Hello there. This is review number forty five and I’m closing the Winter 2012 lineup with this one. Well the rest that aired at the season is all ongoing. Besides, I doubt that I’ll ever pick up Area no Kishi and I’m saving the sequels like Natsume 4 and Milky Holmes 2 for when I watch the first season of the show. So this is the last on that lineup as I go backwards and review the rest of the Fall 2011 lineup.
This was a great season. I had great nostalgia from Zero Tsukaima. I was captivated by PA Work’s horror anime, Another. High School DxD gave me enough boobs to last a year and I think I saved the best for last. It’s Aquarion Evol which is a mecha anime that is 26 episodes long. I hate mecha by the way but like I said, this is the best on the lineup. Let’s read on.
Aquarion Evol is about Earth being invaded by another planet called Altea. The send “Abductors” to Earth and kidnap people. The only way to combat this robot menace is by deploying a three manned robot called “Aquaria”. They launch as vectors or a jet then do a “Union” to become an Aquaria. There are two Aquaria protecting Earth. One is an all-male manned robot and the other is all-female. There has never been an intergender manned Aquaria and a stone embedded in the robots actually prevents a man and a woman to do a union. One day, as the Abductors are wreaking havoc, Amata Sora was suddenly forced to pilot one of the vectors to save the girl he likes, Mikono Suzushiro. Sora suddenly did the impossible and called for a union that has both a man and a woman. He broke the stone that prevents it and so a new kind of Aquaria is born. It’s an Aquarion. So now, a bunch of teenagers trained in this special academy is asked to pilot the Aquarions and save the world from the impending doom.
Taking the Pants Off
I hate mecha. That’s right, the only genre I can’t stand. So I was very hesitant to try this anime. I just don’t like the premise of robots fighting in a war or some sh*t. They’ve used the same boring premise over and over. This was part of the lineup I promised to watch so I picked the anime. It’s actually a sequel of another anime called Sousei no Aquarion. It’s funny because it never felt that way. This sequel stands alone and is enjoyable even if you haven’t seen the first one.
The anime was actually good and I personally enjoyed it despite my hate for mecha. Here is the premise I hate used once again. These giant robots are the only hope of mankind because they are the only one that can fight the invaders. Can’t mecha anime break this plot line? The anime didn’t impress me with its mecha elements. I actually like the anime because of its other plot element. It’s rather playful and generic. The anime is also about the complicated love life of the teenage pilots.
The anime has a lot of characters and unlike Moretsu Pirates that only utilizes the characters when the story calls for it, the characters in this anime is slowly introduced and each was given one episode to shine. The strength of this anime is in the characters. They are the ones making the plot shine and so there is an impressive give and take from the main plot and the characters. I love it. Each character dances on a certain archetype but their interaction with each other makes them more likeable. You just need to take your pick because there are a lot of them.
With teenagers as the characters, the anime is also more on Romance, Comedy and Ecchi. There were very little ecchi moments though but the anime managed to sneak in one or two moments to brighten up the anime. The anime has this rather suggestive plot about sex. The boys and the girls are separated by a wall called “Berlin” (yes, seriously.) and so they would often express their longing to have a “union” with the opposite sex. Now can you tell what’ll happen when the Berlin wall gets knocked down and the sexes co-mingle? Most of the anime focuses on the rather teenage life of the characters. Some episode is about the characters getting to know each other, some pairings are made and the characters “youthfulness” is given focus. It’s certainly different from your average mecha and I personally appreciate it.
The anime is heavy on character development and as the anime progresses, there is a bond formed and mutual respect is expressed greatly. The characters are very important because the anime uses some complicated love triangles as conflict to the story. There is the usual boy likes girl but other boy loves girl but girl can’t f*ckin decide. There are some pretty straight forward love stories though and hell, there’s even a boy on boy mutual respect story. It was all used to enhance the story and make the characters more likeable and endearing. It’s actually unrequited love that fuels the villains of this anime.
Let’s talk about the villains. I was a little disappointed that there was no ruthless, pure evil character in the anime despite the promise of mecha and war. All the villains starts out as a douche but because of the great character development the anime possess, the villains becomes more rounded and they turn out not to be evil after all. It was great because, unlike Moretsu Pirate (the anime really let me down), the anime gave time to explain the villains motives. There was some moment for the viewers to sympathize with the enemy and that is just impressive storytelling. The reason they abduct people on Earth is actually were simple and shockingly sad.
Don’t fret though. There is one evil bastard in the anime. He is a villain you just want to punch and you throw stuff at your TV because he untouchable. He uses other characters for his evil plans and they all dance around for him like puppets tied to a string. It was great and he was the perfect bastard to tie the entire anime together.
The anime is all about this romance and comedy of the characters and that unfortunately eats up some time that could be dedicated to mecha battles. They were short and some of the battles were too good that it’s a real shame they were just mere minutes of an episode. Of course, the mecha battle stands out because of the characters too. The pilots of Aquarion are special individuals that possess super powers and they are called “Elements.” With three pilots in one robot, they can switch out one character and have another take his/her place. The best part is that the robot can uses to powers of the Elements piloting it. So if a character can turn invisible, then the robot can do it too. Some episodes are used to focus on one character so each mecha battle of the anime is different and interesting.
One final thing to note about the anime is the rather unusual way the characters do union. I’m saying it now: it really threw me off as I watch the anime. It was hilarious and really unnecessary at times. Other people call it a gag that the anime loves to dish out. When the characters do union, we see a scene where they are naked and saying stuff like “Oh, I can feel him inside me.” And then they moan rather impressively as if they reach a point of orgasm. They reached orgasm. They had an orgasm. What the hell is that about?
That’s not all. The suggestiveness of ‘sex” was rampant during mecha battles and character interaction. They’re longing for a union with the opposite sex sounds a lot like wanting to pin them down and have at it. I understand it’s a gag but damn, they overdo it at times. Luckily though, the anime did get serious at the second half and this gag was used less.
The second half of the anime was very serious and some of the relationships the anime created on the first half was greatly challenged. There were some very impressive plot twists along the way too and the build up for the final show down was nicely paced. The final showdown was greatly hyped and the payoff was amazing.
Sight and Sound
The hour long first episode was outstanding. It was like watching a movie because they weren’t cheap on the CG and the setting was nicely made. It was breath taking and they were truly great scenery porn. The anime has high production value and it comes through greatly when we saw the first mecha battle of the anime. It was fast paced but there was intelligent storytelling in it. The robots was nicely created using CG and the effects was nicely made too.
I do understand that the original Aquarion was made as homage to old school mecha anime with a modern twist by using CG. It was great. The spirit of that idea was prominent in the anime. There were only a handful of robots though but they were all nicely designed and they do differ on some parts that make them unique.
The character design is great as well. The anime really reminds me off Guilty Crown because of the impressive character design but this anime has more variety. I love how they used bishies in the anime. The girls were all nicely designed too and the outfits really reflect their personality. There were some stands out in the anime as well like the girl with the paper bag on her head. She was never introduced but she still stands out. Why a paper bag? I wonder.
The soundtrack of this anime is amazing as well. Again, looking back on Guilty Crown, it had an impressive opening and ending song. There were two different song for each sequence but they were really impressive and each stand outs on their own. The anime also had some insert songs and they the best imo. Each insert brought some of the scenes together and made them more memorable.
8/10 “Romance and Mecha with great balance and solid pacing”
This was a great anime in very elements that it had. The characters were superb, the story and pacing was interesting up until the end, the animation was outstanding and the soundtrack was impressive. I’m running out of adjectives to describe the show. I highly recommend it.