“An Idol Awakens”
Our heroes are saved from the rampaging Rogue by Misora’s sudden awakening to mysterious powers, but Gentoku is still determined to get his hands on Pandora’s Box.
Honestly, at this point I’m kind of baffled as to what exactly Build is trying to be. Given we’re now over halfway into the series, you’d have thought that that would be enough time for it to have established a clear identity and a central, driving plot that everything else would coalesce around. Instead, we’ve still got ideas shooting off left, right, and centre. It’s not boring, I’ll give it that much, but the quality of the writing just isn’t up to stringing together all the disparate parts. The end result is a show that feels more than ever like it’s gradually careening off the tracks.
The big plot movement this week is the revelation that Misora has been gifted otherworldly powers by Pandora’s Box, powers which she can conveniently use to deus ex machina our heroes out of their spot of bother with Rogue. This isn’t really too much of a surprise, since we’ve known there’s something up with her since the very start of the show, but I question the timing of this revelation. Build is already stuffed full of plots, what with Stark, Nanba, Grease, Rogue, and not to mention the unresolved Katsuragi/Sentou identity crisis. Making a huge, story shattering move like this is not something I would have done until the show had got it’s house in order, but as it is we’ve now got yet another thread to try and keep in the mix as things go on.
The other thing which has me a bit concerned is the precise nature of the revelation concerning her powers. The idea that Pandora’s Box destroyed a once thriving Martian civilization is a compelling testament to its power, but it also immediately raises concerns that the show is going to attempt to pull of a Kamen Rider Gaim-esque ‘Precusor race’ storyline. I’m not saying that Gaim has rendered that idea sacrosanct, but the quality of Build‘s writing up to this point has done nothing to persuade me it could potentially pull off something as ambitious as an eons-old conspiracy tale. Big mythology requires big worldbuilding, and Build has done poorly on that front so far. I would rather it set what it has in order than go rushing off to ambitious new pastures.
A good example of the lack of careful worldbuilding I’m talking about can be seen this episode. We’re told, largely apropos of nothing, than Nanba has spent decades gathering children and indoctrinating them to become absolutely loyal servants. We’ve never ever seen any indication that Nanba is that sort of mastermind, or that he really has much of any sort of character at all to be honest, but if we had learnt this a dozen episodes earlier, we might have both found him more credible as the supposed mastermind of this intricate plot, and had an additional element of tension threaded through the story. Instead, the information is largely used to justify a one-shot betrayal no more than ten minutes of runtime later. It’s not even a betrayal from a character who has ever been named onscreen before, and the result is almost comedically underwhelming. Furthermore, the next episode preview tells us that there’s still a traitor in the ranks, thus rendering this entire episode completely pointless. It’s a sloppy, poorly thought out piece of plotting and not encouraging at all.
That’s not to say this episode was a writeoff – the fight scenes were nice and crunchy and it’s always a pleasure to see Yasuyuki Maekawa’s laconic acting – but largely this was a stumbling block for the show. Aqua quite sagely observed that Build is becoming a little bit like a Sunrise original robot anime – you’re not really watching for the quality so much as you’re watching to see just how far off the rails it can go. While trainwrecks can be a lot of fun, I do hope it doesn’t come to that, because there’s still a lot of potential here.
- What’s with all the weird cowboy merch around Mido’s office? Iro points out that Seito is ‘the West’ country, so that could be it.
- The ‘fake info to every different source’ is an old but tried and true method of ferreting out a leak. But in that case, how does Gentoku know where the actual Pandora’s Box is being kept? Presumably this is due to the other spy the preview sets up.
- Sentou’s brain-viewing device is very obviously just a PlayStation VR headset with some wires on the front.
- Akaba pretty predictably bites the dust this episode. It’s not a terrible way to go out but his crew has been offed so comically fast it’s hard to feel much impact.
- The preview seems to imply that one of the main cast is the traitor. Only Kazumi and Sawa really make any sort of sense at all, and Kazumi seems unlikely given what the war has cost him. Is Sawa going to turn out to be a mole again?