24 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Aquarion EVOL episode 1

As the new season premiers roll to a close, my brain starts to get fried and I gradually run out of new things to say about each new uninspired drivel that Japan rolls out. Thank god then for Aquarion EVOL for being the goofiest fucking thing and giving me plenty of highlights to talk about.

It appears to be a good season for Macross wannabbes. First Nymphogear and now this. Aquarion is Allowed to be a Macross ripoff though, because it’s by the same guy, Shoji Kawamori. We have the usual sci-fi setting in which a force of mysterious aliens in giant robots come down to attack. Our protagonist is some idealist yet wimpy douche with the power of Garzeys Wing, who gets trapped out in the open when the aliens attack. Suddenly, the Powah inside him awakens and he gets magically transported into a giant robot and fights off the aliens with the power of adolescent sexual drive. Yes, these robots are powered by adolescent sexual drive. This isn’t just a throwaway single idea either. The entire show is based around some strange idea that these robots are directly connected to sexual feelings. The government doesn’t want this happening for some reason, so attach chastity stones to the characters. It’s an utterly bizarre concept, but I kinda like it.

You see, I’m kind of at a loss most of the time why I like anime. I’m not particularly any big a fan of animation more so than live action. The usual reasons given that anime follows a clear story instead of running on forever is flimsy, as there’s plenty of western TV shows that follow a cohesive story. One of the things I really do like about anime though, is that it can take truly crazy concepts and just run with them, making them into something much cleverer and (dare I say it) deeper than anyone describing it could possibly do it justice for. Take Count of the Monte Cristo except set it 5000 years in the future with giant robots and the count is a vampire? Fuck yeah! A man powers a giant orbital space cannon with the power of his guitar playing as a metaphor for a midlife crisis? Awesome! When you think about it, Aquarion’s idea is not that much more out there than Gurren Lagann’s idea that robots ran on the power of heart and manliness. If anything, you could probably say far more about the human psyche by exploring that awkward stage in puberty where you can’t walk by a girl without your jaw going slack.

Not that Aquarion tackled this subject with much intelligence. Sometimes it’s just the writing being incredibly cheesy, which I’m fine with because that just makes it endearing. Then there’s other times, such as when the main character said “I have to protect her, she’s just a girl”, which was made to look all the more out-of-place considering the girls in the episode had proven to be much more capable pilots than the men. I’m just going to assume that counts as ‘room for character development’ as he learns that they have to trust each other equally to get the best out of their love machine or something. Which, in a way, highlights what I’m talking about when I say how these crazy concepts can be used (although it does bring a whole new meaning to the famous line “your drill will be the drill to pierce the heavens”).

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  1. Sarukah
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Have you not seen Star Driver? Because the “…fights off the ali­ens with the power of adoles­cent sexual drive.” thing is a billion times more Star Driver than it is Gurren Lagann.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      Nah, Star Driver was more power of fabulousness that powered the robot than any actual emotions

      • Sarukah
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        Hmm, I guess you’re right.
        Still, one mecha anime driving off “libido” was enough for me. Especially if Aquarion uses it a whole lot better than Star Driver did.

      • Raiphin
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

        It uses it a lot more literally. Does that count?

        I really liked the bit in the movie theater where that girl says…something…and suddenly the guy’s naked, gold, and glowing while saying ‘oh no, it’s happening again!!!’ or something.

        Also, “….AND HER HAND IS SOOOFT!!!” is one of the world’s more unique rallying cries.

        I loved this show. It was terrible.

  2. Ruth
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if I want to keep watching this. It’s totally inane for all the reasons you describe, and yet the brilliance of the breaking of the chastity gem scene made me love it. Gurren Laggan made me cry. Gundam 00 made me cry with laughter. I don’t think Aquarion is going to reach either of those pinnacles because its just so poorly scripted. It ends up feeling less like taking the shonen anime tropes to an extreme like in Star Driver than having one gag and otherwise just being a normal underachiving shonen anime.

    In other news, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and our tastes tend to align, so keep it up.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 14, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Yay new commenters! Which is nice because a lot of the old hands seem to have disappeared recently.

      One big difference between Star Driver and this is Star Driver very deliberately played up the camp and lack of seriousness, where as Aquarion really does seem to believe in its own greatness. If anything I think that worked againt Star Driver because it came off as very shallow

  3. Alterego
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Not sure if troll.

    That’s basically the same thing than what you said about Highschool DxD, but this time without the obvious sarcasm.

    By the way, I also noticed that the “she’s just a girl” line was illogical, I assumed it was suposed to only reflect “she’s just some random girl dragged into this from the street”, emphasis on “young” and implied “innocent”, rather than “female”.

    Like, as you could say, “Ikari Shinji is just a boy”.

    • fathomlessblue
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      That’s an interesting way of looking at it. Still, I think that’s giving Aquarion’s script more credit than it deserves. Eva had for the most part intelligent and multi-layered dialogue, while this was definitely pandering to teen male otaku sensibilities. Get awesome power, get girl/s, save world, etc

      • Alterego
        Posted January 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        I’m not comparing it to EVA, just used an example of how the same sentence still works with a whimpy MALE character as well.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 14, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Oh the issues with translations. It’s like Nymphgear’s “it was like 100 climaxes in a row” line, except with more sexism and less sex

  4. fathomlessblue
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    I’ve pretty much steeled myself to drop this after the “I must protect her/just a girl” line. The obvious sexual parallels were pretty interesting I guess, but when the dialogue is so hackneyed and cringe worthy (“I can’t hold back anymore/I’m breaking!), I suspect the show will frustrate me more than it entertains.

    Besides, with concepts like the segregated male/female school and mecha ‘seals’, you just know that concepts which could be implemented in a bold and relevant manner, will likely devolve into standard schoolyard hi-jinks and romantic misunderstandings. Lagrange was also stupid, but Aquarion irritated me much more. Yeah…. most likely I’ll be jumping ship on this one.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 14, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      But Lagrange was stupid and souless, where as you could never accuse Aquarion or even Nymphogear in lacking soul. That’s what made these two far more enjoyable for me

      • Alterego
        Posted January 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Of course, I can.

        “It has soul” is the most subjective, arbitary description ever, that you can use about a show that you happen to like, on par with “it has nice atmosphere”.

  5. Adrian
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    I don’t know what to think about this show. At first, I was afraid this would become something like Guilty Crown, since I recognized the voice actor of Ouma Shuu in another wimpy male lead. Then we have a girl with no personality at all come and watch his secret special movie. Good thing they came up with that crazy idea “If the boy’s and girl’s mechas combine, something terrible is gonna happen!”
    At least they defended their idea till the end of the episode. Now our wimpy male lead has got a rival and an older brother to interfere with his pure romance. Just wish they managed the dialogs a little better. Lines like “I have to protect her”, “I’ll wait for you even if it takes 12000 years” make me facepalm.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 14, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      If a girl and boy combine, something terrible will happen: They’ll make a baby mecha!

  6. DarkEnergy
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    Has your penis pierced the heavens, Scamp?

  7. Moomba
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    One thing bugged me a fair bit in this episode. Sure I know it’s anime, suspension of disbelief etc etc. But the guy starts to float away, so he runs off in order to add more weight to his boots. Where does he get said weights? His bag.

    So what? Does his bag cancel gravity or something? Does everything that goes in it magically lose mass?

    I’m obsessing over something really unimportant here huh?

    It did have some sort of cool moments though, and I’ve heard people comparing it to Star Driver… but Star Driver wasn’t quite this obvious with the whole innuendo thing. I actually spent a lot of time laughing during the uhm “Union”.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 14, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Maybe he wanted them concentrated on his feet? Maybe they needed adjusting? idk, they just wanted to show that the weights were there I guess

    • Mr. Anon
      Posted February 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      I found this annoying as well. Suspension of disbelief only goes so far as things are explained in the story. I’m willing to accept him being able to fly because we have been told this is a world where some people have random magical powers. As far as we can tell though, gravity still works like normal and they haven’t invented any weightless backpacks, so this scene was pretty jarring.

  8. Guest
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    This is how I wish Guilty Crown was: goofy, knows its goofy, and just runs with it. This is hilarious, hopefully it stays hilarious as it goes.

  9. Posted January 14, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    I would rather my body get hurt

    Than my heart.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 14, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      I lost it at that scene. Had to pause the video I was laughing so hard

      • Erif
        Posted January 14, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        xD That has inspired me to go watch this immediately.

    • Guest
      Posted January 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      What’s great is it’s played “seriously”, but it’s self-aware insofar as those two are hopelessly sentimental saps (as evidenced by there being the only two people who like that movie).

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