Gunpla fans are rejoicing over Gundam Build Divers, a new Sunrise anime all about our favorite model kits. But it could be tricky to catch the more obscure Gundam references in the show… until now.
Welcome to Deep Dive, a new column from Gundam expert Tom Aznable that points out the more unexpected 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 12: Shining Wings
MS-06E-3 Zaku Flipper, MSV (design series)
The reconnaissance-specialized Zaku Flipper’s distinctive tri-camera head design often draws comparisons to the iconic Scopedog grunt mecha from Armored Trooper VOTOMS. Gundam Build Fighters capitalized on this by giving it a Scopedog color scheme in its animated debut. It appears here in its original colors, appropriately enough, alongside the VOTOMS-inspired Grimoire Red Beret.
MS-09K-2 Dom Cannon (Twin Guns Type), Harmony of Gundam (design series)
It seems like every good One Year War grunt needs a cannon variation! Not one to let the Zaku, Gelgoog, and GM Cannons of the world have the spotlight themselves, the Dom Cannon makes its anime debut here.
GF13-020NK Zebra Gundam, Mobile Fighter G Gundam (anime)
This Gundam Fighter represented Neo-Kenya and made it to the 13th Gundam Fight Finals. It had a brief cameo as a model kit in Gundam Build Fighters Try, but here it actually does something (however briefly)!
The villain masks his presence in Gundam Battle Nexus by logging in as a guest, but just to make it extra-clear that he’s up to no good he assumes the identity of the Trinity siblings’ own evil Haro.
- Color scheme: FA-78-2 Heavy Gundam, MS-X (design series)
This is the first of a series of cameos that seem to make a nod to the Pezun colony that the climactic battle is taking place around. Pezun figured largely in the MS-X design series’ lore as the birthplace of many of the Zeon MS that appeared. The use of the towering Psycho Gundam is likely to emphasize the scale of the giant Big Zam that appears, but its color scheme seems to be a nod to the MS-X series’ own Heavy Gundam. A Buster Gundam on Rommel’s Force uses these colors as well.
Giant Big Zam
While not an explicit reference to anything, this seems to actually be a clever reversal of a gag used in the original battling Gunpla manga Plamo Kyoshiro that was then also reused in Gunpla Builders: Beginning G. At the time of Kyoshiro’s publication the only Big Zam Gunpla was 1/550 scale, about a fourth the scale of the much more common 1/144 scale that most Gunpla inhabit. Because scales weren’t corrected for in battle, this tiny Big Zam made for a great sight gag. Here, the inverse is true; according to a line of dialogue, this Big Zam is over three times the size of the 1/144 scale!
RX-77-4 Guncannon II, MSV (design series)
This is the Guncannon II’s anime debut, and it’s distinctly of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it variety as it’s almost immediately destroyed by the Big Zam. The Guncannon II eschews its predecessor’s twin cannons for a single beam cannon with an advanced sensor.
GNY-0042-874 Gundam Artemie, Mobile Suit Gundam 00P (novel)
The cute, bee-themed Gundam Artemie is from Gundam 00’s prequel novel series. Its pilot goes on to play a major supporting role in the sidestory manga Gundam 00F as part of the Celestial Being support organization Fereshte.
In Gundam Sentinel, several Zeta Plus C1s were used by the Earth Federation’s Task Force Alpha to combat the New Desides forces occupying Pezun, which also happens to be the location of this battlefield. Fans may remember a Zeta Plus appearing in Gundam UC; that was actually the atmospheric-use Zeta Plus A1. The A1 and C1 are almost identical apart from some parts on their waist. As such, this marks the space-use Zeta Plus C1’s anime debut.
- Color scheme: RX-78-1 Prototype Gundam, MSV (design series)
SD RX-78-2 Gundam, SD Gundam EX-Standard (model kit line)
This version of the SD Gundam is a specific kit from the more recent SD Gundam EX-Standard line. SD Ex-Standard’s aesthetic tends to be more detailed with less squashed proportions.
RGM-79Q GM Quel (Confeito Forces Type), Advance of Zeta: The Flag of Titans (novel)
This variation of the Titans’ GM Quel is used by Federation Forces stationed at the former Zeon space fortress Solomon, called Confeito after the One Year War (or Konpei Island if you go by the Gundam 0083 dub). The stock Titans GM Quel’s own debut was little more than a still frame at the end of Gundam 0083; this version’s own debut here fares slightly better.
FA-78-1 Full Armor Gundam, MSV (design series)
These days it’s the Gundam Thunderbolt version of the Full Armor Gundam that gets all the attention, but this is the un-stylized original from the very first MSV line making its own debut!
RMS-141 Xeku Eins (Type 3 Armament), Gundam Sentinel (novel)
Yet another Gundam Sentinel anime debut to tie in with the Pezun setting! This one is another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo, as it promptly collides with the Full Armor Gundam. The Xeku Eins was used by the New Desides in their occupation of Pezun.
This Tallgeese II seems to be a simple-enough riff: “What if actually Zechs got the Tallgeese II instead of Treize and painted it up like the Epyon?”
MS-10 Pezun Dowadge, MS-X (design series)
GF13-047NMA Skull Gundam, Mobile Fighter G Gundam (anime)
The Pezun Dowadge, as its name suggests, is another mobile suit with links to Pezun, in yet another anime debut! It very quickly overtakes the whole screen, blocking your view of Neo-Malaysia’s own 13th Gundam Fight Finalist Skull Gundam.
While alluded to as the base for Cima Garahau’s Gerbera Tetra mobile suit from Gundam 0083, the GP04G Gerbera didn’t actually receive an official design until one was published in modeling magazine Hobby Japan. Since then it’s become something of a fan favorite, and received its own anime debut (in CG) at the end of Gundam Evolve episode 4.
Guardian Shield, MSV-R (design series)
The G-3 Gundam reappears with a bit more detailing that makes its name explicit. Maybe someone took Koichi’s model that showed up earlier for a spin?
GNMA-Y0002V Gadelaza, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie: A wakening of the Trailblazer (anime)
The Gadelaza was a mobile armor used by True Innovator pilot Descartes Shaman in the Gundam 00 movie. Early on in the film’s promotion, he was made to look like the film’s major antagonist to keep the real extraterrestrial enemy a secret.
CB-001.5 1.5 Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam 00P (novel), Gundam 00V (novel, Gundam 00I (manga)
The 1.5 Gundam (pronounced like “Eyes”) is an upgraded version of the Innovator mobile suit (what else) 1 Gundam. This can be considered a cousin of sorts to Ribbon Almark’s Reborns Gundam.
AGE-3O Gundam AGE-3 Orbital (Designer Color Set), Gage-ing Builder Series (toy line)
This color scheme for the AGE-3 Orbital comes from the P-Bandai exclusive “Designer Color Set” of Gage-in Builder toys supervised by the AGE’s designer Kanetake Ebikawa. Unlike the typical AGE-3 Orbital equipment, this one is using the AGE-3 Normal’s Blusstia Cannon.
The idea behind the Gage-ing Builder line was kind of a novel one: kids could mix and match parts to create a figure which would then be readable at a terminal in order for them to battle with. In many ways, it was a very primitive analogue to the Build Fighters/Divers concept.
AMX-007 Gaza-E, Gundam Sentinel (novel), Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation (anime)
Teased back in episode 5, it looks like the Efreet Custom was just a Gunpla that our mysterious villain sold to one of his victims. An Efreet Custom colored like the original Efreet appeared as a brief cameo in Gundam Build Fighters Try, but Build Divers marks the first time it has appeared in its original colors in anime.
Also, the pink debris floating in the bottom half of the frame is from the Gaza-E, which was last seen in the background of a shot in one of the Zeta Gundam compilation movies. Being another Gundam Sentinel cameo would make it at least indirectly connected to Pezun, though a wreckage cameo isn’t the most flattering.
Tekki Musha Haganemaru, Shin SD Sengokuden: Choukidou Daishogun (manga, model kit line)
Tekki Musha Haganemaru is one of if not the first SD Gundams that could transform into “real type” proportions, a gimmick that was used both in Build Fighters Try and now in Build Divers. Its form is based on the MSZ-008 ZII from Z-MSV. This marks this designs anime debut!
Another debut from G-Unit, the Gundam Griepe is the protagonist Odin Bernett’s ultimate mobile suit. It’s kind of like if the Deathscythe Hell Custom could transform like a Valkyrie from Macross, but its Gerwalk mode looks like the Big Zam. The “secret Zeon transformation” gimmick was one shared by a number of the G-Unit Gundams.
PF-78-2 Perfect Gundam Mk. II aka FA-78-1 Full Armor Gundam (Blue Color Version), Plamo Kyoshiro (manga)
Another Full Armor Gundam and another shoutout to Plamo Kyoshiro! In the context of the manga, it’s created as a followup to the protagonist Shiro’s Perfect Gundam (which had previously appeared in Build Fighters). Along with the version of the Perfect Gundam Mk. III “Red Warrior” that appeared prominently in Build Fighters Try, now all the Perfect Gundams have been represented.
- References in ‘Gundam Build Divers’ Prologue and Episode 1
- References in ‘Gundam Build Divers’ Episode 2
- References in ‘Gundam Build Divers’ Episode 3
- References in ‘Gundam Build Divers’ Episode 4
- References in ‘Gundam Build Divers’ Episode 5
- References in ‘Gundam Build Divers’ Episode 6
- References in ‘Gundam Build Divers’ Episode 7
- References in ‘Gundam Build Divers’ Episode 8
- References in ‘Gundam Build Divers’ Episode 9
- References in ‘Gundam Build Divers’ Episode 10
- References in ‘Gundam Build Divers’ Episode 11