Monday, January 18, 2010

Sousei no Aquarion: A Review

Have you ever seen a gigantic, high-tech, fighting robot with wings like that of an angel’s? If you haven’t, then I would recommend watching Sousei no Aquarion (Genesis of Aquarion).

Sousei no Aquarion is set 12,000 years after the so-called “Great Catastrophe”, a war for survival fought between humans and shadow angels. In the story, shadow angels send mechanical, mystical beings to Earth to “harvest” humans for their “prana” (I assume that this means “life force”) and humans fight these beings with high-tech robots. The robots are being used and deployed by Deava, a seemingly covert military base situated in who-knows-where.

Deava gathers individuals who possess special characteristics and trains them to pilot the “vectors” that unite (or “volt in”) to form one, powerful robot. Three vectors form a complete robot and, depending on the vectors’ pilots’ (or “elements”) abilities and arrangement, the robot can use different techniques and take on different forms. The most powerful of these robots, however, is Aquarion, which is in Deava’s possession.
Aquarion dates back to 12,000 years ago during the war and is said to have been piloted by three of the individuals who led the fight against the shadow angels. Two of these individuals – Celiane, a human and Apollonius, a shadow angel – became lovers, thus, adding more fuel into the fire. A certain turn of events leads to Apollonius’ death but he left Celiane with a promise that they will reunite after 12,000 years.


Now, 12,000 years after, Celiane’s soul was reincarnated into Silvia de Alisia, a hot-tempered princess who is an element of Aquarion while Apollonius’s soul was reincarnated into Apollo, a street rat who is somewhat brutish and hardheaded. Sousei no Aquarion follows the story of these two as they remember more of their past lives and fight the shadow angels alongside their friends at Deava.

Okay, so that ends my own synopsis of the series. Like my opening statement, I had fun seeing for the first time a robot with wings. But, no, don’t let this discourage you. I mean, if you’re a real fan of hard-core mecha, don’t let the wings discourage you from watching because I tell you, the mecha is SUPERB. The animation, too, (for the robot fight scenes, at least) are smooth and breath-taking. Unfortunately though, other than that, there is probably nothing else in the whole series that stands out as much. The characters are drawn in the typical style – “I know I’ve already seen them”, that sort of style.

For the story, I have to admit it got quite confusing in some parts because of the whole 12,000 years ago and reincarnation stuff that they keep referring to throughout the whole course of the series. It also bugged me that almost 90% of the episodes – for which there are 28 including the OAVs – followed the same pattern every single time. The first half is usually about the characters’ lives at Deava or just some laid-back talking and reminiscing, and the second half is always about them being sorted into the vectors and battling against the mystical beings that appear from black holes in the sky.

The characters are likeable, with the exception of Reika (or Lihua), who annoys me to the core because of her whole “I am unlucky” drama and because she never got around to changing it until the very end. She’s always gloomy and a failure in pretty much all of her missions. The main characters, Apollo and Silvia, are okay in the sense that they did not annoy me. Most of the laughs in the series are from them or their bickering and, of course, they are the romantic pair being lovers in their past lives. I believe that the greater part of the conflict in the story was from the fact that they were forbidden lovers before – Apollonius being a shadow angel and Celiane being a human – and it was quite disappointing that not much romantic development was seen between them until several episodes into the series.

There were hints of other genres as well, like shoujo-ai and shounen-ai, but these were very subtle and only side dishes to add some more zest to the story. Rejoice, however, mecha lovers as there are a lot of mecha action and of course, enough drama to jerk some tears from my touchy-feely self (yeah, I easily cry at dramatic or parting scenes).

One of the things that I also liked in this series is the abundance of “quotable quotes”, my favorite of which was “Unlucky people choose to be unlucky for themselves.” There were more that I think are quite true and sensible.

The opening and ending songs in the series, sung mostly by AKINO of Blessed 4, were really addicting. I particularly like the song entitled “Genesis of Aquarion”, which is the English version of the opening song entitled “Sousei no Aquarion”. The tune, and even the lyrics, fit the story well – whether it is sung in the original way or mellowed down by a choir – and give me goose bumps (which I noticed happens when I hear a song that I really like). It makes me feel nostalgic every time it is played as background music in the fight scenes because the chorus part rises in tone like the climax of a battle and mellows down to a nice melody as the fight reaches its conclusion. It always makes me think of “a calm after the storm”. The lyrics of the OAV song entitled “Suashi” is also very sad (if you can understand Japanese or if you read the English translation) yet very fitting to the story.

Overall, I give Sousei no Aquarion 10 out of 10 for all its technical aspects (graphics, music, etc.) but only a 7 for plot and characters. (I only gave it 7 because I did not like the ending – not that it was stupid or anything but because it didn’t go the way I wanted it to. Yeah, I know it is subjective of me but I just cannot accept the ending, damn it!)


Disclaimer: I do not take credit for the images in this entry. They belong to their respective owners. (But I take credit for the review itself. :D)

2 comments:

  1. "Thanks for writing this. I really feel as though I know so much more about this than I did before. Your blog really brought some things to light that I never would have thought about before reading it. You should continue this, I’m sure most people would agree you’ve got a gift. I just ordered these consoles at PIJ! I’m excited! I’m going to have these in week! http://bit.ly/Aquarion

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  2. But it turned out that Apollo isn't really the reincarnation of Apollonius right? So how is the "past life lovers" makes sense if he is not his reincarnation? that's kinda frustrating... :( What can you say about it though?

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