Right off the bat, I want to say I really like the direction Gundam Build Fighters decided to go in episode 2. It might not seem like a big deal to you, but in this episode Reiji and Sei lose a battle. I know this doesn’t sound momentous, it’s episode 2 and of course they are bound to fail sometimes. But in a lot of mainstream shows now it’s very common for the overpowered protagonist to simply flaunt his powers for an entire season. No, Build Fighters has shown us that both the protagonists are capable of failing and that is so important in its theme. When is the last time you saw a mecha show where the protagonist didn’t need to win every major battle until the end? Awesome.
Sei and Reiji end up fighting the Model kit club president this episode, and he ultimately defeats them, and it was a great introduction to the cast that will inevitably be much bigger. It started with Reiji fighting another member of the club and the President realized he must eventually step in. The most I can say about this episode is that I appreciate the standard it sets for the show’s standard of victory. It also gave Reiji a reason to be invested: he was beaten by Yuki and he wants to fight people on that level.
Episode two also ends on a note that made me go “OH CRAP!” in terms of Reiji’s origin.
Episode three immediately follows up on episode twos shocking end with Reiji and begins to explain his ‘story’. Reiji explains that he is a prince from another dimension who can visit Sei’s dimension at will. I want this to be exactly the truth. I want this ridiculous story to be one hundred percent true, and it turns out it is! My life is so much better now that there is a space prince piloting Gundams in a miniature universe. Not to mention Reiji beats the crap out of most of his opponents, even if he is missing that ‘something’.
Reiji’s focus in these episodes is to fight opponents who remind him of Yuki, but we also see he does respect Sei’s gunpla. It was fun for me to see Yuki’s ability to defeat others easily, he makes for a likable but interesting ‘antagonist’, while also seeing Reiji suddenly striving to be better. I wanted to give Sei so many hugs when he managed to beat round one! These episodes are good paired together because it shows the start of the conflict and its final resolution: episode three shows that Reiji struggles to be concerned with the tournament at all but episode three shows he is going to be there for his friend.
So far Reiji and Sei are generally likable protagonists. While Reiji has the flightiness that is to be expected of a magical other dimension space prince, he is so far staying true to his newfound partnership with Sei. If only all other space princes were so kind and generous. But can this unlikely duo of a space prince and the best gundam modeler take it to the end and win a championship?! I mean. . .probably. Dude’s a magic space prince!