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.
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.
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.