Gundam Build Fighter and Audience Proxy

Screenshot from 2014-12-17 23:09:17

Okay I know I already talk about Gundam Build Fighter before, but there’s some aspect about the anime that I found quite interesting. So stick around will you?

Anyway, the one thing that I found interesting was on how GBF use audience proxy protagonist.

Audience proxy protagonist, simply put, was a main protagonist whose role/purposes in the narrative was to provide viewing lens/perspective for the audience to see the characters and the world, the protagonist was living on. In other words, their purposes was so that the audience could put themselves on to the main character shoes (i.e. an audience stand in). Among fandom, audience proxy has bad reputation due to the fact that, oftenly, they’re always bland and lacking in strong defining characteristic (which is the case for the second category of harem protagonist that I’ve talked about). But personally, that’s just because they’re often misused/misinterpret by writers. Just because they’re purposes was to allow audience to project themselves on to the protagonist’s role, doesn’t mean they need to be bland. Because they’re purposes was to provide context for the audience to the world, it makes them somewhat an observer and even an observer need to have a personality.

As I’ve already stated before, GBF was a fanservice for all things related to Gundam franchise. The anime, the plastic models, everything. However, GBF also aim to introduce and to invite newcomer to the franchise and share the joy of Gunpla with them.

So how does GBF accomplish this? By having two audience proxy main protagonist in the form of Sei and Reiji.

To get the better idea, lets inspect both of them.

Lets start with Sei. He’s a normal middle schooler and characterized as somewhat a Gundam maniac. While having enthusiasm toward Gunpla, he’s also kind, cheerful and level headed. He has an indepth knowledge about the entire Gundam franchise and also about Gunpla building/construction. He serve both as the builder and the brain for his team. His geekiness toward Gundam made him a perfect audience stand in for the franchise veteran fans.

Now let’s move on to Reiji. He’s brave, somewhat brash and also pretty impulsive. He serve as the brawn of the two as he’s the fighter for their Gunpla team. Being a prince from another planet, he’s quite a literal outsider of GBF universe and as such he’s naive both the way our world works and to gundam franchise in general, making him a perfect stand in for those who aren’t as much familiar to the franchise. And his character journey on discovering the joy Gunpla and why many people are obsessed about a robot toy reflect those audiences experience as they watch the anime.

Looking at things that way, it wasn’t a coincidence for the writer to choose having two protagonist because aside from the fact that Sei and Reiji complement and bounce of each other perfectly in terms of skill and personality, they serve as a stand in for both veteran and newcomer to the franchise alike. But most importantly, by the end, they both shared the same enthusiasm toward Gunpla that the anime need/expected for the audience to have in order for the series to work.

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