What do you think about living plastic model?
Well, not like that.
We are made of plastic, mainly polystyrene, with a side dash of ABS to ensure soft movement. We are mass produced, molded into a runner to be cut off and assembled. We are molded in various color, sold and priced accordingly to the size and complexity of final product.
Our very concept and design are taken from this military science fiction anime franchise called Mobile Suit Gundam, as well as numerous sequel and Alternate Universe Spinoff.
The most attention always been given the humanoid vehicle called "Mobile Suit"
"LET'S GO, GENOACE!"
"GM SNIPER, TAKE OFF"
Early in the 21st century, a new breakthrough in technology gave us a new life, literally. Plavsky particle, this specific particle will form a holographic lattice given enough stimuli. Manipulated, Plavsky particle will also, for yet unexplainable reason, move us plastic model as if we're actual machines.
And even fight each other.
From that point onward, a new trend born and grew phenomenally.
Gundam Plastic Model Battle –usually simplified to Gunpla Battle, everyone put their plastic model at stake, and control it using plavsky-made virtual cockpit console.
Millions of gunpla enthusiasts… each have their own story.
This is just one of such story.
Gundam Build Fighters
Bandai-Sunrise own Gundam
I buy mine from them
Prologue: Stardust Memory
Two years ago, somewhere in rural Tokyo…
A sudden blackout happened due to technical failures, forcing half the city to be left in the dark. Amongst the people in unrest however, two kids sat on top of a roof, watching the sky intently.
With the disappearance of massive background light that is nighttime Tokyo, the sky revealed its majestic secret. A sea of nothingness filled with thousand upon thousand sparkles called stars and the moon shines even brighter than ever.
"Do you believe that shooting star can grant wishes? Do you?"
"Why should I pray to space rock burning inside earth sphere, Aoi?"
"No fun allowed, got it. How lame of you, Tamaki"
"Well, it'll be nice if they do… since I don't ask much"
"Huh? What do you wish?"
"You know what they say, no pain no gain. I only wish less pain and more gain so I can move forward without afraid of things"
"I don't even understand what you're talking about"
"You will, someday"
For Shimada Aoi, that day never came. At the age of 14, the youthful and talkative boy died in a traffic accident. It was raining in the funeral, and Azuma Tamaki wondered whether God made a mockery of his sorrow or sympathizes with it.
It's crystal clear that Shimada Sr. are at the point of breaking apart, they shed no tears in the funeral if only not to burden the passing soul of their only son. Meanwhile, Aoi's little sister is crying soundly, not wanting her beloved brother to go.
Of course, Tamaki knew better. People die when they got killed, such terms are hilariously redundant, but only now he understood what it mean to lose someone you care about, and suddenly that phrase hit him like a thousand brick.
People began to seek for protection, even though their clothes already damp. Still, the point is clear.
"Tamaki-kun… listen… you need to know… he"
At last, Aoi's mother can't hold it anymore and cried rivers, so much that the rain can't hide it anymore.
Mr. Shimada decided to take over "…he left something for you"
It's a simple envelope, and just like always, his sense of humor never change. Simple pink colored envelope that one could mistake for love letter.
[Hey Tamaki, if you ever got a glance of this accursed letter, that means I'm no longer in this world.
Whether it's because my cancer gotten into me or there's other circumstances involved, I don't know.
But one thing for sure, please keep remember me, don't forget about me.
I want to stay with you, with my sister, with my parents, with our friends
Like a shooting star, my soul will fall, disappear, and then…
The next sentence he failed to decipher, so he skipped it.
You know what; I'm not rich enough to leave something of significance
Get my collection of gunpla collection and tools; I know you're not into 'stupid plastic robots', but I'm sure they're more use to you than my parents or my sister. Knowing them, my mother will dump them anyway, and lord knows what that brat of my sister will do to them.
P.S. get a girlfriend, forever loner]
"That stupid idiot Aoi" Tamaki smiled, yet, tears started to flow the corner of his eyes "You and your stupid little plastic robots, just wait, I'll get a girlfriend if only so I can spite you"
Two years later, Tamaki still the same boring guy he is always. He went to school, not joining any clubs, has few friends… though, at least he did find a girlfriend.
It seems that fate hates him though.
"I want to break up"
Tamaki didn't even bother to yell, he just sighed in response and asked "… I wonder if there's anything I can do to stop you… Meguru, but at the least… can you tell me why?"
The petite girl in front of him is terrified, how can she not?
"I… I found someone else I like…"
"I see… in that case, let's separate"
Is this what she wanted? If so, then Tamaki didn't see any reason to hold her anymore. And yet, her eyes reflected even more emotion than he did.
"…why… Tamaki-kun… why you didn't even try to stop me? Why didn't you… you don't even look angry, why?"
She couldn't stand it. No matter how, it's her fault.
"You asking that now, seriously?" he laughed sarcastically "People come and go… human's feeling will change over time. In the first place, Meguru-san confessed to me first"
The girl gasped in realization "How… but… does that mean… you never like me in the first place…"
"Yes" he nodded "But I learn to like Meguru-san, for good and for ill. If my feelings can change, so why don't yours?"
The realization felt like a mountain dropped on her back, the realization that it's even worse that what she ever thought. The fact that he did like her feel even more painful than it should be.
"As we separate, my feelings will change as well" he poked her forehead softly with zero animosity "Who knows what kind of feeling I will have for you in the future"
He slung his bag lightly, showing his broad back to the girl and leaving her for real.
After all, people will eventually separate. Divorce, breakup, death… doesn't matter, so what's the point of attachment? That's what he thought. Ever since his best friend left this world, he no longer cares, about himself, or people around him.
In the end, we're all alone.
Days and months passed, eventually, he entered his second term in high school. Everything remains the same as usual.
Except for one small detail. Right behind his home, laid a massive mansion with equally large yards surrounding it. Using satellite photography, his home practically a literal cutting corner compared to it.
He always wondered about it, since the original owner left it ten years ago, it's been practically abandoned
Suddenly, there's a lot of activity around that place. Apparently new resident moving in and dozens of people began to clean everything, cutting every single wild bush and swipe every grain of dust.
Subtle changes can be seen every day, and it became rather customary for him to find about it for a few minutes in the morning.
Until one day…
It was Sunday, and he didn't have any specific plan. So, he just helped with the chores, and afterward he just want to laze around the house.
It should be another boring Sunday in his life, but no, it's not.
Because for some unexplainable reason, a young girl scantily dressed jumped into his window. Well, more like 'incorrectly' dressed, because she's wearing a torn light dress over spandex because… reason.
"Sssh, please hide me! I beg you!" she hastily removed the dress (or what's left of it), revealing a well toned body clad in black tanktop.
Tamaki's brain literally froze because every single thing about it made no sense.
"You know, if our gender switched I will scream rapist right now" he mumbled "Who are you?"
She blinked in response; shortly before delivering the biggest grin he ever saw in his lifetime "I'm just a random girl from next door, nice to meet you!"
Wait, that suddenly makes sense. It's possible to jump into the balcony of his home from the wall separating the two residences, it just take one hell of an effort and athletic body.
But what kind of ojousama wore something so casual under a frilly dress? Anyway, she stuffed said dress on the bag she brought along, while pulling out a shirt out (to which Tamaki thanked a lot). Her fingers combed her slightly curled hair back before tying it into a simple, pineapple style tail.
"The name is Azuma Tamaki, it's rather customary to introduce yourself to someone you just met and talk with before asking their names" he said, almost annoyed "So what are yours"
"Ha, of course! The name is Nanami, Sakurai Nanami"
The final touch is, to his surprise, a very familiar belt pouch.
Gunpla Belt pouch.
"Alright, Sakurai-san isn't it? I will not scream regardless, but at the very least explain why I shouldn't"
She mumbled something incoherently before raising her answer "I ran away from Piano lesson"
He chuckled, this is way too cliché, he was hoping for something more… mundane, or perhaps something more exotic? He didn't really care either way. All he wanted is her not to make a ruckus, last time a girl came to this place, his parents made a freaking party of it.
"Well, feel free to stay, do you want coffee or tea?"
"Anything is fine, I won't be long anyway" she smiled, her eyes locked at the big acrylic case sitting on top of your bookshelf "WHOA, you're into gunpla too? They're so well painted"
He leered aside to avoid eye contact "No, it's a gift… I am not into 'stupid plastic toy', just to be clear"
"Blah, real men don't diss on gunpla" she pouted angrily and pointed her thumbs downward, he swore he had seen more emotion and rudeness from a girl than this entire month combined.
"Are you implying people not into gunpla as wimp?"
She gritted her teeth in response "No, but most people don't ridicule it these days, unless you're some kind of butthurt, rambling mecha hater"
It made him both angry and amused at the same time, somehow.
"Anyway, like I said it's a gift from a long time ago. I didn't build them, much less painting them"
"Seems to be well maintained still" she said, her eyes radiating pride and admiration "The parts are perfectly clean, even the parts below the ankle joints are free from dust. All the polycaps still smooth as if they're newly coated… must be precious for you"
Precious… now he questioned it himself.
If he doesn't care about attachment, why he still had them, why bother cleaning them almost every day?
"Maybe" he said incredulously "It's not like they have seen any battles since I got them"
It's kind of weird, Tamaki thought as he prepared the obligatory tea serving. Weird tomboy ojou-sama that's into plastic model, the world sure is huge.
That aside, he also put her shoes near the front door, because her reaction be damned, there's such a thing as manner and custom, his logic argued. Fortunately, she didn't object.
As he poured hot water into the guest cup, his mother just HAD to appear, oh so convenient.
"Tamaki, do you have a guest?"
"Yeah, sort of" he said almost lazily, signaling that he didn't want to talk further about it.
Carrying the serving plate upstairs, he was surprised that she still sat on the pillow neatly… almost ladylike even.
She put the tip of her hands before slightly bow and said "Thank you for the hospitality"
That definitely caught him off guard, the smoothness of her voice, the graceful movement, and even the way she held her cup…
Everything about her is TRULY contradictory.
"Are you by any chance experienced in tea ceremony?" he asked offhandedly.
"You can tell?" she widened her eyes.
"Yeah, accustomed to seeing it because… reasons"
Mostly because he secretly like to watch Tv Drama, especially one that put emphasis on culture.
"Say, do you even watch Gundam?"
He shook his head "I don't, not since long time ago. And back then I have zero understanding about anything harder than typical children show"
"Oh" she nodded in understanding "Too bad then"
Without changing her sitting position, she took a gunpla out of her pocket. The first thing he notice is its insect-like wing propulsion system, and the face is typical that of gundam. The entire model is mostly orange of two different shades, with blue and gold touch up on some parts.
And what's more, there's like a dozen of fins.
It's also much smaller than the gunpla he had.
"Is that custom?"
"Yeah, it's a scratchbuilt using Record Breaker and Crossbone Gundam parts as basis" she said "It has increased output, allowing it to attain even higher mobility feats than normal"
"Sounds like something bothersome to control"he, despite his claim of not liking gunpla, has few months of flight experience in his disposal, he knew that ease of control reduced proportionally to gunpla mobility.
"Well, yeah. I still unable to grasp its full capabilities, and had to put limiter on the GP base"
Well, cool. That means her ability as builder outstripped her piloting skill.
"Even then" she grinned manically "Someday, I'll be able to use its full potential, my own gunpla… [Vanishing Record]"
"Say, do you know any gunpla store around here?" she changed the topic, but still went about gunpla anyway.
"There's Iori shop, east from front door, three intersections later, turn right"
One odd shop, he might say. Usually you don't open model store in the middle of residential area like this, because it reduce potential sales.
She nodded "Good, good, anyway, thanks for helping me… I'll repay it somehow"
"It's okay, but next time, please don't jump to someone's window like a thief" he said flatly.
"Arara, I'm truly ashamed of you, Tamaki"
The atmosphere, to him, turned icy cold, frankly due to his mother's stare on his back… and his father grinning like maniac behind her.
"What kind of gentleman are you, boy" his father said "Go with her"
Or else, he didn't say that, but the implication is strong. Tamaki sighed and decide fighting them more bother than it's worth.
He can only laugh at his misery "Sure, I'll go with you"
"Really, thank you very much" she said, so honest and innocent it made him feel diabetic. He waved his hand "It'll be really bad if you get lost because of my faulty guidance"
His parents pointed their thumbs in agreement, what the hell. Well, with the decline of birth rate these days, parents are increasingly anxious about their children's future. From what he heard, every kids at school experience similar thing.
"I'm sorry for being a bother" she bowed to the adults "The name is Sakurai Nanami, nice to meet you"
"Nah, nah, come here anytime. You see, our son is quite a loner. Sakurai-san"
"I'M NOT" he snarled "Whatever, let's go"
It's not exactly a long distance walk, and not something exciting to do either. It's just… different. When the last time he walked with a girl in tow? Oh right, Meguru.
"Hey, are you sure you're not interested in gunpla?"
"Not really, though my… friends always force me to fight alongside them"
Her eyes widened in excitement "Really, really sure?"
"Like I said, I do battle sometimes but it's not even my gunpla and-"
"REALLY REALLY SURE?" Her face was close enough to make him uncomfortable, feeling her soft breath on his lips, he couldn't withstand it.
"No" he stated coldly.
She took two step behind with a face so pale the wall will scream in envy, it was an awkward silence again.
She practically JUMPED at the scene after regain the mood big time "Whoa, thanks for the help again"
Tamaki just give a neutral smile and said "I'm waiting, so take your time"
"If I return now, my parents will mock me because… REASONS, so take your time" he posed a cheerful, innocent face, despite cursing internally.
In truth, Tamaki just want to know.
What made Gunpla so interesting? The battle? How about those people collecting them for the sake of collecting? Aoi didn't even battle much, his collection is small but all of them are rather on the expensive end.
All he knew that Gunpla is a vast, expansive hobby.
He snapped back into reality, the strawberry blonde chirping like fangirls meeting their handsome idols. Really, even without high pitched squeal, one can easily saw that from a simple expression.
"So many things to buy" she licked her lips "Hmm, this is painful"
Tamaki heard girls took five times longer than boys when they go shopping, so might as well ignore the boredom.
"Welcome to Iori shop" a beautiful woman greeted them both, though she doesn't look like it, Ms. Iori is a married woman with a son about junior high in age, at least even that much Tamaki knew. She's kind of famous in this district, after all "Anything I can help with?"
"Ah yes" Nanami inquired "I need HGUC Record Breaker and Crossbone Gundam one of each"
"Reco-ahem" Ms. Iori quickly return to pick the catalog and browse through it "Record Breaker and Crossbone gundam… hmm, Crossbone… huh? Oh, it should be around here"
Huh, even the shop owner can be ignorant about it; then again, most housewives probably knew less about Gunpla than even Tamaki would, so it's not that strange.
While he didn't come here often, he did know how much of an addict her husband and her son are to gunpla. It's been in gossips circle for years! Must be tiring for her to cope with that fact.
A pair of box fell to Nanami's hands caused her grin to grow even bigger. Didn't she know that it's improper to smile that wide in public? Whatever.
"It's really rare to see girls that enthusiastic about gunpla" Ms. Iori mumbled happily "Don't you think so, Azuma-kun?"
"Ah, yes" Tamaki just nod in response, not knowing what to express.
"Must be lucky to have such a cute girlfriend who's also into gunpla"
Did she just imply that 1. Sakurai is his girlfriend and 2. That he's actually into gunpla?
He's so much taken a back that he just looked at Ms. Iori with horrified expression, unable to retort.
Oh well, can't get away with nothing.
"It's not like boys are completely stranger to plush toy either, Iori-san" he joked, if only to change the subject and avoid further awkwardness on his part.
With the proliferation of mass media, the stigma of stereotypical hobby, entertainment and cultural activity can be slightly rectified. At least, Tamaki PREFER to think so instead of having internal debate.
"Anything else I can help?"
Tamaki tilted his head before softly smiled "… Can I have a custom weapon set?"
Tamaki just remember that he broke one of the weapon parts by accident during major cleanup; he wondered why he had to remember it now, because it's been months. Perhaps out of obligation, or is it because of guilt?
Looking at the various set, he grew increasingly confused which one to pick.
He sighed, and picked five random weapon sets for 1/144 and 1/100 kit, it's not like they're exceptionally expensive anyway, considering how small they are.
"Are you done yet?" he asked as he paid his purchase.
"Hmm" she raised a paperbag filled with two big boxes and some other stuff "It's enough"
He stuffed the much smaller paperbag into his jacket as they left.
"What did you buy?" curiously, the girl asked him. Playfully walking backward disregarding of safety concern, she want to maintain eye contact and she meant it.
"Replacement weapon, I think I broke one of the gun, and superglue don't work that well"
Nanami burst into laughter "Obviously you can't do that. You need to use thin cement"
Well, as for the cement, how the fuck you use that? A droplet is enough to weld his finger in two, and after that he swore he'll never touch the disgustingly smelly adhesive in the near future.
Nanami glanced "Ho, do you have the tools to do it? I can lend you mine if you want"
Well rather than worrying about the tools, he needed the knowledge how to use the tools he inherited properly.
"Yeah, I do… no need to worry. Nipper, files, the works"
"Good, the basic of the basic is that you have the tools for it. If you have difficulties, just come to my house anytime"
Well, and how to use it. Not that he will admit about his… difficulties, it couldn't be that hard… could it? Besides, barging into a rich girl's house is improper.
She stopped him right abruptly right as they arrive in front of his home, and he did "It's okay! I can go by myself from here"
The improperly bright smile disappeared, the way dark cloud covered the sunshine right above them "Also… can I come here sometimes?"
Looking at the sudden change of her emotion, he's rather confused.
Did she just…
For the first time since their meeting, Tamaki can actually smile without pretending or being sarcastic. "Sure, just be sure to knock the front door gracefully like an Ojousama should"
"Really?! See you later then" she waved her hand… before swiftly JUMP on the wall back into her residence.
If it was anyone else, they probably will call her a nutso.
But not Tamaki.
"Ohoho, what a smooth operator? You did so well, Tamaki" his mother chuckled as he returned, OF COURSE she'll peek, and his father will dub it for her convenience.
"She's too naïve… if it was any other boy, it'll cause a lot of misunderstanding"
"No, you're just mind-numbingly dense as usual" his mother chided and mock tears "Papa, why we have such a boring man for a son?"
"Really?" Azuma Sr. just rubbed his stubbly chin in response "I think it's a popular archetype these days, you know, the resident cool and distant dude at school. The girls want to be his one and only angel, or some such"
"You two expect too much from me" Tamaki snorted.
That's why… personal attachment is bothersome.
Because humans are like shooting star, burning, disappear… and then…
Few months ago…
"Don't 'what' me; let's go to the arcade together… with everyone"
"Sure, whatever works… Tachibana"
The chubby, short and unathletic guy aside him is just an average geek, though, in contrast to overtly stereotype, he's just as sociable, if not more so than average teen. He can literally fit anywhere, everywhere, whenever, with anyone. Tachibana is an amazing boy like that, regardless of his shortcomings.
And even Tamaki admit there's literally no reason not to hang out with the boy, at least he won't be bored.
Gunpla enthusiast came from all ages and gender, though due to the nature of franchise and cost requirement, most of them actually adult males, young or old. Recently though, most probably due to the introduction of gunpla battle, the number of demography amongst kids and teenagers increased.
The arcade often has dual and triple table battle arenas, compared to single table usually found in most toy shop. This is why most fighters decide it's a better battleground for their hobby's satisfaction, despite the required rent fee.
"It's amazing isn't it?" Tachibana cheerfully pointed "The modularity of the system allows it to be combined as long as you have the money to do it. Single, pair, triple, quadruple… though if you somehow had the possession of legendary seven panel arena, you have too much money on your disposal"
Tamaki just shrugged in response, he still haven't get the charm that gunpla attracts.
"Are you playing computer survival again?"
"Yeah, this time" Tachibana pulled out a bulky-looking gundam-type Mobile suit out of his bag, it's shield alone probably bigger than the torso and feet combined "With my upgraded Physalis, I'll defeat that Big Zam this time around"
"… I don't watch gundam but I don't think your gunpla suited for duel fight"
"Which is my point" Tachibana fired up like no one business "For the most part, any experienced player shouldn't have any problem against smaller enemy NPC… it's the boss unit that's bothersome"
Tachibana pulled another kit from his pouch this time "Anyway, you sure you're not joining? My treat, you know"
"Nah, go ahead. Best I can do is there to hinder you and stand like an Idiot"
Tamaki sighed, why the hell he's here again? Oh wait, hanging out.
Tachibana pulled a pair of GP bases for convenience. GP Base is an electronic peripheral that store information of the builder, fighter, as well as the gunpla itself.
Meaning, even gunpla operation and special abilities are reprogrammable. How well such special power manifest however, is decided by how well built the gunpla itself. Tons of gimmicks can't do anything if the influence in battle considered meaningless.
"Gundam Zephyranthes Full Burnern, from 0083 Stardust Memory" "Beware, the speed of this bad boy is overwhelming for beginners, wee bit fragile though"
"Duh" Tamaki said, of course, sticking a pair of massive rocket on the back is a good indication how fast it can be even straight build like this "Then why stick it with me to begin with?"
"The GP base is set with limiter on"
"I've heard that a lot but what is a limiter?"
"Basically a rudimentary computer VI support that helped manages the output and operation of Gunpla. For example, landing correction to avoid slippage and such"
"You use it too?"
"Not anymore, it's basically training wheel. Sure it helped you in the beginning, but at some point, they limit your flexibility and more like a hindrance, because it stopped you from bringing the true potential of gunpla"
"[Please, set your GP base]" the machine announced, and both of them placed their respective gunpla on the assigned place.
Brilliant pillars rise out from the table, spread around them and form what essentially a virtual cockpit. The holographic technology of the Gunpla battle system is amazing, even a layman like Takumi had to admit it look awesome at least.
Every single console and screens are simulation, courtesy of Plavsky particle bonding with each other and forming mockery of solid objects and peripherals. They can be felt and touched, and respond accordingly.
A pair of spheres appeared in front of Tamaki, and it is covered by pressure sensitive button that he knows jack and shit about their function…
What the hell.
"Push the raker forward"
"Arm Raker, that's what the control is called by us gundam fans, though its official name is actually simply control spheres" Tachibana laughed.
Tamaki nodded and push-
But why he didn't want to? Why did he stop midway?
Is he afraid?
Suddenly, cold yet comfortable sensation engulfed his hand, he look aside.
The spiky haired boy smiled as he held Tamaki's hand and tried to make it budge.
"[Go forth, Tamaki]"
And he disappears once again…
"Zephyrantes, boost on"
That was the first day Tamaki know what it means to do a gunpla battle, from that day onwards he's steadily improving.
And yet, his heart refuses to accept or reject it altogether, even today, Tamaki never understood what he felt about gunpla.
So yeah, I want to write someone cocky, contradictory and full of irony. As for how I develop this… shitty OC of mine, who knows? And Nanami… well, she's rather one dimensional, isn't she? Hopefully they become interesting soon.
And sorry for the boring prologue, it doesn't even have battle scenes. How embarrassing.
There will be references and shoutout to the anime, but for now, see you later.