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[Sousei no Aquarion R2 DVD box art]
AKA: Holy Genesis of Aquarion, 創聖のアクエリオン (Sousei no Aquarion)
Genre: Mecha
Length: Television series, 26 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by FUNimation.
Content Rating: PG-13 (sexual undertones)
Related Series: Aquarion Evol (sequel), Aquarion the Movie (Compilation of the TV series)
Also Recommended: Escaflowne, Gundam, Neon Genesis Evangelion, RahXephon
Notes: Created by Kawamori Shoji, who also created Arjuna and Escaflowne, and designed the mecha in Macross.
Rating:
 

Aquarion

Synopsis

Holy Genesis Era. Year 0011. Mankind has lost 2/3 of its population. The Great Catastrophe, which ruined the planet 11 years ago, caused the ice of Antarctica to melt.

In the Lost Atlantis, which was believed to be destroyed 12,000 years ago, the winged race of Shadow Angels resurrected. They sent their bio-mechanical 'mythical beasts' to harvest the life energy or 'Prana' of humans in the few remaining cities.

Humanity tries to hold off the onslaught when the 'Godspeed Magician' Fudo Gen excavated in the sea near Crete the so-called vector machines, legendary machines which gave new hope. With these 3 new weapons, Mars, Luna, and Sol, piloted by gifted pilots who possess the 'element' to activate them, the legendary 'Mechanical Angel Aquarion' can be united from the 3 'vectors'...

The 'elements' who needed to have pure souls and sharp senses, finally start off the fight and the time of uniting humanity's hopes into the legendary Aquarion has come.

Review

At least, that’s what the official synopsis says. But the REAL story is that it’s about a man named Apollo (who shall henceforth be known as "Doinky"), who loses his best friend Baron (oh brother) to the Borg, er, Shadow Angels (who live in a place that shall now be called the "GIANT FLOWER ARRANGEMENT OF DOOM™"), and he is captured and taken to a school to learn how to pilot the Aquarion. Oh yeah, and he’s the reincarnation of a legendary Atlantean warrior, and the mythical "Solar Wing" that the Shadow Angels are looking for.

Yes, this DID come after Neon Genesis Evangelion. In fact, the name even rhymes with "Evangelion"! But that's not the extent of Aquarion's crimes.

The problem with Sousei no Aquarion is that it makes a rather bad effort at pleasing as large a crowd as possible. Aquarion is, first and foremost, a mecha anime, as shown by each episode and the crafts flying out to confrontations against the... uh, Shadow Angels. But it also seems to touch upon fantasy, as the cast seems to be young people with magical abilities of all kinds. Add to that a post-apocalyptic element, religious references by the truckload, ridiculous psychodrama.... oh, and let us not forget the yaoi, since that seems to be all the rage nowadays. I'm not trying to be homophobic or anything, but Aquarion -- far more than Kannazuki no Miko -- uses homosexual elements as a crowd-puller. It's not a big deal to us, but there's no denying it feels rather forced.

Now, Aquarion might have gotten off a lot easier if we had liked the characters a lot better. However, for a main lead, Doinky (our new nickname for Apollo, our "reincarnated angel" -- yeah, we're rolling our eyes here) is unusually obnoxious. He yells most of his lines (not necessarily towards anyone. He's just being a loud, obnoxious idiot) and spends most of his time running around on all four and sniffing people when he's not angsting about his lost friend, who was absorbed into the GIANT FLOWER ARRANGEMENT OF DOOM™.

Not that our dear Princess Silvia is a whole lot better. Saddled with a rather heavy ONII-CHAN complex, she spends most of her time bitching about something -- although not completely unwarranted most of the time, as Doinky is being.... well, himself, to put it that way. Still, her "spoiled brat" attitude leaves something to be desired. And of course, she is the reincarnation of Doinky’s soulmate, which I'm sure will be a tearjerker in the later episode, if the last one WE saw was any indication. (Yeah, we're rolling our eyes again here.)

Oh, but let's not forget Sirius, who is our tall, blonde bishounen™ who looks suspiciously like Allen Schezar from Escaflowne. He likes to read poetry and has been known to stand in his rose garden, posing with his saber for hours on end. Sadly to say, ladies, he is pretty much taken..... with our next subject, the woman with the aura of misfortune.

Reika (Lihua), at first, seemed like she would be the only character that would be good out of this load of doinks. But as the episodes went on, she increasingly grew angsty, and there was a whole episode devoted to her whining about her bad luck. I wanted to slap her by the end of the episode. A younger student, Tsugumi, looks up to Reika for some reason, and at some times this adoration crosses over into yuri territory. So not only do we have yaoi thrown in for no reason, we also have yuri thrown in for no reason – and it’s only focused on for a few episodes before being tossed aside. (I guess they forgot about the yaoinistas for a second there.)

As for the other characters, we have Pierre the soccer player who tells stupid raunchy jokes, Jun the otaku, and Rena, the pale-skinned girl who sits in a wheelchair and generally pulls off a Vulcan impression all the time while saying cryptic messages. Not to mention our commander Fudo Gen, who has a black belt in cryptic nonsense that this show is trying to pass off as inspirational speeches. They are just as annoying as the other characters are.

And the story.... dear God, the story.... It's bad enough that Aquarion seems to slavishly follow the same episode formula each and every time. Yes, the first half is purely for people training in their selective abilities, not to mention letting a few of their skeletons out of their closets. (And they ALL have skeletons, maybe with the exception of Rena, the Vulcan vampire, who probably isn't human anyway.) But around the halftime mark, there's an attack from a mythical beast, and three people among the rookies are sent out to face threats of world changing proportions, and unite to form the Aquarion -- complete with sparkly naked bodies and moans of pleasure (I am NOT KIDDING) -- only to have their asses handed to them while they argue with each other and their commander spouts ridiculous expositions about learning to crawl before they walk. (And you haven't LIVED until you've seen a giant robot crawling around on all four, looking like a complete idiot.) Not to worry, though, as they usually figure out what to do at the last minute, usually followed by a completely ridiculous attack. (Like the "punch me to the moon" attack. And they do. I'm serious.) Just about the only good thing about this show is the music by Kanno Yoko, although some parts of it seem like a copy of her score for Escaflowne.

Well, it's been what... 12 episodes of this now? We haven't quite decided whether we think it's unintentionally hilarious or stupid yet. Or maybe a bit of both. The truth is, Aquarion is awesome if you're looking for something to poke fun at. The show has a level of ridiculous we've rarely seen in the shows of late, and, in a sense, the laughs provided almost makes up for the sheer load of stupid found in the show. Indeed, this anime proves that Kawamori Shoji must have lost his mind.

Only good for a laugh or an MSTing party. Add two more stars if you really, really like any anime with giant robots fighting. Stig Høgset and Jennifer Berman

Recommended Audience: Aside from the gay subtext, this features fairly typical mecha violence, with not a lot of blood or guts. And let's not forget the gratuitous sparkly naked moaning sequences whenever the ships unite to form the Aquarion! It would probably be OK for teens, though.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Partial (12/26)
Aquarion © 2005 Kawamori Shoji / Satelight / Project AQUARION