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 23: Moment of Choice
Zaku Motorcycle Helmet
Masaki’s Motorcycle Helmet Type Char has been visible every time he’s appeared in his hospital bed since we first saw him at the end of season 1. We now see that his sister actually has a standard Zaku green helmet to match. While Bandai has sold other Char-themed motorcycle helmets, as well as ones patterned after the RX-78-2 Gundam, Black Tri-Stars, Hyaku Shiki, Sazabi, and Nu Gundam, no such Zaku helmet actually seems to exist.
Gundam Café Autograph Tile
If you visit a Gundam Café, you can expect to find a display of hexagonal tiles signed by prominent Gundam staff, just like May has signed here. In fact, the newly opened Gundam Café Tokyo Brand Core location in Akihabara is now home to a replica of this very tile!
— ガンダムビルドダイバーズシリーズ (@gundambd) August 6, 2020
To the left of May’s signature (which reads EL-Diver May along with her handprint), the large characters read “一撃離脱,” or “hit and run.”
“Don’t You Ever Stop”, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-blooded Orphans (anime)
I pointed out the “Don’t You Ever Stop” sign (a reference to a character-defining line by Orga Itsuka from Iron-Blooded Orphans) in Magee’s bar at the beginning of the season, though I suspected that it may have just been a re-used asset from Divers for set dressing. It looks like the sign may actually be meaningful after all, since it has actually been redrawn for this appearance.
Fake Gundam Wing Boys
The most recent commenters on Magee share on Gunstagram are dead ringers for the Gundam pilots from Gundam Wing, with the only one missing seemingly being a Quatre doppelganger.
Gunrex, Mobile Suit SD Gundam Festival (anime)
If you ever thought what Gundam was missing was mobile suits piloting mobile suits, I have good news for you. The SD Gundam Gaiden setting’s third storyline, Seikihei Monogatari, introduced the “machine soldier”: functionally a giant SD proportioned mobile suit for the anthropomorphized SD Gundam characters to pilot. The Gunrex, as seen in the middle comment’s profile picture, is an ancient, legendary Holy Machine Soldier of the Kingdom of Dabat. When the Neo-Zeon Clan attacks in an attempt to seize the MS (get it?), the Gunrex chooses the Knight Gundam GP01 as its pilot to fend off the invaders.
Kuro Majin Yami Koutei (黒魔人闇皇帝), SD Sengokuden (model kit line, manga)
Gekitaman Blue Destiny Unit 1, Gekitaman Gundam (model kit line)
The middle user’s image in this stream of comments is the monster form of the evil Yami Koutei, or Dark Emperor, of the SD Sengokuden setting. Unlike most SD Gundam characters, Yami Koutei uses an original design that doesn’t seem to be based on any specific pre-existing mobile suit.
The user at the bottom appears to have a Gekitaman (aka Head Striker) version of the Blue Destiny Unit 1! The Gekitaman Gundam line was a goofy series of SD kits that could launch their ball-shaped heads. While the Blue Destiny wasn’t among them, six MS got the Gekitaman treatment: the RX-78-2 Gundam, Char’s Zaku, Zeta Gundam, Wing Gundam, God Gundam, and Nu Gundam.
Diver Forces Participant List
Sixty-four Forces from all over GBN are chomping at the bit to participate in the Lotus Challenge ver. Eldora mission with the DiVERS. While some of these are familiar faces, there are of course quite a few references strewn amongst these team names. Here are all the participants I was able to pin down:
First off, here are returning Forces from the original Gundam Build Divers:
- 001. AVALON
- 002. 7th Panzer Division (第七機甲師団)
- 003. SIMURGH
- 005. Hyakki (百鬼)
- 006. Toraburyu (虎武龍)
- 009. Adam’s Apple (アダムの林檎)
- 012. Desperado (デスペラード)
- 034. Build Divers (ビルドダイバーズ)
Next up are Forces from the sidestory manga Gundam Build Divers Break:
- 004. Gonbuto (魂太) – a force led by Build Γ Gundam pilot Onoko, who we saw reply to Magee’s post in the previous episode (and by the looks of the preview, will have a cameo next week!)
- 005. Ain Soph Owl – a force led by Ain Soph, who previously cameoed in a crowd in Gundam Build Divers episode 10. Maybe we’ll be able to catch a glimpse of his Gundam Zerachiel in the next episode! Ain Soph Owl is a pun on “Ain Soph Aur,” a Kabbalistic term meaning “infinite light.”
- 017. ZA-∀Z – the force of Build Divers Break protagonists Ark and Zen. Ark previously made a cameo alongside Ain Soph in Gundam Build Divers episode 10, and Zen actually had a speaking role as a mysterious messenger in episode 13. The pair’s Gundam Shining Break and G-Else both appeared in the series finale.
Now that we have existing Forces out of the way, here are the ones that just seem to be references:
- 016. Knights of the Round Table (円卓の騎士) – the second storyline of the SD Gundam Gaiden setting
- 019. Gundam Boy (ガンダム野郎) – a reference to Hyper Senshi Gundam Boy, an indirect sequel to the original Gunpla-battling manga Plamo-Kyoshiro
- 020. Volcano (ボルケーノ) – this may just be exactly what it sounds like, but it could also be a reference to the CRX-007 Volcano from the manga Cross Born Gundam Dust, the current ongoing Crossbone Gundam manga . Many of the MS that appear in Dust have a kind of kitbashed Gunpla look, called “Mixing Build” mobile suits since they are cobbled together from salvaged parts. Then again, the Volcano isn’t one of those, so this might literally just be what it seems.
- 030. The Church of St. Aria (聖アリーア教会) – I really hope this isn’t a reach and that I’ve actually picked up on an obtuse pun referencing the protagonists of Gundam Build Fighters. That first kanji character is pronounced “sei,” which is pronounced the same as the first name of Sei Iori. Aria happens to be written the same way as Reiji’s first name, with his full name actually being Aria von Reiji Asuna. Is this Force’s name actually intended to mean something like “The Church of Sei & Reiji”? You can decide.
- 033. PROJECT-Z – the name of Anaheim Electronics and AEUG’s joint MS development plan that resulted in the creation of the Zeta Gundam
- 040. Time is Forever (刻は永遠) – this seems to be a combination of the ending themes of Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam: “Zeta: Beyond Time” (Z・刻をこえて) and “Forever Amuro” (永遠にアムロ)
- 041. Prismatic Mobiles (プリズマティック・モビルズ) – the title of a series of artbooks of mechanical design from Gundam Unicorn and its spin-offs.
- 043. Blanc d’Amour Team (ブランダムール隊) – a Neo-Zeon mobile suit team based aboard the Garencieres-class ship Blanc d’Amour from the Gundam Unicorn sidestory manga Gundam 0096: Last Sun.
- 045. 1/144 – the most common Gunpla scale of course!
- 047. Fresberg (フレスベルク) – an Earth Federation mobile suit corps from the Gundam Unicorn sidestory manga Gundam 0094: Across the Sky.
- 057. School of the Undefeated of the East, West, South, North, and Center (流派・東西南北中央不敗) – this incredible Force name is a reference to Master Asia’s legendary “Super Asia” line in G Gundam episode 25.
- 058. Battle-Rave – a reference to Fusion Clashes: Gundam Battle Rave, a 2007 card game that received its own tie-in manga about kids battling in a virtual world using mobile suits summoned with trading cards!
- 061. Is the Order an INLE? (ご注文はINLEですか?) – of all the Force names on this list, this one seemed to have gotten the most notice on social media. This is operating on a couple of levels: first, the name itself is a reference to the title of the comedy manga/anime series Is the Order a Rabbit? More importantly, “Rabbit” has of course been replaced with “INLE,” a reference to the RX-124 Gundam TR-6 [INLE] mobile armor from Advance of Zeta. So the word “rabbit” specifically being swapped with this mobile weapon’s name is also part of the joke, since like most names in Advance of Zeta it comes from the novel Watership Down. In the book’s rabbit language, “Inlé” refers to the moon, though it carries with it a connotation of death and darkness: an appropriate enough name for the most powerful unit in the TR-6 line.
- 064. The Beast of Possibility (可能性の獣) – a symbolic nickname for the Unicorn Gundam.