Is the Builder series killing the Gundam franchise?

First of all, this is a matter of personal preference which is entirely subjective. In my humble opinion, Sunrise / Bandai is walking down a spiral with their obsession in the builder series. The whole concept is more like tailored to the post-toddler audience (I mean below 10 yrs…), reminding me of the “Racing Brothers” in which the characters custom-build their toy cars…

The way I see the whole Gundam series is that it is not just about 18m-high robots taking each other down but rather it is a realization of what could happen if the unjust in the world advances to tyranny. The Federation oppresses any regimes that could challenge its authority and this is how Zeon is born. While I am not here to discuss each Gundam animation, there are a few worth-mentioning ones. Among the list are Wing and 00. Gundam W appears to convey the message that there are no fine lines between allies and enemies. It is all about greed and betrayal. I bet nobody can resist Gundam 00 whose story plots about the division of powers resemble closest to the real world.

Back to the Builder Series (I know there is not only one but three that made it to animation), what does the producer want to tell the audience? If you remove the war component, what makes Gundam a Gundam? It takes weeks to build a gunpla from sanding, painting, assembly to decal application but only seconds to break it into pieces. Assuming the whatever particles are developed (Sorry I forget its name, it only takes a few episodes for me to decide it is a waste of my time), do you really want to put your gunpla in battles through which it may return “handicapped”, if not as a “total loss”? At least, there is a hell no for me. Furthermore, aren’t the reactions of the characters beyond exaggerating? They were not even in a cockpit but reacted as if they were…

Is there a link between the Builder Series and the Gundam Breaker game? Why does Bandai pursue this direction? Aren’t the Gundam games designed as an extension of the animations in order for us to have a taste of what it is like to live in the stories? No military affiliations, no story, no time-line. Nothing at all!! Personally, I think the Gundam franchise is dying, if not dead already. No way would I forget the classic PS3 games like “Gundam Target in Sight” and “Battlefield Record UC 0081”. They are the best Gundam games that I have ever played. It is very saddening to see Bandai making kits for the Builder series one after another. If they have such a leisure and manpower, at least make a M1 astray (They have already had a lot of other Astrays to reference from). Highly doubt if the MS in the games will ever make their way to be released as MGs… They are a few like the White Dingo GMs but that’s all about it.

I’m under the impression Bandai’s big money maker is toys/models.
Build series is/was a way to bring casual/new people into the universe, expose them to model kits and grow a new market. Re-issue older kits with tweaked designs and new colors saves on development costs, already have molds ect…

It seems like every 5-10yrs this topic comes up about “gundam franchise is dying” when really, it’s just going through peaks and valleys like any business. (Especially during a pandemic)

Bandai pursues potential markets to gain more income. The game market has been mediocre (at least here in the US, imo) so perhaps they’re trying something new to buck that trend.

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Gundam at its core is a a toy line. It always has been and always will be. The Build XYZ series are designed to get a young audience interested and to sell products to them.

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I once thought the same thing about the build fighter/diver series. There is a story, most of them rely on the tropes of tournament based shonen story telling. This means they aren’t very deep, and they are geared toward a younger audience. This shouldn’t be an issue as at least half of all gundam series aren’t really suitable for a younger audience. Just give them a few years, bandai will drop another hard core gundam series on us.

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The build series is an okay story line, how ever there are several really good side story from the UC universe that I wish would get sim attention.

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That deserves its own thread! Which UC side story should get animated next?

I always think the build series is like double edge sword for bandai. It gave them new target market which is a young audience. But that means they neglected their main market which mainly an older audience.
I tried to watch some build series, but it’s just not made for the older viewer. At least not for me. The build series strong point is to make your gundam as cool looking as possible. It’s not like it’s bad or something. I just don’t feel the connection. This series is a promotion tools to boost sales. Rather to keep the old dog entertained.
But time is change, war with serious tone story is not as popular as it used to. I guess this is the way bandai adapting to the new trend. The gundam is more important than the pilot.

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I honestly think the reason why Bandai did hour long animated movie series like Gundam Unicorn, Gundam Origins, an now Hathaway Flash was for the older fans. While the Build series is ti bring in new fans and boost sales

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I do not following the UC timeline, So it’s kind a sucks. I wish they make a new series or at least a stand alone series like thunderbolt that I can enjoy.

I’d rather have any new Gundam show that tries something different but doesn’t jump too many sharks.

Frankly, I have little interest in the Build Fighters stuff. I mean I’ll watch the first series but will avoid the other ones.

They should do some of the side stories of like either UC or Wing Gundam, or finally get Crossbone made into a series.

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There are some really good UC stories that never made it past Manga and video games.

So I don’t wanna sound rude but this thread just feels like exaggerated whining.

What you think the Build series does & what you worry about aren’t connected. At all. As said earlier, the Build series is just another way for Bandai to make more money & reuse some old kits while also making new ones right beside them. The difference here is that it’s actually aimed at a larger audience than just adults who watch the war stories. And no, it’s not just aimed at children either. It’s targeted at everybody. While the Build shows are mostly Shonen tournament-esque based what they actually have in these shows are things that only diehard Gundam fans would recognize. The amount of references, both obvious & obscure, are numerous. They haven’t forgotten about the older fans at all. Even going as far as to have a custom version of an old Mobile Suit that hasn’t gotten a kit before or hasn’t gotten one in years, only for Bandai to reverse engineer it to it’s main universe original counterpart to eventually sell to the long term fans that recognize it from the show it was originally in.

The Build series guarantees the future of next generation Gundam fans by getting them in love with the series at a young age. It’s a common & simple business tactic. Yesterday’s Build Fighters fan turned into the next day’s Iron-Blooded Orphans fan, no question about it. It’s done nothing but good things for the Gundam franchise, that’s why they’ve made 4 of them already. Because it’s been successful. There’s no reason for them to stop now when they’ve future-proofed their next big projects with a larger potential audience that was created by the Build series’ success.

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I know some may not like what I wrote. As I mentioned in the very beginning, this is entirely my personal view. I do agree that Gundam first started as a toy and will always be but in my opinion this franchise has already run off the track. While the Builder series do appeal to a large amount of toddler audience (there is no doubt about that), it definitely does not worth my time.

Some mentioned about reusing the existing kits, making a few modifications and/or colour changes. This is obviously a way to cut development cost. What I initially meant is that had Bandai had such interest, there were a lot more choices than the Build Series. Take M1 Astray as example. I have no idea why they have not had one already while there are so many Astray variants in the market. Likewise, they can make use of the Ground Gundam / GM for the 3 units of Blue Destiny. Yes, they are dated kits but isn’t that what Bandai has been doing?

Don’t forget we were once kids but were also fascinated by the war theme. All I can say is that kids nowadays are a lot shallower. Attending a gunpla school and fighting tournaments is a joke. Let’s see if any reasonable parents would be willing to spend thousands after thousands on a degree like that. The characters, again, in my opinion, had they been real humans, they seriously need some help. I would not send my gunplas, which can take days to months to complete, to the battlefield only to get handicapped, if not decapitated.

I am dying to know what Sunrise is planning on next. While a masterpiece such as Gundam 00 is very unlikely, at least not a build series again. At first I thought IBO was bad enough… To name a few, a Gundam that doesn’t look like one, a Gundam that requires surgery to pilot, a group of youth started off from freelance to fighting against the dominated power, no NT/Coordinators/Innovators/Natural-Extended or whatever you call them. In fact, as some here mentioned, there are a lot awesome UC side stories that deserve the way to animations. Again, they prefer to extend the fan base pool than taking care of the older ones.

This was the exact point of the first build Fighters…

See I get what ya mean but I think you’re forgetting a couple things.

Although I do wanna point out first that I dig how you go in depth explaining things & are being civil about all this. I don’t see that on forums anymore. ^^;

We almost never get acknowledgement of other Gundam series besides the current one airing aside from UC stories. They take up the main yearly line of HGs for Bandai because of all the fans they know it’ll reach. Not to mention all the Premium Bandai stuff they get. They still milk the HELL out of all the Advance Of Zeta stuff for one. And while we get other shows in those 2 lines like Seed & Wing it’s still majority UC. So they haven’t forgotten about you guys at all. At times it feels like you’re all they care about.

We had both 00’s & Destiny’s 10th anniversary come & go & what did they do for them? Some Petitgguys with 00 pilot colors & the Blast Impulse was finally made into a MG after FAR too long. Meanwhile we get stuff for NT & Hathaway’s Flash months if not a whole year in advanced. To see the Gundam Plutine showul in P-Bandai was an absolute shock. No one called that at all. But we knew they were gonna give us yet another version of the Pale Rider. Because it’s based in UC Gundam. Of course it’ll get expanded upon.

@GAT-X105 Actually, Bandai did released Astray M1 kits, nothing beyond the 1/144 NG and 1/144 HG ones though.

Coming from someone mostly on the outside when it comes to the actual different Gundam series… I really think it’s not killing the franchise. In fact, I’d have to agree with the others in saying that it’s bringing in a wider audience. The fact I’m here at all shows that, though it was through a different Gundam series, many of these criticisms were also placed on it back in the day. Lemme see if I can perhaps give a (hopefully) unique perspective based on that.

Let’s imagine we’re back when Gundam Force was being released. A lot of people didn’t like it, and it was because of these same general ideas. It’s not a war-focused plot, it’s more of an adventure story. Gundam Force, too, was aimed mainly at kids 6-10 (my age at the time, I was 8). Gundam Force was trying out a lot of new things just like the Builders series, from it’s premise to the animation, but still had a lot of references only fans of previous series would notice - not just in character designs, but actual events too. I love the nuanced war plots as much as the next person, but not everyone likes that kind of story.

And yet… Compared to Gundam Force, the Builders series has been far more successful in its popularity and I imagine also by sales standards. In fact, I’d say Gundam has been getting more widespread lately, I’m starting to see kits in local places I never once saw them before. Sunrise actively tries to hide things pertaining to Gundam Force (we’re already a few years before it’s 20th anniversary and they didn’t release anything so far as I’m aware), while they’re using Builders to both revamp old kits and make new ones. There’s only a handful of people I know who actually liked Gundam Force, and I can pretty much count them on a few sets of 10 fingers. Well, at least out of the English-speaking communities, I know there’s more on the Japanese side but fgdsjkghds.

So, while I say it despite loving the series… If Gundam Force didn’t kill the Gundam franchise in the days before widespread internet and social media, I really don’t think the Builders series will either. But that’s just my two cents, I might not have the most accurate view on this. But that isn’t really my point either, it’s the fact these are all things I’ve read as a teenager about Gundam Force before being repeated 16-17 years later. XD

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