dark        

Review: Aquarion: EVOL - Season 2, Part 1

0

They take gattai very seriously

When you think Shoji Kawamori, his work on Macross immediately comes to mind. It's been one of the most influential properties in Japan since it's debut. However, another major show that Kawamori worked on is Aquarion. You might know it as the show where the mecha pilots had some rather...interesting...reactions whenever the robots would combine. I haven't seen it, but from what I heard it was a ratings success in Japan despite some problems with its story and pacing.

Years later, Kawamori came back to his hit franchise and made a pseudo-sequel, called Aquarion Evol. Considering my love of Kawamori's work on Macross and my passion for all things robotic, I decided to give Evol a whirl. The big questions were, will I be able to follow what's going on? Does Evol require extensive knowledge of the previous show in order to understand the nuances of the characters and story? In short, no. However, prior knowledge definitely wouldn't hurt.

Hit the jump to find out more!

Aquarion Evol DVD/Blu-ray Part 1
Studio: Satelight
Licensed by FUNimation
Release Date: 12/3/2013
MSRP: $69.98 [Amazon | RightStuf]

Taking place 12,000 years after Aquarion, the humans of planet Vega are being attacked by unknown assailants from the planet Altair, across the cosmos. The populace is protected by Neo-DEAVA, an organization that sorties combining robots to fight off the invaders. Neo-DEAVA is also divided by gender, consisting of separate teams of men and women. That status quo is broken after Amata Sora and Mikono Suzushiro are pulled into the conflict during a particularly brutal attack. Somehow, Amata is able to break every Neo-DEAVA safeguard preventing men and women from combining, forming the powerful Aquarion Evol. From that point on, Amata and Mikono are drafted into Neo-DEAVA, where we slowly learn that certain elements are very similar to events that occurred 12,000 years prior.

This is where a familiarity with the original Aquarion would be handy. From the first episode, a movie becomes an important plot point between Amata and Mikono, and I'm pretty sure that film recreates events from the first show. Throughout this half of the show, it becomes clear that the main antagonist from the original Aquarion and is back for further nefarious purposes. While I do feel that I'm losing something, Evol has done a good job thus far in keeping me informed about the past and its connection with the present. Viewers in similar situations should be able to keep up, though those with previous experience with the franchise will likely get more out of these connections.

In this half, Evol's story has remained fairly lighthearted. Much of the show has to do with these kids finally being able to interact with members of the opposite sex, which leads to the kind of teenage antics you'd expect. Story reasons prevent any sort of romance from growing, which adds more sexual tension to every interaction these kids have with each other. Most of the kids are the kind of flat caricatures you'd expect in any rom-com or mecha show, i.e. the BL lover, the hot-blooded pervert, the protective big brother, the tsundere, etc. Even so, they're stupidity is occasionally charming and I'll be damned if I'm not sold on the Amata/Mikono relationship. Barring some stupid stuff in the first couple of episodes, their blossoming love is adorable.

The Altairians are an interesting set of villains, but my lack of familiarity with the original show leaves me wondering if I'm missing something. Their plight, which forces them to come to Vega and attempt to kidnap specific people, makes you feel for them, even if their methods aren't right. The thing is, I can't tell if their plight has anything to do with prior machinations or if it's something different all together. Hopefully, the second half of the show will tell us more.

Evol is a damn pretty show. With male character designs from Chinatsu Kurahana (Samurai Flamenco, Uta no Prince-sama) and female designs from Ishida Kana (Ai Yori Aoshi, OreImo), all of these characters stand out. Even nonsensical elements like Mix's single portion of dyed hair and Zessica's ridiculously exposed outfit add a certain amount of charm. The verdant landscapes of Vega are gorgeous to look at, contrasted with the dying mountains of Altair looming over old cities falling apart. My only gripe with the visuals are the Aquarion's designs; I'm just not digging most of the variations of the Evol. If it's possible for a super robot to look too garish, then most of the Evol's forms are just that. The only design that I'm digging is the slimmer Spada, which resembles a fencer and is lacking in extra ornamentation and gloss.

The audio is pretty solid too, featuring music from the legendary Yoko Kanno. The over-the-top insert music used during combining sequences screams of old super robot shows, which is fine by me. The Japanese and English performances are equally good, so fans of either format will be pleased. Characters that are shrill and annoying on one vocal track are just as annoying on the other, so that's more a character issue than a performance one.

Overall, the first part of Aquarion Evol is pretty fun. It isn't the deepest or most nuanced of shows, but it did entertain me. To be fair, I wasn't expecting much else. Despite robot designs I wasn't too fond of, it had the kind of good, fast paced action you'd expect from a show with super robots that make their pilots climax when combined. The cliffhanger from this first part left me wanting more, so that's as about as good a recommendation as I can give. If you need some big, honking robot action, Aquarion Evol should give you your fix.

 

7.0 – Good. Films or shows that get this score good, but not great. These could have been destined for greatness, but were held back by their flaws. While some may not enjoy them, fans of the genre will definitely love them.

You are logged out. Login | Sign up

 
 

Click to open photo gallery:

 

Aquarion: EVOL - Season 2, Part 1 reviewed by Pedro Cortes

7

GOOD

Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
How we score:  The Japanator reviews guide

 
 
 

TwitterRedditEmailFacebook
 
Pedro Cortes
Pedro CortesAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Pedro Cortes has been known to swoon at the sight of a robot. This is understandable, as robots are pretty awesome. more + disclosures


 


 


Also on Japanator: Aquarion: EVOL - Season 2, Part 1   (0)   From our database:

  • More related stories
    Filed under... #BOOBS #FUNimation #Japanator Original #reviews #robots

    READER COMMENTS LOADING BELOW...


    LET'S KEEP THE COMMUNITY GREAT


    You're not expected to always agree, but do please keep cool and never make it personal. Report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community team. Also, on the right side of a comment you can flag nasty comments anonymously (we ban users dishing bad karma). For everything else, contact us!



     
     
  •