OP: “UNISONIA” by TRUE
New year, new season – and thanks to a pre-airing, the first episode of Buddy Complex is the first full-length first impression of the season. At first glance this indeed seems like a very safe choice by Sunrise – no studio and no genre could be more inexorably linked than Sunrise and mecha, the creator of Buddy Complex is none other than “Yatate Hajime” – the nom de plume of the collective Sunrise writing staff. There’s a bit of Horizon tint to the staff list, including director Tanabe Yasuhiro.
If there’s a twist here it’s the presence of time travel, which I can’t recall (I make no claims of being an expert) making an appearance in any of Sunrise’s more important mecha series before. Apart from that the premiere seems pretty much Sunrise stock and trade – the word that pops into mind for me is “competent”. The mechs look an awful lot like Gundams, the action is mostly hand-drawn with significant interludes of CGI. There’s definitely more more of earnest, almost gee-whiz tone to this than, say Kakumeiki Valvrave, which stated in no uncertain terms that it was going for bombastic right out of the gate.
The hero of the piece is Aoba Watase (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu), a typical high-schooler who’s excellent at basketball and seems to have a good number of friends. On the first day of the semester he finds he’s seated next to “returnee” transfer student Hina Yumihara (Hayami Saori), who acts shy and awkward but obviously has an interest in Aoba. When a mecha pilot from the future (who I think is Sakurai Takahiro disguising his voice quite well) shows up to to try and kill him, Hina shows her hand – she’s from the future too, and there to save him from the attack she knows is coming because he told her. Some mech combat ensues – miraculously no one seems to be killed in the collateral damage – and when the attacker decides to try and take Aoba (now riding in Hina’s mech) out with a suicide attack, she pops through a wormhole (the same one the assassin used, presumably) back to the future.
I didn’t find any of that especially compelling, but it was executed well enough. For now at least the story seems as if it’ll be set mostly in the future – a future where Hina says “Dio is waiting for” Aoba, before she disappears (I suspect she’ll be back). Dio is going to be played by Uchiyama Kouki, and the cast is full of many big-name veterans from inside the Sunrise stable and beyond. It’s way too early to say if Buddy Complex is going to be especially interesting, given that we know almost nothing of the plot and haven’t met most of the cast. Hina’s comment and the “NICE COUPLING” message Aoba gets from his mech when he wakes up in the future (and the OP/ED) suggest that we might have some shounen-ai vibes here, presumably with Dio (not that this would be remotely unusual for a Sunrise mecha show). All in all it seems fine for the three-episode rule – I certainly have no strong impressions one way or the other after the first.
“Ano Sora ni Kaeru Mirai de (あの空に還る未来で)” by ChouCho