Wow, since the Coupling System is such a huge success, let’s add another generic face to the cast! Annnnd that about sums up this episode. Seriously, nothing happened.
Episode summary: The cat’s finally out of the bag about the Coupling System, and it doesn’t look like Alliance’s governing body is very happy to learn of its existence. As a result, a film crew has come aboard the Cygnus to film a promotional video that will convince the public to embrace the Coupling System. At first, a new pilot by the name of Fromm would be replacing Aoba as Dio’s partner because the new guy is apparently super handsome or something. A test reveals, however, that Dio and Fromm have terrible compatibility, so Aoba’s back in… in place of Dio. Dio’s relegated to being a camera assistant, which he’s none too pleased about. Out of nowhere, Zogilia forces attack our heroes. Fromm and Aoba are unable to mount a successful counterattack, but Dio manages to save the day despite having to pilot a generic mecha. The enemy is forced to retreat once more, and Fromm reveals that he’ll be joining the cast for the foreseeable future.
• So we start off with a bunch of fogeys complaining about how the Coupling System was prohibited from existing. ‘Cause yeah, it’s definitely been controversial so far. That spearhead move from last week’s episode has all the viewers up in arms and everything.
• “To change the tide of war, the tiger eventually makes its way out of its cage,” someone says. I don’t know what that means personally. What’s a tiger doing in a war? Who fights with tigers? I also like how this new guy straight up says, “Regardless of what the assembly decides, there are plenty of others who will support us.” It’s a common trope that any governing body will be nothing more than incompetent, bumbling fools. Sure, I can buy that. It’s Buddy Complex‘s proposed alternative that has me wary. Oh no, the bureaucratic red tape is holding us back from taking needed action! If only… if only the military would just take things into its own hands. Yeah, yeah! If only the military could act unilaterally without any input from the appointed or elected representatives of some governing body! What could go wrong?
• Back to the Cygnus where juicy plot developments are brewing. Give it to me, Sunrise! Hit me with your best shot! Annnnnnnnnnnd it turns Lene might have to wear a swimsuit for some upcoming promotional video on the Coupling System. Oh boy! But Lene, this will help us win over the public! Won’t you… won’t you objectify yourself for the sake of the war effort?
• This is basically war propaganda at work, but I love how the anime’s tone is so happy-go-lucky.
• Well, I like that Lene didn’t blush profusely at Fromm’s unnecessary compliment. She’s just like, “What?” Then she went straight back to work. I’m just so used to female characters getting all flustered over some uninspired flattery that Lene’s reaction actually surprised me. You cannot, however, certainly say the same for Anessa. Oh well, can’t win them all.
• “You heard? The other pilot for the Coupling System promotional video is a handsome guy.” Fromm barely looks any different from Aoba to me.
• I never would have expected a military ship to have such an extensive selection of beverages for its soldiers to choose from:
• According to Dio, socializing is a not a useful skillset for a soldier to have. Yep, much better to be taciturn. Keep it all bottled up inside, don’t make any friends, and you’ll turn out A-OK after the war ends!
• Looks like Lasha has a thing for Hina. I wonder if he’s going to go all yandere on us when Hina inevitably switches sides.
• That upbeat music again as they film war propaganda….
• Let’s say I’m an Alliance citizen. Let’s also say I’m not sold on the Coupling System. In fact, I need information about it. Alright, let’s start that promotional video then. Let’s see what the Alliance military’s got for us. Personally, if I started seeing hot babes in swimsuits sunbathing on one of the military’s ships, I’d be fucking livid. I’d ask, “This is what I’m wasting my tax dollars on? This is why the war is still ongoing?” I mean, think about it. People die in wars. I know it’s crazy, but trust me! War has casualties! I mean, just ask Dio’s mom. So y’know, I’d be pretty pissed if I saw my soldiers showing off their bodies as if I was looking through a Victoria’s Secret catalog. Then again, this is the future, after all. Maybe in the distant future, every single society on the face of the planet has become otaku-dominated. And as such, this sort of promotional video does do the trick. This would explain why none of the guys had to parade their half-naked bodies on camera like poor Mayu had to. Of course! Why had I not realized this before!
• According to Dio, he and Fromm once had a “Nice Coupling” reaction from a test to determine their compatibility. “Nice Coupling?” Is that the scientific term? I mean, really now….
• I don’t even know what Dio’s all mad about. This is just a stupid promotional video, a.k.a. frivolous concerns for a ~tru3 warrior~. But no, our blond pilot has to get all jealous and butthurt that he can’t Couple with Fromm. B-but I thought he said Fromm was shallow! So tsundere….
• “What in the world is he?” Dio asks. He doesn’t understand how Aoba is so good at Coupling. This isn’t exactly an uncommon question in anime. You actually hear it a lot when the powerful shounen hero shows up out of nowhere and displays the fruits of his hard work and practice. But that’s the thing: most heroes actually work to get to where they are. Well, the good ones anyway. As for Aoba? He’s literally just good because… well, just because. It’s so lame. I can’t even root for the guy because he’s a prodigy for no reason whatsoever. Who wants to root for someone who has everything handed to him on a silver platter?
• Wow, Dio managed to save Aoba! How awesome! In response, Dio mutters, “It’s my mission.” I mean, it’s not like he wanted to or anything. It’s just his duty as a soldier!
• So uh, after six weeks, what exactly is Buddy Complex‘s endgame? The anime’s feels more like the stupid Zogilia goon of the week rather than a full-blown war. And you know what? That is just boring as hell.
• It doesn’t help either that there’s no complexity whatsoever to Aoba’s character. None. With a lot of mecha protagonists, they will often have a dark past or family members who have died under mysterious circumstances. Aoba, on the other hand, is just a high school kid with no particular baggage to even shine a spotlight upon. He wants to talk to Hina and that’s about it. No, I don’t want him to be the emotional, whiny mecha protagonist, but at least stand for something. At least have a raison d’être. But Aoba has nothing. He just wants to talk to Hina.
• And wow, Fromm was so full of character and personality, let’s keep him around indefinitely!
But he’s hot… or something. So at least he’s got that gong for him.