Gundam Build Divers is back with a sequel series, Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE, that is just as referential as its predecessor. It would take a keen eye and bottomless Gundam knowledge in order to catch the more obscure references it makes to every corner of the Gundam multiverse. Fortunately, we have Gundam expert Tom Aznable to help.
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 01: Wandering Core Gundam
EMS-06 Batalla, Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam (manga)
Mad Golem, SD Gundam Gaiden (anime)
No sooner than the very first shot of Re:RISE’s first episode are we greeted with several cameos. The tan MS in the center is the Batalla, a mass-produced mobile suit used by the Crossbone Vanguard space pirates seen in Gundam F91’s sequel manga Crossbone Gundam. Fans have long wanted an anime adaptation of Crossbone, and the Gundam Build franchise has teased them with cameos for years now. The Batalla makes its anime debut here as wreckage in typical Build fashion. With Sunrise’s new focus on the post-Unicorn era though, who knows what the future holds?
On the right edge of the frame we have the Mad Golem, a monstrous SD incarnation of the Psycho Gundam Mk. II from the RPG-inspired, medieval SD Gundam Gaiden setting. Its name may actually be a bit of a fantasy pun: “mad” in this case is being used as a synonym for “psycho,” but in Japanese (マッド) is also a homophone for the English word “mud.”
If you’ve built the original Master Grade Gundam “Alex” kit recently, chances are you were disappointed what you got was something that seemed more like a RE/100 or big HG. And it’s no wonder: that original MG turned 20 years old back in June! Not a moment too soon, Bandai celebrated that birthday with the release of a brand new, feature-filled MG 2.0 version. One prominent new gimmick was the ability for the Alex’s shield to open, allowing it to fire its forearm Gatling gun unimpeded. This hadn’t been thought up at the time of the original OVA of course, so this is the first time we get to see the Alex show off this new technique!
Adzam Leader Drone
This little guy is a combination of an SD Adzam with the mobile armor’s signature weapon, the Adzam Leader. While I couldn’t pin down this particular incarnation of the Adzam to a previous work, SD Gundam as a franchise is shockingly vast and there is obviously an SD otaku on staff. The original Adzam made just one appearance in the Mobile Suit Gundam TV series defending a Zeon mine from an AWOL Amuro Ray in the RX-78-2 Gundam. In that instance however, the Adzam Leader first had to coat its target in a conductive powder in order to take effect – this version of the weapon seems to have overcome that limitation.
This custom boss Gunpla combines some of Gundam SEED Destiny’s strongest offensive and defensive systems. While the crab-like mobile armor Gells-Ghe normally uses a Strike Dagger variant as its upper half, this kitbashed version uses the powerful Akatsuki Gundam instead. Between the Gells-Ghe’s positron reflector shield and the Akatsuki’s golden “Yata no Kagami” anti-beam coating, it puts up a monstrous defense against beam weaponry. The Akatsuki’s already impressive offensive ability is further augmented by using a version of the Legend Gundam’s DRAGOON system rather than one of its typical equipment packs.
Beam Saber Landing Pose, Mobile Suit Gundam (anime)
The original Haropla line was announced alongside the original Gundam Build Divers anime back in February 2018. Since then, most Haropla have just been the classic Haro design in different colors like the mix and matched Haro in the center. The Ball Haro is of course a Haro-ized take on the RB-79 Ball mobile pod, and the soon-to-be-released Zakrello Haro is based on what may be Mobile Suit Gundam’s most bizarre-looking mobile armor. They make their anime debut here in Re:RISE’s opening, so we can probably look forward to them playing some role in the show.
Valkylander (Mobile Suit Mode)
The dragon-like Valkylander gunpla’s SD Gundam form is revealed here in Re:RISE’s opening! By its appearance, it is most likely the Gundam Astraea Type F2, an upgraded predecessor of the Gundam Exia used by the organization Fereshte in the Gundam 00 manga sidestory Gundam 00F. The Valkylander’s name may also be a nod to Gundlander, SD Gundam’s barbarian setting. But that’s not all: the background texture here is no doubt meant to evoke the holofoil found on certain SD Gundam trading cards.
Captain Zeon, MS Era (art book)
The original Captain Zeon first appeared in the fantastic art book MS Era, which portrayed itself as an in-universe photojournalistic record of the One Year War (though most MS depicted tended to be designs from Gundam 0080). Captain Zeon is depicted as a children’s propaganda superhero broadcast on TV throughout the Principality of Zeon. Curiously enough, his show’s logo in MS Era appears to use the same “Z” used in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam’s logo. A later appearance of the character in Dengeki Hobby magazine depicted him with a sword themed after Zeon’s symbol, not unlike the sword used by the Re:RISE version’s ν Zeon Gundam. That such a deep cut of a character would become a recurring figure in any Gundam anime is quite a surprise.
- Base kit: DT-6800A Daughtress, After War Gundam X (anime)
In Deep Dive’s tradition of pointing out Daughtress variants from Gundam X (because I’m not convinced enough of you have seen it), here is one original to Re:RISE. The name given here is speculative, though considering that it appears amongst a throng of Eldora Death Army variants it’s probably a reasonable guess.
- Base kit: MSF-007 Gundam Mk-III, Z-MSV (design series)
This admittedly very unique looking Gunpla (designed by returning mecha designer Takayuki Yanase) is based on the Z-MSV design Gundam Mk-III, which was the second RE/100 release. Appropriately enough, the word “Seltsam” means “strange” in German. Its appearance in the opening marks the (albeit indirect) anime debut of the Mk-III.
GBN’s update announcement kicks off with two references to memorable bits from two separate classic Gundam openings. When the RX-78-2 Gundam blocks missiles and emerges from the ensuing pink smoke, it is mimicking the Gundam Mk-II at the beginning of Zeta Gundam’s second opening. In a bit of a reversal though, it’s revealed that this time the Gundam Mk-II was the one doing the shooting.
The Gundam and Gundam Mk-II then fly towards Earth, where a sunrise encircles the planet with light. This is a reference to the very first shot of Mobile Suit Gundam’s opening.
RAG-79-G1 Gundam Marine Type (aka Gundiver), M-MSV (design series)
Among GBN’s new stages is Atlantis, and what could be more appropriate than to show it off with a Gundam that goes by Gundiver? Strictly speaking, the Gundam Marine type is really more of a souped-up Aqua GM than anything, but maybe its opponent the Mermaid Gundam doesn’t know that.
ELS Homeworld, Mobile Suit Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer (anime)
When Setsuna F. Seiei manages to commune with the utterly alien ELS hivemind in the Gundam 00 movie’s finale, he sees a vision of the doomed planet they fled. The ELS homeworld was destroyed when its sun went supernova, and that seems to be exactly what’s depicted here.
The Gundam Pixy first appeared in the Super Famicom strategy RPG Cross Dimension 0079’s original story missions. In this short campaign, Federation pilot Bork Cry uses the Pixy to defend a desert base from repeated Zeon attacks. The conceit of the Gundam Pixy is that it is a stripped down, lightweight RX-78 close combat variation. It is often overshadowed by the game’s original rival Zeon mobile suit: the Efreet, which has had several incarnations across higher profile Gundam video games before finally appearing in anime via Gundam UC episode 4. See? It just happened in this very article.
The Gundam F90 is, of course, the F91’s direct predecessor. Its claim to fame is its myriad equipment configurations, something that P-Bandai is currently taking advantage of with its F90 A to Z Project to supplement the newly released MG. That project literally seeks to fill out the alphabet by introducing a whole new series of equipment sets, but the Support Type is one of the originals. This configuration turns the F90 into a long-range fire support unit. The F90’s appearance here is the first of any of its forms to appear in an anime series (though the Destroid type had gotten far more actual animation in a commercial for the F91 Super Famicom game).
The unique design of the Woundwort has long made it a fan-favorite, and it’s had previous appearances in the Gundam Build franchise before: it debuted in anime in Build Fighters Try’s finale, and appeared as a model kit on display in Build Divers’ first episode. This appearance has its own distinction however, as it is the first time the Woundwort’s mobile armor mode is showing up.
Turn A Gundam Clothesline, Turn A Gundam (anime)
One of the new modes shown off in the 1.78 update preview depicts the Kapool drying laundry between its arms, an allusion to the iconic shot of the Turn A Gundam doing the same in its own series. Could one of these new modes just be competitive posing?
RX-105 Ξ Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway’s Flash (novel, upcoming movie)
With a multi-part film adaptation of the Hathaway’s Flash novel coming soon, does the Ξ Gundam still count as a deep cut? At the time of this article it has only appeared in the first film’s key art (with no face) and no model kit has been announced, so I’m counting it. Regardless, this distinctive Gundam has a history with the Gundam Build franchise at this point. Its first anime appearance was as an SD cameo in the original Gundam Build Fighters. It then won an audience poll and was animated into Gundam Build Fighters Try’s finale. The way it appears here, charging down the Unicorn Gundam (perhaps to share a tender moment?) may be meaningful as well. It could just be seen as passing the torch to the next major entry in the UC chronology, but it could also be an acknowledgment of Re:RISE head writer Yasuyuki Muto, who is credited with adapting both Gundam UC and Hathaway’s Flash to the screen.
“Will you be able to survive?”, Mobile Suit Gundam TV series (anime)
This line closed out every episode preview of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series, so it seems fitting that GBN would place it at the end of their own update preview. In the English dub of Mobile Suit Gundam that ran on Cartoon Network, this line was changed to “Who will survive?”
Patrick Colasour (Gundam 00) dressed like Wong Yunfat (G Gundam)
Patrick Colasour continues his run of cameoing in every episode of Build Divers, but this time he’s lifted his outfit directly from Neo Hong Kong’s duplicitous prime minister Wong Yunfat. Wong Yunfat’s own sense of fashion is in turn a reference itself, drawing from the clothes actor Chow Yun-fat wore in the film A Better Tomorrow.
End of an Era
Re:RISE is the first new Gundam Build series to be released in Reiwa, Japan’s current imperial calendar era, and the second Gundam series overall if you count SD Gundam World: Sangoku Soketsuden. The previous Heisei era lasted from January 8, 1989 to April 30, 2019, and would thus include all other Gundam since Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket. Seeing a previous work referred to as a “Heisei series” is admittedly natural, but still a bit surprising so soon. “Mass-produced types” could refer to any number of things, but my initial assumption was that Mr. Matsumura is referring to the RX-79[G] Gundam Ground Type from The 08th MS Team.
Feel old yet? Good, now you know how I feel any time someone calls the RX-78-2 the “Grandpa Gundam.”
Green Haro Cocktail
The Haro-themed drink that Emma Sheen is serving in this ad for the Gundam Café is something that is actually offered in its real life locations! Despite its name, the Green Haro Cocktail is actually a non-alcoholic drink made with green mint syrup and apple-flavored Calpis.
Hiroto’s father’s fuel of choice is a parody of Japanese energy drinks like Alinamin V. The “V” of Hyper V comes from Project V, the Earth Federation’s program that developed the original RX-78 Gundam. The “V” in the logo is lifted from the cover of the RX-78’s manual. The use of the word “Hyper” likely comes from weapons like the Gundam’s Hyper Bazooka or Hyper Hammer.
- Base kit: JMA-0530 WoDom, Turn A Gundam (anime)
The original WoDom was one of several of Syd Mead’s untraditional (by Gundam standards) mobile suit designs from Turn A Gundam, so it’s a pleasant surprise to see it used by one of the core cast of Re:RISE. During Turn A’s original airing, very few of its peculiar mobile suits actually got the Gunpla treatment, and the WoDom was not among them. And that’s a bit odd, since the WoDom is actually the first mobile suit that the eponymous Turn A Gundam engages in combat! Most of Turn A’s suits have still to this day not gotten Gunpla, so maybe this is some hope for the future. That said, among the BUILD DiVERS’ own units, the WoDom Pod is the only one that hasn’t been shown off as actual Gunpla yet.
Yokohama, but really into Gundam
It’s never said outright in the episode, but the use of many distinct landmarks clearly sets Re:RISE’s real world scenes in a version of Yokohama. The city is important as the site of the upcoming Gundam Factory Yokohama, where a life-size Gundam that actually moves is planned to be unveiled next year.
While the Gundam Base in the original Build Divers was based on the real one at Diver City, no Gundam Base location currently exists at the iconic Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse. Evidently any Gundam Base has to have its own life-size Gundam outside, and Yokohama’s has the Aile Strike Gundam from Gundam SEED as their own. With Gundam SEED’s own 20th anniversary only a few years away, perhaps this is a hint at Bandai’s own aspirations for the area.
The Haro monument that young Hiroto and Hinata’s memories are visiting in the show’s ending is based on the Yokohama 150th Anniversary Memorial in Zounohana Park, which commemorated the anniversary of Yokohama’s ports opening to the world. It appears much the same as in real life, with Haro taking the place of Yokohama’s mascot character Tanemaru.
Also from the ending sequence, Hinata relaxes by a monument that combines the evil Haro from Gundam 00 with the RX-78-2 Gundam’s Gundam Hammer weapon. This is based on the anchor monument outside the Navios Yokohama hotel.
Episode 02: Unknown Mission
Gundam Café Menu Offerings
Just like the Green Haro Cocktail in the first episode, all the dishes that appear in this sequence are really available at the Gundam Café. In fact, several seem to be literally traced over promotional photos of the items.
This item themed after the amphibious Zeon mobile suit Acguy is a mild curry served over rice.
Char’s Zaku Rice
The Gundam Café has multiple entrees themed after Char’s Zaku II, with this being an omelet rice dish.
Bright’s Potato Fries
Considering the theming of the previous dishes, you’ll just have to take the menu’s word for it that this has anything to do with White Base captain Bright Noa.
Gundam Ice Cream and Last Shooting Parfait
Hiroto and Mr. Matsumura order some desserts while visiting Hinata. Hiroto has ordered the Gundam Ice Cream, which is just vanilla ice cream served over a bed of corn flakes. Matsumura, on the other hand, is much more ambitious ordering the Last Shooting Parfait. You can argue about the grammar of it if you like, but “Last Shooting” refers to the iconic pose of the headless Gundam firing upward in Mobile Suit Gundam’s finale. The large, themed fruit parfait is made with almond tofu and lychee jelly and evokes the RX-78-2 Gundam’s own tri-color scheme.
“Your barrage is weak! What are you doing!?” Mobile Suit Gundam (anime)
This line (paraphrased in this case) is Bright Noa’s catchphrase, and he says it in multiple occasions in more or less the same way. Pompadour Bright here takes a customer complaint about the fries that bear his name as an opportunity to do a bit of a performance.
Tamura, Mobile Suit Gundam (anime)
The White Base’s chef Tamura has a couple of appearances in the original series, but he is most known for making the crew aware that the ship’s salt supplies are running low. Considering the crowd’s applause, they are very much in on the joke as well.
Gundam Encyclopedia (ガンダム大百科)
“Don’t You Ever Stop”, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-blooded Orphans and Gundam Build Divers (anime)
This sign’s design previously appeared at the karaoke spot where all the Build Divers met IRL for the first time in the original Build Divers finale, where it was a reference to a line by Orga Itsuka from Iron-Blooded Orphans. This may just be something that the background artist had handy and just threw it in, but maybe it’s actually meaningful to Magee.
Torrington, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 & Mobile Suit Gundam UC (anime)
Hiroto chooses Torrington, Australia as the setting for his custom simulation. Torrington was first seen in Gundam 0083 as the site of a Federation military base, and later reappeared in Gundam UC episode 4 where more of its surrounding areas were shown.
OZ-06MS[NPD] Leo NPD (Alternate Heads), Gundam Build Divers (anime)
The Leo NPD first appeared in the original Gundam Build Divers as a non-player-controlled unit, but it only really had one look. In its HG release, the Leo NPD came with various pieces of alternate equipment, including three alternate heads that appear here in anime for the first time.