Buddy Complex Ep. 3: When a girl gets in the way of a perfect Coupling

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C’mon, Aoba, look at what you’re doing to Dio. Bros before hos, man. In all seriousness though, this was kind of a lame episode. So much of the dialogue this week was so, so unnecessary. What I commended Buddy Complex for avoiding in its first showing ended up being for naught.

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Episode summary: The good guys are thrust back into battle as the enemy mechas have caught up to the ship. Initially, our friends are outnumbered, and this forces Aoba into battle. The Coupling System initially turns the tides of the skirmish, but when Aoba realizes that Hina is amongst his enemies, his actions nearly court disaster. In the end, the enemy mechas are able to retreat from what would’ve been a surefire victory for the Alliance.

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Notes:

• Aw, I’m disappointed in you, Buddy Complex. What’s with the pathetic infodump at the start of the episode? Plus, “nectoribium” as a name for an energy source? Really?

• To be more specific, did we really need to know any of this information? Does it change the tone of the anime? Does it make you look at the characters differently? When I consider these questions, I can’t say that the infodumping accomplished anything other than contributing a bunch of white noise.

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• Is it just me or are the characters swaying their shoulders even more than necessary? Take a look at Aoba and Mayu’s movements when they cut to the side of the characters. Then when the show cuts to an over-the-shoulder perspective, Aoba’s shoulders aren’t moving at all!

• I wonder what it must feel like to have everyone in the entire world doubt your words and call you crazy. You must start to believe it at some point, especially when your story is as outlandish as “Well, uh, I came from the past!”

• Mayu just casually mentions to Aoba that the captain intends for him to continue piloting his mecha (we learn it’s called Luxon). Naturally, Aoba’s like “What? I’m going to keep piloting it?” Geez, first you think he’s potentially dangerous and must be observed at all times, but you also think he should be a fighter for your cause — a cause which our stranger from the past has no real particular stake in.

• But what’s even more disappointing is how Aoba reacts: “I… I have to fight again.” What are you even fighting for? Your loved ones are all in the distant past. You don’t know anyone here. You don’t even know if Mayu’s infodumping was accurate. What if it was propaganda? You think one side of the war wouldn’t horribly distort the truth? I don’t actually care that Aoba ends up fighting, I just want his acceptance of his fate to be organic. I just want a main character that actually questions his circumstances. I just want to see someone who’s actually well-written and doesn’t just go with the flow because it’s the path of least resistance in following mecha anime convention.

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• Dio’s still a dick. I guess he’d be tsundere if he was a girl.

• “Did the army also teach you to yell at women?” Well, uh, if Dio thought a fellow soldier had done something egregious like take a civilian into a classified area — that’s a pretty big no no, I would think — shouldn’t he reprimand her? What, does Aoba think the army is a place to protect someone’s feelings just because of their gender? C’mon, this is what I mean by horribly written main characters. He’s just spouting this shit because it’s what an anime hero would say, but if you even think about it for a second, it doesn’t make any sense within the context of the scene. “Argh, she may have fucked up badly in your eyes, but she’s a gurl!”

• I like how one of the enemy pilots remarked, “Hey, it looks kinda like a swan,” then we see the captain refer to his own ship as Cygnus. Yeah, a little bit on the nose there.

• Anime, please. The good guys think they’ve gotten away, but a new mecha shows up with a giant-ass rifle that surprises everyone. Y’see, a Nectar Cannon is a big deal in the Buddy Complex universe. The anime doesn’t have to tell us this, however, because we can plainly see it’s a big deal. C’mon, it’s wrecking faces; when you show me how much damage the rifle is doing, is it necessary to also tell me that it’s doing a lot of damage? You’re just contributing even more pointless dialogue to an episode that was already bloated with pointless dialogue. But the cherry on top is how the enemy pilot says to himself, “Two consecutive shots is [this gun’s] limit.” What the hell? I know why he says it; the information is for the audience, but again, this is not a Wikipedia article. You don’t have to tell me this because why on earth would the guy say such a thing to nobody in particular? Why couldn’t you just see his ammo gauge read empty or some shit instead?

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• Oh no, Hina is with the bad guys.

• Well, the good guys are on the ropes. I guess we have no choice but to throw the civilian back into the frying pan. I’m glad Aoba isn’t whiny about it. Don’t get me wrong, I still think he doesn’t have a good reason to join their larger cause. But for now, it’s fight or die. It’s just that when they return to base or wherever they’re headed, I don’t think Aoba will even question once why he should become a soldier to fight for a bunch of strangers.

• I thought Dio was busy avoiding at least two people going after his ass, but he still nevertheless has the time to say to Aoba, “You should turn back if you can’t handle it.” Yes, it’s part of his tsuntsun act, but again, it’s the anime being like an anime instead of trying to make sense within the context of the scene. He’s fighting for his life, but he still has the time to be a dick? C’mon.

• Aaaaaaah, in the middle of a heated battle, one of the ladies starts to infodump about the Coupling System. Who couldn’t have already guessed how the Coupling System works, i.e. “[t]hrough linkage, pilots not only link their minds, but also their senses to the other?” Who’s watching this and doesn’t already know this? It’s plainly evident. Plus, who is she talking to? The people in the cockpit? You mean they don’t know this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills here. She continues, “By doing this, the Valiancers’ power is drastically increased.” Well no fucking shit, Sherlock. You mean the enemy pilots weren’t joking when they all collectively said, “Wow, so fast!”

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• “Zogilia pilots are now facing a Valiancer exceeding conventional limits.” On the other hand, Sunrise ain’t exceeding anything.

• It may seem stupid, but I don’t actually blame Aoba for going semi-nuts at the sight of Hina. He’s a stranger lost in a new world where everyone thinks he’s either lying or crazy. Hina, even if she is the enemy, is his only connection to both his previous life and his sanity. Too bad she doesn’t recognize him, so she probably thinks he’s crazy too.

• I think we can all predict how the start of the next episode will play out. Everyone’s going to hate on Aoba for endangering the mission and nearly getting one of the Alliance pilots killed. Maybe he’ll even get all angsty.

• On the bright side, at least this isn’t Sacred Seven.

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8 thoughts on “Buddy Complex Ep. 3: When a girl gets in the way of a perfect Coupling

  1. ZakuSurvivor

    It’s not Sacred Seven, that’s fair to say, but right I’m more excited about Gunpla Builders than about this. On the bright side, I think it should be interesting to see how Hina eventually changes into the person we saw back in episode one.

    Reply
  2. watanabe43

    Ah…Sacred Seven. Liked the first OP though :) Thanks for being about the only blogger I follow covering this, as always your commentary is spot on (and hilarious). Please keep going.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Ah…Sacred Seven. Liked the first OP though :)

      I had forgotten what it sounded like so I had to look it up. Thanks for that.

      Reply
  3. A Day Without Me

    “Dio’s still a dick. I guess he’d be tsundere if he was a girl.”

    I mean, bro, come on, you should know the blondes are always bitchy!

    Reply
  4. Naota

    Is it just me, or is anime at large unusually prone to bouts of mindless exposition, ala Buddy Complex?

    Nowhere else can I so easily find characters talking to themselves, others, or inanimate objects about things everyone in the room should already know. This is especially true if said explanations just assign silly-sounding Big Important Proper Nouns to things the audience has already seen, effectively turning the conversation into sheer technobabble. Does keeping to character matter so little? Is it so hard to get this information across in a less awkward way?

    Then there are the fights. The fights where, because clearly having a character expound on what they’re doing to the enemy is a dumb idea, the writer will instead have the enemy give us a play-by-play of the battle, never missing an opportunity to name-drop every maneuver or comment on things we can clearly see (“He’s fast!”). Sometimes that special gem like Tokyo Ravens will even come along, in which both parties spend an episode telling their opponent the names of the various attacks presently hitting them in the face, like they were actually locked in a battle of inane shaman-words trivia.

    I get that bad writing can and will be bad, but the dread-spectre of terrible anime exposition is so ubiquitous that I have to wonder why. It’s such a basic rule of writing proper fiction, yet it clearly slips the editor’s net so very often.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      It’s cheap, it’s easy. Instead of animating a visual explanation, just zoom in on the bad guy’s face and have him say that his gun can only fire twice before recharging. Instead of storyboarding a longer fight scene, just cut to the scientist lady and have her repeat stuff you’ve already explained to the audience, so it practically writes itself! Zoom in on some computer screens. Have it light up all pretty. Pretty easy to do. Static scenes of the cockpit are easy to animate. Everyone just sits around and talk. They might lean one way or another, they might turn one way or another, but it’s all still very easy filler to cut corners.

      Reply
  5. flamerounin

    three (or four) episodes in, and i still don’t understand what this anime is trying to tell. i guess, the guys at sunrise’ studio 8 still haven’t laid off the drugs they took when they made valvrave.

    Reply

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