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)