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Gundam Build Fighters Try Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

10 min read

Gundam Build Fighters Try Blu-ray CoverA new generation steps up to the console!

What They Say:
In Gundam Build Fighters Try, seven years have passed since Sei Iori won the 7th Gunpla Battle Championship World Tournament. The Gunpla Battle Championship is now run by Yajima Trading. With new rules and battle modes, the game’s popularity has become even more widespread. However, the Seiho Academy that Sei Iori once attended has failed to catch onto the trend. The only member of the school’s Gunpla Battle Club is its president, middleschooler Fumina Hoshino. Currently there is no way the club can participate in the upcoming Gunpla Battle Japanese Under19 Championship, where players fight in teams of three.

Then Fumina meets a new transfer student. He is Sekai Kamiki, a young martial artist who has been travelling with his master. Together with a young Gunpla builder named Yuuma Kousaka, they finally have three members for their team. Sekai Kamiki, Yuuma Kousaka, and Fumina Hoshino — team “TRY FIGHTERS” is about to begin its challenge!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track as well as the previously created English language dub from the Animax broadcast. Both tracks are in stereo and are done up with the uncompressed PCM format. The series is one that works some really good action across the forward soundstage that works really well here as we get mobile suits going at it across the screen in a range of terrains. The action has some solid impact to it and the bass level is pretty nice in a number of scenes as well with what it wants to accomplish. The mix captures a lot of great sound design overall to make the tournament sequences engaging and it handles the dialogue side just as well, both in the regular real world instances and the heightened in-tournament sequences where they’re playing the game. This is a very solid mix that’s clean and clear throughout with no problems during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2014, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twenty-five episodes of this series are spread across three discs in a nine/eight/eight format. Animated by Sunrise as one would expect, the show is probably surprising to a lot of people after they get into it as it has some basic and simple real world designs to it with the shop, the main characters lives, and so forth. Similar to the previous season, once it enters the tournament side, it’s like it’s on another level with the detail and vibrancy of it all as well as the fluidity of the animation. The colors pop like crazy and the flow of it all is just fantastic as we get a range of locations and styles for the mobile suits to fight across. The transfer captures it all beautifully with some great color definition and detail that holds up with no problems, especially since it hits the top end of the bit rate regularly even during some of the quieter scenes. This is a great looking transfer that showcases some fantastic animation.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release brings us a standard sized Blu-ray case that has a thin hinge inside to hold two of the three discs. The front cover works with the main key visual that came out ahead of the series release with the main trio of characters along the bottom while the top has their respective (color coded) mobile suits above, all set against the image of the virtual world where the fights take place. There’s an odd gap of space between the top and bottom where you’d think the logo would go but instead it’s along the lower right side where it’s small and oddly colored with orange and green, keeping it from standing out or being distinctive The back cover goes for one of the space based backgrounds with Sekai’s Gunpla along the right while we get a few floating shots from the show along the lower left. The premise is well covered, probably a little too detailed, and we get a good breakdown of the discs extras and content as it breaks out all twenty-five episodes by number and title. The technical grid is kept simple but easy to read with what it details. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for this release is pretty nice as the structure is simple but effective with a decent sized deep blue shaded strip along the right that has the basic navigation points to it and the logo along the bottom while the rest of it features some good artwork that uses different character and mecha combinations set against an orange background. It has some nice pop to it and it stands out well with its cover and deceptively simple character animation. The pop-up menu changes things up a bit as it’s the same type of orange stripe from the right but done with a little more design as it’s set along the bottom. It’s easy to navigate and changing language options on the fly is always welcome, especially when you just want to check out some scenes from the English dub to see how they’re handled.

Extras:
The extras for this release are simple but welcome as we get the familiar clean opening and closing sequences that are used throughout, of which there are several as well as a selection of trailers and commercials that promoted the series. Add in some highlighted battle selection pieces and a three-minute video that works through some of the world and character material and it’s a decent little selection of extras.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the success of the first season of Build Fighters, a sequel season was announced with Try and there was much rejoicing. At least, for some, until it was revealed that it wasn’t a full continuation/sequel in a sense but rather another series set in the same world with a different cast. I adored the first series in many ways but the shift in the cast and time skip had me skipping this show until now. There was a lot to like with that first season and what it did and a good deal of that is replicated here in a different way, but there are things that are lost as well which reduced my enjoyment, particularly since the first season tantalized and teased with some really neat concepts that are just not explored at all this time around.

Taking place seven years after Sei Iori’s impressive win that’s now the stuff of legend, the show focuses on the club at Seiho Academy where Sei brought worldwide recognition to the game. The club is essentially dead as only Fumina is involved in it as most of those who might be interested are part of the build club where it’s not about the Gunpla battle action. She’s doing her best to get the club going in a big way but has all the usual problems we see. Things change when a new transfer student named Sekai arrives in the academy and he finds himself being a part of it. This also eventually draws in a gifted playe from the build club with Yuuma, who is China’s younger brother from the first series. The trio end up being motivated pretty well and work under the name of the Try Fighters where their mix of building skill and exceptional combat skills work with the enthusiasm of Fumina.

The core of it is what really drives it as Fumina is the one that wants this to succeed because of the history of the club and she lucks out in getting the two talented guys to partake since most others just ignore this club. Sekai’s the fiery redhead who has a lot of skill through some martial arts that he knows while the masterful creativity and skill of Yuuma is impressive as he’s able to do things that you doubt even Sei would think to do with construction. There’s a great sequence later in the season where three different Gunpla that are torn apart in battle are recombined into one and while it has a comical side to it with how it looks, what you like taking away from it is how Yuuma rebuilt them originally as standalone kits that could be combined as he had the foresight to see that such an event might occur. The combinations of Gunpla kits is a big part of the appeal from a creative standpoint, especially since so many of the kits here are pretty much just replicating what’s “in the show” in the world.

With this being a tournament series you can largely map out where it’s going to go, especially as there are echoes from the first season. There are ups and downs with the trio working together, Sekai being completely new to the game and struggling to understand parts of it while mastering both the game and his martial arts style within it, and a range of players from over the last few years with grudges and goals all of their own. Like the first season, the tournament elements themselves are fantastic as we get a good range of fights, locations, and types of mobile suits involved. Granted, I could have done with less of what Fuumina brings to the table with her SD mobile suit, but I could also do without that hella awkward fanservice suit that’s brought in during the back half of the epilogue episode intended for giggles yet just made me cringe.

All of the fights work well and from a technical standpoint these are just exciting to watch as we get the variety of types combined with some great animation. This series feels like it’s being a bit more creative with the suits themselves, specially as we get Sekai and his Gunpla elevating to some magical level along the way and becoming overpowered, which has some amusing visuals within the game. These fights were a big part of the appeal for me with the first season and getting more of them here is just fun. The downside is that I felt less of a connection to these kids than I did with Sei and his friends in the first series, particularly since it’s all kept rather grounded and there’s barely mentions of adults in general in personal lives. A lot of anime has the lead kids living in a vacuum so it’s not a surprise, but here it just stood out more for me in general and didn’t click well. But at least I had plenty to enjoy with the fights and the nods towards various grudges and the careers of other players in this under-19 competition that works from qualifiers to regionals to national.

The biggest disappointment I think I had with this season was that everything that we had with the first season lurking in the background with Reiji and the world of Arian simply isn’t dealt with here. I found that whole idea enticing and exciting and it added something new to the mix. Here, we get a fairly traditional tournament show that does work the concept of the Gunpla models and game itself as I thought the first season would – and did. But it just had that extra layer that drew me in more. This season has a few second generation characters popping up to some degree and we get nods to Sei and events from seven years prior, but the connective tissue is kept light overall. The biggest piece really is the use of Ramba Ral as a regular character here that helps to manage the club and advise the kids. It’s a nice bit of continuity that provides for a few nods to the past while not being wholly intrusive yet comforting.

In Summary:
While this season of the series didn’t click for me as strongly as the first one did it still has a whole lot to offer. A great deal of the appeal is in the animation quality of the varied and engaging fight sequences within the game itself. This is still one of the best parts of the show and there are a lot of very fun fights here that as a casual viewer you can enjoy but also get a lot more out of if you’re very invested in the overall Gundam universe. This release mirrors the first season in most ways with a great looking transfer, a solid audio presentation, and a good selection of expected and welcome extras. Fans of this season are getting treated right and will definitely like what they get here.

Features:
Japanese PCM 2.0 Language, English PCM 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Openings, Clean Closings, Gunpla of Guild Fighters Try, The World of Build Fighters Try, Japanese Trailers and Commercials

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Sunrise
Release Date: September 6th, 2016
MSRP: $74.99
Running Time: 625 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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