“Coupling System” 「カップリングシステム」
Adding new characters this late into a show is fine, if done purposefully – Mahou Sensou ought to take a leaf out of Buddy Complex’s series composition. The Cygnus crew is joined by Buddy system conceptualiser Dr. Alessandro Fermi (Oobayashi Ryuusuke) as his ex-student defector Dr. Wilheim Hahn (is it just me or did everyone drag out the Hah~~n) makes an appearance in Zogilia. Overall, it wasn’t a spectacular episode but I don’t ask for much with BC and baddie Koyasu Takehito is always welcomed :)
This episode is conflicts galore. Aoba’s conflicted with finally admitting he can never go back to 70 years before and that the Hina he knows does not exist in this time, practically rendering him wondering just what he’s existing for now. An unmotivated and depressed Valiancer pilot is a big no-no especially seeing as how the Zogilians just won’t stop attacking to get their hands on the Buddy Complex system. Dio’s pissed (again, when is he not really? Such an emo child…) at Aoba’s whining and they get into a much needed fist-fight as Dio throws the first punch to ‘wake’ Aoba.
I say it’s a much needed fight because from day one, they’ve not liked each other – Dio because Aoba’s not disciplined as he is and Aoba, because Dio’s too inflexible and disciplined. They have different backgrounds and motivations (or lack-of in Aoba’s case) so of course they don’t see eye to eye. And yet the Buddy system says otherwise because they are perfectly in sync with one another. Cygnus Captain had always thought that and still sortied them anyway even before they made up. It’s quite amusing to watch the boys fight it out like boys, calling each other names (yet another sis-con Dio who insists Aoba leave his sister out of this fight) and throwing punches like they were in the school canteen. All sense of authority and responsibility was thrown out splendidly. But even greater was tying this fight to the subconscious camaraderie they inexplicably share – being able to exceed the 300s coupling limit to 429s, all while having a verbal fight (more name-calling) as they engage in battle.
Over in the Zogilia camp, as much as I’d like to see a woman in charge in a military position, the screaming and helplessness of Commander Margaret really made me wish she had perished in the sea when Dio took out her mecha limbs. She’s been incapable and lets emotions get the better of her. So when she finally proved herself worthless and Lieutenant Colonel Gallant stepped up (love scheming Morikawa-sama especially when it’s with fellow veteran peer Koyasu) to take over, it really was well worth the wait both for him and for viewers alike.
Hina’s conflicted too now (please don’t make her shrivel into a weak girl Sunrise!) because the enemy helped her. Aoba looked out for her and now she can’t stop looking at the cat hair clip he “returned” her. Bizon seems more big brother like than having a crush on Hina as he questions and shows concern over her supposed S.O.S. signal. Gallant has his suspicions too so Hina better watch out! Although that might be unnecessary since her dad’s joining the fray next episode.
We don’t know what conflict arose between Dr. Fermi and Dr. Hahn so much so the latter had to deflect – maybe because he was jealous of Buddy system cockpit developer Dr. Elvira, whom Fermi treats like his own granddaughter. But it doesn’t matter. Because all we need to know is he’s deflected and wants to help the Zogilia army get its hands on that crucial cockpit system – introduction of characters this late can be put to limited but purposeful use! The same goes for Fermi because although he’s only in this one episode, he provides the crucial information on how the Buddy system works – through travelling incrementally in time. Aoba might just be able to go back afterall.
There’s more over-the-top action this time involving endless missiles but the visuals and graphics don’t miss a beat. The production has been consistent with each episode and the accompanying OST is worth looking forward to once it’s released. I’m very pleased with everyone’s voice acting too – veterans playing bit parts (Hanazawa Kana, Sugita Tomokazu) never overshadowed veterans playing supporting characters (Hayami Sho, Morikawa Toshiyuki, Sakurai Takahiro) or newbies and relative newbies in the main roles (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu & Uchiyama Kouki). Special mention goes to Uchiyama Kouki for the fight scene. He’s usually so emotionless in his delivery (the characters he voices are usually emotionless too come to think of it) that when he gets hot-blooded it’s a welcome change. We’re in a consistently better second half of BC and hopefully it stays that way for the final 3 episodes to come what with Gallant having a trick up his sleeve and Dio seemingly finally warming up to Aoba.