Aquarion Logos – 03

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Blergh…when you’ve checked out of a show only three episodes in, it’s time to say Sayonara. And between the almost painfully-goofy word-of-the-day crises, Akira’s “I’m the Savior” schtick, and the introduction of a snot-nosed little kid as the newest pilot, I find myself suddenly but categorically checked out of Aquarion Logos.

I’m not alone in this; as of writing fewer than 650 people have bothered to rate the show on MAL (compared to over 11,000 for GANGSTA.), and its rating sits at a paltry 6.20, more than a full point below the older, better Aquarion Evol.

I’m no stranger to going against the whims of MAL (especially when small sample sizes are involved), but in this case our opinions align. Dropped.

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Aquarion Logos – 02

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This week follows much the same pattern as last: Sougon weaponizes another “Word of the Week” (it’s “illness”), Kaibuki Akira commandeers a Vector, goes into the Logos World, and forms an Aquarion with Maia to defeat it.

But in between the problem and the crisis was a part I found much more interesting: when the captured Maia breaks free, she’s kept from flying off in her Vector by a team of tough-as-iron cleaning ladies whose practiced, precises motions, synchronization, strength, and ability to read minds has the sheltered Maia assuming they’re DEAVA’s elite guardian force.

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They assume she’s the new girl, so they set her to work, and Maia learns about the “sacrifices” her master Sougan said were “inevitable” in order to bring about his “Utopia Without Words” (whatever that is). It struck me as a Spirited Away-style situation in which an ignorant, arrogant girl gets a lesson in humility and humanity by putting on another skin for a spell.

Still, if the ladies knew Maia was an escaped prisoner, they’d have probably called security. Why is there no security in the hangar containing the Vectors? Ya know what….never mind.

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Once Akira arrives at the hangar deck and spots Maia, he tells her he’ll “do as he ought, by his own will”, reinforcing the dissonance between her beloved Sougon’s ideal and the price people like the nice ladies she befriended pay for it. She comes to her own opinion on the matter: that any word that starts hurting people is a mistake (even though we know it isn’t a mistake, but exactly what Sougon intended it to be).

Her faith in Sougon’s ideal doesn’t match who Sougon really is: a social networking tycoon trying to make a new world without regard to the casualties that result from the destruction of the old one. As such, her will doesn’t run parallel to her master’s, so perhaps it’s good that he doesn’t let Maia come back to him, but orders her to continue observing Akira.

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Aquarion Logos – 01 (Part II)

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Okay…so I was right: THIS half of the hour-long special I watched was the actual first episode of Logos, representing a clean slate, with no cameos from past shows, just a recycling of terminology (e.g. sousei, vectors, gattai, Aquarion, etc.)  Logos’ new angle is that kanji are possessed with great power that, when unleashed, can be extremely destructive to the fabric of the world.

The “Word of the Day”, if you will, is “Maki”, the kanji for which also means “twist.” Every instance of the kanji in written or digital form comes to life and starts wreaking havoc on modern-day Japan, leaving it up to a special few young people to fight back with the Aquarion hardware we’re familiar with. I must say, this is a pretty clever idea, if a bit Sesame Street.

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That organization is called DEAVA (Division of EArth Verbalism Ability), fronted by a cosplay cafe. When one of those members, Kikogami Kokone, calls out for help when an old lady’s purse is stolen, a dude named Kaibuki Akira answers the call and retrieves the purse. Akira is a bit of a cipher so far, who is fond of calling himself a savior, but also probably happens to be correct about that assertion, as crazy as it sounds to everyone else.

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So sure is Akira that he’s meant for greater things, he follows Kokone into DEAVA and steals her vector to deal with the beastial manifestation of maki in some kind of undefined dimension where one normally does battle with words. In that space, we also have a pair of individuals, one of whom is sure to become one of Akira’s love interests, Tsukigane Maia, who seems to be on the side of the guy who released the word and considers this an important mission.

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Somehow, Akira manages to disconnect Maia’s vector from her partner and dock it to his own, resulting in their transformation into an Aquarion mecha. Maia isn’t sure what’s going on, only that it “feels wonderful”, and she and Akira pair up to blast the maki back into submission with the patented Infinity Punch.

So we have a technicolor cast of characters, an elaborate, often hard-to-follow action that sometimes makes you feel like you’re on some kind of animated Gravitron, yet everything is pretty neatly summed up as “words are power”, and can be used to create as well as destroy.

I wouldn’t exactly call Logos greatit’s awfully helter-skelter and demanding to the senses—but I’ll go with “good” for this first outing. It’s certainly like nothing else this Summer. I’ll just have to see if I have enough time to keep up with it.

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Aquarion Logos – 01 (Part I)

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Gosh, has it only been three years since Aquarion Evol? I’m getting too old for this shit. Now it’s apparently the tenth anniversary of the Aquarion franchise, the first installment of which I never watched. Evol felt kinda like Macross Frontier’s younger, less accomplished, more sex-obsessed red-headed cousin, complete with mecha battles set to pop ballads.

I assumed Logos wouldn’t have anything to do with Evol or the first Aquarion, but this first half of the first episode would seem to be a kind of commemorative prologue/forward/episode 0 before getting into Logos in earnest. It also seems like an attempt to squeeze a feature-length movie into 26 minutes. It is packed, and it rarely makes sense.

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But Aquarion has never been about making a whole lot of sense, it’s about shoving as much stuff onto the screen as possible as youths do battle in elaborate CGI mecha with super-elaborate attacks with goofy names fueled by love and/or lust. Casts from both previous shows appear as though from different dimensions, along with a couple new characters residing in a third in 1966 Japan, Yuno and Shin, who look just like Yunoha and her dearly departed friend Jin from Evol.

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The reason for the dimensional merging/out-of-whackness revolves around an old book in a language only Yuno could read, until Shin came along and read it. They accidentally tear the book in two, and we’re off to the chaotic races, with the two of them being whisked from one bizarre, trippy inter-dimensional setting to another, all while some old fart lectures about tadpole awareness as they grow into frogs in his hand. Are you getting all this?

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Anywho Yunoha’s stuffed frog travels to a dimenison and forms a froglike Aquarion with Yuno and Shin, who combined with the other Aqarion crews, manage to zip up the dimensions and get everyone home (or kaeru, which also apparently means frog.) Yunoha wakes up to see her hand being held by an apparition of Jin. I kinda wanted everything that had happened before to be her dream, but nope, all that stuff happened.

But now what? This first half reached dizzying heights of nonsense masquerading as profoundness, but l was frankly pretty disoriented throughout, having been just thrown back into a franchise I hadn’t watched in over three years, and which I thought would be moving on from what I had watched. The preview for the second half suggests it will do just that…so maybe this was just one last curtain call for the last two shows? I guess I’ll find out.

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Aquarion Evol – 25

Amata goes after Kagura; both union with themselves and fight as top halves of Aquarions. As they fight, Mikage moves Altair through a dimensional gate on a collision course with Vega to create a new world. Andy gets through to Mix, filling the holes in her memory and declaring his love for him/her. Crea appeals to Fudo to do something to stop Mikage, who transforms Zessica’s body and forces Mikono into union with him. After harnessing Ianthe, he also neutralizes Kagura and unions with him to form a Dark Aquarion. Amata unions with Yunoha and Cayenne to face him.

There was definitely a lot of mythology and side-switching to sift through, but now all the pieces just about where they need to be, and we’re all set up for the endgame. This week Amata finally, finally gets some fire in his belly and stands up to his bully of a counterpart. Unfortunately, they play rock-em-sock-em robots while their time could be better spent finding Mikono – the key to their victory. Instead, Mikage, who’s signed the lease to Zessica and revamped her decor, is able to snatch up Mikono. Which is bad news for anyone alive on either Altair or Vega.

We’ll refrain from speculating in too much detail how we see Aquarion Evol wrapping up, but we can tell you what we want. After a lengthy battle between Amata and Mikage, Amata eventually prevails, gets the girl, and saves the world – thereby successfully fighting back the fate he swore he would. We’re not saying a deviation from this plan will result in our writing off the series, but it’s been a long series full of will-they-won’t-they teasing. A nice, clear-cut, unambiguously happy ending would sure be a nice reward for sticking with it all these months.


Rating: 4

Aquarion Evol – 24

As Kagura fights off Izumo and his men in the Legendary Aquarion and Andy fights Mixy in Aquarion Gephard, trying to get through to her, Amata wakes up and is drawn to the compound where his mother Alicia is in stasis. She tells him Izumo is his father, and how she left him on Vega to help Izumo lift the Curse of Eve.

Through Zessica, Mikage compels Kagura to lash out with Aquarion’s weapons, destroying Alicia’s chamber, then taking out Izumo’s mecha with a Mugen Punch. Izumo fires one last shot that disunions Kagura, Zessica and Mikono. Before Izumo dies, he’s able to see Amata briefly. He and Alicia leave the fate of the two worlds in Amata’s hands.

 

We’re now in the home stretch; this week began the arduous process of setting up what we presume will be one double world-resetter of a finale. As we probably could have deduced had we cared to, Izumo is revealed as Amata’s father and Alicia’s lover. Unfortunatly for Amata, he’s unable to spend much time with his estranged parents, as both lose their lives. Izumo’s heavy burden of saving Altair is now over; he’s shifted the responsibility to Amata. Can he manage it?

We think he’ll need help, both from his friends and enemies, if he considers Kagura his enemy. Obviously, they’re opposites, but the two of them are also representative of Vega and Altair: neither can survive alone anymore, so they must be combined. Altair’s Ianthe system ruined the natural “mother nature”, but it’s starting to reassert itself. But Mikage – the transdimensional puppeteering bad guy who is unfortunately pretty blandly evil – has other plans. How is Amata going to thwart a god?


Rating: 3.5

Aquarion Evol – 23

As Shrade, Amata and Zessica traverse dimensions, Fudo briefs the rest of Neo-Deava on the Book of Twin Stars, starting with Celiane and Apollonius, then Silvie and Apollo, Apollon’s winged dog reincarnated; and finally Mikono and Amata/Kagura. Like Vega and Altair, the two were once whole, but split apart by the latest incarnation of Toma, Apollonius’s betrothed, who is now Mikage. Shrade sacrifices himself to get Amata and Zessica into Altair, but they’re separated and Mikage takes possession of Zessica’s body. She meets up with Kagura and Mikono, and urges Kagura to summon Solar Aquarion to oppose Izumo.

Whoa, major exposition dump this week; and not quite done the way we would do it. See, we’ve never been fans of the abstract and somewhat silly ways past information is presented on this series, and unfortunately there’s a lot of that this week. The elements standing on a big book with trippy patterns in the background; images lifting off the pages like a pop-up book; and floating video screens helpfully illustrating Fudo and Crea’s tale (who, pray, was filming these events 12-24 millienia ago??). Like we said, it all looks a bit silly. Frankly, we would have preferred if the story were told as a flashback episode in and of itself. This felt like a recap, even though it revealed lots of information we either didn’t know or weren’t sure about. And recaps are boring. But at least it’s out of the way now.

All that exposition, while necessary, kind of ground proceedings to a halt. As Cayenne said, they didn’t have time to sit around listening to a story, but Fudo didn’t listen. We just wish there was a more serious, less goofy way of supplying this information. For that matter, Shrade’s death was kind of…meh. Between turning the blood stains on his shirt into musical scales and his overwrought “final melody”, it was all a little silly and hard to take seriously, unlike Jin’s death. Meanwhile, as expected, Mikage has made his move on Zessica, which means he now has physical form. From unrequited love victim to unrequited angel vessel…you can’t say she’s not moving up in the world(s)!


Rating: 3

Aquarion Evol – 22

As Schrade, Cayenne, and Sazanka battle Mikage’s mecha, Kagura tells Amata how they were once one person, but Mikage split Amata in two and raised the dark Amata as Kagura. When Mikono emerges from a fissure in the earth, along with the Legendary Aquarion, they fight over her. Mikage wakes up Zessica, urging her to fulfill her promise. Mikages mecha snatches the Legendary Aquarion while Kagura snatches Mikono and the two enter a dimension gate. Amata, a fading Shrade, and Zessica team up to follow them to Altair. With the Aquarion’s seal broken, the past balance between Vega and Altair begins to shift.

Things are definitely starting to get pretty climactic, as the Legendary Aquarion is finally unearthed, Kagura maintains he’s the Apollon to Mikono’s Silvie, Shrade is closer to death than ever, Vega’s ideal weather is turning, and Mikage’s newest trump card – Zessica – is right where she needs to be to cause the most trouble. If we didn’t know better, we’d say this resembled a penultimate episode, even though three episodes remain to build up what we’re hoping is going to be an epic finale with no cop-outs or deus ex machinas. Kids can dream.

This episode had its share of rock-em-sock-em robots (and dopplegangers) and there was certainly some new exposition (and new music), but there was also a lot of reiterating of key points. Clearly, Mikage making off with the Legendary Aquarion is bad, and so is Kagura making off with his smelly wench. But we know that wench connects people, so maybe she’s the key to bringing the two pieces of Amata back together. Or perhaps her role is to somehow unite Vega and Altair in peace. In any case, here’s hoping Zessica and Mikono don’t turn into dudes due  to being on Altair.


Rating: 3.5

Aquarion Evol – 20

Andy escapes from his cell and begins a futile search for Mix, as Izumo confronts Amata in the Alicia room and tells him about the Curse of Eve. Mikono finds Fudo in a town, and he begins to reveal the truth to her, including the fact he’s 24 millenia old. Yunoha and Zessica are starting to deteriorate, and Shrade unions with them and attacks the Altair command tower. After rescuing Andy and Amata, they form a boy’s union and duel with the new male Mix, now called Mixy. The revelation makes Andy go out of control, but Shrade harnesses his nano black hole to blow a hole through Mixy’s barricades and reopen the gate to Vega.

This is the episode where Amata learns everything we’ve known for a while now about Altair, Mikono is on the cusp of learning the “full truth” (whatever that is at the moment), Yunoha starts swearing like a sailor (which is pretty funny), and Andy learns his one true love is now…a boy (bad luck, mate.) The rescue mission ends without success, and both Zessica and Yunoha are in a pretty bad way; in fact, had they stayed longer they’d probably turn into boys as well – their throats and chests hurt, hinting that they may be growing Adam’s apples, though the previews hint that Zessica’s bust wasn’t reduced any significant amount…

Amata certainly has every right to be angry with Izumo and Altair in general – they’ve been holding his mother all this time, after all. But he can’t look at this as a black-and-white situation; we’re talking about an entire world that’s slowly dying, where most women can’t survive and those that do become men. If you’re thinking about the big picture, Izumo is somewhat justified in doing anything he can to preserve his world. Vega can spare a few women if it means saving a whole other planet from extinction. Only one problem: nothing he’s tried hasn’t worked; all his abductions have been for naught. While he’s within his rights to do something, he needs to make sure what he’s doing will actually work before sacrificing more innocent women.


Rating: 4


Car Cameos:
A Nisssan Murano and Subaru Legacy wagon are among the cars that make up the traffic in the town where Mikono finds Fudo.

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The elements are transported to a top secret location in a green, placid mountain valley, where they’re instructed to relax and await orders and mind a cargo of strange, seeded bananas. When Mix accidentally hits Andy with a volleyball, he takes the opportunity to confess but it comes out wrong. He sinks deep into the ground just as a dimensional gate opens, causing an instant blizzard and an icy Abductor emerges. Andy unearths a great spring of warm milk that connects the male and female elements and covers each others’ weaknesses, allowing them to defeat the Abductor and shed the Aquarion’s “peel”.

Beach, pool, or swimsuit episodes can often be irksome affairs when not done correctly, but fortunately Aquarion Evol avoided the typical pitfalls by getting the swimsuit part over with quickly and efficiently, then piling on the Aquarion Crazy. Apparently in this world, bananas, not apples, were the forbidden fruit the serpent offered Eve. Fudo had some awfully good arguments for why it’s a better choice. As for those milky geysers…was there an aquafer consisting of Ito-En Banana drink down there? That stuff is delicious.

Andy’s bungled confession to MIX (“I want to fill your hole!”) was priceless; he consistently gets some of the best lines of all his peers. Also, Zessica tells Mikono straight up “he’s all yours,” and while she won’t give up loving him, she’s at least moving on, or at least trying to. Hopefully this will mean her character can evolve beyond full-time Amata-piner; after all, she’s a pretty good fighter. Her new outfit is even more ridiculous than her last – she just isn’t capable of covering more than 45% of her boobs.


Rating: 3.5

Aquarion Evol – 16

With the Kagura threat neutralized for the time being, Fudo orders a mock battle between Aquarions: Cayenne, Sazanka and Malloy in Gephard against Amata, Mikono, and Zessica in Evol. The special training increased and augment everyone’s powers, and Gephard initially dominates, but when Zessica confesses to Amata, her unrequited love sends Evol into a brief berzerk mode, moving on its own and launching an Infinity Punch that trancends time and space and gives the Evol pilots a glimpse of the true story of Apollo and Sylvia. Gephard is defeated, and the training island is destroyed.

After all the excitement last week we expected things to slow down and cool off a bit, and with Amata buying cat treats to woo Mikono’s “cat” Shush, that’s how things started. But then we had elements put back into Aquarions for the first time in a while, only this time sparring with one another. Sazanka and Malloy’s powers are revealed, Zessica finally works up the courage to confess to Amata, Amata reacts predictably, and the Evol goes berzerk, blasting a punch so far our heroes can watch their counterparts from the previous Aquarion Series (which we haven’t seen)!

So now they know all that stuff really happened 12,000 years ago, leaving Amata worried: he was all gung-ho about fighting fate, but now he’s not so sure. Zessica’s confession doesn’t do anything for him (i.e. he’s not thinking about backup girlfriends); his focus is on Mikono, and whether he has any chance against Kagura. And so nobody is really happy. Except, strangely enough, Andy and MIX. Next week: we’ll see how Aquarion Evol does its inevitable swimsuit episode. Our prediction: there’ll be boobs.


Rating: 3.5 

Aquarion Evol – 14

Yunoha locks herself away in her room, invisible and in despair, during Jin’s funeral. Fudo sends Mikono to flush her out, and the class travels to Neo-Stanley for Jin’s interment. When he’s buried, Fudo orders Andy to dig holes for all everyone, for “Special Training of The Grave” Everyone except Mikono is buried alive with only a bamboo snorkel. Their thoughts of attachmend, wickedness, love, stubbornnes and hatred all become jumbled until Mikono uses her power of connection to bring everyone back. They emerge from cocoons of energy, reborn…even Kagura.

Well, now…that was a bizarre episode. No battles. No flirting. The skies over Neo-Deava are grey and dreary for the first time. Jin is dead. Kagura…isn’t. And as for everyone else save Mikono, well…Fudo wanted to teach a harsh lesson, and there was apparently no time to lose. As soon as Jin is buried, while the pain is still fresh in everyone’s minds, he has Andy dig graves. By himself. It seems to take the better part of the day. Everyone else just stands around. Like we said; Bizarre.

But that’s not the half of it. The ground in which everyone is buried seems to be reflecting all their thoughts into one another. Down there, six feet under, you’re mano-a-mano with yourself, and the minds wander. All kinds of inner philosophizing ensues. It may seem to be downright cruel and unusual training, but Fudo has a plan. Mikono refuses to be buried, and it’s a good thing, because she’s the one who ends up bringing them back from the edge of life with her element power. And just when you thought the training was over, boom, Kagura appears, good as new. This series is edging toward sadism vis-a-vis its characters!


Rating: 3.5

Aquarion Evol – 13

The berzerk Kagura, in his fortified Mithra Ghis, wreaks havoc on the movie screening, looking for Mikono, his “Sylvie”. Amata, Mikono, and Zessica form Aquarion Evol, but Kagura is being fed by an energy thread through a dimension gate to Altair, and is able to reverse any element power, quickly overhwelming the trio. Mikono and Amata are saved by Andy and MIX. Meanwhile, Jin learns that Yunoha knows of his treachery, so he prepares to return to Altair with her as his hostage, but she convinces him to stay and aid their new friends. Cayenne and Shrade, who came to pursue Jin, instead union with him, forming Espada. They close the gate and defeat the weakened Kagura, but in the process Mikage kills Jin and turns his attention on Amata.

With this episode, we’re now halfway through the sci-fi romance epic that is Aquarion Evol, and we’re pleased to say it’s a hell of a midpoint. Like any good season finale, it showed us things we hadn’t seen before, pulled out all the emotional stops, gave just about everybody something to do, revealed new potential routes for the story to take, raised fresh stakes…and killed off at least one character. The character in question is someone we had really grown to like in Jin. His struggles with divided loyalties and similarly schitzophrenic relationship with Yunoha made him one of the more interesting, well-rounded characters, so it’s a shame he’s gone.

But his death wasn’t just random; Mikage was pretty adamant about cutting his head open with rose pedals, despite his being the final son born on Altair. Wasn’t he…important? Or was his decision to side with Yunoha an act of treason that lifted him of his responsibilities – and life. We’re thinking this because Mikage (who has wings coming out of his head) really wants to know where the guy with the golden wings is – who we know to be Amata – and perhaps Amata is his next “project.” It would be par for the course, as Mikage has already manipulated Kagura and Jin. At the end of the day, everyone seems to be the pawn of some superior being.


Rating: 4