Gundam Build Fighters Try: Island Wars

Type: OVA
Genre: Science Fiction / Mecha
Vintage: 2016
Date of Review: August 29, 2016

As they prepare for the national Gunpla Battle tournament, Team Try Fighters is invited to Yajima’s island laboratories to test out their new battle system. But when the prototype technology spirals out of control, threatening the lives of the scientists, it’s up to our heroes and their friendly rivals to save the day!

Taking place a year after the events of Gundam Build Fighters Try, the Island Wars OVA gives us another fun look at Sekai, Yuuma, and Fumina as they continue to sharpen their Gunpla Battle skills. Plenty of other Try characters like Minato and Gyanko also return, and their addition to the story leads to some great comedy. The only new character is a mysterious girl on the beach, but her true identity is fairly obvious once you get a look at her. That’s not a complaint, though, as her presence is most welcome.

For fans of other Gundam shows, Island Wars features enough mobile suit cameos to practically fill an entire series, including the glorious return of a personal favorite, the mighty Nether Gundam. (Which doesn’t last long, of course.) They all show up during the massive battle scene that makes up the finale of Island Wars, which ranks among the Build Fighters series’ best. There’s a wide variety of mobile suits new and old, plus ridiculously over-the-top (yet incredibly badass) special attacks and poses, even by Build Fighters standards. In particular, Kamiki Burning Gundam’s final attack incorporates many super sentai elements, which was a nice touch.

Another cool aspect of Island Wars is that the threat is nothing insanely threatening or world-ending: it’s just a science experiment gone awry, limited to the remote laboratory on the island. Granted, perhaps it could’ve grown beyond its limits if left unchecked, but that wasn’t the point. The Try Fighters team and friends were able to shut it down, and their main goal was to rescue trapped personnel. This fits the Build Fighters mold of being a lighthearted change of pace from the usual high drama of other Gundam series.

Island Wars turns out to be a simple, fun story, loaded with great battles, solid comedy, and some surprising throwbacks to the original Gundam Build Fighters. The whole thing clocks in at maybe ten minutes longer than a standard episode, but the pacing makes it feel nearly feature-length, and that’s a good thing. Sunrise gave us just what we wanted, and here’s hoping that any future Build Fighters OVAs hit all the same notes!

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