Eventually, anyone who enters the world of Japanese pop culture for any length of time will hear about and/or see Gundam robots. I've never been a huge fan of the Gundam franchise itself but names like Amuro Ray and Char Aznable and the sight of the huge mobile suits are instantly recognizable to me. During my other life in Japan, I've had friends visit me in Tokyo and I often escorted or was escorted into some of the Akihabara shops as they searched for one or two of the dizzying variety of Gundam plastic models available. Gundam's popularity has often been cited to be on the same level as the love for "Star Trek", "Star Wars" and "Doctor Who". And so not surprisingly, there has been a Gundam Cafe in the Akiba plaza for several years which I have visited a couple of times.
Then, some months ago, my anime buddy introduced me to a series that was a love letter to the franchise. "Gundam Build Fighters" hasn't made me any more interested in seeing the original adventures of Amuro and Char, but it still made me a fan of the show itself. For one thing, it has a lot of heart, and whenever I see a comedy-drama or comedy-adventure or sci-fi with a number of characters working for a common goal, that is what ultimately determines whether I enjoy it. So, "GBF" now stands alongside "Ghostbusters" and "Star Trek" on that level. I saw the final episode last night and just seeing most of the major characters, after 25 episodes of battles involving Plavsky Particle-powered plastic models of Gundam, joining forces to defeat the Big Bad had my heart swelling up almost to the same extent as viewing the last 15 minutes of the 50th anniversary special for my favourite Time Lord last November. Yep, a geek indeed I am.
The touchstone that will always have me remembering "Gundam Build Fighters" with a small grin on my ever-expanding face is the first theme song for the show, "Nibun-no-Ichi" (One-Half) by BACK-ON. Created by the band itself, the song has that flavour of the sun rising on another great day of fun times with friends with lyrics that basically define (b)romance....something that there is plenty of underneath all of that armour. Happily, I've added "Nibun-no-Ichi" to my anison collection, and it's definitely one of my glasses of aural orange juice. The song came out in November 2013 as the band's 12th single, and as for information on BACK-ON itself, you can check it out on Wikipedia right here.
And this is the shortened version of the music video for "Nibun-no-Ichi".
|The humongous lineup of fans for the Gundam Cafe in 2010.|
|The Gundam Cafe in Akiba.|