Here is a tip for all you scriptwriter wannabes out there: IT’S NOT THAT EASY!
Aquarion was basically trying to be a more light Neon Genesis, with a lot less seriousness and a lot more fan service. And it failed big time for not doing much with its own potencial other than making fun of itself.
- Animated by Studio Satelite, which has produced several famous and infamous sci-fi shows over the years. In the longrun none of them manage to be masterworks for having sloppy directing but I did love what they did with Noein. Other than that they are not a studio I am fond of.
- Directed and written by Kawamori Shouji, known for his work on various Macross series. He is by no means awesome in his work as he hardly takes his work seriously, as in the case of directing shows like Arjuna and Basquash. In all, I don’t consider him as anything special.
The world is at stake so let’s go for beers
Its core story is quite the typical mecha one, albeit full of anime-only terminologies that they never seem to be directly explained to you. This element could work as a plus, since you are supposed to pay attention and slowly learn what is going on with the world and those weird sounding names. The problem is presentation. IT SUCKS! You are never told what is going on in-series to the most part. So ok, Neon Genesis did the same. Only there, the answers would leave you amazed, while here they will only make you think “What? That was all of it? Big deal!”
The plot is done in media res fashion, that is starting not from the beginning but from a point later, where you are supposed to find out what happened in the past. That could also work as a great plus. But presentation once again ruins all the fun, as most of the episodes are random fillers that only manage to confuse you with irrelevant happenings and character self-realization that by the next episode has totally been forgotten. So here you are keeping notes for a hundred things, only to realize in the end that most were just smokescreen and that the actual plot could easily fit in 6 episodes.
The idea behind the story is actually very good on paper. It is about a destroyed world that awaits rebirth through unearthly means, blurring reality with dreams, and Greek mythology with fringe science. And adding to the lot, battles with giant mecha, past lives, and orgasmic fusions between characters … yeah; it’s weird. I give thumbs up to all that wackiness. Under different directing all that could make another Neon Genesis indeed. Too bad they didn’t because of LAME PRESENTATION!
How could all this work out? Well, less filler would definitely work to its advantage; by the time the finale kicked in, you have lost interest. And less humor too; most fillers aim at comedy and when we are back into the core story, it is supposed to be dramatic and serious as heck. The feeling of the fillers was so alienating it was severing you from the feeling of the meaningful parts and although the finale was powerful and wrapped things nicely, it meant very little by then.
Too bad I wasn’t in the writing team; I could save this from disaster with my oh-so-basic-literature-skills-you-suckers-at-the-drawing-boards-lack.
Ooooh, stick that big, hard mind of yours deep inside my wet dream
The cast is the usual bunch we find in all classic mecha stories (Don’t make me mention them; it’s a waste of time if you don’t know what I mean just from that). The story tried to spice them up by throwing a super hot spice to the soup of mediocrity by giving them past lives, ties with mythology, and the need to realize stuff through dreams in order to save the day. That leaves room for a lot of character development and could create a heck of a cast, just like it did in Neon Genesis. Only thing, this is no Ne… (and sorry to keep mentioning that anime but it is the best way to explain the faults).
Most of the supposed development the characters get does not matter. It happens in one episode, helps to materialize some weird special attack and it is forgotten by the next episode. This reset button ruins most of the actual liking you could have with them.
Then it’s the idea of merging. In order to summon the mecha and fight, the characters need to merge their mind, a procedure that feels like they are having an orgasm. Yeah, gives the term “mindfuck” a whole new meaning. Now, I’m not against the idea itself; I actually liked the hentai possibilities to this concept. The thing is, it is used so many times in almost the exact way all the time that as the episodes go by you only see it as a running joke. The characters lose their seriousness and are seen just as sex material or comic relief, blasting away the tragedy of their past lives and their final battle at the end. And may I remind you, this is not purely a comedy to begin with, so overdoing the funny part destroys the sad part. Thus, presentation once more ruins the anime, just like the Gods ruined the world of the series.
I am coming. I am coming! … I came.
There are lots of repeating clips used during special attacks and intercourse … er, I mean merging. It is a cheap way to waste airing time and eventually gets to your nerves (lol, NERV, another reference to Neon Genesis). But other than that the rest of the quality in artwork and character design is actually quite nice. The way the destroyed world is depicted and the psychedelic situations the characters are thrown in show some hints of brilliance. But not too much to deserve more than that. Also, the music is just nice, no dialogues or songs are that good despite their mystical overtones and the famous voices behind them. [/spoiler]
Was it as good for you as it was for me? … What? You had better???
Sorry fellas, this doesn’t work in the longrun. The initial feeling of mystery and epicness fades away after the second repeating merging clip, while the smokescreened info and the dead time are killing your interest with a pickaxe. The only thing worth remembering is the orgasmic merging, which is not a good note on its resume. The story was good and the characters seemed interesting but you end up not caring about all that in a few episodes. Just stick to that other anime I mentioned a dozen times already. It has no orgasms while merging but instead has a guy masturbating over a comatose girl. Priceless!
There are some things money can’t buy. For all the rest, there is Mindfucard.
And sorry for all these deprived jokes but this series is so asking for it.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 7/10
General Artwork 2/2 (interesting setting)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 1/2 (too empty)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (lots of crazy stuff)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 5/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (loose)
Complexity 2/2 (rich context)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (random but solid)
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 1/2 (cheesy)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (maturity gets a reset on every episode)
Catharsis 2/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 3/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot)
Memorability 2/4 (not bad but nothing special)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 4/10
Art 0/1 (looks dull)
Sound 1/2 (nice soundtrack)
Story 1/3 (good ideas but lukewarm presentation)
Characters 2/4 (not bad but nothing special)
I have got to be honest in saying, I found this anime way more humorous then serious, in the effect that I actually felt like the merging of the robots was almost a sexual inuendo. It actually made the entire series hillarious and I can't help but laugh thinking back on it.
The story was awekwardly weaved and at times you would feel yourself going "What?" and a little lost with what is happening until later in the series. The animation is smooth and overall has a pretty good look to it. The sounds are great as they fight and merge the robots. I think the sound is really what makes the show so humorous to me. If you're not interested you should at the very least watch the first episode so you can see them merge the robots. It is pretty funny.
The characters are amusing everybody seems to have a past life experience controlling what they do though... whole let destiny take the wheel thing. They are interesting though if you're into a man who acts like a talk awekwardly falling in love with a girl.. (Inuyasha anyone? Uhm...) Well yeah... I think overall I will have to give this one a 6.5 Giant Robots, Merging Inuendo's, and about average quality. It isn't a bad watch if you're bored.
Right, it's confession time for me. If you have been reading my reviews than you may have noticed that I tend to rip the anime a new one. There is a reason for this though and it has to do with the fact that I can't turn my brain off when watching anime. I can't ignore the stupid shown in the anime and this is a problem as most anime are very stupid indeed.
In this case I'm not talking about a 90 pound girl catching a multi-ton cruise missile and throwing it back. Yes, it is stupid but it is a stupid that I'll allow. It's anime. Things like this are normal here and I'm pretty much fine with it. It annoys me to be sure but I will not rant about it.
So, having explained this lets rip into this anime shall we? Just a heads up: There will most probably be spoilers. The more I hate an anime the more spoilers there will be.
ART: Kind of confusing. With this I don't mean that the art is weird or something like that. If I'm honest I'll have to admit that it is above average but I just didn't care for it. The confusing part is that I can't put my finger on why. As mentioned, if I'm honest, it is good enough and above average and you'll never be confused about what is going on or who is who.
SOUND: ..... I got nothing. As I've said many times before this is not a bad thing. Not for me. It means that the music was at least not bad our oustandingly great.
CHARACTERS: Main character is Apollo. He's essentially homeless and after an attack by Angels he is also cityless. It is discoverd that he can pilot Aquarion and he gets roped into joining DEAVA. He is very animalistic in his behavior which often has him butting heads with the other members
Silvia and Sirius are siblings and of noble descent. Sirius immediately hates Apollo as they are complete polar opposites. His sister Sylvia joins him in the hatred but is also intrigued by Apollo as she is strangely drawn to him.
Toma is a powerful Angel and he dedicates his live to the destruction of DEAVA. He sees in Apollo the main advisary that he must destroy.
STORY: 12.000 years after the end of the human-Angel war it becomes clear that the Angels are once again back to destroy all of humanity. The only one able to stop the Angels is the organisation DEAVA. Collecting special humans from all over the world who can channel elemental power they train them to pilot the Vectors. These 3 craft are ancient aircraft that are powered by their pilots. Not only are they very powerful they can combine into a huge mecha called Aquarion. In the last war it was Aquarion that turned the tide and defeated the Angels. Because of this they are the number 1 target of the Angels.
RANT: I really liked the concept of the anime but I hated the way the anime turned out. There is very strong hinting about reincarnations and you quickly know who the main characters are. Wich makes waiting for the characters catch up to where the viewer is very tedious and annoying.
The episodes themselves are just as tedious en formulaic. Every episode begins with the DEAVA people getting issued a problem that they need to solve by their CO. They fail and right then they get the call that there is an Angel attack. They head out and quickly realize that in order to beat the Angel they need to solve the problem that they were given at the beginning of the episode.
This is almost every episode and gets tired very quickly. Most of the series is structured like this and with a few exceptions most arcs are episodic. In the background there is overall arc that works towards the final Angel fight but slogging through the show getting there is a chore.
It also takes out all of the suspense out of the series as you can see pretty much everything coming. You already know what the solution to every fight is going to be before the fight begins.
One of the positive things is the character interaction. The characters are actually pretty well worked out and you can see why some characters are butting heads as much as they do.
Downside is that some characters can be very two dimensional and don't really change as the series goes on. Then there also the weird stuff that goes on.
This brings me to the one thing that truly pissed me off. It is eventually revealed that there is a child Angel. The last Angel to be born who is a mere 12.000 years old. Despite his age he looks and acts like a teenager.
Upon hearing about Aquarion he decides to have some fun with him and heads down to Earth and fuck around with them. By fun I of coarse mean wiping a few cities off the map and killing pretty much everyone there. That is tens of thousands of people per city and he destroys a number of cities. Men, women and children I might add and all the while little Futaba is laughing and having a grand old time.
Meanwhile the older Angels look on shaking their heads muttering something about 'that darn kid' and stuff. None of them lift a finger to stop him at any time.
So he gets caught and Aquarion hands him over to the UN like organisation that leads the war. They are understandably a wee bit pissed off by the thousands of dead and since this is the first Angel ever caught they go docter Mengele on his ass.
This greatly disturbes both the Angels and the members of DEAVA because one simply does not do this shit to chldren. Even enemy ones.
Meanwhile I'm looking on wondering why DEAVA is so hung up on what they do to Futaba at the research station. It is made very clear that this must not be done to children so as viewer you should be shocked by this brutal torture.
While I sort of agree that it is wrong I can't help thinking about the THOUSANDS OF DEAD HUMANS THAT USED TO LIVE IN THE NOW DESTROYED CITIES! Seriously the deathtoll is staggering and we are supposed to feel sorry for the little shit? I would personally blown his fucking head off if I had caught him and let them experiment on his corpse.
I will not be doing this review the same as my more structured ones, to bring out the key ideas:
pros: -the prob of the day style was fun and funny
-the characters started off separated but the relationships built well into the last
-the characters became lovable
-the enemy and story were pretty interesting
cons: -prob of the day style removes any chance of a flowing masterpiece of a storyline
-the end kinda got weird, super love blast of justice, lets all just be friends even
though you killed all my other friends, some kind of weird philosophy about how
love is going to save the world, we just have to understand each others pain.
-on top of the lovey dovey corny wierd sh*t that just makes none of the anime real
or reasonable any more, the end ends up feeling rushed into "OMG THE WORLD IS
DOOMED, WE MUST SACRIFICE THE MAIN CHARACTER AND LEAVE HIS LOVER BEHIND
TO MAKE THIS ANIME GOOD AND NOT TOO PRESUMPTUOUS". which is stupid.
Im rewriting this portion after some time and thought partly because I began watching Aquarion EVOL
Problem of the day style usually annoys me. Not many animes do this episodic style and get away with it looking clean. Often times it takes up too much time that could have been spent on the main plot. However, Aquarion actually built in the essential character building into each episode with small advancements in the plot over time. Closer to the end they accelerate the main plot and finish the anime.
Now I had to rewrite this review after watching some of EVOL because at first I hated hated HATED this ending, for a similar reason that Guilty Crowns ending kind of erked me. However I then realized after about 10 episodes of EVOL that it is a continuation of the story from Aquarion. Then suddenly I realized the awesomeness of this series. The style of both were similar, episodic, but with some really nice character building. Similar to Samurai Champloo you can just sit back and kind of enjoy the flow of the anime.
While the ending could have been more smooth and less corny, they did an ok job at least. If they had ended the story there it would have kind of sucked, but there is more to it. Aquarion EVOL picks up down the road and you will find that the ending for this one was not so horrible.
I reccommend this anime, it is pretty good, but you need to watch it for Aquarion EVOL because that one is a must watch.
This anime truely drove me insane with the massive amount of potential that was wasted! The story is pretty mediocre. Essentially, a group of teenagers team up to fight evil angels and save all of man kind. This basic concept really bored me. They made it a bit interesting when they started making the audience question who was evil in the war. However, there were too many scenes that ended devolving into "power of friendship" cheesy shots. All you anime fans know what I'm talking about. My other massive problem was, in the beginning, it sort of came off as a battle of the week anime where a new and bigger mecha must be defeated in every episode. This format continued for so long that it got boring really quickly. Then it made itself worse by almost transforming into an after school special. They had episodes about rumors, dieting and the power of acceptance. I felt like I was having a moral lesson shoved down my throat for half of it. I don't think the plot is the strong point of this anime. In fact, the plot was entirely dissappointing.
The animation is not bad. Most of it is nothing to cheer over but the battle scenes were well done and I liked how the world of the Shadow Angels was designed. The animation, for the most part, goes somewhat unnoticed. It is not distracting in any way (which is both good and bad.) There weren't any parts that stuck out as being horrendous but I also wouldn't watch it for the art.
The sound began to irritate me after a while. I liked the themes for the show. The openings were fairly perky and fun. They caught my attention and seemed like they belonged in the show. The ending theme was beautiful and really captured the original greek mythology deal that the whole show is based on. However, the creators didn't know when to quit. For almost every battle sequence they would just reuse whichever opening appeared at the beginning of the episode. Some of the times it fit and some of the time it didn't. Yet, the creators insisted on jamming it in wether it was needed or not.
The characters are where this show begins to shine. Apollo is likeable and fun in his animalistic mannerisms. Somehow, it is pretty endearing when he was going off to catch rats or bite someone on the ankle. Sylvia is a bit irritating and her obsession with her brother doesn't seem healthy but, at the same time, her motives are well explained so she becomes interesting. Sirius was one of my favorites. He was always hiding who he was from the world which drove him to make some massive decisions in the show. His inner conflict was interesting to watch. I wish that some of the relationships had been more fleshed out. This show has a tendancy to gloss over the love that some characters would have reason to feel and go straight to hatred. I also liked the past lives concept. It came up a bit too conveniently but I felt satisfied with how that issue was resolved by the end.
All in all, if you are interested in seeing some good characters it is worth a try. Although, I must admit that you have to go through some flaws to see it.