You wouldn’t want her to lose an arm and a leg, would you?
Episode summary: The crew takes advantage of its downtime to haze poor Aoba, forcing him to scrub toilets and such. In the middle of one of his chores, our hero spots Fiona attempting to make her way aboard Cygnus in order to reunite with her brother. After sneaking her onto the ship, Zogilia forces attack out of nowhere. Fiona hastily gives her brother words of encouragement before he and Aoba has to fly off to defend the base from their enemies. Sensing that it’s a losing battle, Cygnus’s commander decides to cut their losses short and abandon Chitose Base. Although our heroes do manage to make their escape, the Chitose Base falls to Zogilia.
• Zogilia has the most awkward salute in the world as every member of its army must continually fist his or her own chest even as they’re walking down a hallway:
No wonder they’re the bad guys. In any case, this entire scene’s purpose is to inform us that Zogilia is about to launch an attack. Yep, that’s it. Scene’s over. Time to move on.
• Back at Chitose, Aoba is staring at Dio lovingly from a distance. Oh how his heart aches in anticipation of their next Coupling…
• Oh hey, Aoba’s military training starts today. In response, our hero can only utter a grunt. I wonder if he realizes what he’s just gotten himself into. He’s in a war now. He’s going to have to kill people. How do you go from playing basketball with your friends during school to becoming a soldier fighting in a world war without even losing your lunch? Guess Aoba’s just tougher than we all thought.
• Unfortunately, there is no training. The crew’s just going to haze the rookie. Y’know, make Aoba do stuff like scrubbing the poop deck, cleaning toilets, peeling potatoes, etc. Either our hero already knows exactly what it takes to be a soldier, or the Alliance is a laughable ragtag crew of wannabe peacekeepers. Eh, a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B… It’s just amazing to me that for how much I mock The Pilot’s Love Song, that damn anime has actually done more to prepare its characters for the grim realities of war than Buddy Complex. For example, let’s say Aoba gets shot out of the sky one day. It could happen. So he’s going to have to hoof it on the ground, and he might even come across some enemy combatants as a result. Is he proficient in close quarters combat? Can he hike long distances while carrying a heavy pack of critical supplies? Does he have any wilderness training? Can he operate a firearm? Shouldn’t a soldier need to know any of this stuff?
• We pause for a brief second to find out that Hina is no longer being detained. Just a brief second though…
…because we gotta get right back to Aoba and his wacky cleaning hijinks!
• In the distance, Aoba spies Dio’s sister Fiona. She’s attempting to board the Alliance ship to presumably see her brother. What ever happened to using email or some other form of instantaneous electronic communication? You’d think seventy plus years into the future people wouldn’t have to meet each other face-to-face in order to have a conversation. Of course, face-to-face conversations will always trump, say, a text message, but the anime makes it seem as though Dio and Fiona haven’t actually talked to each other for long, long time. Maybe the internet doesn’t exist in the world of Buddy Complex.
• Here’s tragic backstory time! Dio was forced to retreat from the defense of some city, the same city that housed both his mother and his precious imouto. And of course, the mother bites it ’cause who the hell cares about her! The imouto though… well, as you can probably tell, a crippled imouto is the height of mecha fashion. In the end, I’d say Dio came out ahead on that front. So despite the fact that the Weinberg family looks to be incredibly wealthy and influential — hell, this is what we’ve been told in last week’s episode — the mother and daughter couldn’t manage to evacuate the city in time. And not only that, the patriarch of the family puts all of the blame on Dio even though his son was hardly a high-ranking soldier at the time. Y’know, the type that can actually issue orders to attack or retreat. It’s almost as if this backstory is… contrived… naaah, anime would never toy with our heart strings like that.
• No wonder nobody’s winning this war. As I’ve already said, Zogilia is busy fisting itself and detaining its most talented soldiers just for arousing suspicion. Meanwhile, a disabled imouto and her maid can sneak aboard an Alliance ship by simply having Aoba fake a stomach illness. Fan-fucking-tasting work, gentlemen.
Gee, I wonder!
• But Aoba explains, “You shouldn’t have to get permission to see your own family.” Well why don’t we just have one giant “Bring your family to the military base” day then! To hell with the classified information we have onboard the ship! The special Coupling mechas that might just turn the tides of this war? Eh, if we can’t even entrust such secrets to our very own family members, then we’ve already lost the war…no, not that war, my friends. I mean here…
…the war in our hearts.
• By the way, this is why I’ve been saying that Aoba needs actual training. Y’know, get him up to speed on military protocols and not scrubbing toilets?
• But of course, no one’s even mad. When Aoba and Dio’s imouto reach the bridge, they merely stumble onto Aoba’s welcoming party. Wow, if I had known the army was like this, I would’ve enlisted years ago! Hell, I’ll join right now! Who do I talk to!
When do I get my cake and confetti! It’s just tradition, y’all.
• Oh no! Before Dio can even make it to the party, Zogilia forces have invaded the Sea of Japan! Welp, at least Fiona’s here where we can protect her! Wouldn’t want her to lose her arms too. Then what will she even do with her life? Join the cast of an eroge, I guess.
• Cygnus’s crew is reluctant to join the battle because the Coupling System is still supposed to be top secret. Is it? Really? After all that’s happened, do we really think Zogilia is still in the dark about the Coupling System? They’ve only lost to it, oh I dunno, three times now? Oh, I forgot. No one has email. They can’t actually message each other about the losses they’ve suffered. Even the Invasion Objects from Nobunagun have more military coordination than our villains here.
• Y’know, I was joking about Fiona being on the ship so that Dio can protect her. Y’know that, right? So what the hell is she still doing here?
In fact, the damn commander is right behind her. What is he doing? Has it occurred to him that a disabled little girl is on his bridge? Oh my bad, she has something really important to say, guys! Shh, shh.
• If Dio’s done nothing wrong, then why do you feel the need to say “I will always forgive you.” What is there to forgive if he’s blameless?
• Oh by the way, if you haven’t noticed, she never actually gets to see Dio in person. All she ends up doing is talk to him over what basically amounts to a webcam. Couldn’t she have done this before? Couldn’t she have sent him a message somehow to tell him that she doesn’t blame him for their mother’s death? Oh right, right, the internet doesn’t exist.
• Oh okay, now she’ll leave. But look at the determined look on Dio’s face now. That’s the magical power of disabled imoutos, everybody! If she had been blind too, who knows what would have happened instead? Dio might have gained the ability to mind control people or something. I’m just kidding; that’d just be stupid.
• But before Cygnus’s Valiancers can take off and support the rest of their fleet at Otaru Base, Zogilia’s Valiancers are already here at Chitose.
• I sure hope Mr. “I can only fire twice before having to recharge” has come up with some new strategies though. Last I remember, they didn’t fare so well against the Coupling System.
• Hina goes straight for Aoba. Someone’s jealous.
• Can the pilots from two different sides actually talk to each other? I can’t really tell. Even though Aoba and Hina are yelling things at each other, their words don’t seem to be connected whatsoever. So maybe they’re just yelling… futilely.
• Cygnus is being pincered, but it’s okay, because the good guys’ bag of tricks is always full.
• “But Hina…!” Now repeat this like a billion times and you’ve got the extent of Aoba’s lines in the latter half of this episode. He still thinks the Hina he sees here is the same Hina he met at the start of the series. I mean, I don’t even know what to say. It’s a good thing he came to the future and joined an army, ’cause this boy ain’t getting into a college with that brain.
• So basically, the good guys’ new trick is to have the Coupling mechas fly back-to-back and form one spectacular spearhead… then just ram yourself down the enemy’s throat:
This makeshift spearhead is then somehow able to block all incoming enemy fire. Yep.
• I guess the one bright side here is that the anime doesn’t feel the need to explain to its audience what the Coupling mechas are doing. But still, that doesn’t cancel out the fact that this maneuver looks completely retarded. Two mechas flying back-to-back is your secret weapon? Really?
• Also, I learned that if the enemy is firing its lasers at you, simply fire your lasers into the ocean below in order to form a barrier that will protect your ship 100%:
Yep. Sounds legit. About as legit as the back-to-back Coupling mechas.
• And just like that, Cygnus manages to escape. Dio’s done it, guys! He protected his imouto!