Tag Archives: action

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!

Burn-Up W

Burn-Up WType: OVA
Episode Count: 4
Genre: Action / Sci-Fi
Vintage: 1996

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 23 Dec 2013

Grade: C

Fanservice and violence.

Plot Summary
When the regular police force can’t handle the job, Team Warrior is called in. Slacker Rio, trigger-happy Maya, and computer-whiz Lilica handle the special jobs along with their support team and chief. This time, a terrorist plot needs to be foiled, so it’s Team Warrior on the scene.

The Review
Burn-Up W is a short ’90s AIC series, and in some ways it is incomplete. It tells a complete story arc but doesn’t have a true ending, as this OVA is actually a prologue to the television series Burn-Up Excess.

There isn’t much to Burn-Up W. If you like top-heavy girls with guns, with emphasis on – ahem – both of those points, these are about one hundred minutes of animation you’re sure to enjoy. As for me, it’s not really my thing, so I found both the fanservice and violence to be a bit excessive. Speaking of excessive, only one of the main girls has body proportions that are physically plausible, and she happens to be the computer genius, as well as my favorite character, though her overall screen time is minimal. (It’s the pink-haired Lilica as seen in the picture above.)

Burn-Up W does have a story, and it actually does hold together decently. However, it often gets overshadowed by the main selling points of the series, those of course being the fanservice and violence. These elements aren’t spread evenly, though. The first two episodes focus on the girls’ physical traits, and the last two are suddenly darker and quite violent.

For those who enjoy this kind of fanservice and violence, Burn-Up W is probably worth a shot. Otherwise, it’s safe to skip it.

Moldiver

MoldiverType: OVA
Episode Count: 6
Genre: Sci-Fi / Comedy / Action
Vintage: 1993

Version reviewed: Japanese with English dubtitles
Date of Review: 16 Dec 2013

Grade: B

A fun story somewhere which falls somewhere between Mega Man and Iron Man.

Plot Summary
In 2045 Tokyo, Hiroshi Ozora has invented a device called a “Mol Unit” which surrounds the user with an impenetrable shield and gives them superhuman powers, effectively making them a superhero. He enjoys a secret life as “Captain Tokyo”, saving the city from the plots of an evil mastermind named Dr. Machinegal and his android supermodels. Hiroshi’s sister Mirai finds “Captain Tokyo” and his buff look rather lame, so she changes the programming to make the unit transform the user into a cuter superhero which she dubs “Moldiver”. With Captain Tokyo now mostly out of the picture, it’s up to Moldiver to save Tokyo from Machinegal.

The Review
Moldiver is a pretty straightforward series. It’s an uncomplicated sci-fi adventure filled with action, comedy, and a smattering of old-fashioned ’90s fanservice. Being a 1990s AIC work, it also holds a certain amount of nostalgia for me, even though I didn’t actually see Moldiver for the first time until sometime in the early 2000s. However, since 1990s AIC shows are largely what I cut my anime teeth on, I’m naturally drawn to them as they remind me of those fledgeling days of my fandom.

Watching Moldiver in Japanese actually carries with it one major disadvantage unless you speak fluent Japanese: rather than true subtitles, the DVD has only “dubtitles” which reflect the English dub script instead of the original Japanese script. In Moldiver’s case, many liberties were taken with the translation, and at times, subtitles appear when nothing is being spoken in the Japanese version. Also, many lines are not directly translated but rather rewritten entirely for English. I am not even close to knowing the Japanese language with any proficiency, but even with my pre-school level comprehension, the differences were noticeable. This dubtitle issue is the only major flaw on an otherwise good release.

If you’re looking for a simple superhero story with a Japanese twist, it’s hard to go wrong with Moldiver. After all, it’s Mihoshi‘s favorite show! Moldiver is a great example of AIC’s ’90s work; it’s well animated and has a fun cast with good character designs, and a story that does what it needs to without getting bogged down in detail. Fun is the name of the game.