section. Here, the Build Strike actually manages to defend the kick with its forearm.
“The white mobile suit is going to win.” Mobile Suit Gundam (anime)
In this episode’s post-credit sting, a mysterious blond man tells a young girl to watch Sei and Reiji’s match carefully—to which she replies “The white Gunpla is going to win.” This references a scene between Char Aznable and Lalah Sune in episode 34 of Mobile Suit Gundam, “A Fateful Encounter.” In the original scene, Char and Lalah are watching a battle between Zeon and the White Base immediately outside the neutral area of Side 6 on television. Char tells her to watch the unfolding scene carefully. Later, she predicts, without the Gundam even appearing on screen, that “The white mobile suit is going to win.”
“Gundam Fight! Ready! Go!” Mobile Fighter G Gundam (anime)
This episode preview’s sign-off actually references a prologue more than a preview! This time, it’s a line that the narrator character, Stalker, would use to finish a recurring intro segment in Mobile Fighter G Gundam. In the show’s previews, on the other hand, they would typically only say “Ready Go!” at the end.