a.k.a. Aquarion of Creation Saint
a.k.a. Holy Genesis of Aquarion
12 years after a cataclysmic event, humanity is fighting a desperate struggle against invaders from another dimension called “Shadow Angels.” These invaders regularly abduct the population of entire cities into their home dimension, and the only hope against them is a giant robot called Aquarion that is piloted by three especially talented teenagers. The talent usually shows among members of the social elite, but now Apollo, a simple resident of the slums, has also joined the cadre of pilots. How will he fit in, and what secrets lie within his past?
summary by Taleweaver
Highs: Stylish mecha design; brilliant soundtrack; entertaining action plot…
Lows: …that strongly lacks substance; two-dimensional characters; too much filler
The balance between style and substance is an important topic to many anime fans. With a limited budget, do you use it on flashy action sequences and a kickass soundtrack, or are you willing to sacrifice valuable screen time on slower character building scenes and spend more money on an engrossing script? While many recent anime productions favor the second approach, Sousei no Aquarion goes for style instead of substance… and goes all the way.
Once again, Kawamori Shoji, famous for Macross and Escaflowne, is given an opportunity to show his skills at designing and directing a mecha series; with the budget of Bandai behind him, the result can only be described as awesome. The art and animation are absolutely stunning. While the concept of giant mecha beating one another up isn’t exactly new, the choreography makes Aquarion absolute eye candy. Accompanied by a brilliant Kanno Yoko soundtrack, this series is a feast for the ears as well as for the eyes. The plot isn’t much to speak of; essentially, it is what you’d expect of a giant mecha series without many unexpected plot twists. Fortunately, as average as it may be, it is still quite entertaining and offers a solid blend of action, drama, comedy and even a little romance. Put bluntly, there is something in the plot for everybody; if a script was ever written to please a large audience, it is this one.
Unfortunately, the whole setup of the story, maybe in an attempt to recreate the success Kawamori had with Escaflowne, is so large and dramatic that the rather flat plot fails to do it any justice. With a background story spanning 12,000 years, more substance would have been absolutely essential. The characters also don’t really seem to fit into the huge epic; every single one of them is a two-dimensional anime cliché, from the bishounen swordsman to the megane girl. Had the series spent less time on action-heavy filler episodes and devoted more of it on character building, this weakness could have been overcome easily.
Taken as pure, undiluted mecha action, Sousei no Aquarion is certainly a success, especially since the ending is quite satisfying when compared to other all-style-no-substance anime. As the grand drama it tries to present itself, however, this anime is a failure. Cookie-cutter characters and generic, overemphasized emotions do not make for a deep plot. This is above-average eye candy worth watching if you’re a fan of Kawamori Shoji and his works. To the rest of us, it is nice and shallow entertainment, nothing more.