Author's Note: This recap is late due to the inconvenience of sloth, the easiest deadly sin to commit. The author would like to apologize for this and hopes you enjoy the recap regardless.
Hey Hey! Hope you’re ready for some powerhouse excitement and laughs, because we've got a real classic for ya! Yes sir, we got all the fixings: wall to wall action! Romance! Drama! People flying around on unicorns while firing Gatling guns made of candy canes that shoot fire breathing kittens at people! You gotta see this!
Okay, so it's not a real classic, but it is still a solid episode of the show. So strap yourselves in and brace yourselves, because Gundam Build Fighters is about to deliver the Full Package.
-- RECAP START--
We start off with a battle already in progress, as Ral seems to be training Reiji on the finer points of getting plastic playthings to beat the hell out of each other. Reiji using the Build Strike, of course, and Ral is utilizing a MS-07 Gouf, true to his character. He goes into a speech that feels like it's leading into an epic beat down, but Reiji just slices through the antiquated Gouf with ease, ending the bout at thirty seven seconds. Ral admits he's impressed but tells Reiji that it wasn't his own strength that won the battle, but Sei's craftsmanship but Reiji just brushes it off that it was Ral's Gouf was simply outdated.
Oh, and speaking of his royal nerdiness, Sei's just gotten home from school. He silently walks into the Gunpla Battle room and drags Reiji back to his bedroom. Sei closes the door and, flashing back to Reiji seemingly being beamed back to the mother ship at the end of last episode, simply asks one question of our red headed stranger: WHO THE F*&^% ARE YOU?!
Now's probably as good a time as any to talk about the show's first theme song, One Half ("Nibun no Ichi" in the original Japanese). It's your standard issue modern anime theme, or about a close as you can get. The lyrics all peak of this bond between two people and how that will help them take on the world. It fits perfectly with the theme the show's got going on with Sei and Reiji. The only real downside I find is the rap breakdown with its sudden use of random, in your face English phrases. Otherwise, it's pretty okay. Give it a listen.
Cut back from a commercial break and we come to Reiji's back story, and this, my friends, must be seen to be believed. For you see, there is a logical explanation to Reiji's general weirdness and the whole getting energized at sundown thing from episode two: Reiji is in fact a prince for another planet. Yes, really. He is the heir apparent to the throne of the kingdom of Arian, a land on a planet far away from Earth. While looking through the palace treasury, he discovered a mysterious treasure and ended up on our little blue-green orb. Now, like an alternate universe version of John Carter, he's able to visit Earth and participate in that most noble of pursuits: helping out some nerdy Earth boy win toy fights.
Oh, and did I mention the entire scene was drawn in the style of a child’s crayon sketch?
Because it is.
Sei, naturally, just thinks Reiji's either mad or lying to him, but Reiji's insistent that all of what he said is true. Sei does indulge Reiji for a bit, asking him to either take him to this place (which Reiji can't do) or show off some superpowers, which Reiji reacts to by saying Sei reads too much manga. Reiji starts to walk out to mind the store, reminding Sei has more important things to focus on: finishing the Build Strike. Sei agrees and then Reiji says he'll be taking some time off starting tomorrow.
Cut to Sei and Rinko eating dinner, discussing Reiji's origins. Sei just thinks it's all weird, but Rinko tell him to not worry, since it's more important that Sei wants to play Gunpla Battle with him. Sei agrees to that point and we head into a montage of Sei working on the Build Strike. We get everything: Sei sketching the Build Strike's upgrades, staying up late to work, sleeping during class, painting Build Strike's beam rifle, ect. It's everything you'd want out of a collection of scenes of a boy building a toy to fight.
Meanwhile, we catch up with Reiji, who's meeting up with Mr. Ral one evening. They're heading to a place which I can only describe as a Zeon Gunpla bar. It looks like a pretty high end place, with a large-ish Gunpla Battle board (larger than the on in Iori Hobby Shop, smaller than the one in the high school form episode 2). Ral walks Reiji in while talking about the people in the bar being old school Gundam fans, and the sight of everyone (save the bartender) dressed in Zeon soldier cosplay confirms this. Some of the guys notice Ral, start calling him Lieutenant and give him the usual welcome for Zeon fanboys.
Ral introduces the crown prince of Arian to the cosplaying barflies and tells them he's here to fight. They're somewhat incredulous, especially when Reiji admits he's never built a Gunpla in his life, but Ral's insists Reiji's the real deal. And since the bar has a selection of Gunpla to rent, Reiji decides to get the weakest one they have: the RB-79 Ball, aka "The Spherical Coffin".
|Behold it's majesty!|
Since you don't have your most capable character lose to a bunch of no names cosplayers, Reiji decimates these guys with the damn Ball. From the he learns a few things:
- An appreciation for Sei's Gunpla building skills
- Zeon's First Cosplay Division isn’t good enough to help him get to Yuuki's level.
The barflies, not to be humiliated by a fourteen year old kid, challenge him to a five on one contest. Ral's against this, but Reiji goes with it head on. The fight starts, but another Gunpla enters the scene, destroying Reiji's five opponents with only two shots. Said Gunpla, a modified Wing Gundam painted the colors of the Italian flag, belongs to one Ricardo Fellini, and he'll be Reiji's sparring partner for the foreseeable future. Right now he simply wants to duel Reiji one on one. Reiji, of course agrees.
One ad break later and we're in our second Sei dream sequence of the series. This time it’s a 2-3 year old Sei running across a field to meet his father Takeshi, who's finished up the RX-78 Gundam he's using for the tournament (the tournament Takeshi got his trophy, not the upcoming one). China wakes him up; telling him the teacher wants to close the room up for the night. She then goes on to ask Sei about his Gunpla and Sei goes into full detail on the completed Build Strike Full Package. China doesn't really understand any o it, but does comment on how strong the thing sounds from Sei's description. Sei goes on to talk about the Gunpla's speed when he realizes he should probably get home, so he apologizes for talking so much and heads out, asking China to not tell the teacher he was building his Gunpla at school. She agrees and Sei thanks her, heading out.
China the suddenly has a flashback to her first meeting with Sei in the very same art room. She was working on a painting of some flowers and Sei cam in looking for a chisel. He compliments the drawing and praises the colors, making China blush. She asks if Sei likes art and Sei tells her he just learned the basics of drawing so the he could visualize what was in his head. That vision: the futility of existence as represented by the myth of Sisyphus.
Well, that too.
Cut to the day of the Japan 3rd Block first round qualifiers for the 7th Annual Gunpla Battle World Championship. China's there, giving some inner monologue about how, like Creasy and death, Gunpla is Sei's art. We see to matching finishing up as well. The first is with, and I can't believe he's still around, Sazaki from episode one. And I simply say that since he's basically served his purpose to the story. But the creators will keep bringing him back in minor cameos throughout the series. I don't know; it's just odd to me. Anyway, Sazaki wins with his new Gyan and missile shield.
The other match we see is Yuuki winning against someone and having a feeling a blue balls over the opponent's Gunpla not getting him hot enough to go into his "rage mode" or whatever the hell his split personality. What, you think I'm joking? Here, have a read:
He notices China in the rafters and goes up to talk to here. He rightly guesses that China's here to cheer on Sei, and she asks why people would fight and get stuff they had worked so hard on. Yuuki responds the obvious way: they're doing so to prove that they're individual Gunpla is the very best like no one ever was. Iori then shows up, ready and raring to go but Reiji is nowhere to be found. Sei approaches the board while inner monologues to....the viewers I guess.... that he's sorry for dragging us into this. Why's Sei apologizing? No idea. If it's a reference to another Gundam series please tell me.
Sei goes onto complain about Reiji's faults and how he said he'd battle alongside him and yadda yadda yadda until our imperious redhead shows up for the match. Sei notices Reiji's hands are covered in bandages, but Reiji just tells Sei to trust him despite his weirdness, and the Build Strike Full Package goes into battle with what looks like the result of a transporter accident between a stealth bomber Gunpla
Their battle lasts about half a minute (including cutaways to other character reacting to the match) and Sei and Reiji win with one shot from the Build Strike's beam rifle. Everyone's happy and leaves for the next round next week in episode four. After the credits we get a brief scene between Sei and China at the hobby shop. China's there because her little brother wants to get into Gunpla. While Sei looks for some beginner level Gunpla for the kid (who looks to be about seven) China asks if there are any Gunpla for girls. Sei happily says yes and China gives a soft smile.
As you probably guessed from the lack of battle recaps, there's not too much action in this episode. This is because most of "Full Package" is set up for the series' main storyline: The Gunpla Battle World Tournament. It also introduces another major supporting player in Fellini and sets up the Sei/China relationship for the rest of the series. For that, this episode is alright, but nothing to really write home about.
Now, then, let's not waste any time and start talking about China Kousaka. China has to be the dictionary definition of demure. She always seems shy and polite, though admittedly that's when interacting with everybody else on this show, which are all their own flavors of weirdo. She's also, as you've probably guessed from the post-credits scene, is going to become Sei's love interest for the rest of the series.
Now, remember when I said this series zigs where other series zags in terms of stakes? Well, the same is true for the romance subplot with Sei and China. With a few notable exceptions, there aren't that many overreactions to romance or storming away in jealous sadness and rage. They both basically act like normal kids (well, relatively normal in Sei's case) slowly becoming close to each other until they finally decide to actually start dating. Sei is slightly oblivious to China's affections, but it's never to the point of cruelty. And China is the one who actually initiates it in her own, shy way by trying to understand Sei's obsession with Gunpla. She's not a prize to be won or someone Sei lusts over or the nerdy best friend Sei never knew he had a thing for; she's her own person with her own goals in life and only one of those goals happens to be getting into a relationship with the main character. That may be reaching, but that's how I read it.
The relationship between Sei and Reiji also seems to have solidified in how it will go from here on out. They're full time partners now, and s such, each is going to give one hundred and ten percent to achieving their goals (winning the championship for Sei and revenge on Yuuki for Reiji). They're odd couple act will never truly go away but it will be toned down as they become true friends. It's the relationship that will carry most of the series.
Watching this series, I've started to notice some of those techniques almost all anime use to cut costs. You know what I'm talking about: speed lines to give the illusion of movement or overreaction, footage from other episodes used for flashbacks and backgrounds straight up disappearing for brief scenes. This never really becomes intrusive in the show (most of the time, anyway) and re usually there to reserve money for the show's fight scenes. Nothing to deal breaking, but I still think it's something to tell you guys about GBF should you start watching the series.
That's all I got for this episode, so come back next time. We'll encounter idols, see underhanded tactics used and get and oddly non-intrusive misunderstanding subplot when we meet Gunpla Idol Kirara.