Anime Review: Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise

I’d put this at 4.5 out of 5 stars. Kazami’s glory-hounding is a bit much sometimes… but then, in the early eps the four players still think it’s all a game. Parviz, May, and Hiroto more than make up for it, character-wise. And Kazami’s optimistic “of course we can win this mission!” proves critical to saving lives by convincing locals to move out of an indefensible position before the attack comes down.

Not that our heroes know they’ve actually saved lives. Yet.

Caveat: I’ve only watched about 5 eps so far, and the series is up to 21 and still going. So I’m going off what I’ve seen and Wikipedia, Tropes, and Reddit pages for more details and background. As for why I started with Re:Rise and not Gundam Build Divers – well, I heard there was isekai and I got there as fast as I could. *G*

Hey, everyone has their sucker buttons. One of the earliest SFF books I read past the Lord of the Rings that left a real mark was Andre Norton’s Witch World. Ever since, Portal Fantasy/ Isekai has been one of my favorite things.

And Re:Rise does it subtly.

Bit of background. The anime is set a bit into the future, where there’s a VRMMORPG, Gundam Battle Nexus; a game in which you not only construct a character avatar in-game, you physically build a Gunpla Gundam model, scan it, and the computer bases your mecha’s game stats on what parts you used and how well you put them together. So your skills outside the game are already important inside the game.

GBN has recently had an update. More realism! More dimensional battlegrounds! New missions! And our four heroes stumble on one of these “secret new missions” from a floating display in a back alley. Almost literally stumble; they’re a rag-tag group that don’t even know each others’ names yet, they Just Happened To Be There when a frantic NPD (Non-Player Diver, NPC) starts yelling, “Save me!” The details are sketchy; the mission completion condition is unclear. They’re really thinking better of this….

Well, three of them are. Kazami pushes Accept. And things get… interesting… from there.

One of the things my bunnies glomped was that the isekai aspects sneak up on you. Different landscapes and oddly human NPDs? Wow, heck of a new update. One event seems to lead to another? Ooo, GBN must be experimenting with Story Missions. We can only “start” this mission again when all four of us are in GBN together? Must be party-locked….

Through the game, our heroes are able to bounce back and forth between Earth, GBN-VR, and (what they later learn is) Eldora. So their starting reactions to the situation and people they meet are those of players, not people out of their own world and fighting for their lives.

(Reddit bits hint that there is a very interesting explanation for how they have real bodies on Eldora – if you’ve read any of the Dodge Tank novel series you may find it familiar. And I suspect once they figure it out, Parviz is going to have a bad moment of, “Oh man that lava pit would have really fried me if I hadn’t flown!”)

This easing into the reality lets the story start with its focus on our heroes’ own problems, instead of survival, so they can grow as they start becoming a team. Meaning by the time they do figure out it’s real, they’ve had some interesting character development. Kazami starts off desperately seeking attention. Parviz is (justifiably) terrified of heights. May… is a mystery I won’t spoil, you can look her up. And Hiroto is grieving a girl no one else seems to know existed.

That depiction of grief is another of the reasons bunnies glomped. It’s not obvious. He’s not screaming at the sky and rending his garments. He’s just… distant. Cool. Not interested in interacting with others. Until he ends up shanghaied into a PUG that desperately needs him as a tactician.

But like I said, I’m still only a few eps in. Info I’ve found says the series keeps up the quality and builds the characters even as they realize That Was No Dream. So… fingers crossed!

(It’s on Crunchyroll. Hee.)

This AMV uses bits from ep 4.

Gundam Build Divers Re Rise [AMV] Blood Water

 

26 thoughts on “Anime Review: Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise

  1. So isekai is one of your specific hooks? In that case, I have a tentative request:

    Would you be willing to look over an Original Work of mine? It’s an isekai, the start of what will be a five-book series, and I’d like someone to check my worldbuilding and plothooks and the like.

    You and Kryal (who I’m also planning to ask) are the best experts I know on those topics. My mom’s acting as my beta but she gets distracted by commas, grammar, and word choice rather than the story itself. Not that that’s not important, but that’s not all I’m wanting feedback on.

    The book is currently in its second draft and I’ve got all the scenes done and a good start on the glossary.

    The series is called Paradigm Arts and the first book is Natural Traces
    This is the working story summary:

    Sometimes, for no apparent reason, planes just disappear. The crew, the passengers, all gone without a trace, never to be heard from again. What if there was an underlying cause?

    Passenger to one such hapless plane, Tesla must adapt to a world unlike her own. Seized by slavers, cast into the wilderness, she must navigate a country in the wake of a decade-long, continental war.

    Some things are almost familiar: paved roads, powered lights, and even air conditioners. Except the pavement is like clay and every flick of a light switch is accompanied by the subtle click of interlocking gears.

    Other things are as alien as she is to the world. Stone-clad bestial warriors, plants that uproot themselves to give chase, and little marbles of ephemeral light that let people tap natural forces on a whim.

    There is so much to learn

    If you’re interested, should I message you through ff?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, you probably will not want to mess with me on that.

      Because my immediate question is how mechanically transmitted energy becomes light, or how electrically transmitted energy needs gearing in the switches.

      Because that detail evokes that sort of question, and the choice of Tesla as a handle is just enough to trick me into thinking it is appropriate to ask. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Also, Satoyama, the initial answer to your above questions is ‘it’s magic

        Tesla: “…but why, though?”

        There ARE actual reasons, though I’m not anywhere near as savvy with mech energy as you are, so the answers given over time will be fairly simple.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, I would not count myself really informed on mechanical transmission of power. I know just enough to trick myself into thinking I know more than I really do, and have really regretted tricking myself so in the past.

        And mechanisms obviously produce light when friction dumps a lot of the power into heating, and the material gets hot enough to glow. My questions are the tedious sort of ‘how is that even a good idea, much less something a whole society does’, not the fun and useful sort of ‘how do we justify this in story’.

        My day job may be stressing me enough that I /couldn’t/ offer the latter, only the former.

        Experience tells me that the latter sorts of questions are the ones that are most often fun, when dealing with most authors. Former sort, can get really tedious and frustrating for both parties, with zero positive results to show.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m going to have to be frank here: I will not have the time. This year has been pure hell, starting back in 2019.

      I’m cleaning up an estate, I will (hopefully) be helping to sell a house, I’m going to be moving at some unknown time in the near future – possibly with less than 2 weeks notice, due to circumstances quite literally beyond my control. I’m too close to flat broke for it to be anywhere near funny. And I’m physically and mentally exhausted from dealing with everything that led up to here. ATM it’s everything I can do to keep this blog updated and keep working on my own drafts.

      Have you considered posting a comment over on According to Hoyt? She runs a column every Sunday of people advertising their books; I’d bet leaving a comment on one of those, or possibly another related post on her blog, might garner you some interested betas.

      Like

      1. Oof. Would you mind if I prayed for you and the trials you’re going through?

        Would you let me know if you get to a point where you could look it over? Or even if you just want something fun to read, never mind critique and whatnot.

        Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll keep it in mind.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I liked Gundam Build Fighters, and Gundam Build Fighters Try, basically my kind of genre.

    I liked Gundam Build Divers, until the final character arc. I was expecting a certain character’s arc to tie in with a couple of characters from GBF, and was a bit disappointed at what they actually chose to do. Okay, it was a little clumsy, but it is tolerable if you are still willing to make allowances instead of being a bit in denial, and disappointed.

    It is also on the Gundaminfo official youtube channel, along with the other Gundam Build series.

    It looks like the official channel has finally taken down the second series of Iron Blooded Orphans, so I’ll need to figure something out if I every want to watch it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So the issue I occasionally run into looking at “the game is real” scenarios is pacing.

    Games tend to be fast-paced.
    You sit down for an hour of playing, dive right into the action, and it’s pretty much constant for the entire time.
    The mobs are spaced to always be near, but programmed (hopefully) so they don’t dog-pile you all at once .
    The dungeon is 2 minutes from the road.
    The transport leaves whenever you click on it.
    The bandit raid on the village is continuously happening, but never finishes.
    Transactions with shopkeepers are instant, even with hundreds of purchases.

    Real life is… less convenient.
    More specifically, if everything was that close and that fast and that constant, we’d all be dead.
    You can’t maintain that pace for long before you’re done for the day.

    So how do you reconcile that?
    Do people in the game experience a slow paced travel for 3 hours before the fight?
    Are the real avatars experiencing time-skips, only appearing when needed?

    I can usually ignore it for the story, but just once I’d like to see someone catch on quickly based on [nothing].

    “Wait, somethings weird.”

    “What?”

    “There’s nothing happening.”

    “Yeah? So?”

    “No monsters in sight. No sound of combat. No events. Have you ever gone 5 minutes of this game without something happening?”

    “oooh, yeah. Somethings off…”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Two, three things going on here. One, the game supports person to person interaction, and mech combat, so there is some plausibility where the travel times are concerned. Two, the game world is large, and apparently doesn’t cheat much on mecha travel times. Three, this special mission thing sounds like just the thing to make a real world’s pacing come off as game like.

      Also, GBF kinda has a reverse isekai element. A couple of the characters are explicitly from a fantasy type world, and a couple more travel back with them at the end of the series.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yep, I found out about that “reverse isekai” bit doing some research to try and figure out how in later eps Hiroto has his injury carry over to RL. Short answer: From the background “magitech” in the overall world, yes it would be possible.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. *G* That’s one of the things that makes the particular characters involved interesting. Kazami notices, yes. But Parviz is a total newbie to the game, May has her own concerns, and Hiroto is shown from the very first ep trying to get all the time he can to explore the game’s physical environment outside of fighting.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Tom Clancy’s children’s series dealt with those questions. There was a VRMMO in it that was explicitly designed to make long-distance travel “slow” (unlike normal games where you get a speed-boost for “travel”, this got a speed _debuff_). Also, player-avatars had minor AI run them when the player wasn’t present, unless the player arranged for a “reasonable” justification for them not being active (go to “sleep” in a bed in a locked room, and obviously your avatar isn’t doing anything. stop some random place in a safe-zone, and your avatar should still be able to be interacted with), with part of the game being “training” the AI to handle the tasks you would find boring or that you don’t want ignored while you’re offline. And all interactions were set to actually _be_ reasonable interactions, so even the store problem you mentioned was accounted for (merchant npcs have to actually interact to sell stuff).

      It’s been a long time since I read those, so I don’t remember much other than those interesting features (mostly remembered because I’d been thinking at the time “why can’t games have stuff like this?”, and then read those books and “yay! vindication!”).

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Re:Rise is pretty decent, yeah. Takes a while to really get going, in my opinion–around episode 7 or 8, I think, is when the characters start getting fun, and 12 is when it _really_ Grows the Beard–but when it does… well. It’s fun to see the characters slowly realizing what they’re really dealing with, and I think the show does a good job of making their reactions believable.

    I do find the mecha choices kind of meh, but I’ll still take Re:Rise over the original. The original relied way too much on magic superpower BS that made no sense from a writing standpoint or even in-universe, with every major crisis basically solved with wish-powered super moves that come out of nowhere. As boring as I find the specific mobile weapon choices in Re:Rise, they’re used pretty well, and more importantly everything they do is logically derived from their designs. No magic wings out of nowhere blowing stuff up and magically repairing programming errors at the same time.

    Also, Hiroto has a personality, innovative combat tactics, and a backstory. Riku wanted to “be a master”, with no other traits of note, little resembling genuine skill, and no history to him.

    I do have to say the second half is having some pacing problems. There’s been three entire episodes that basically amount to “How We Got Here”, one of which didn’t even really add anything to the backstory let alone the present. With only a few episodes to go, I’m concerned about how well they’ll be able to wrap up the plot. I really think this series’ concept is one that would’ve done better with the old fifty-episode run.

    That being said, definitely the best Gundam I’ve seen in years. It just needed a little more running time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm. I’ll have to see the second half when I get there.

      My bunnies were Very Amused, though, to find upon researching the setting that Hiroto’s injury does not come “out of thin air”, as some Crunchyroll reviewers thought.

      In previous series based in the same world, it’s established that due to the Plavsky particles, a fighter could “assimilate” to their gundam, doing more damage and having more fine control, but suffering some injury themselves.

      That’s supposed to not happen in the GBN game.

      However, what Hiroto and the others don’t know is that they’re physically on Eldora in created avatar bodies.

      Bunnies: “So, by the logic of the series background, Hiroto assimilated not to his Gundam, but to his avatar body – and took damage when it did.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds logical–though it should be noted Build Divers and Re:Rise aren’t quite in the same continuity as the original Build Fighters and Build Fighters Try. The game using physical Gunpla that predated GBN had a different name and slightly different mechanics from the one in BF and BFT. (Also, as far as I can tell, Plavsky particles have never been mentioned in Divers.)

        That being said, the general physical laws involved seem to be roughly the same, so your hypothesis probably holds true anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There were some supplemental videos, including of experiments done in the BF and BFT continuity, involving development of the next stage game. AI gunpla operators. A couple of the characters from Try were experimenting with it, Ribbons versus Char. Not sure if those are still up on the gundaminfo channel somewhere.

        I think there was also some stuff somewhere in the BF/BFT continuity that predated BF, that I never got into. So I could believe that it is all the same continuity, but there are huge time skips between some of the series.

        If this is so, Ral-san might have been in the earlier material.

        Like

  5. wow, i saw the words “vrmmo isekai” and 12 hours later, i find myself fully caught up… thank you for the recommendation!!! based off of what i read here, i think i might go ahead and watch divers and try next!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Funnily enough I was just working on a squadron of Warhound Titans for Adeptus Titanicus.

    *eyes his modeling table suspiciously*

    As much as I love Warhammer it’s the last universe you’d want to be isekai’d to, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s probably worse, but I’ll admit I’m unsure. I don’t make a habit of reading that sort of story, so I’m a bit lacking on actual knowledge of settings with which to make the judgement.

      Tho, it does bring up a question of “worse in which way”? Some settings that are pretty nasty in the background, are actually relatively close to vacation settings as far as the how easy they’d be to live in up til the background event happens. Others are relatively mundane settings, yet would be the sort you expect to die horribly as soon as you get isekai’d to. So both factors need considered.

      And, of course, source version matters too. Old-anime Sailor Moon is almost as horrible a setting as manga SM, but it’s really a vacation setting for “actually finding yourself there”. In old-anime SM, you don’t even need to remember all the details of exactly what happened when, all you need to do to get a relatively safe/peaceful vacation is contact the Senshi (and there are multiple ways to do that) and give a better explanation of what’s going on and what’s at stake than Luna did (really, most of their problems wouldn’t be very problematic for them if they were just a bit more proactive in training, and accepted a support network’s existence and aid in the mundane busywork).

      On the other hand, a setting like NGE is one where you’re liable to become a casualty (at best) even if you try just running off somewhere away from the canon events, despite most of the rest of the world being theoretically not much worse than RL. Well, unless you’re in the “nice” continuity.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Somebody described the setting of Warhammer 40,000 as “Everybody’s fighting over the house while it’s on fire around them.”

        Adeptus Titanicus in particular takes place during the Horus Heresy era, so essentially a massive galactic civil war started by the genetically engineered demi-god Horus, driven mad by the Dark Gods, trying to supplant his father the Emperor at the throne on Terra and more or less setting the galaxy on fire in the process.

        That said there’s probably some rather nice vacation spots down there, as long as you manage to avoid the ones the Eldar staked out aeons ago..

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s