Genre: comedy, drama, romance, science fiction, Mecha
In an alternate world where Shadow Angels, mystical creatures that have not been seen for 12,000 years, feed off the Prana of humans to perpetuate the tree of life for their kind, there stands against this threat humans with special powers. Each are trained to pilot the “vector machines”, three ancient ships that together form mankind’s ultimate weapon, “Aquarion”. The story revolves mainly around Apollo, a teenager rumored as the reincarnation of Apolonius, a fallen angel who fought against his own kind to protect mankind. Although a seemingly wild and untamed kid, Apollo proves to be invaluable against the fight from the Shadow Angels.
Story – 3.0
Aquarion is a mixed bag. From heights of greatness to deep depths of stupid storytelling, you get it all.
Initially, Aquarion presented a clean, well written plot. We have a mysterious, untamed kid named Apollo who who is found by DEAVA, the united nations against the Shadow Angels. The girl of the duo that finds him, Silvia, dislikes Apollo as she believes her brother, not Apollo, is Solar Wing, despite the potential Apollo is showing a huge potential in power similar to the legend of Solar Wing. And hey, slap on the fact that Apollo is supposed to be her former lover from 12,000 years ago, and it makes for some great romance.
Our heroes’ adversaries, the Shadow Angels, are somewhat dark as they are “harvesting” Prana, or vital energy, from humans on earth for the Tree of Life, so that the Shadow Angels do not fade away as a species.
This weird kill or be feed problem presents a lively discussion on racism (well, speciesism), and makes for good drama. With some witty scenes and funny comedy, it seemed Aquarion was going for the gold.
However, the honey moon was soon over and Aquarion buckled from its own weight in characters and stupid, story-telling arcs that proved fatal.
My first sign of impending problem with Aquarion was the introduction of the commander Gen Fudou. I know he is a great character and his philosophical statements were one step short of the Bard, but it seemed a little convenient. Too convenient. Add the dumb episodes, and you soon become tired of this predictable help and Gen Fudou’s obvious (at times), stupid philosophical statements.
Only in hindsight, where his origination is as mysterious as the explanation is incomplete, do you see these convenient answers would be prophetic to how Aquarion would cross the finish line.
If you think I’m being too harsh against this “tiny” flaw in being cheap, then let the “merging” process possess your irritation:
When the characters merge the vectors, they enter a state of ecstasy (shown in their natural state), where their souls connect to finalize the merge. As everything becomes colorful, we see…what the!?! Are they having an orgasm or something? “Oh! It feels so good!” some say while contorting their bodies accordingly, and frankly seductively. But my personal favorite, a breathy uh and oh, followed by “I don’t think I can HOLD IT any longer!”………….!!!
Seriously…..talk about awkward and wrong. Thats the kind of stuff you expect from some adult movies or porn, not from Aquarion. When the show tries to explain the “merging”, it just makes things worse by comparing it to, well, the intimate relationship of a man and woman. At least, that’s the impression that is left…or scar, whichever works for you. Since the show centers around the vectors merging, you can’t ignore it. Merging becomes a serious distraction to the whole show’s flow.
Not that Aquarion is completely bad, assuming you get over the gagging reflex from the “merging”. Apollo is in the story, and there are plenty of mature story arcs presented while he’s around. Also, some of the early success to the show is related to the visual feast Aquarion offers, and much more was the twist in the plot in the beginning.
I particularly love the growth that Apollo makes, and the themes of friendship and love. Those themes come off well and pure with Apollo, and really make the story one enjoyable to a point.
The final arc of Aquarion also deserves a look at: The surprises that come out are really well done at first, especially regarding the Solar Wing. And then, it became apparent Aquarion really didn’t know how to end some characters.
Worse, the ending is very anticlimactic. While the whole show is made by Apollo and his story, Aquarion abandons success and moves to Silvia to lead, despite conveniently making her do things she never could or should do. And hey, when she is talking to the pilots despite having no normal way of talking to them, let’s make it mystical and have her in her natural state. Everyone likes fan service, right?
That Apollo is left to just die, and die without even so much of a word beyond saying ‘Adios’ to Silvia, was a huge mistake. The whole ending becomes flat and disappointingly cheap, and really adds to the holes in this category. Instead of going where no show goes, Aqaurion was content to choose cheap safe answers that only come off as disorganized.
Emotional Draw – 3.1
If all we had to do was focus on Apollo and Silvia, I daresay this show would have gotten a 5.0 from me. But alas, this too had huge holes.
Generally, it’s not a good idea to have a lot of main characters when your show isn’t very long. There isnt enough time to spend quality time with characters and in effect, everything will feel rushed and expose all the holes in the show.
Aquarion becomes another example of this as the story line bogged down half-way, with a lot of shoddy episodes that were either boring, or downright stupid for the sake of “spending” time with the heroes.
You see, there just wasn’t much time to spend on all those characters. Episodes with Reika and Sophia especially were dull or dumb. Reika had you wanting her to just die, she was so annoying with her constant complaining. Add to that the rather childish answer for how Reika deals with her problem, and you feel robbed of your time.
Worse, (as is always the case) the main characters were left by the wayside and felt forgotten, which hurt some of the great scenes in the show.
Don’t get me wrong, Apollo has some of the prettiest and romantic lines I’ve seen in a while, particularly with Silvia. The chemistry between the two was very charming and should please any romantic person.
And the humor for the most part was pretty funny. I love the witty comments from Apollo and some of the embarrassing scenes were outrageous. But I think the annoying characters sort of stole some steam and especially that fail ending. I can’t tell you how much disappointment there was in that short scene…
Overall, Aquarions’ own personal problems ate up much of this grade.
Characters – 4.3
Apollo – 4.9
The hero of the story, Apollo is as awesome as you can ask. From the very beginning he was witty and great. I loved his interaction with the other characters and Silvia. The show, when focusing again, did a great job of exploring our hero and as the show progresses, there is a very real improvement in Apollo’s character that feels genuine.
I like his animal style of travel, and that one scene where he comes back from an alternate place via his smelling food had me cracking with laughter.
Without Apollo this show is dead. He’s just that fun to watch.
Silvia – 4.0
A brat of sorts who doesn’t like the idea of Apollo being her lover from 12,000 years ago, Silvia was pretty solid. At first though, I wasn’t sure if she loved her brother romantically from the way she was talking, so that did cause some awkward moments.
But past half-way, the budding romance she has with Apollo was very touching and I thought she helped make some of the scenes very good.
While I completely disagree with how they used her character at the very end, I think you’ll find Silvia getting teased a lot of fun.
Sirius – 4.3
The brother of Silvia and someone who thinks he’s Solar Wing, Sirius’ obstinate character and high-minded attitude make for some great sparring with Apollo, the mongrel as Sirius refers to him. I thought his character was always consistent and when he betrays the others, the scene with Reika was very moving and scored points.
His interest in dark poems, while not exactly the best, were done well, and I thought his despair done well.
Toma – 4.0
One of the Shadow Angels, and the best friend of Apollo’s former self, there was a mixture of great and weird.
Perhaps these Angels all show their friendship by touching the cheek and getting close to people? It did come off as weird (although I think the “merging” has some to blame).
That being said, all his lines were well written and he made for a great bad guy. Even at the end, His character never left his original recipe.
Creativity – 2.5
Apollo was definitely one of the best drawn shows you’ll see. There is a huge feast on the Vector and in particular Aquarion’s different forms.
When you first enter the show, you see the first Vectors coming out of their base, even with the 3D images, it was amazingly life-like. And as we progress, the different places we come to looked pretty cool.
My one differing opinion is on the tree of life and the chimeras. It seems the 3D vision of the artists didn’t really spread here, and made things look corny in the beginning. The way they moved also felt cheap in contrast to Aquarion, which puzzles me why no one proofed the scenes for that. Still, pretty good here.
Now music…..well, music was another story. Yeah, some of the opening and ending songs were pretty cool, but did they have to use it in every exciting scene? Instead, the music became repetitive and boring.
Normally, one waits to use that music as it generally adds to the emotions of the show in a way that is special. But because the music is used often, you get the impression of lack of perpetration and in turn actually made the show predictable….as you knew what was going to happen by what music was playing way before it happened.
I know this would be in the other sections, but remember that music is not just there to look pretty. Music drives emotions and its variety is an indicator of a great show. It also makes up for half the grade here, so slapping together the same stuff haphazardly just isn’t acceptable.
Final Grade – 3.17
(Aquarion tries to include too much and forgets equally as much. Watch it for the visuals if you must, but don’t expect to be pleased when your done)