Deep Dive: References in ‘Gundam Build Divers RE:RISE’ Episode 19

Editor’s Note: After a pandemic-related anime production delay, Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE is back! That means Deep Dive has returned as well, putting Deep Dive Classic on hold.  Tom Aznable will resume his weekly observations of Re:RISE until it concludes. When it’s finished, Deep Dive Classic will be back.

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 19: If It Weren’t for You

Speed Grade

The origin of the Core Gundam lies in SG! The Speed Grade line was a series of very simple, beginner’s 1/200 scale Gunpla released from 2007-2008. These kits came bagged and required no painting or decals – in fact, all the parts came pre-painted on the runners. In the end there were only four SG kits released: the original RX-78-2 Gundam, the Wing Gundam, the Zeta Gundam, and the God Gundam.


MS-17 Galbaldy Alpha, MS-X (design series)

The Galbaldy Alpha comes to us from MS-X, a variations series that formally gave designs to many of the MS named in Yoshiyuki Tomino’s outline for the original 52-episode plan for Mobile Suit Gundam, known as the “Tomino Memo.” There it was known simply as the Galbaldy, one of many suits piloted by Char Aznable. We last saw the Galbaldy Alpha in static model kit form back in Build Divers episode 6, where Koichi won an award for it. Considering how quickly this one is dispatched, it’s probably a safe bet this isn’t the same Galbaldy.


FLAT-L06D FLAT (Drop Mode), Turn A Gundam (anime)

This is the rarely seen transformed mode of the FLAT, with one key difference: this Gunpla battler has strapped two of the FLAT’s unique box beam rifles to the side! Turn A pilot Loran Cehack and several of his fellow Moonrace originally descended to earth in one of these mobile suits in Turn A Gundam’s opening scene, though later on, they are also seen used in combat.


Grand Slam Sword

Here the PG Strike Gundam appears in all its glory with its signature Grand Slam anti-ship sword, a weapon originally created just for this kit. The Grand Slam sword previously appeared in CG animation in Gundam EVOLVE episode 8, a Matrix-style action scene made specifically to promote the release of the PG kit in 2004. While the sword has appeared in the background in the previous Gundam Build Divers series, this counts as the first instance of the Strike using the sword in 2D animation! Though it’s not exactly fair that it’s being used by a 1/60 Gunpla against 1/144 opponents. Along with the Galbaldy, FLAT, and Unicorn Gundam we saw get trashed earlier, we can also spot debris from an Abigor (Victory Gundam), Dragon Gundam (G Gundam), and Marasai (Zeta Gundam).


Plamo Simulation, Plamo-Kyoshiro (manga)

The phrase “Plamo Simulation” on the Zaku award pin seen here is a pretty specific shoutout. Where Gunpla Builders and Build Fighters had Gunpla Battle, and Build Divers had Gunpla Duel, the original battling model kit manga Plamo Kyoshiro called battles between physical models “Plamo Simulation”. If you’d like to know a little bit about the history of Plamo-Kyoshiro and other ancestors of the Build Fighters/Divers concept, check out my first installment of Deep Dive Classic!


Kai Shiden & Hayato Kobayashi, Mobile Suit Gundam (anime)

It’s one thing for a Bright Noa lookalike to work at the themed Gundam Cafe, but it looks like Hiroto has acquaintances that are dead ringers for the classic pilots of the Guncannon and Guntank! While we see plenty of lookalikes hanging around GBN, having classic Gundam character doppelgangers hanging out in the “real world” feels like a real Build Fighters throwback.


Ready Player One

When Hiroto scans in his SG RX-78-2 Gundam, the system says “Ready Player Two!” It’s worth pointing out that when we last saw GP Duel back at the halfway point of Build Divers, the system didn’t actually say anything at all when someone entered the fight. Now, If you follow any of the official Japanese Gundam accounts on Twitter, you probably saw every single one of them tweet out “俺はガンダムで行く!” to commemorate the Japanese network television premiere of Ready Player One this past week.

The RX-78-2 Gundam plays a memorable role in the film’s climax, where it fights a version of Mechagodzilla in an online virtual battlefield (doesn’t that sound familiar?). Having the GP Duel system use this phrase (which also happens to be the title of the original book’s upcoming sequel) really feels like a nod, and could even have been a last-minute addition considering that TV premiere.


Crossbone Gundam Core Fighter, Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam (manga)

The tide of what seems like a hopeless battle starts to turn for Hiroto when he realizes he can use the remaining debris from larger-scale Gunpla around him, almost like a prototypical idea of the Core Gundam’s PLANETS system concept. He blasts off, clinging for dear life to the Crossbone Gundam’s core fighter. This core fighter works much like the ones that appear in G Gundam, and plugs into the back of the Crossbone Gundam. When docked with the Gundam, its beam guns become the Crossbone’s beam sabers, and its verniers split apart into a crossbones shape.

The SG Gundam holding onto a rocket and flying into the air is also reminiscent of a scene from G Gundam’s two part finale where many Gundams grab ahold of rockets and take off for space, including, appropriately enough, an RX-78-2 and what appears to be the earliest appearance of a Crossbone Gundam in animation.


Gundam Maxter’s Shield, Mobile Fighter G Gundam (anime)

Speaking of G Gundam, here the SG Gundam is able to make great use of the Gundam Maxter’s shield. It’s not enough that Neo America’s representative Gundam is a boxer, football player, and cowboy – its shield also doubles as a flying surfboard.


Shiguru Blade, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE (anime)

You have to hand it to this battler – he’s actually able to correctly identify this specific Gundam weapon as it blinds him. The Shiguru blade is the signature weapon of the ninja-like Gundam AGE-1 Spallow. Despite there being two shown here, the Spallow is normally only able to wield one because of the extreme weight and density of the blade.


Beam Magnum Recoil, Mobile Suit Gundam UC (anime)

The Unicorn Gundam’s signature beam magnum has so much kick that any other mobile suit attempting to use it is actually damaged by firing it. This is first seen in Gundam UC, where Riddhe Marcenas takes the magnum from the Unicorn and fires it, damaging his Delta Plus’ arm in the process. This is used to almost comical effect in Gundam NT, where former Unicorn pilot Banagher Links’ new Silver Bullet Suppressor MS has spare arms for the sake of being able to fire multiple shots with the weapon. Even using the Unicorn’s own arm, the beam magnum’s recoil was enough to trash the SG Gundam – good thing this was the finishing blow.


Khanom & Colony Public Corporation

More obscure company logos from Anaheim Journal! These things abounded in the GBN lobby in the first Build Divers, but they haven’t really shown up much this season. To quickly review, Anaheim Journal was a 25th anniversary Gundam book written in the style of an in-universe commemorative publication by Anaheim Electronics. The Colony Public Corporation is an Earth Federation company that built most of the space colonies in UC, and appeared earlier in Re:Rise. This is the first appearance in Divers of the logo for Khanom Precision Instruments and Sensing Technology, stylized in their logo as “Khnm.” Khanom is one of the companies that developed the monoeye.


Core Gundam Color Schemes

Hiroto’s design sketches contain a number of alternate color schemes for his Core Gundam largely based on existing color schemes for the RX-78 Gundam. The color scheme we see for most of this episode is the one cut off at the top, based on the G-3 Gundam from Yoshiyuki Tomino’s Mobile Suit Gundam novelization. The other one cut off to its right appears to be based on the Casval’s Gundam variation, a version used by Char Aznable in an alternate scenario from the Gihren’s Greed game series. 

Number four on the bottom left should already be familiar, as it’s the one we saw the Core Gundam in during season one. This one is based on the classic tri-color RX-78-2 color scheme, but with neutral gray (NG) substituted for blue. The last is based on the classic alternate “Real Type” RX-78-2 color scheme as seen on one of the posters for the Mobile Suit Gundam II compilation film. This color scheme has official artwork on the Build Divers website, so maybe we’ll get to see it in action at some point.


MS-06F Dozle Zabi’s Zaku II, Mobile Suit Variations (design series)

Here some jerk in Dozle’s Zaku is harassing some innocent Petit’gguys! Dozle Zabi’s Zaku boasts some distinctive differences from the typical Zaku II: in addition to the obvious gold ornamentation, it boasts extra spikes on its shoulders, spiked knuckles, and a huge custom heat hawk. Several Zaku IIs with similar ornamentation and colors but lacking these distinct features also appear in Gundam Thunderbolt as a “royal guard” defending the space fortress A Baoa Qu’s interior.


EMS-05 Agg, Mobile Suit Variations (design series)

The Agg is distinct among Zeon’s oddball “Agg” line as the only non-amphibious mobile suit in the family. Its large drills are supposed to be used to make tunnels in underground assaults – here it’s putting them to more constructive use, albeit in service of carving a statue of Zeon’s ruthless dictator Gihren Zabi.


GF13-041NSI Ashura Gundam, Mobile Fighter G Gundam (anime)

Saku, Tony Takezaki Presents Gundam Manga (manga)

The six-armed Gundam on the left is Neo-Singapore’s representative Gundam Fighter, the Ashura Gundam. This fighter made it to the finals of the 13th Gundam Fight but was eliminated in a tag team match against the God Gundam and Nobel Gundam.

But the real star cameo here is the pill-shaped Saku – a “super mass production” mobile suit put into production by Gihren Zabi in the Gundam the Origin parody comic Tony Takezaki Presents Gundam Manga. The Saku is ultra-cheap and assembled from just seven parts and a monoeye decal, with very Gunpla-esque instructions. It may be weak individually, but its strength comes from its ability to completely overwhelm its enemy with ridiculous numbers. To combat the threat of the Saku, the Federation creates its own super mass production MS: the SM (or Sam), basically a box with GM-esque details. In its initial appearances, the Saku shows up in reimagined versions of the attacks on Jaburo and Side 7, with the Saku so effectively taking over an area by numbers that they barely have room to move. And of course, even Char Aznable got his own custom red version! 

Later the Saku became the stars of Tony Takezaki Presents Gundam Manga: Operation Saku Saku (or Saku Saku Daisaku if you prefer), a four-panel gag manga series that introduced super mass-production versions of the entire classic Zeon arsenal as a supporting cast. Since the Saku name is just a version of “Zaku” using unvoiced consonants, the other Zeon MS follow suit: Gouf > Kouf, Dom > Tom, Gelgoog > Kelkook, Acguy > Ackuy, Gogg > Cook, Zock > Sock, Big Zam > Hic Sam, Gyan > Can, Zeong > Seong. Not to be outdone, the Federation answers with the Kantam, Kunhannon, and Cantank. While the Saku has previously appeared outside of manga in the Gundam Battle PSP games, this is its long-overdue anime debut – even if it is just as a still.

Left to right: GF13-041NSI Ashura Gundam (G Gundam), GNX-U02X Masurao (Gundam 00), Saku (Tony Takezaki Presents Gundam Manga), G-838 Mahiroo (Turn A Gundam)


UC Costumes

Here we have a crowdshot exclusively consisting of UC cosplayers, and there are some really specific picks in here. Let’s take this from the top row to the bottom, left to right, skipping Eve of course. The first one sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole, so brace yourself.

Top Row:

  • UC 0087-era Blue Earth Federation Officer’s Uniform (Zeta Gundam)
  • I have to admit, this one threw me for a loop trying to pin down. This uniform seems to only appear in Zeta Gundam, but it’s never spelled out exactly what it means (though a similar uniform with a different collar also appears in The Origin). In order to try and properly identify it, I asked for some help! First, I reached out to Thom of the exhaustively well-researched Mobile Suit Breakdown podcast, which has recently concluded Zeta Gundam. Since this uniform only seemed to appear aboard colonies and Federation ships co-existing with traditional beige Federation officer uniforms, we settled on it possibly being an EFSF Junior Officer’s uniform.
    But I still wasn’t satisfied. So I reached out to Mark Simmons, a veritable Gundam sage who’s consulted on official international localizations of Gundam for decades. We noticed that these uniforms also appeared on what seemed to be base security personnel and Titans ship crewmembers. Mark’s take is that these might be Federation security officers, akin to the redshirts of Star Trek.
    Me? I’m starting to think they may belong to lower ranking Titans officers, or maybe even Federation officers that operate under Titans jurisdiction. Or maybe there’s an even simpler explanation: a painting error. In the end? It’s a blue Federation officer’s uniform and I have a lot more costumes to get through here.
  • Hayato Kobayashi’s Earth Federation Army Flight Jacket (Zeta Gundam)
  • The 08th MS Team is seen wearing these flight jackets in the last few episodes of the series.
  • Mora Boscht’s Earth Federation Mechanic’s Uniform (Gundam 0083)
  • UC 0123-era Earth Federation Officer’s Uniform (Gundam F91)
  • We can’t see too many details on this one, but what appears to be the sign of a slanted opening to a pocket on the lower part of the jacket may indicate this is a later-UC revision of the typical EF officer’s uniform.

Middle Row:

  • “Sleeves” Neo-Zeon Royal Guard Uniform (Gundam UC)
  • Quattro Bajeena (Zeta Gundam)
  • Judau Ashta (Gundam ZZ)
  • Von Abst (The 08th MS Team)
      • This Zeon commander that put Shira Amada’s newly crystallized ideals to the test in 08th MS Team episode 9 has a pretty distinctive look with his Char-esque helmet. Also, just worth pointing out if you’re a fan of funny Gundam character names, his name has previously been romanized as “Bone Abust”. You’re welcome.
  • Zeon Junior Officer’s Uniform (Mobile Suit Gundam)
  • Aiguille Delaz (Gundam 0083)

Bottom Row:

  • Riddhe Marcenas’ Londo Bell Pilot Suit (Gundam UC)
  • Kamille Bidan’s Titans Disguise (Zeta Gundam)
      • This distinctive winter Titans uniform is worn by Kamille Bidan when he infiltrates the Titans’ Kilimanjaro Base. This user, on the other hand, looks more like a composite of Titans pilots Yazan Gable and Jerid Messa.
  • Üso Ewin (Victory Gundam)
    • While Üso is known for being one of the youngest ever Gundam pilots at 13 years old, the joke here is definitely that this user looks pretty old.
  • Fa Yuiry (Zeta Gundam)
  • Earth Federation Field Uniform (The 08th MS Team)


RAG-79 Aqua GM, M-MSV (design series), Mobile Suit Gundam UC (anime)

Jukon-class (refit) submarine, Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 (anime)

The debris from an Aqua GM sinks, ostensibly destroyed by the Mercuone Gundam in defense of the Zeon Jukon sub. Unlike Zeon’s aquatic MS, the Aqua GM does not boast powerful beam weaponry, instead relying on solid weapons like its distinctive harpoon gun, which you can also see debris from in the foreground. Versions of the Jukon submarine have appeared in several Gundam series, but this particular refit looks closest to the U-99 from the opening arctic raid in Gundam 0080.


Patrick Colasour (Gundam 00) dressed in a Zeon uniform (Mobile Suit Gundam)

At first I thought this was supposed to show Patrick having lost to Hiroto, but I actually think that Patrick and his two other Zeon team members are meant to be the crew of the Jukon from the previous shot, profusely thanking Hiroto for protecting them!

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