Aquarion Evol – 01 Review
This episode features some really tense moments of some boys and girls breaking their Chastity and entering a Holy Union. These goddamn naughty teenagers just couldn’t stop themselves, could they?
Aquarion EVOL 01 – How The Most Useless Persons On Earth End Up Being Responsible For It
Aquarion EVOL is one of these series everyone with some interest for popular anime will want to watch. It’s a sequel but one so far in the future that worrying about the original would be like arguing that you need to see the Flintstones in order to understand Star Trek. Of course there are some similarities… and yeah, of course Flintstones and Star Trek have one as well – they both have dinosaurs in them, really, they’re called Veer in Star Trek. Well, so aside from this nerdy reference, Aquarion Evol can be watched on its own, I think. I did and most of it is understandable, I guess. The only thing I will want to mention is that Amato has this Element-ability which is some weird shit to make him feel special and that’s something already established to exist in the first series (don’t know whether that makes him the reincarnation of a douche as well…). So it’s a mecha-show and thankfully it’s not only story but there’s some fighting as well. It’s entertaining overall. If you like Mecha, you will like this. Everyone else should probably read the whole review because it does have some weird beef on its plate.
Amato Sora loves cheesy movies and the one he likes the most is one so cheesy that he repeatedly has to watch it alone in the cinema. One day after hearing again from the manager of the cinema how much his favourite movie sucks he meets this girl that snuck into the the cinema watching that stupid movie – and ended up crying. That really appeals to Amato’s self-esteem – since he doesn’t have any. And the girl doesn’t as well, explaining why they both have bad taste. They end up going out on a date because the girl wants to hear more about the crappy movie (since for the main-dude it’s actually related to some harsh childhood-trauma they don’t really talk that much about it). While they take a gondola and talk about the Abductors abducting abduction-victims somewhere the scene switches to a monastery.
Aquarion these days is split into multiple Vectors and each half is controlled respectively by boys or girls trained for this very thing. This training involves for girls to be religious nuns at an isolated monastery and boys have to be professional soldiers. And they are kept separate so as to keep their Chastity-Seals intact.
As Amato and Mikuni wander around the Abductors arrive abducting people and the Boy-controlled Aquarion is sent out but the Abductors have now a new Mecha which is stronger and faster than anything the good guys have faced before (way to go making the hero with his special talents feel special after he can take the stage…) And Amato protects Mikuni by shielding her but meanwhile the Boy-Aquarion simply sucks at his job because the boys are all noobs on their first mission so they sent out the Girls-Aquarion as well and coming into contact with each other the boys and girls come dangerously close to breaking their Chastity-Seals. But that doesn’t really help and Amato realized that he can’t just hide with Mikuni under debris. Therefore he drops weight to activate his levitation-Elements-ability. As he activates this all kinds of weird shit happens to Aquarion and all the Vectors unite under the control of Amato changing Aquarion into Aquarion EVOL. Now some problems in the fight start since Amato knows shit about controlling the Aquarion and his role is rather passive while Mikuni together with him in the cockpit (obligatory mecha-series-scene, I guess) is scared shitless and whines a lot. At some point he gets help from the female leader who would like to have sex with a guy but it doesn’t really help. Only some weird semi-giving-up-farewell defeatist-speech from Mikuni motivates Amato to make some effort and that’s when he can deliver the decisive punch by pushing the guy into a meteorite thereby using the Aquarion to fly for the first time with the help of his Elements-powers. But before the fight can be finished the evil dude is called back via a dimension-portal. After that Amato falls unconscious and while dropping down one of the guys has a vision telling everybody that when Mikuni ends up with the evil dude, bad shit will happen. So if Mikuni doesn’t end up with the right dude, the universe will explode or something… Boo-fucking-hoo…
Not enough that the whole chastity-thing is already frigging creepy on its own but the way this episode is making fun of it is also really creepy…
I haven’t seen the original (for which I apparently should be thankful judging by all the negative reviews it has gotten) but I have read up a bit on how this original worked. So, it wanted to be this high-brow-mecha-action-thingy with a lot of deep references and sentimental attachment to classical mecha-series. That was the plan. What it was really about was having Cthulhu-like mythical beings from the distant past of the earth (12.ooo years back) come back named Shadow Angels and trying to relive the good ol’ days. Against them nothing normal worked (like usual, gee, these guys never watched anime apparently, normal stuff never works) and therefore an organization called DAEVA had to use their own mythological technology which were three fighter-plans called Vectors and the three pilots who were teenagers with special abilities called Elements. And then there’s a lot of strange romance going on and shallow characters whine a lot apparently as some reviewers described it and yeah, that’s about what you really need to know, I guess. Well, if someone has seen the first Aquarion-series, I hope you can point out some more references this series makes to the original because there were probably more than what I’ve found out just by reading reviews and the synopsis.
Now to Aquarion Evol: It starts off with a double-episode and I think it was worth it because that way it could take its time presenting the setting and the various characters (there are many, don’t really know though whether it will have this epic perspective of switching between them as the centre of attention). It also has the time to highlight the nice animation and the big budget. And there are fights, too, of course which are also nicely animated. So overall it left a nice impression on me.
But there were moments where I felt like the setting was kinda creepy. It makes sense that they don’t want the combined Aquarion in the hands of kids or anyone the church (or state, whatever…) don’t have control over – but does it really have to have such a… strange context? This two halves of the mecha are fueled by a team of girls and a team of boys but they have to keep them separated using the Guize-stone (or Chastity-Seal as it’s called) to protect the girls’ and boys’ “purity”. I would definitely feel better about this if this green-haired girl would actually act like living in a monastery instead of openly admitting that she’d like to have sex with a boy. That gave me the impression at first that the series wanted to make fun of this stupid chastity-stuff but then they continued talking about it using the mecha and how with it the Boy-parts and the Girl-parts can enter a Holy Union and as they touched in the fight they had these weird scenes that kinda resembled them having an orgasm together. Well, yeah, I think it’s fucked up and even if the original did it, I would’ve changed it because it’s really creepy. Ah and to not forget the boys: They don’t have to be religious virgins in a monastery, no, boys have to be professional soldiers. The whole thing does seem kinda sexist and I’m not really one usually to use that word but to have both female and male stereotypes presented like that in one setting seems kinda weird.
So, am I understanding that correctly? Being dead with an intact heart is better than being alive with a broken one? That’s kinda… melodramatic, isn’t it? Then again Amato does have a taste for crappy movies nobody wants to see, so it’s kinda understandable where these cheesy lines come from.
Talking about the evil side and the battles, one has to say that the setting is definitely on the more convoluted side of things with a lot of stuff left unsaid at this point. Right now, we only know that these Abductors come to earth (apparently from another dimension) to… yeah, abduct people, what a surprise! We don’t know why but I liked the designs of their machinery. It’s not Hard Science Fiction but it seems interesting, definitely more so than the usual humanoid mecha and tank, spaceships and so on we get to see in this kind of series. One little thing about the battles though: Was it only me or was there a noticeable lack of town-destruction in the beginning of the battle? It seemed like these mechas were actually dancing through the city avoiding any kind of destruction. And then later after the change Aquarion Evol fell on the city destroying a huge chunk of it – without a comment from anyone. I can only hope that these shelters aren’t there but nobody apparently thought it worth a reaction that he flattened a bigger part of the town like that. So I missed some dynamics here and there in the fight showing that it’s not just mecha vs. mecha in a vacuum.
The characters are a bit difficult to judge at this point. The main-female seems like one to whine a lot but the dialogues were good enough to not make it seem like uncontrolled whining-rage. Not one of the cast really stood out for me though. They all seem acceptable enough but none of them seems especially noteworthy that I would call him interesting. The main-chara with the special power and significant past isn’t really a stroke of genius but it certainly was a nice touch that he needed help from the female Aquarion-pilot to use the Super-Mecha. Usually these main-guys control Mechas like it’s the easiest thing to do since slicing bread.
As for predictions and what kind of direction this is headed: I worry about the romance-sub-plot. They already made it clear with the vision that love plays a big role in this. Apparently the fate of the universe depends on the main-chara successfully dating the main-girl. What a way to doom the universe! Of course, that’s just realism on my part and naturally the main-chara will end up with the girl and avoid this wedding of doom (and the setting keeps scoring the creepiness-points…). So characterization will play a big role here and whether this romantic sub-plot will work. And since the characters all seem kinda bland to me at this point I worry that it will get a bit unsubtle and soapy. But the battles will be nice to watch, big budget and all that can go a long way to create entertainment. And did I mention that the soundtrack from Yoko Kanno is great? One time they reused a track from the original which is fine since that one is also from Yoko Kanno but overall the soundtrack was a big factor of helping me enjoy the episode.
Aquarion Evol is a mecha-show that apparently wants to spend a lot of time fretting over love-issues and boy-and-girls-differences-comedy. But having a big budget and a rather solid script makes it an acceptably entertaining start even though some parts of the setting were creepy as hell. What it lacks at this point is the special something that would make it stand out since the characters just seem bland right now and the story is still too vague to offer any insights as to how good it is.