「星に願いを」 (Hoshi ni Negai o)
“When You Wish Upon a Star”
Okay, so I have to say it, this was a little bit hard to get into at first, but once things got moving, I was engrossed in the story like any other anime. This is a TCG through and through, and it wears its inspirations hard on its sleeve. The rules themselves are not that complicated to grasp if you’ve ever played any other card game such as Magic: The Gathering or even Yu-Gi-Oh, hell, even the Pokemon TCG game has some of these rules. I would say it’s even close to something like Vanguard. The story itself is almost implied in the first couple minutes of the episode, it doesn’t really make that strong of an impression. A girl humming twinkle-twinkle little star with some B-footage roll of the city around them, look closely and you’ll see it’s guarded off by a mysterious monolithic tower. The city itself has Japanese architecture with shrines over mountains. Banka Sakura (Watabe, Sayumi) begins to deliver exposition about this city, she plays vague metaphors and holds a wish. In this city, defeating the king, means getting your wish granted. It paints her as a determined character, but it then quickly cuts to a boy, reaching out to the stars, over a field of flowers, just so happens to be our main protagonist. And that red hooded bunny boy you’ve seen all over Build Divide’s promotional material.
Kurabe Teruto (Uemura, Yuuto) plays the role of an amnesiac character that remembers the game slowly by a blue-spasm of flashes. Much like Cloud from Final Fantasy VII, Teruto has a voice inside his head, which in this case is what I’m assuming is the game master. But not the King as is it was revealed in the final moments of the episode. These two yet unnamed characters appear briefly as chips fall on the table, which is later revealed to be the currency of this world, save 20 chips and you get the privilege of battling it out with the king. Teruto’s amnesia plays a little bit on the cliche, since the main reason he actually has it, is only so that the viewer can be eased into the rules of the game. They don’t really spin it in an obscure way either, it’s pretty clear as day that they want Teruto to be overpowered, why give him his memory back? But of course, he can’t lose! He has to be the very best that no one ever was! Sorry I couldn’t help myself.
I’m not really going to talk about the rules themselves since the episode spent so much time actually divulging them to you. The setting itself is interesting, one little detail I liked is that everyone has ocular implants that allow them to see the holographic projections of the Build Divide game. I really appreciated that they took the time actually animate the characters that come out of the cards, and the attacks, the whole shebang. It gives it that old-school feel that so many TCG anime are missing these days, a lot focus more on the actual card battle than the showmanship of it all. Personally, I don’t want to watch an anime about card battles where they battle like if it was real life. I want to watch a TCG anime where the characters hit each other, and we have over-the-top moments. It’s all in those over-the-top bits that made this episode for me.
As the battle takes place, the story itself takes a sort of a chair in the back seat, the game doesn’t really do anything to advance relationships between these two characters, or reveal something important about them, it’s just two people fighting with holographic knights and knight ladies. It would have been compelling if they added dialogue that revealed more about their personalities, rather than having them spend the whole episode explaining how battles work. I’ve seen enough to get the gist of things as we go along.
Sometimes during battle, after you have enough energy/mana in your energy/mana zone, you can activate your special card which allows the player to open their Territory encapsulating the whole playing zone. It gives you certain boosts and lets you exploit some plays to make your opponent cry. Teruto also opens his territory showing us the casino of death. I found this interesting, and it piqued my curiosity in knowing what other territories are out there. Build Arise!
As for me, I don’t think I’ll be blogging about Build Divide, however, I bring you this first episode premiere. I think I’d rather keep this one to myself, honestly, it was way too edgy, and difficult to get into, I like TCG anime, but not to the extent where I would blog about it every week. Because frankly this one just plays it safe, there’s nothing new or interesting about it, it’s a rehash of things we’ve already seen. This was a little bit too preachy and explanatory for me. I can already see the cut corners, and can only perceive it getting worse from here, I’ll keep watching until I’m not. Besides, I can already tell you, I’m definitely not blogging two seasons of this.