Build Divide: Code Black weirdly already has a second season more or less confirmed despite its current very low rating on MAL and the general lack of people seemingly talking about this anime. It’s one of those weird cases where you wonder how an anime title got a second season when other shows that are just crying out for a sequel disappear and are forgotten.
Anyway, Build Divide is pretty much a tournament of challengers playing a card game and if they win enough they’ll get to fight a king. Reasons why vary and are pretty vague in the early episodes but if you enjoy watching people play Magic the Gathering or similar style games this anime might work for you.
Watch or Drop? Rules
Rules modified for the Autumn 2021 season.
- The anime must be new (not a sequel or spin-off).
- I’ll watch as much as it takes to make a decisionas to whether the anime will be added to the watch/review list or dropped and forgotten. For good.
First Impressions of Build Divide
I’ve never been in to watching other people play a game. I can’t even really stand watching people play sport. I like games and there are some sports I enjoy but the passive act of watching someone else has never really appealed. And so it is with Build Divide. While the first episode is an excellent explanation of the mechanics of the game at the core of this anime, you are essentially watching a tutorial for playing a card game.
Whether that level of detail elevates the experience of watching something like Build Divide over the less coherent card game based anime from the WIXOSS franchise where rules seemingly get dropped into the mix and plays don’t always follow established norms will really depend on what it is you look for in an anime based on a card game.
Let’s just say though, that outside of the match played in episode one and the match in episode two, there’s little else that is given much detail and one moment that makes me wonder if the story is going to make sense in Build divide.
Build Divide Series Positives:
If you were looking for an anime that has attention to detail as its core mechanic, Build Divide will have you covered. Each move the players make is explained aloud and in episode two we even get an external observer to the match to provide some commentary just in case we’re really not following.
Admittedly, for those not used to these sorts of games it will be kind of like being given a random deck of Magic cards and told to play a round (as in you’ll be pretty lost). For those used to standard card mechanics there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about the game being played here other than it seems functional and you get cool holographic characters to play out the card attacks.
Outside of a pretty decent introduction to the game, and some reasonable visuals though I’m struggling for much that was distinctly good about these opening episodes (watched the first two). While nothing is overly broken, I also wasn’t exactly getting drawn into the characters and the plot is still too vague with the ‘beat the king’ being the only real goal established and the reasons for that are clouded over by yet another amnesiac protagonist.
Build Divide Series Negatives:
I have a few negatives for Build Divide, though overall this is pretty watchable if not all that interesting.
For instance in the first episode when Sakura runs into Teruto and he chases off her pursuer by drawing out a card and using it to slice his knife that looked pretty cool. But nowhere else in these first two episodes is it indicated that characters can use their cards outside of matches within the little barrier thing. More than that, how did his card effect something real like a knife?
It doesn’t make logical sense and there’s no explanation or even hint that this is going to be a thing in this story outside of this moment. So perhaps they just thought it looked cool but it makes the rules of the world much less clear because outside of this moment every time the characters use their cards they call one of the little floating ball things, erect a barrier and have an actual card match. No one seems to be just waving magic cards around in their every-day life.
Naturally there is still time for the anime to fill in that gap and explain it but it just stuck out so much to me in these first couple of episodes as not fitting with the rest of what I understood about what was going on.
It did look really cool though.
Then we have Sakura and Teruto, our main characters so far who between them still manage not to stumble upon an actual personality. In Teruto’s case he’s lost his memories (or something) but Sakura seems to exist just to explain stuff. She is given the motive of wanting to beat the king, knows she can’t so she decides to help Teruto, but outside of that she’s got nothing else going on.
Then, I’m putting that attention to detail in the matches as an overall negative because while it is interesting learning about the game, it just eats up episode time and while the first episode could get away with it because it was the audience’s introduction to the game as well, when episode two does it again you are kind of left with the impression that each episode is going to have about five minutes of thin set-up to give a reason to spend the rest of the episode playing a card game.
Honestly, I’m out. While Build Divide is not horrible and for some viewers may actually be pretty fun, I’ve found more than enough other anime in this Fall 2021 season that I don’t really feel compelled to sit through all the card rounds here. Maybe in a slower season I’ll come back to this but for now I’m just done.
As always though I’d love to know your thoughts so if you checked out Build Divide be sure to leave a comment below.
Images from: Blue Period. Dir. K. Masunari. Seven Arcs. 2021
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