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 – 08

While trying to dig his way to the girls’ locker room, Andy happens upon what he believes is the Book of Twin Stars, the key to Aquarion. Mix, an expert in linguistics, determines it to be an ancient student handbook. She wants to start implementing its strict dress code, starting with Zessica covering up more. Jin returns to Vega in search of the “perfect reaigler” who could be “True Eve” to Altair, which no longer has any women.

Amata, Mikono, and Zessica are sent out, but Jin proves a tough customer, using infiltration ammo to bypass Aquarion’s armor and deliver shockwaves straight to the pilots. This has a side effect of tearing their uniforms, and Zessica realizes the more skin she’s showing, the better she can dodge the weapons. Amata and Mikono follow (de)suit, stripping off most of their clothes, giving them the best offense – a total lack of defense, or modesty. They dodge all of Jin’s attacks and defeat him with a decisive blow.

The moral of this episode was “Naked Is Good.” Tyler Durden said “It’s only when we lose everything that we’re free to do anything,” which we’re gonna go ahead and apply here. After so many episodes of Zessica strutting around in Sexy Espada cosplay, the series – through the ultra-prude Mix – finally calls her out on it. But this week her near-nakedness was her secret weapon. She had to show more skin than ever. And Amata and Mikono also had to tear away their inhibitions – and clothes – in order to prevail.

Is this really ridiculous? Sure, but the show at least knows that; Jin couldn’t believe he was beaten by something so stupid. That awareness, and the nice tie-in with Zessica’s exhibitionism vs. Mikono’s bashfulness outside the cockpits, helped us let our own guard down and just enjoy the silliness. But against even her own judgement, Zessica continues falling for Amata. But they’ve seen each other mostly naked, so they’ve cleared that hurdle…


Rating: 3.5

Aquarion Evol – 07

When Andy suggests the class change its seating chart, Amata ends up seated between Mikono and Zessica but closer to the latter. Andy is seated between Mix and a strange doll he claims belonged to a former student. After class Amata and Zessica end up locked out of the dorms, but they run into the doll, which is moving on its own, and freak out; Mikono sees them together and is displeased. It’s abductor Jin’s turn to attack Neo-Kowloon, and after her wavering heart negatively affects the union, Zessica is switched out for the doll, which it turns out has been held all along by an element named Yunoha, who is alive, but invisible. Her power shields Aquarion in invisibility, and Jin is defeated, though he was only controlling his mecha remotely.

We don’t really mind love triangles, with so much else in common with Macross Frontier, it was inevitable we’d run into a couple with this series; it’s just part of the territory. At least this week, a misunderstanding occurred and was cleared up. But Zessica is clearly starting to like Amata, so the tension between those two and Mikono will likely continue apace. Meanwhile, Mikono can’t stop thinking about Kagura. Whether that’s love or a crush or a brainwashing, we’ll have to see. Neither of these triangles really bothered us. But there was stuff this week that did, and it was enough to break this series’ perfect “4” streak at six episodes.

For one thing, while we like her invisibility power, the Yunoha character is a little moe. We already have a childlike character in the chairman: with Yunoha the series doubles down, and Yunoha’s voice is wayyyy more irritating, quite like Sae’s from Amagami SS. We also thought it was kind of silly to evacuate a city block, but let Aquarion use the buildings as cover. Aren’t those people’s homes and businesses? And all those roads will have to be re-paved…repaving ain’t cheap son. Unlike Rinne no Lagrange, this series has little or no regard for collateral damage, which is just a bit silly, considering Amata has the power of flight and could have drawn Jin’s fire away from the city. Ah well, perhaps they want to redevelop that particular district…


Rating: 3.5

Car Cameo: Cayenne and Shrade are rollin’ in a Ferrari California. Must be Shrade’s, ’cause I doubt Cayenne has that kind of coin. I mean, look at his clothes!

Aquarion Evol – 06

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.


Rating: 4

Aquarion Evol – 03

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.


Rating: 4

Aquarion Evol – 01 & 02

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.


Rating: 4