Aquarion Evol – 16 Review

Aquarion Evol – Episode 16

Aquarion Evol is such a strange show. I’m not even really sure why I watch it. But against all odds, it manages to entertain me every week.

Synopsis:

The episode opens with Mikono being “grounded” by the loli-commander in chief. Invisible-girl (Yunoha) seeks her out to have a heart to heart with her about love and her dead boyfriend and how meaningful the special gave/burial training was for her. Amata and the hole-guy (Andy) conveniently eavesdrop on the whole conversation, and Amata is plagued with feelings of being a good-for-nothing-dipshit who is destined to lose to the freaky dog-guy and never get the girl. For some reason, he convinces himself that making Mikono’s vicious-two-tailed-rat-pet-thing like him will be sufficient to overturn 12,000 years of pre-written destiny, and he heads down to the pet store to buy some treats and kitty toys. Meanwhile, Zessica is freaking out and inadvertently subjecting a soda can to her element powers over her catty attempt to capture Amata’s interest.

Over on Altair (the other planet that’s devoid of chicks), things aren’t looking so hot. The head dude is sitting in his super pimp office looking at a whole ton of destruction that’s going on, sending out orders for troops to save civilians. It’s not too clear what the issue is, but things aren’t good, and some big mecha that his mom made isn’t properly doing its job of protecting the planet anymore. Mostly, this guy is too busy getting overly dramatic and sentimental about his own personal shortcomings rather than doing much about anything.

The creepy and overzealous Commander Fudo – who has always struck me as a closet voyeur and pervert – gets the brilliant idea of making the kids fight each other with their Aquarions. It’s never really explained why, but I can only assume that he’s got a hard on to see how badass they’ve become as a result of his burying them all alive a few episodes ago. Well, actually, he says it’s something about making the kids learn from hardship and something about life and death being two sides of the same coin… Sheesh. Leave it to that guy to rattle off a bunch of pseudo-philosophical fluff.

The kids go out in their mechas and start beating the crap out of each other on some deserted (I hope) and totally destroyed island. They get to blow a bunch of stuff up and their super powers are even more super than before, meaning that there’s ample opportunities to stop the action and put up one of those annoying still-screens with the name of whatever special finishing move is being featured. Anyways, the fight looks cool and it’s pretty satisfying to see Amata getting his ass whooped.

At a crucial moment in the battle (when they’re about to get owned by a least a zillion missles), Zessica passionately declares her love for Amata. In a display of over-the-top absurdity that we’ve come to expect from Aquarion Evol, we get to see a quick shot of nearly every character in the show reacting to her confession by screaming “Suki!” (“Love!”). Then, Aquarion goes ape-shit, and starts shooting out purple sparkly glitter hearts. In a wild barrage of purple sparkles, hearts, rainbows, and j-pop, the super-crazy-infinite-punch-attack levels up and punches straight through the space-time continuum, revealing a montage of flashbacks of Apollo and Sylvia’s romance from 12,000 years ago. It’s all very epic, and in the process, they manage to punch out their teammates and win the mock battle. Of course, they completely obliterate the island in what appears to be a nuclear holocaust of rainbows and unrequited love, but luckily nobody gets hurt.

Review:

Aquarion Evol is so weird. After 16 episodes I have yet to decide if I love it or hate it, but it’s definitely grown on me. It’s absurd, it’s pointless, it’s sort of enchanting, and it’s gorgeous to look at. Speaking of, do yourself a favor and watch this at a high resolution. The crappy quality of streaming video sites just doesn’t do it justice.

Now that we’re in the second half of the anime, the story has picked up a bit… Or at least, based on the last two episodes I thought the series was moving towards a more serious tone and a resolution of the plot. But with this episode, it’s clear that Aquarion Evol has no intentions of moving away from absurdist and often cheesy teen romance gags. Come on, a giant mecha spewing purple glitter hearts?

I haven’t watched the first Aquarion, and I’m probably not going to anytime soon. From what I’ve heard, I understand that it isn’t really necessary to comprehending this series – it’s a sequel, but as M0rg0th said, “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.” So far I couldn’t agree more, but with all the flashbacks to the previous series, I can’t help but wondering if there’s something I’m missing.

As far as the technical aspects go, Aquarion Evol is doing it right. The animation is stunning – well, everything but the characters and their clothing is stunning. The contrast between the intricate details in the backgrounds and the mechas with the almost clumsy character and costume art is a bit jarring, but it’s consistent enough to be appreciated as a stylistic choice and not just an oversight. The characters are cute, but it’s clear that the animation budget was reserved for the fight scenes, which is fine by me. Overall, Aquarion Evol is colorful, fluid, and magical looking. The mock battle on the island in this episode had me saying, “Sugoi!” which is special since I don’t speak Japanese. Hehe. The music is spectacular and it’s used quite well (although for some reason it’s not particularly memorable in any given episode) and the voice acting is perfect for what it is.

Without wanting to sound like an idiot, I have to admit that I find the series to be a bit confusing. There’s a lot of characters, and I’m not really sure what role each of them is supposed to be playing. It’s mostly the people over on the other planet with no chicks (Altair) that I don’t understand. Like, who exactly was that president-guy earlier on in this episode? And who is that long-white-haired ghosty guy who always seems to be spewing out roses and causing trouble? Basically, it just seems like there’s a whole lot of plot to wrap up in the remaining episodes. Considering that the focus is primarily on the various teen love dramas, I have some doubts about how well everything will be resolved. There’s so many romantic relationships between all the side characters, the main Amata-Mikono-Slyvie-Apollon love triangle, and then the situation of Altair and all of those characters… I can’t but help but think that Aquarion Evol has overextended itself. Is there a sequel? If so, I hope it won’t be 12,000 years into the future.

Aquarion Evol is totally absurd, but if you can get past that it’s a fun ride. There’s so many plot holes and such a lack of substantial characters that you can’t help but ignore them. It’s a feast for the eyes and the ears, and despite the silliness it’s convincing. Honestly, where else can you see a giant mecha destroy a bunch of stuff AND shoot out purple sparkly rainbow hearts? If you’re in the market for a guilty-pleasure type of anime, take a chance on Aquarion Evol.

Rating: 6.5/10

About kelfio

Keepin' it real down in the sweet sunny south.

Posted on April 16, 2012, in Anime, Aquarion Evol, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I thought you guys dropped this series, but glad to see another perspective on it all the same. At this point it really isn’t necessary to see the first series, but things like Apollo being reincarnated as the dog guy were obvious from the start for me. I wanted to see where it was going with that so I’ve been keeping up, but I was hoping to see more development in the way of that, and less goofing off by the main cast.

    The first season was about the ‘angels’ kidnapping basically anybody with a pulse, as a means of sustaining their planet or something, so it lacked that creepy vibe the evol gives off since its all about kidnapping women for procreation.

    In that whole flash back sequence, it did actually show pretty much the beginning of the first episode of the first season and then end with the last moments of the last episode, so after seeing that you pretty much know how it ended. I’d still recommend seeing it, just because its a better overall series than this, and the soundtrack, though still by Akino, was better in my opinion. Apollo and Sylvia were a lot more interesting than Amata and Mikono, and the first series, at least when I watched it, didn’t have a poorly constructed romantic comedy feeling. There was more drama to the romance, and less pandering; I would almost even say there was a serious tone throughout more of the series, that Evol is lacking in, apart from the last 2 eps as you mentioned.

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    • Hey there Viishous! 🙂

      Well, I suppose that M0rg0th pretty much had dropped this series… but without Ra around to protect me from that guy’s incessant hazing and humiliation, I’m once again covering an anime that I wouldn’t have chosen on my own… kind of like the situation with High School DxD. Hehehe.

      No, I’m really kidding about all that. Uhhh… Really. 😉

      At this point, I’m feeling fairly confident that having seen the first series isn’t any sort of prerequisite for Evol… I just wonder though – was the first one quite this goofy? I’m thinking mostly about stuff like the teenagers floating around in space moaning orgasmically when the Aquarions activate… they call it “union” right? Nevertheless, Evol has certainly grown on me and I kind of look forward to its absurd antics every week, but that doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.

      Also, what do you think about the large cast of characters and the likelihood that all of their individual plot-issues will get worked out? Was the original so “epic” in its scope? I get the feeling that it was more focused on the main couple (Apollo and Sylvia) without involving such an awkwardly large cast…

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      • Hey there,

        So to answer your questions I wouldn’t call the first series as goofy overall, everyone did have their o-face when they did a union but since there wasn’t any kind of taboo of having both sexes fuse it didn’t come off as a plot device for an awkward teen drama. Its not at all necessary to watch the first one to really get this series, but if at the end of the day you don’t hate Evol, I’d say the original is worth a screening. Personally I’m watching Evol because of the original series; I might have dropped it otherwise, or at the very least, not watch every episode the same night the subs come out.

        Character-wise, there was a slightly smaller main cast in the original, so that aspect was less confusing, what did get tricky to follow was the reincarnations; the same way dog guy was Apollo, they made a mess of having multiple people think they were Apollon, and Slyvie, and one other character whom I can’t remember. The OVA took it a step further and changed some of the reincarnations from the main series as well.

        I think the epic feeling if any came from the fact that the setting was more on the apocalyptic side, the angels had less intimate screen time, and the Aquarion pilots had a better dynamic, and didn’t get to that point of being campy. On top of that Apollo and Sylvia just weren’t as whiny and indecisive as the entire cast of Evol. Oh, and first OP song, I probably wouldn’t find it as epic if I actually spoke Japanese beyond what I’ve learned watching anime for the past few years, but whatever lol its catchy.

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      • Aquarion old fan =D

        just like viishous, I also watch Aquarion EVOL because of the good old series of Aquarion =)

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  2. I have seen the first series and it leaves EVOL in the dust. I don’t mind watching EVOL but like you I have this love/hate relationship with it. I can’t tell if the series will end up being rotten or awesome. None of the characters are that appealing, with the exception of JIN, but they had to kill him off. I was actually rootin’ for Jin to kidnap Yunoha! But the most annoying couple is Amata and Mikono. Amata for being a whiny little crybaby, and Mikono for playing the damsel in distress role over and over (we get it, you are Princess Peach and Amata is Mario!!!) But still its been going on too long and they need to wrap this thing up without Kagura showing up to kidnap her again. This is really pathetic that Mikono cant make up her mind whether to fall in love with Amata or Kagura, Hint hint…..one guy attempted to kidnap you 3x and kill you for the sake of love. It doesnt take a genius to figure out what real love is…. but apparently Mikono is your typical damsel, Stockholm syndrome, heroine type. She needs to feel like her life is in danger in order to show her true emotions, that is so juvenile.

    Alot of people complain about Zessica confessing her feelings for Amata, but I say Bravo, Zessica is the first person in this series to have enough courage to open up about her feelings. I can already tell that Amata will pretend like it never happened and distance himself from her (he is a weak little pansy by the way) When you compare Amata and Kaguro you can’t help but start rootin’ for Kagura because he has the balls to take what he wants. HE is your typical bad boy, he doesn’t respect authority, he calls women Wenches, and he doesn’t ask women out, he just grabs them and abducts them and (PG-13) do whatever he wants with them. No wonder Mikono has some unresolved feelings for him.

    I know we are supposed to empathize with Amata but ever since episode 8, his character has become more and more bland and he is your typical whiner pretty boy. He needs to get over his ‘mommy’ issues and have some confidence in himself or else everyone will bully him for the rest of his life.

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    • I agree with you that Zessica seems to be the only with a lick of sense… Although now that she’s confessed she should probably just let it go. It’s pretty clear that Amata’s not into her, and I like her as a character too much to watch her whining and moaning about being rejected by that pansy boy.

      But you have to admit… If you had a crush on a girl that you met in a really synchronistic circumstance and things seemed to be going pretty well (like with Amata and Mikono)… And then suddenly some good-looking-wild-man shows up and kidnaps that girl… And then you find out she’s actually probably more interested in him than you because you’re a hopelessly dull main-chara and all… and then on top of all that you find out it’s some massive destiny thing that’s been on the books for 12,000 years?

      ^^ If something like that happened, I can imagine that anyone would get pretty mopey, whiny, and down on themselves. 🙂

      And yes! So far Jin was my favorite character! He was awesome, and it’s too bad he had to die. But he’s ummmm…. something really special… like the “first son” or something, right? So he’ll come back to life, right? 😉

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      • Hi kelfio, its great to hear your thoughts. I think my biggest problem with Amata and Mikono is that we’ve seen them in every other anime (stereotypes). When it comes to getting women, anime and real life differ a-lot! In anime the guy who is sweet, kind, sensitive gets the girl. In real life, its the guy who has the balls to tell her how he feels. The different approach that Amata and Kagura have in wooing Mikono. Amata’s reserved, friendly, cautious approach which confuses her, she doesn’t know if he likes her as a friend or more. Or Kagura’s more abrupt take-no-prisoners, grope, squeeze and brash approach. Here in lies the problem, some women want to be treated like a lady and others want to be treated like an object (i probably offended every women with that statement)

        But I personally feel Mikono is a mix of both types. All her life her older brother has treated her like a victim, some helpless creature that needs to be taken care of even stating in Ep 1 that she’s useless. Now Amata is treating her the same way! Though he isn’t stating it, he is clearly trying to protect her instead of trusting her to be strong enough to protect herself and make the correct decisions as a grownup. Kagura wants her, he puts value in her, he keeps attempting to kidnap her. And in some strange way makes her feel important unlike Amata and her brother trying to keep her safe. In the real world, bad boys like Kagura usually get the girl and wimps like Amata usually end up sobbing quietly because they didn’t take action when they needed to.

        Without getting carried away, yes I think Zessica needs to move on.

        I will watch this series to the end. But I sure hope Amata confesses his feelings. This whole thing about Fate, Destiny, and soul mates… its a bit ridiculous. “its better to ask for forgiveness than permission” Amata has to throw aside all his self doubts and be like Zessica. Loving someone means taking a chance on getting hurt through rejection. But if you are too much of a coward and attempt to deceive yourself and the person you’re in love with-then you deserve every bit of heartache that comes your way. Jin, Kagura,Yukoha, and Zessica have all grown up a little and willing to express themselves to people they care about. Its the two main characters Amata and Mikono that have the hardest time expressing themselves. They really irritate me!

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  3. Aquarion old fan =D

    This series is connected very close to the 1st series, Sousei no Aquarion…plus, by watching this episode, coming episodes will explain and help to answer all the unanswered question for the 1st series…Well, it is related, that why it is incarnation =)

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  4. @van-

    Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about offending all the women in the world. After all, *I* wasn’t offended by what you said. 🙂

    This may be a bit of a side-track, but I wanted to reply to what you were saying about Amata’s versus Kagura’s wooing-style, etc.

    It’s stunning how often in anime the lead female charas are treated like some sort of helpless-princess-doll. It’s just like how Amata and Cayenne treat Mikono – they act like she is some sort of perfect little thing that can’t do anything for herself and is always needing to be rescued or coddled. Even female charas who act tough at first (like Taiga or even Haruhi) eventually end up the same – most of the time, as soon as they open up their hearts to the male main-chara and fall in love, they all end up being that same sort of useless, dependent, sentimental, and overly sensitive little girl on one level or another. I assume that the reasons for portraying femininity this way probably have a whole lot to do with historical Japanese cultural norms for how women should behave (the whole Yamato Nadeshiko thing)… But it’s sad to me to see that nearly every single female character in anime eventually becomes like that.

    The way Kagura treats Mikono is so strikingly different… Not just different from how Amata and company treat her, but different than how any anime guy treats an anime girl. He is dominating and overly masculine, but the way he approaches Mikono is great – he engages her in a really sensual (like smelling her) and passionate way, but it never has the effect of demeaning her or insulting her intelligence or abilities. Kagura knows that Mikono is hot shit and he makes it pretty clear that he thinks she’s amazing (in a weird way, but whatever), while the other guys treat her like she’s just an idiot who’s also cute. Even though Kagura’s treatment of Mikono is rough and kind of crazy, I’d say that he is the one who is treating her like a “lady” – he approaches her as if she is a powerful, sexual, important, female being.

    I’d say that the ones in this story who are treating Mikono as an object are Amata and Cayenne. They give her no room to make her own decisions or to demonstrate her own worth. They just her on a pedestal and treat her like a doll (object), and never once do either of them really engage her as a woman with a heart/mind/life of her own. Given the choice between those two options, I’d definitely run off with Kagura and leave Amata (who’s so busy whining about his mom) in the dust.

    This *is* an anime though. And like you said, in animes, stupid pussy boys like Amata always end up with the girl. Anyways, thanks for your comments. I found what you said to be really insightful and thought provoking, and I appreciate it! 🙂

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    • Hi Kelfio and visshous,

      I agree with and I have to apologize to viishous ahead of time, I have taken up so much of his blog by critiqueing the characters instead of analyzing the story. But yes I guess Aquarion EVOL is successful because it makes us ask questions. Good animes do that, bad animes have their characters power up, become stronger and beat the Stove top stuffing out of the bad guy in an overdramatic Testosterone driven rage.

      I agree with Kelfio and see this anime ending in 1 of 2 ways. 1) stereotypical ending Amata finds the nerve to confess to Mikono and they fall madly in love with each other (boring) 2) Kagura calms down and actually behaves enough that Mikono confesses she loves him too (Bamm, in your face ending!) Although I would love to see the second scenario I just don’t think they will do it.

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  1. Pingback: Aquarion review | Ericjonphelps

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