Another Coupler 「もう一人のカップラー」
出た！As we come to the mid-season episode of Buddy Complex, a third party arrives to save/spoil the day! Will the buddy couple relationship Aoba and Dio have stay true and strong? Or will the newcomer Fromm (voiced by a very welcomed Kaji Yuuki in yet another ikemen role) get in their way?
After last episode’s Chitose base attack, the Alliance gets a rude shock discovering that the Coupling System project is still ongoing. As part of the military’s way of seeking forgiveness and rallying support from their people, the Cygnus crew has flown to Hawaii to shoot a promotion video showcasing their boosted military strength by displaying the Coupling system’s prowess. But Aoba’s not in the pilots’ seats with Dio – good-looking newcomer Fromm Vantarhei is brought in as the Coupler to be featured instead because in anime world as in the real world, the photogenic ones are always used. I must say though, the PV director’s introduction of Fromm makes it sound like he’s brought in for a breeding programme lol.
Fromm and Dio go way back. He’s a sweet talker who has buckets of charisma and a way with the ladies – Annessa Rossetti (Inoue Marina) is smitten and volunteers to show him around although research geek Mayuka’s shown just as much enthusiasm not with his looks but with his brain waves… Turns out the 2 pilots were in the same class from Coupling school (how did a school like that remain a state-secret?) and used to fly together, having had the best coupling compatibility amongst freshmen. We don’t know what happened between them since then because now, they can’t connect due to unstable brain waves – Dio’s has since changed to start with base waves instead (so brain waves CAN change?). The PV director again provides some humour in his “can-they-can’t-they” festering, as though he’s anxious over whether they can breed successfully lol. Even though everyone’s been very chummy with Fromm, Dio keeps his distance (which is his usual modus operandi anyway), referring him to Aoba as a shallow-minded person. Something obviously happened to make one of the best couples fall out and hopefully future episodes reveal more.
So instead of Fromm replacing Aoba and rekindling things with his old coupling buddy, Fromm’s replaced Dio. Turns out Aoba and Fromm are a great match for one another and have a stronger coupling reaction than Aoba does with Dio, which seems to leave Dio rightfully jealous (tsun-tsun!) as he watches them go faster than he and Aoba ever did. Maybe Aoba’s just that easy… hopefully we get more explanations behind his time-travelling plot line and his ease in using the dangerous coupling system.
Over in the Zogilia camp, they’re not resting on their laurels either as the Zogilia Imperial Guards are introduced with a display of their own to appeal to the Zogilian citizens as they aim to take down the increased Alliance military power. In comes new pink-haired (I do like male characters with pink hair especially when it’s in such contrast to the masculinity they exude) Chief of the 1st airborne division Dolzief (voiced by Tsuchida Hiroshi who has been much missed since his endearing role as Daikichi in Usagi Drop) who is sent to do what Alfried couldn’t – capture the new Alliance Valiancers.
The air battle could not have ensued timelier than whilst Aoba and Fromm are filming the promotion video (much to the director’s delight) as Dio assists standby in a non-Valiancer mecha. The elite Zogilia Imperial Guards deployed aerial mines (often used in Gundam too) aiming to separate Luxon and Bradyon as they lured Aoba into Dolzief’s direct line of fire. No one in the Alliance foresaw such a strategy but thankfully, Dio comes to Aoba’s rescue in the nick of time, majorly pissing Dolzief off as he’s beaten by a “stock mass-produced Alliance mecha”. Well done Dio!
As mentioned earlier, this is the mid-season episode and as things have been moving predictably the first half of Buddy Complex, with the introduction of Fromm as a third coupler officially assigned to Cygnus, things hopefully move more dramatically. The same goes with Dolzief possibly spicing things up as a competitor to Alfried’s reputation as one of the best in the Zogilian army. It was nice to see the Zogilian youths Hina, Bizon, Tarjim and Lasha take a moment for some R&R. We often jump to conclusions which army’s the protagonist and antagonist in anime as we unfortunately do in real life. So it’s nice to see that the other side is made up of humans who know to smile and laugh too. And Dio too.