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Anime / Buddy Complex

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A 2014 anime produced by Bandai and Sunrise.

The story follows Aoba Watase, an all around Ordinary High-School Student from the year 2014. However, his normal life suddenly ends when a Humongous Mecha with an Ax-Crazy pilot obsessed with killing him suddenly lands in the schoolyard. Aoba is rescued by another mech piloted by his classmate Hina, who reveals that both she and the other pilot are from the future. In order to escape, Hina travels back through the portal that sent the enemy pilot to the past and begins to disappear, leaving Aoba with a message: Dio is waiting for him.

Aoba later awakens in the year 2088. The Confederate Treaty of Liberty Alliance (consisting of present day America, Japan, Australia, and Western Europe) has gotten into war with Great Zogilia (consisting of present day China, Russia, and Eastern Europe.) Dio and company are a small fleet working for the Alliance and testing their new Super Prototype, which allows two compatible pilots to synchronize and share their knowledge and skills. Oddly enough, Aoba happened to awaken in the mecha meant to couple with Dio's, and now he has to fight alongside the Alliance in the hopes of finding out what's happened to Hina, and if there's any chance of him returning to the past.

A continuation was announced mere hours after the show finished its run in the form of a two-part OVA titled Buddy Complex Final Act: Into the Skies of Tomorrow, released in September 2014 which concludes the story.

This work contains examples of:

  • A Mech by Any Other Name: They're called "Valliancer" here.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The "Nectoribium" substance, which is used for a wide variety of purposes, though we mainly see military applications of it in Ray Guns and Deflector Shields. There are also some references to it as being an energy source for civilian use.
    • According to background materials, it's also responsible for making Valiancers and flying battleships possible.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: In episode 2, Aoba and Dio's mechas do this after they finish Coupling.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The world is saved, the war ends, and Aoba and Hina go back to their original times. Of course, this means they both have to leave their dear friend Dio in the future.
  • Black-and-White Morality: The dicotomy of the conflict between the Alliance and the Empire. The Alliance army is fighting for justice and freedom, while the Empire is fighting for domination of the world.
  • Book Ends: The futuristic battle at the beginning of the first episode turns out to be the battle for the Alaska base, and the exact same scene is shown again in the final episode.
  • Brainwashed: Wilheim Hahn brainwashes Hina with some kind of drug to comply with any order given in battle, even to kill Aoba Watase.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: The Coupling system is voice activated, at least on the mecha side of things.
  • Call-Back: Aoba's visit to his hometown in Episode 4 has several shots that show the exact same location at the exact same angle from Episode 1, to show how much it has changed over seventy years and that he most likely can't ever go back.
  • Cassandra Truth: Aoba is very open about the fact that he's from the past to The Federation. Time Travel being Time Travel, they don't quite buy it.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Dr. Alessandro Fermi's explanation of Coupling to Aoba touches on quantum mechanics and he states that the reason why you can "sense" what's going to happen while in Coupling mode is because your thoughts have been moved to the future by a few seconds; essentially, that Coupling is like doing a small scale time leap. The final episode reveals that the time portal opened because of Aoba & Hina's insanely high synchronization rate while Coupling and making contact with the Gorgon's massive energy blast while they were Coupled.
    • A pair of old prototype Coupling Valiancers are introduced just as Zogilia was launching an operation to capture Luxon and Bradyon. Gee, what could possibly happen next?
  • Coming of Age Story
  • Commie Nazis: The Zogilla Empire as a whole, though a very downplayed example.
  • Cosmic Deadline: The natural consequence of compressing an entire season into two episodes: By the time of the Final Chapter, everything started moving at breakneck pace, regardless of how little sense they make.
  • Disappears into Light: Hina, after she sends Aoba to the future.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Oh, c'mon! After "Nice Coupling", now they have "First Proposal" and "Accept"?
    • Heck, the word 'Coupling' (kappuringu) is what the Japanese (especially BL fans) call their ships. Just replace every use of 'Coupling' with 'Shipping' to get the drift.
    • When a third coupler shows up, he doesn't sync up well with Dio, but he syncs up fantastically with Aoba. Dio's immidiate response is to clench his fists and start grinding his teeth, and he becomes visibly upset throughout their first Coupling. Oh, and the episode ends with Dio saving Aoba from getting captured.
      • The final episode makes it a straight-up threesome.
  • Eagleland: The US in this show are of the first flavor, considering they make up most of the Confederate Treaty of Liberty Alliance, which is the side which the protagonists fight for.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In episode one, the Zogilian pilot that attacks Aoba just can't hit him despite the fact that Aoba is on a bicycle and he's in an advanced, futuristic Valliancer. Then he mentions that the Valliancer was designed that way. There are software protocols on it that prevent the Valliancer from attacking unarmed civilians.
    • During a military operation, after being cautioned not to hit the civilian vessels standing on the military base, a Zogilian pilot answered, that there is no way in hell he would do something that disgraceful, although in a flashback, Zogilian military was shown to bomb civilian sectors of a city.
  • Faceless Goons: The first Zogilian pilot that Aoba killed was notably this. He wears the same transparent helmet as every other Zogilian pilot, but his face was literally blacked out during the cockpit shot just before he died. Presumably, the creators didn't bother coming up with a character design for a guy whose sole purpose is to die.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Moments after being flung into the future, Aoba wakes up in a mecha cockpit during the middle of a raging battle. Three guesses as to what happens next, and the first two don't count.
  • Foreshadowing: The Coupling System's ability to send information back in time later turns out to be an important plot point.
    • During the final battle, Wilheim Hahn has a Villainous Breakdown and starts ranting about how he wouldn't have lost if he had better parts (pilots). The mobile game has him following up on this by piloting a Coupling unit himself, hinting that he wouldn't have been The Unfought had a second season been made.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The events of the first episode confirm that Hina will join the good guys and almost certainly develop feelings for Aoba, Great Zogilia (or at the very least, the enemy pilot) will learn of how Aoba is a time traveler, and that he will do something to either the pilot personally or to Zogilia that will put him on the top of their hit list.
  • For Want of a Nail: In all previous timelines, Aoba and Dio failed to connect using Skyknight and Firebrand. This time around, they did, leading to shared memories on both parts. Because Dio sees Aoba's memories, he helps Aoba to rescue Hina from the singularity, instead of stopping him in previous timelines.
  • The Federation: In true Sunrise fashion, most of western Europe, North America, Australia, and Japan are all part of the Liberty Alliance.
  • Gratuitous Russian: The Zogillian salute roughly translates to "Glory to Zogilia" from Russian, although the grammar is a lil bit off.
    • A lot of the Zogilia's Valiancers and weapons have Russian names.
  • Have We Met Yet?: An odd variant. Episode 2 is canonically Aoba and Dio's first meeting, yet they both assume that the other knew of them beforehand. (Aoba due to Hina's last words, "Dio is waiting for you", before disappearing, and Dio due to Aoba's introduction upon meeting him). Needless to say, a lot of confusion (and suspicion, at least on on Dio's part) ensure.
    • Hina plays this straight. She apparently knew future!Aoba, but to past!Aoba she's a complete stranger.
    • And then Aoba gets this, when he meets with (relatively) present!Hina, who has no idea who he is, having confused her with future!Hina from the first episode.
    • Hina said this also during her canonical first meeting with Aoba in college.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The enemy mech pilot apparently knew Hina and was surprised to see her protecting Aoba. In the future which Aoba finds himself in, she's a member of the Zogilian army.
  • Humongous Mecha: Duh.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: In the first episode, the enemy pilot manages to miss the protagonist repeatedly with both his BFG and sword, both of which are wider then he is tall. Somewhat justified by the fact both are obviously for aiming at mecha rather then people sized targets, but still...
    • Although, of course, one would assume that Timey-Wimey Ball is at work; since the assailant knows Aoba, but Aoba doesn't know him, the assailant must come from Aoba's future. To be able to reach that future in which to influence the assailant to the point of inciting homicidal rage, Aoba should logically need to survive to see such a point in time. In other words, if he was shot and killed there, he wouldn't have gone on to do anything to warrant such an attack - after all, he is just an Ordinary High-School Student with "being an alright dude" as his most prolific accomplishment to date.
    • There is interesting dialogue by the enemy pilot which suggests that the mecha he was piloting had software restrictions that prevented the targeting unarmed civilians unless there was a facial recognition match.
  • Instant Expert: Justified. Aoba's mecha allows him to synchronize with a pilot in a similar mecha, and share his knowledge and abilities that way. By synchronizing with Dio, a veteran pilot, he automatically gains skills on par with his. The key here is that they have to be a good match, which is why the fact that Aoba and Dio can match up is such a big deal.
  • Ironic Echo: 'Dio is waiting for you' becomes very ironic when it's established that Dio wasn't expecting anyone at all. As Aoba puts it:
    "Dio wasn't waiting for me"
  • MacGuffin: Episode two establishes that Aoba and Dio's mechas are a new experimental model, and the enemy army wants to capture at least one unit.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Part of Margaret's plan in Episode 9 involves an overwhelming volume of fire at the Cygnus.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Hina, after Doktor Hahn drugged her.
  • My Name Is ???: Hilariously, the credits of episode one list the enemy pilot's voice actor as ???, in an attempt to stop fans from piecing together his identity too early.
  • Obviously Evil: The Empire army's commander controls the 666th Independent Mixed squadron, which is fighting Aoba's squad. Plus, his appearance reminds people of a certain maniacal prince...
    • Plus, arousing Margaret's suspicions alone is a serious offense, even if you did try to kill the enemy pilot.
  • Oh, Crap!: Alfreid's pilots have this reaction once the Luxon and Bradyon achieve Coupling and Dio starts to put Alfreid on the ropes.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Aoba.
  • Ray Gun: The "Nector" ray is apparently some kind of laser weapon. The same technology can also be used to create Deflector Shields.
  • Recursive Ammo: As seen in Episode 9, Zogillian cruise missiles have options for submunition warheads, which is Truth in Television.
  • Screw Destiny: In episode 13, Aoba decides to save Hina no matter what, preventing her from being trapped in her Stable Time Loop.
  • Sequel Hook: The Stinger in the final episode shows an aged Bizon who is still alive thanks to his Powered Armor being wheeled into a meeting of the Zogilian high command and swearing vengeance on Aoba.
  • Shout-Out: The beginning of the Coupling process is extremely similar to the Valvrave activation process, with the only major difference being that it doesn't turn the participants into space vampires.
    • So many to Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, especially in the second half of the series. A few highlights include Aoba & Hina being stuck on a tropical island while waiting for pickup mirroring Athrun & Cagalli's island episode, the Zogilians infiltrating Hawaii base much like how the le Creuset team infiltrated Orb, and a climactic battle at Alaska with a superweapon being activated.
    • The Coupling process itself is incredibly similar to the Drift in Pacific Rim, minus having to be in the same mech. And the time portal's computerized representation also resembles the computer model of the Breach.
      • Take a look at a Freeze-Frame Bonus in Episode 7. While the cockpit specially designed for the coupling system is being explained, you can clearly read Pacific Rim Neurosciences Institute.
    • Hina's Fortuna and Karura resembles the Tekkamen Rapier and Aki and the former even uses a twinblade.
    • Dolzief has a facial resemblance with Alejandro Corner.
  • Signature Headgear: Hina has a pink, cat shaped hair decoration, which falls into Aoba's possession after she disappears.
  • Space-Filling Empire: The Alliance and Zogilia.
  • Stable Time Loop: Episode 11 reveals that when timetraveler!Hina disappeared in episode 1, she ended up in Zagreb ten years prior to Aoba's arrival into the future, de-aged and amnesiac. She was found by Ryazan who thought she was a war orphan and raised her as his daughter into the Hina Aoba meets in 2088. This means Hina's very existence is an ontological paradox, which she seems to have realized after Aoba's description of what happened to him.
    • Episode #12 revealed, that Bizon is most likely a time traveler, too.
    • Episode 13 gives the full explanation: Hina has been in an unending stable time loop. Viktor Ryazan finds her in Zagreb, she grows up, meets Aoba, learns that she saved him in the past, and then deliberately goes into the singularity to make a stable time loop (and be an ontological paradox). In almost every timeline, Aoba tries to save her, but is stopped by Dio, and Hina is sent back in time along with Bizon. That said, Aoba decides to Screw Destiny this time.
      • Unfortunately this just sets the real loop back on track. Hina originally met Aoba in college, where they end up working together on the original Coupling technology. Hina vanishes during the initial tests, ends up in the future, and pilots the Luxion first time around. She fights Bizon and they both get sent to the past (two or three years before Hina's original time). Hina goes to Seio High then finds out that so did Aoba. Bizon shows up and they continue their fight, then get sent forward in time where Hina ends up de-aged further in Zogilia, thus starting the above inner loop.
  • Super Prototype: Aoba and Dio's mecha.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: The time portal fits this to a T.
  • Take That!: According to supplementary material, the reason why Zogilia is as powerful as it is now is because a country named Dahua (which is literally just China-with-a-different-name) wanted its Nectoribium deposits and tried to invade it over and over again, which gave it the excuse to launch a counter invasion and assimilate it, along with its ally, the Rodina Union (Russia-with-a-different-name).
    • Also, these two countries are literally the only real-life countries in the show with different names. In the future world, America is still America and Japan is still Japan.
  • Taking You with Me: Evgeni/Bizon tries to do this to the whole Earth.
  • Time Travel: The plot kicks off after a mysterious pilot gets transported back into the past, and tries to use that opportunity to kill Aoba. Aoba himself gets transported to the future at the end of the first episode.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The giant Nectar cannon, code-named "Gorgon", being constructed by Zogilia in Alaska. It becomes operational much sooner than Alliance intelligence estimated thanks to Alfried's scheming and takes out half their fleet when fired. And it's also partly responsible for opening the time portal.
    • Also the epitome of the Awesome, but Impractical part, as it turns out that firing it even once costs Zogilia a year's worth of Nectroibium. It's actually mentioned that firing the cannon too many times could bankrupt the country.
  • Yandere: Bizon Gerafil