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Buddy Complex

FUNimation // Unrated // November 17, 2015
List Price: $54.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted December 30, 2015 | E-mail the Author


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Buddy Complex Blu-ray Review


Buddy Complex is a 2014 anime series
produced by
studio Sunrise (Cowboy Bebop, Gundam Wing). The series is a
mecha anime
done in a similar style to that of the popular Gundam franchise.
The
show is based on an original manga by Hiroki Ohara.


The Buddy Complex series starts off with
average 16
year old Aoba Watase, who is attending high school, and living
an
ordinary life. Then one day a gigantic robot attacks from the sky and
his world
becomes turned upside down. A female classmate named Hina Yumihara
informs him that
she's come from the future to save Aoba's life. Aoba quickly becomes a
pilot of
a giant robot and must face another giant robot being led by a
bloodthirsty pilot
out to take down Aoba. In just mere moments, Aoba is flung into the
future to
the year 2088.


Once in the future, Aoba meets a giant robot pilot
named Dio
Junyou Weinberg, who Hina had told him would be waiting for him right
before he
was flung into a time portal in the sky. Much to the surprise of Aoba,
Dio has
no idea who he is and neither does anyone else. He ends up in a group
of
soldiers fighting against the ruthless Zogilia Republic empire. Aoba
has no
idea how to get home (and to his proper time). Soon he discovers that
the girl
who saved his life in the past, Hina Yumihara, is actually a soldier in
the Zogilia
Republic of the future.


The war is on between the Free Pact Alliance and
the Zogilia
Republic. Aoba helps the alliance and becomes an expert giant robot
pilot but he
also wants to talk to Hina and try and figure out what happened to him
in the
past. The Hina he meets in the future has no idea who he even is. Aoba
must
figure out what happened to Hina (if she is the same Hina who rescued
him) and
figure out a way home while still helping to defeat the Zogilia
Republic.


The series is written by BC Project staff. The
series starts
off with a fun and entertaining concept involving time travel and giant
robots.
The characters are interesting at the start (especially the lead
character
Aoba). Over the course of the series, the show became less interesting
and even
more confusing.


Buddy Complex focused a lot on the concept
of "coupling"
(which is the term used throughout the series to describe a pilot's
abilities
in piloting a giant robot and in working with other pilots for
optimum abilities). The series also changed gears somewhat and was more
focused
on being a slice-of-life type sci-fi series in the middle of the run.
The
ending arc was convoluted and confusing as well and tossed the
storyline
involving the Zogilia Republic aside in favor of a different sci-fi
twist. The
time-travel elements weren't well handled by the series writers.


The series music is composed by Tatsuya Kato. The
music for
the series is energetic and intense. The themes used throughout the
show are
effective and grand in scope. The music worked well throughout the
series and
was well suited for a giant robot mecha anime.


The animation on the show was superb. This was
easily the
best aspect of the entire series. The Sunrise animators did terrific
work on
the series and made the anime much more exciting with their impressive
mecha
designs and character designs. The art was fluid and often beautiful.
In terms
of animation quality, Buddy Complex is a terrific accomplishment by the
staff
who were involved in producing the series.


The series is directed by Yasuhiro Tanabe. The
anime began
with a energetic vibe which made the series seem exciting and original
at the
start. The pacing throughout the series was generally well handled as
well.
Unfortunately, the series became less involving as the storyline became
more
convoluted. The quality of the directing was also disappointing towards
the end
of the anime as it became heavily focused on action sequences and the
story
seemed less and less important.


Buddy Complex was a decently entertaining
series with
some interesting moments. The animation was superb. The music fit the
show
remarkably well. It was the storytelling and direction which
disappointed and
which stopped it from being as impressive as it could have been. The
ending arc
of the series seemed highly rushed and convoluted. The series didn't
make much
sense by the end and the last episode is not a satisfying finale.


The Blu-ray:


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Video:


The 1080p MPEG-4 AVC 1.78:1
widescreen encoded image is generally quite
strong. The presentation is reasonably impressive with good color
reproduction
and overall detail. The animation does have occasional softness but
this is
still a clear, solid, and impressive high-definition presentation.
Occasional
banding is the only big drawback to an otherwise solid presentation.


Audio:


The audio is presented in Dolby
TrueHD 2.0 Japanese. English subtitles
are provided. The series was not dubbed and no English dub option is
presented
on the release. The audio clarity is quite strong. Dialogue
reproduction is
excellent. The music score by
Tatsuya Kato sounds terrific. In
terms of
overall clarity and quality, this is an excellent lossless audio
presentation.


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Extras:


style="">This release is a Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack.


Includes Textless Opening/Closing Themes,
Promotional
Videos, and Trailers for other Funimation releases.


Final Thoughts:


Though the series has some merit as a
action-packed giant
robot mecha anime, Buddy Complex suffers from weak storytelling
and a
convoluted conclusion. The series time travel elements are confusing
and the
finale is disappointing. The series is worth a rental for its beautiful
animation
and entertaining action sequences but the end result is a somewhat
underwhelming and mediocre series with little replay value.


Rent It.



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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