Forced to return without Mix, everyone awaits Mikono and Fudo’s return. Fudo tells Mikono the legend of Genesis, in which the angel Apollonius shed his wings and joined the humans after falling in love with Celiane. The time has come for the legend to repeat. A disturbing dream leads Amata to sortie without authorization. Both he and Kagura are drawn to the city where Amata first met Mikono, now a deserted ruin, decaying and overrun with vines. Zessica and Cayenne are sent to retrieve Amata, but a powerful mecha attacks them. Zessica is trapped under stones, and kisses Amata so he’ll fly away to safety. Shrade and Sazanka union with Cayenne to battle the mecha, but Kagura and Amata meet and learn they are – and always have been – the same person.
We should have known; the reason Amata is so kind and shy and the reason why Kagura is so forward and aggressive: they’re two sides of the same coin. Amata is Kagura and vice versa. It seems they’re meant to coalesce into a single entity, “Amagura.” This also rather neatly explains why Mikono feels such a close attachment to both of them: she’s the Big Connector, and she’s to be the Celiane to their Apollonius in what is the latest version of the Legend of Genesis, which created the world. Amagura and Mikono will create a new world, which probably means bye-bye old world.
Speaking of farewells, it’s not clear at all whether Mixy will ever be able to become Mix again, Shrade is probably not going to last much longer considering he can’t help but union yet again, and Zessica says goodbye to Amata in a pretty contrived and random sequence of unfortunate events. Her element power allows her to break up rocks, but for some reason she can’t break the ones on top of her. We liked how she made Amata leave her behind by kissing him, thus involuntarily activating his flying powers. But we don’t believe she’s dead. Not yet, anyway. Mikage had plans for her, after all.
With the situation on Altair deteriorating rapidly and Kagura nowhere to be found and proven unreliable, Izumo mans the Ahura Gnis and travels to Vega himself to find a Rare Igura who could be the True Eve. Zessica, who is feeling weak and unsure of what to do next, resigns herself to only being with Amata when in union, but Izumo proved powerful, breaking past the defenses and demanding Chairman Crea hand over an Igura. Zessica volunteers, but while trying to stop her Mix gets in the way and her Vector is captured and taken back to Altair.
We have to say, we don’t really mind this Izumo guy. He’s got a lot on his plate: the imminent collapse of his world and nothing to save it with. He’s done depending on others; needs a True Eve pronto. He’s a pragmatic guy; so rather than pounding his chest and attacking, he begins with peaceful negotiations. One girl in exchange for no war; which is not a bad deal. Only, there’s no telling what he and Altair will be up to in if their power is restored. For all we know, maybe Altair needs to be weak if Vega is to thrive. Izumo refers to Vega as a former battlefield; it would seem from the look of the two worlds that his side lost. It also means he’s a seasoned veteran and a pro; not some greenhorn teenager, and pilots his mecha accordingly. The Aquarion Gang is good, but aren’t any match for Izumo.
He probably could have destroyed the Aquarion and escort Vectors without breaking a sweat, killing half the cast in one blow, but like we said, he’s not evil. And he’s almost as intrigued by Amata as Mikage. But as to that cast: Mix regrets how her actions caused Andy grief, which may or may not have motivated her to step in and prevent Zessica from getting abducted. It could have just as well been comraderie, something Zessica wasn’t interested in this week. It was all about poor old Me Myself and I. Scorned by Amata, she wants to hit something hard, and prove to herself she’s still a warrior. Well, she failed, and Mix may end up paying the price for her selfishness.
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.
Amata snatches Mikono back from Kagura’s clutches and escapes with his wings, while Shrade incapacitates the abductor with a violin. Kagura gets away and gives chase in the Mislagnissa, which he was able to steal with the help of a recently-awakened Mikage. Neo-Deava cancels training; Cayenne, Zessica and Andy take flight in vectors, but are no match for Kagura. An injured Cayenne lets Shrade take over, while Andy gets switched out for Amata, and the union of the three creates Aquarion Spada, a musical weapon that beheads Mislagnissa. Kagura is dragged home by Izumo, while the brief attack severely weakened an already weak Shrade, whose element power has always been too powerful for his body to withstand.
After a fairly lightweight outing last week, the peril returns in the form of the wild, angry Kagura. Curiously, both Mikono and Amata get a very strange familiarity with him, and Amata even has a vision of him and Mikono in some kind of unholy matrimony – something he doesn’t want to happen, and knows can’t. This episode is also the first night battle, and it’s very strikingly presented, what with the mecha weaving through Neo-Kowloon’s glowing forest of skyscrapers. Night or day, the city is effing gorgeous, and feels alive and pulsing.
There’s a new Aquarion combo this week too: the elegant Spada with Shrade at the head. With its whip and sure, dignified movements stern master to the feral wolf that is Kagura and his Mislagnissa. Shrade doesn’t spare the whip, and Kagura is quickly dealt with, but Shrade, whose life hangs by a thread every day, may not survive another battle. He’d have probably bought the farm if the battle had continued. Kagura is definitely not the most charming of guys, but as Mikono senses, his determination and drive are sincere – Amata’s dark counterpart.
After she fails to exhibit any element powers, Neo-Deava sends Mikono on her way. Andy introduces Amata to Shrade, who can manipulate emotions and draw out the power of others with a piano. Amata, Andy, and Cayenne are sent out to deal with a new Abductor attack, but even uniting into Aquarion and getting boosted by Shrade, they are overmatched. High Commander Fudo Zen turns the boat Mikono is on around and back to the academy, where he exchanges Andy for her in Aquarion. She gets her chance to finally protect those who protect her, and together with Amata and Cayenne reform EVOL. Their Mugen Fist not only reaches out into space and defeats the Abductor’s ringleader, but circles the globe before bashing through the Berlin, reuniting the genders. Fudo is fine with this, but decrees that “love is forbidden.”
Aquarion Evol is high-powered, peppy, ridiculous, infectious, FUN. We’re glad the amazing visuals appear to be here to stay, and every episode leaves us wanting more. In addition to looking like several million bucks, there’s a lot of heart and raw emotion backing it up. Battles and their participants work themselves up into a frenzy, and their climaxes are, well, really climactic – as in visual and emotional explosions that provide huge exclamation points and leave no doubt as to their outcomes. Hell, High Commander Fudo actually tells Amata to start yelling. Naturally; mechas won’t perform optimally without yelling. A pretty young lady in the cockpit always helps, too. And there are few statements as huge as tearing down a Berlin-style wall. Gettin’ all Reaganesque up in this bitch!
Fudo’s arrival means a new order for the Academy, as boys and girls will no longer be segregated. And why should they be? In every episode now it’s been proven that whenever the genders get together, the resulting weapon is far more powerful than when they’re separate. The Abductors are no slouches in the powerfulness department, and it just makes military sense to do what it takes to muster the most powerful defense they can against the enemy. Of course, Amata was pretty comfortable coming into this episode; it was Mikono’s turn to awaken her power and tell her brother and her would-be boyfriend that she’s sick of being Useless® and letting them hurt themselves to protect her. She wants to get hurt to. We swear to God, the double entendres ingrained within this series are going to kill us…
Amata wakes up in a dorm, where he learns Cayenne is Mikono’s big brother. He’s given tour of the Neo-Deava Holy Angel Academy, where elements are trained, and he’s subjected to a series of tests to determine his worthiness to enter himself. That night, while pining for Mikono, he falls down a deep pit, which is being dug by fellow element Andy W. Hol beneath the “Berlin”, a wall that segregates the male and female wings of the academy. They dig to the other side, coming up right beside Mikono, causing a…misunderstanding. In a mock battle the next day, Amata not only unions with Andy and Cayenne to re-form Evol, but prostrates as an apology to Mikono, who is watching along with the rest of the academy.
In some other dimension, on a world called Altea, the Abductors plot and scheme and prepare to attack Neo-Deava again. But their battle is for another episode; this was about Amata getting acquainted with his new surroundings. He, like Cayenne, Zessica, and Mikono, also have a reputation around the academy for being in boy-girl unions which is talked about like it’s sex. The nigh-impenetrable “Berlin” wall is a nice touch; what we have here is essentially back-to-back boys- and girls-only schools, with the genders in constant states of both rivalry and flirtation. Those who unioned with the opposite sex aren’t just gawked at; they’re envied. Kinda makes you wonder what calamity occurred that led to gender segregation in the first place, eh?
Whatever the case, it would seem Amata has a clear path to Mikono’s heart, and while he shoots himself in the (winged) foot by lifting her high into the air by the crotch with his head in the middle of the night, it would seem she acknowledged his apology, made at the cost of winning his first mock battle. The foreboding bookends of the episode foretell rough times ahead, so the kids need to have their fun while they can. We can also gladly report there was no discernible downturn in production values; everything was tip-top. Yoko Kanno’s distinctive score has some corny numbers, but we’ve always loved her eclectic sound that’s somehow both nostalgic and forward, perfect for this series.
Amata Sora is a projectionist at a movie theater. He meets girl named Mikono, who wants to learn more about the legend of Aquaria. While they’re walking around, enemy ‘Abductors’ launch an attack on the city. Seperate male and female ‘Elements’ Cayenne and Zessica pilot mecha called Aquaria in a counterattack, but Amata and Mikono are trapped under stone wings, so he has to use his ‘wings of the sun’ to fly them to safety.
Doing so awakens Aquarion, and his ‘union’ with Mikono combines all the other pilots’ mechas into one – Aquarion Evol. By using their myriad element powers, including Amata’s flight, amplified by Mikono’s presence, they’re able to send the lead Abductor Kagura into the atmosphere and defeat him…for now. Back on the surface, Cayenne and Zessica take Amata and Mikono into custody.
Bam, wham, thank you ma’am. Aquarion Evol busts out onto the Winter scene with a one-two cinematic punch that immediately pushes it to the top of our watchlist. Granted, it borrows heavily from other mecha series; Macross Frontier, in particular. It has the same director, Shoji Kamamori; the well-designed characters feature hair in every conceivable color; there’s the same conflict between a more earthlike conventional civilization and a more warlike, elemental foe; there are plenty of Itano Circuses; there’s an underlying love story…even Yoko Kanno and her orchestra provide a fittingly ambitious soundtrack. When it borrows so well, who are we to complain? Ambitious describes pretty much every element of this two-part pilot. Whether moving or standing still, we’re treated to a sumptuous feast of eye candy fit for a king.
The only downside to starting off with such awesomeness is there’s frankly no way we see this level of quality being maintained for the whole run; but hey, prove us wrong, Evol! We felt like we were watching a high-end movie. Clearly, they wanted to start off firing with both barrels, and they succeeded, to say the least. The pilot wasn’t just candy though, there were charms in what it had to say as well as what it had to show. The idea that guys and girls have to be kept apart and sealed off with “guize stones” (read: chastidy belts) to avoid “impure unions” and forbidden acts is a pretty funny premise; especially when push comes to shove, it was the lasses and lads coming together that helped them defeat their foe this time. Now comes the consequences, and in all likelihood, Amata and Mikono’s assimillation into the organization that protected them up to this point. Looking forward to it.