When ordinary high school student Aoba Watase is suddenly targeted by a giant robot known as a "Valiancer," he is saved by his mysterious classmate Hina Yumihara. After revealing that she and their robotic enemy are from the future, Hina suddenly propels Aoba 70 years forward in order to prevent his death.
Upon arrival, Aoba finds himself in the cockpit of a Valiancer called "Luxon," stuck in the midst of a firefight between the military forces of the Free Pact Alliance (FPA) and Zogilia Republic. After he shows high compatibility with an FPA pilot named Dio Weinberg, the two perform a successful "coupling," allowing them to share experiences and subsequently increase their capabilities and skills. Although Aoba is able to survive this unexpected battle, he is taken into custody by the FPA ship Cygnus, who wishes to interrogate him. While the student's main concern is whether he will ever be able to return home, what he doesn't realize is that he is about to get caught up in a war to protect the world.
Buddy Complex is a new mecha anime from Sunrise that does not push any boundaries, unlike Valvrave. However, the execution is very well done and keeps me entertained every week. The battles display differing tactics after failed attempts rather than having the same few machines doing the same few moves against each other, which happens in quite a few of Sunrise's previous mecha series. It is a delight to see how our main characters get out of the various difficult situations they are forced into.
Coming from Sunrise, it is not much of a surprise that the art and sound are well done. The background music
during the battles and while they are on standby fit in very well, and the OP and ED are catchy. The battles scenes are amazing and do not have a noticeable amount of re-used scenes. It is a joy to watch for the art and sound alone.
All of the characters seem ordinary. However, they are easily likable and feel human enough not to feel two-dimensional. Also, when they get emotional, there are clear reasons behind them (i.e. their emotional spurts do not seem to be pulled out of nowhere). There are also no noticeable plot holes that I have noticed while casually watching the show.
This is where the series shines for me. The anime does not become too ridiculous or too boring, and nothing about it bugs me.
Overall, this anime does not try to be anything out of the ordinary, but its excellent execution and animation keeps me coming back for more every week.
Buddy Complex implicates two dramatically different ways from its setup. We get a normal high school student named Aoba Watase with friends, a smile on his face, and like most kids, likes to play sports when they’re bored. Then, it quickly shifts to a mysterious girl coming from the future to apparently save Aoba, giant mecha dropping from the sky to terminate him, and a time travel phenomenon that changes his life forever. Sounds complex right? That’s just the tip of the iceberg as the show doesn’t reveal much in the beginning. Everything comes out as cryptic and plays you around like a jigsaw puzzle.
The only clues from the beginning are from the mysterious girl named Hina. Let the complexity ensure.
As a show produced by Sunrise, the classic genre of mecha comes to mind. It doesn’t waste any time in the beginning as we witness several of those causing chaos and havoc at Aoba’s school. The confusing part is not only the HOW but also the WHY. It’s no surprise that the audience will have many questions. But for what’s worth, we do know that Aoba Watase is a loyal friend. Despite having no military experience in the beginning, he listens to every word that Hina has to say and even attempts to save her like the way she is trying to save him. But this initial setup also identifies itself as cliché in the beginning with its gimmicky characters. Taking a look on the surface, the story itself adapts a supernatural device (time travel) and forwards 74 years into the future. But the more complex part is what goes on in that future. For instance, there’s two sides that are seemingly begrudged in a war – the Free Pact Alliance and Zogilia Republic; two sides existing opposite of each other sharing the common goal to win through absolute victory.
Events that does come together may sound typical but what happens in the future really ticks one’s mind when characters forwarded in time are seemingly different. For instance, Hina is almost nothing like the high school girl she debuted as. Instead, we are introduced to a Hina fighting for the Zogilia Republic as a loyal soldier. There’s little explanation in the beginning as to why her character went so much change and how she is there in the first place. But nonetheless, we also find out a character (Dio) that was mentioned by Hina as someone significant and possible benefactor to this futuristic world. Of course, Aoba remains clueless about everything goes on, probably in the same state as the viewers. Luckily, Aoba doesn’t change much and still maintains his characteristics as a loyal friend. Taking on the promise to find Dio, we quickly discover that Aoba has a special ability, the skill to perform the ‘coupling’. Again, this comes as a mystery because we know little about Aoba’s background besides his time at high school. What we still hope for are answers to these questions. The show itself explains in packages, little at a time. It does this first with the mechanics involving what ‘coupling’ is and how it’s performed. Then, it goes on explaining the two nations and its backgrounds in diligent yet unnerving ways. While all this makes sense, there’s a lack of interest because the big mystery still remains to why Aoba is involved with all of this. But do take time to familiarize with this show’s concepts as it does take patience to get through. After all, these concepts are complex by origins and even with cliches formulates a story for thought.
Tossing theories aside, there’s something innovative about Buddy Complex with its character dynamics. Initially, the three main characters (Aoba, Dio, and Hina) have little to nothing in common with each other. Yet, they all somehow get connected in the story not through a coincidental match up but rather through fate. It brings back the time travel trope with the story as the show likes to pander around with secrets and revelations. At the apex of the story, we also find the mysterious pilot that came from the future to kill Aoba. Of course, Hina is there again but this time is seemingly confused by her own identity. And seemingly enough, identity is another issue as Hina doesn’t seems to know exactly who she is beyond her outer persona. As mystery would have taken hold at the core, Buddy Complex slowly yet vividly reveals little by little of its purpose. Whether it’s done through conversations, flashbacks, or just what’s there, the show does actually attempt to pull this out concisely. It also allows viewers to formulate their own theories and see if their predictions are valid in this typhoon of complexity.
Despite the serious nature and warfare dedication of the series, there are moments for lighthearted scenarios. Although it sheds away some of the more tragic moments and brings out a different side, it follows a standard direction of witless context. For instance, the romance subplot between Aoba and Mayuka, another member of the alliance, often comes out as cheesy. It’s not just the dialogues but execution with the usual blushes, misunderstandings, and tawdry interactions. Then, there’s Aoba himself who stands out as nothing really appealing besides his dedication to his friends. Furthermore, we also have Fromm, another supporting character that exploit the princely figure that people seems to idolize. And although Fromm proves himself to be quite a capable player in the war, there’s little characterization besides his initial skill. The series also lacks a bit originality with the classic deserted island encounter, Zogilia’s conception relating to bigotry, and even Gundam Seed-esque installations. What we also do have is clash of ideologies and what the two sides are fighting for – Zogilia’s ambition to conquer the world and Free Pact Alliance fighting for freedom. It’s essentially a duel of wits to bring about a legend to be foretold; a crass legend but nonetheless.
The action battles, in general, are outstanding with the rapid pace and intensity. One of the most mysterious device is the ‘coupling’ system, a weapon that can essentially turn the tides of the war. And while some of the battles lacks integrity, the show has strategy from both sides that demand teamwork, innovative maneuvers, and technological demonstration. Each mecha has its own specifications and designs with key elements. The results often serves as evidence to its performance. Whether successful or failure, it creates a sense of credibility with how technology has involved in the future. Even when not in a mecha suit, the characters also show various degree of military experience such as usage of firearms, explosives, and art of deception. On the other hand, the environment as well as the battlefield of the series can feel to be quite stale and generic. It negates a sense of embellishment for what the war has already created.
Visual quality is courtesy of Sunrise, a studio no stranger with mecha themed shows. Therefore, expect similarity with some of its previous works in terms of mecha designs. Although most of them seems standard, more prominent mecha such as Aoba’s Luxon and Dio’s Braydon are featured with showcase moments. Character designs are also typical with Hina being the most mysterious with her beauty and secretive backgrounds. On the other hand, Aoba stands out as dull with nothing distinguishing to write home about. Fan service is minimal although poorly coordinated when the time calls for it. Nonetheless, it is consistent by Sunrise standards with its portrayal. Nothing earth shattering but acceptable.
Soundtrack plays various roles throughout the series. While some of the OST undermines the serious nature of the atmosphere, there are also moments when it creates variety. In other words, it can shift quickly and simply depending on its scenario. For what’s worth, the OST makes sense whether it’s for emotional scenes, aerial warfare, or climatic moments. The OP song also plays on a decorative way of presenting nearly all the main and supporting characters with decent coordination. And technical wise, most of the characters’ voice mannerisms works well. I do criticize a bit for Aoba’s voice tone as he sounds dull and sometimes forced. The only moments his voice seems to come to life is during arguments he has with Dio and concern for Hina. It’ll take time for the ears to get used to so patience will be key here.
Buddy Complex isn’t a mecha series that will influence future generations of mecha on what’s to come. After all, the term ‘mecha’ has a long history with the anime fandom. Sunrise built its studio on this foundation and presents Buddy Complex with a mixture of its ideas. Yet, to dismiss it entirely as cliche should be an overstatement. The show does offer a hook, to draw viewers into its story especially with so many questions. Whether this is an appeal to you or not will differ but simply put, the show isn’t just about robots fighting mindlessly. Just do be aware of its repetitive gags and some episodes that seemingly serves little development or characterization. It isn’t rocket science to understand Buddy Complex but neither is it that simple. Hopefully the second season will answer questions of complexity in the eye of the hurricane.
You would think that this is just some other Gundam rip-off, but no. It's a new kind of mecha where they bring in time travel and buddy thing as how the title is.
Its simple, the guy in the past go to future then become some cool character then the story slowly unfold how it ended up in 1st episode. War between two nations/country... robot mecha fight around, yea. I like mecha.
The character are normal, but the art of Luxon and Bradyon is nice, and when both of them in coupling mode is so damn cool, like how the wings glow
and all the cg effects stuff. But the 2 mecha still look like some No-grade Gundam. If Buddy Complex have more budget, the mecha will definitely look nicer with a bit of more detail.
I like both the opening and ending, not bad except the ending give me the feel of watching gundam seed ending. Nevertheless, everything sounds right in this anime.
I gonna admit, I like Hina a lot in this anime, just because of her long black hair and purple eyes and definitely how pretty she is. HINA HINA HINA!!!! And seeing how Aoba and Dio slowly become good buddy is really fun, like how they always quarrel with each other but still care about one another. Other character in the anime are also well developed.
All the coupling scene is damn nice! Like how fast Luxon and Bradyon move after they coupled. The fight scene and laser everywhere!!!! I also enjoy how Aoba always talking about Hina as though Hina is his only one. But it's really enjoyable to see fast action mecha fight that is not one sided, even when it is, it will and must be overwhelming!
SEASON 2!!!!!! So yea, they execute the ending for season 1 nicely, I thought it would be some Mahou Sensou's ending. The anime is enjoyable and no need to think so much when watching, because everything will be known episode after episode. And it's very straightforward anime.
So if you are interested in Mecha genre anime, it's not a bad idea to catch this one because you won't have much disappointment in it. Not the best mecha but one of the few good one! :)
I found myself to like this show very much, surprisingly. You may think this is some weird, nerdy mecha anime with painstakingly slow plot progress your too lazy to watch, but Sunrise Studios has done it again. I really liked the funny interactions with each character in each episode, along with the love triangles and the "world war" vibes. The main character, Watase Aoba may look like those generic male characters and kinda is, but there is depth in many of the characters.
I can't also wait for the second season, cause this time they'll be romance, trust me, you won't regret watching this anime.
The only mecha show I ever watched is Code-geass, and this show is just a mix of shonen and shoujo.