Reviews: Buddy Complex

Wasted potential

The premise of the series certainly is an interesting one: time travel and giant robots? What could be more awesome than that?

Unfortunately, as the series progresses, this is quickly ruined by countless generic mecha anime cliches: the hero Falling into the Cockpit of a Super Prototype (its pilot having conveniently died) and turns out to have the special ability needed to use it effectively, so he reluctantly becomes its pilot and boards a military ship. There, I just described the early episodes of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED...and this show.

Everyone except the main characters feel like they're bland stereotypes. Gallant's squad seems like the ZAFT red coats from SEED with all the personalities sucked out. Gallant himself is even a Char Clone like Rau Le Creuset. The Cygnus pilots (except the MCs) only seem to exist so they can do boring stuff like guarding the ship while Aoba and Dio do everything else ever. Also Lene Kleinbeck is literally just Natarle Badgiruel. They even look similar.

Onto Zogilia, the villain of the series... These guys really are as generic as bad guys get. We are told that they're expansionists, they have a pseudo-Nazi salute, they bomb a city full of civilians in a flashback, and that all seem pretty evil. But... we literally know nothing else about them. What's life like in Zogilia? How does their government work? How do they treat their people? Are they prospering or suffering? Nothing is ever explained. It's a mecha show, and mecha shows need enemies, that's the sole reason they exist.

And then there's Hina. When she first fought Aoba, she keeps going on and on about "death to the enemies of Zogilia", obviously implying that she's brainwashed. Except... it's later revealed that she wasn't (yet), and that was just patriotism. That patriotism didn't stop her, though, from defecting to the Alliance, not even after her adoptive dad sacrificed himself to save her from an Alliance soldier. And her reason for defecting is about as fucking asinine as it gets: "I want to learn about my past and Aoba's the key!" Not "I was brainwashed into a killing machine", not "My own teammate sexually harassed and mind raped me". She abandoned that whole "I want to protect the motherland and its people" thing ridiculously quickly just to learn her past.

And finally, the author's SUBTLE political commentary. It's not in the show, but the Blu-ray booklet about the rise of Zogilia basically boils down to "HURR DURR Japan and 'Murica GOOD, China and Russia BAD BAD BAD!" It seems like a 5 years old's idea of how international politics work, adds nothing to the story, and only serves to push the author's political views (which is just preaching to the choir in Japan anyway).

In the end, the show only has itself to blame for not getting a second season.