Buddy Complex Episode 1 [First Impression]
Eva’s First Impression:
What the fuck did I just watch? I have no idea what to think. What I do know is that I found the entire premise absolutely ridiculous and I could hardly take anything seriously. Is this a hidden gem? I don’t have fucking clue. Potential? Too soon to say, we’d have to jump into the future ourselves to find that out.
Basically, it was almost like a joke. Like I just said, I couldn’t take anything seriously. When that happens, you don’t give two shits about what’s going down, the fact they are time travellers and who’s dying and who’s not. Of course there were only two characters who supposedly “died” or at least disappeared today and I could care less. Not only that, it didn’t help that the corny dialogue made me cringe a few times (ughhhhh). But what I did find absolutely HILARIOUS was how Hina took Aoda away from his blissfully peaceful life in the present year 2014, being the nice naive guy he is, loved and respected by his friends, yadiyadiya~ and then being cast into the future in the middle of a fucking war! HOW SWEET OF YOU HINA!
Then we have the characters. Watase Aoba, our main lead of the show. Nice guy, loyal to his friends… and what do I have to say about him?
He’s a naive idiot.
Did you see how indifferent and relatively calm he was throughout the entire situation? I was like, “Dude, is your head up in the clouds or something?” One of the things I found annoying that it didn’t even faze him that while he is being targeted, there’s people getting caught in the crossfire (none were shown of course, but lets face it- there were definitely some off-screen causalities, but they weren’t important since that wasn’t on his mind. If it were, then it would have been showcased). While yes, this does break away the usual trend of characters going through the “SHIT I GOTTA DO SOMETHING/GET AWAY FROM EVERYONE” stage, at the same time- that takes away a vital element. Usually, when we see characters panic, it adds that air of urgency which is often to help the audience take the situation more seriously. By taking that away, it becomes very plain and shoddy. Surely there is a better way of doing it, the concept itself isn’t out of the question. It all comes down to how it is handled.
Yumihara Hina on the other hand as a tad more appealing. Despite her clumsiness, the combination of her somewhat-shy personality and being a badass made her more interesting. It’s certainly a pity that she “died”, but clearly she’s far from gone as she and the other guy are undoubtedly going to make a return in some way. I think I had subconsciously given Sunrise some extra brownies point just by having a female character be the first to fight (despite how underwhelming and measly it was) – I mean lets be honest, it’d be nice (and incredibly refreshing) to see more often.
Which may also explain why I was so pissed off with Valvrave ending the way it did- GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO LET THE LADIES SHINE!!!!!
The one thing that I was pleased with was that Sunrise went back to using the traditional 2D animation for this show, keeping the CG bits to the bare minimum. While I have come to appreciate good quality CG mobile suits/robots, traditional animation will always have a special place in my hard and I will always love it more than CG. The designs are the mobile suits are fairly interesting, but nothing spectacular or epic of the sort like the Valvraves, Gundams and the epic Knightmares units. As for the actual animation and character designs, well while the animation was crisp and the backgrounds were pretty, unfortunately I am not a fan of the character designs. Sure they are nice, but I just don’t like them. Maybe it’s because their faces are too round…
Overall, it’s far too soon for me to jump on the coverage bandwagon. I’ll give it three episodes, but I am certainly not holding my breath. If Dan or anyone else likes this and sees a potential or perhaps has a bit more hope I will happily leave it in their hands.
PS: Who else got Suisei no Gargantia vibes with the whole wormhole/vortex + when future-no-name man was suddenly thrown into 2014 acting very confused- not to mention even the interior and the attire he was wearing was remarkably similar to the one Ledo wore?
Possibility of Blogging: Low
Possibility of Watching: Moderate
Sidekick’s First Impression
I didn’t sign up as a possible blogger, but I do watch most first episodes of every lineup so you can expect my opinion on many other series.
Anyways, on to Buddy Complex. This is basically Geass/Valvrave version 2.0 aka every Sunrise mecha series ever released. This time though the good folks at Sunrise tried to change it up by replacing eye powers/vampiric body-swapping teenage mecha pilots to time-travelling ones. And well, other than that I can’t say it differs from anything else they’ve put out. Our lead character, Aoba Watase is your typical ‘nice guy’ character aka another Kirito from Sword Art Online. He’s good at basketball (because if you’re good at basketball you’re a real man!) and is able to dodge attacks from a giant mecha after his life WITH A BICYCLE. A BICYCLE. At least he’s more likeable than Haruto from Valvrave. But that’s not saying much.
Another character we’re introduced to in the premiere is Yumihara Hina, she seems like the typical nice girl who looks like she’s going to be Aoba’s soulmate or something in later episodes. Quiet, mysterious and popular in school (popular in school! What a twist!) and she seems to have her eyes on Aoba all the time. That is until GIANT MECHA ROBOT STARTS THRASHING THE SCHOOL AND TRYING TO KILL HARUTO AND BAM!!!! SHE’S A TIME-TRAVELLER TOO AND SHE’S HERE TO PROTECT AOBA!!!
Aside from the cliché and almost poorly done characterizations from this premiere the other big thing you should notice in this series is the incredibly cheesy dialogue that makes close to zero sense. Aoba does NOT question Hina like a normal person. He just smiles and TRUSTS HER as he enters the cockpit and watches her fight the mecha from the future (Hina: “You put your faith in people so easily!! *blushes*) because he’s a NICE GUY amirite? Hina later tells him to just “forget about the time-travellers and go back to lead a normal life” when a giant piece of metal was just after his life. Sounds like typical Sunrise to me.
Still, as a big fan of Geass I can’t say something similar to it like Buddy Complex doesn’t at least catch my attention. It’s a decent premiere I guess, but I’m gonna say it won’t be anything fantastic. I’ll go with the 3-episode rule as usual. I do expect lots of shonen-ai vibes with this Dio person they introduce at the end of this first episode though. That should keep my attention for a bit, even if it probably won’t match up to the genius of the Lelouch/Suzaku rivalry from Code Geass. (I don’t want to keep making blatant comparisons like this, but at this point I’m certain Sunrise is just trying their luck with these new releases to see if they can create the next Geass)
Possibility of Watching: Moderate
Dan’s First Impression
I’m not sure what Sunrise’s deal is with mecha now, but it appears that the general theme they’re going for is “increasingly nonsensical”. Valvrave was filled with over-the-top ridiculousness, violence and general ~fabulous~, but was saved by a solid concept and a handful of really good characters (if we decide not to talk about the finale…). It’s fairly clear, though, that Valvrave and Buddy Complex are trying to emulate the success of Code Geass. I can certainly understand why Sunrise would want to do this; Code Geass is a massive cashcow. However, the fact of the matter is, pretty much any fabulous and over the top mecha show will invariably compared to Code Geass. Which isn’t good, because I would bet a large sum of money that most people would deem a series generally inferior to Code Geass.
Buddy Complex suffers the same problem. It firmly establishes itself as a Sunrise mecha with our fairly generic, normal teenager Aoba, who is suddenly thrust into a battlefield. Aoba, however, enters the battlefield by travelling through time. He ended up in this situation because a classmate, Yumihara Hina, was a time traveller charged with protecting him from an as-yet unknown enemy. In order to save Aoba, she entered a wormhole, but at the cost of her own life. There’s also someone after Aoba’s life and goes about trying to kill him with a giant flying mech while Aoba races through the city on a bicycle…
Yeah, there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on which was not explained at all, and obviously this serves as the hook for the coming episodes as more information is revealed. I can’t say I’m as interested as I was in Geass or Valvrave. Compared to Lelouch’s massacre of a bunch of Britannian soldiers, or Haruto’s attack on L-Elf, the end of this episode is fairly tame and lacks the same WOW factor. But to give credit where credit is due, it does set the series up to go in some potentially interesting directions.
It really comes down to what the cast of characters is like, and how the series develops them. Aoba feels fairly generic at the moment. Happy, likeable kid who’s very nice. Also very good at basketball. Apparently extremely important; important enough to send a young girl in an enormous mecha to protect him. I’m not exactly in love with him, but what can you do? He is at least more likeable than Haruto at this point. Yumihara is much more intriguing; I find the questions of who she is and her reason for protecting Aoba much more compelling than the questions surrounding Aoba’s future.
Judging by the name of the series, and the mecha system Aoba wakes up in, the series will be focussed on the partnership between Aoba and Dio. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen. Again, parallels will be drawn between Aoba and Dio, and Lelouch and Suzaku. Perhaps even L-Elf and Haruto. However, I think this series is destined for mediocrity, simply because of Geass’ influence. It’s going to take a seriously well constructed series to match Geass; simply rehashing the same formula isn’t good enough.
I’ll still watch Buddy Complex for a few more episodes to see how things pan out because Sunrise, but I’m not interested in blogging it.
Possibility of Watching: Moderate