One realization that supports why this episode’s battle identifies this episode as one of the best is the fact that Sunrise managed to deliver us a Gundam battle with the quality of a Gundam series’ finale.
And as with every Gundam series’ finale, shit blows up. The heroic Gundam that was able to deal tons of damage throughout the series (or half of it) finally breaks in the face of a worthy opponent. That’s it, roll credits.
And they did all that in this episode save for the fact that nobody dies. It is as Ral said, fans of the series do it for pleasure. There’s no need to pilot a Gundam to save the world or risk their lives, people do it for fun. And it is because it’s fun that they are able to bring out the best in the Gundam, the best in themselves.
Watching the battle unfold reminds me of spectating the finals in League of Legends. It’s not just being able to see amazing and miraculous plays but the fact that these players may be able to face off again in the future, the possibility of witnessing another moment is, in itself, priceless. And not just limited to MOBA, but any game in general, as long as there’s no death penalty clause attached to the loser, caters to the excitement of the fans because of that possibility of a rematch. To once again bear witness to such thrilling plays.
So far, I love the direction this series is headed. As long as they keep the death part and things going serious and absurd, I’m eager to watch GBF. Because personally, I think that’s what makes this hobby anime shine more than Yugioh, or Beyblade, or Vanguard. But who knows. They might introduce people with psychic powers later on, or newtypes like Reiji bent on world domination or some shit. But I certainly hope that stays a possibility, not a reality.