Kyouta and his friends dream of becoming a big-time rock and roll band. Kyouta’s childhood friend, Yokko, supports them as they work to make their dream come true. Just as things start to turn in their favor, however, Kyouta learns that there are greater forces at work and an earth-shattering conflict is about to start. What part will Yokko and Kyouta play in the events to come?
summary by Madoka
Highs: Remarkable music and voice acting
Lows: Confusing plot
Coming into Aquarian Age with no knowledge of the background story definitely left me a bit in the dark for the entire series. The show is actually based on a card game with an established plot that the show barely glosses over. The few minutes that are spent on the actual premise of the story are so short that if you blink, you miss them.
Even without knowing anything about that story, Aquarian Age still has some merit in the subplots involving Kyouta’s band and the romance with Yokko. The characters are designed uniquely, and the seiyuu for Yokko does a superb job of giving varying voices to her different selves. The seiyuu for Kyouta also conveys a lot of emotion not only with his spoken lines but with his songs, as well.
As part of the story is about an aspiring band, it’s of no surprise that the music plays a big part in the show. Kajiura Yuki, best known for her .hack//SIGN and Noir background music, shines here with her contribution to the soundtrack. The songs provided by Kyouta and his band TL Signal are also catchy and ultimately serve a purpose in all aspects of the series.
While the characters and music keep the story entertaining, I still felt like I was missing out on a lot by not understanding the main story completely. If you want to experience this series to its full potential, I would recommend learning about the card game and its background story before watching the show. Otherwise, you may feel a bit left out of the complete story, as I did.
Highs: Amazing soundtrack; idea for story has great potential
Lows: Terrible art and animation; seiyuu cast hams it up; story misses target
I was first introduced to Aquarian Age by its music. And what terrific music it is. If you were mesmerized by the entrancing melodies by Kajiura Yuki in .hack//SIGN (think of her and singer Ishikawa Chiaki as the Japanese Enya), you’ll find her tunes for this anime just as good… if not better.
Therein lies the problem; the music is the only thing great about this anime. Every other aspect is either mediocre or outright poor. Let’s start from the bottom: the visuals. Ugh. Not only is the animation extremely choppy, but the movements of the characters are stiff and unnatural; I’ve seen better lifelike motion from window display mannequins at Sears™. There were also numerous occasions I noticed rendering or perspective glitches, like a character in the background being larger in total anatomy than the person in the foreground. Such sloppy mistakes are inexcusable and cost this anime a lot of points.
If it wasn’t for the wonderful music, I’d be seriously tempted to turn down the volume for one reason: the seiyuu cast. I found their performances particularly overly emotive. In situations where a more muted, solemn tone of voice would be preferable, the seiyuu seemed to want to over-dramatize the scene, like the universe will implode if someone uses the salad fork for their main course. There are times to convey strong emotions in one’s voice, and there are times to be subtle.
Most of the above flaws would have been somewhat forgiven had the story lived up to its potential. It’s a great premise, but not enough is done to see it through; it’s as if the story wants to go in one direction, but the director chose another. Oh boy. Skip the anime, buy the soundtrack.
Aquarian Age can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.