2.27.2012

Aquarion Evol Jumps the Shark Already


Aquarion Evol Madness

I didn't cover Aquarion Evol when it debuted last month simply because I didn't believe it could be worth talking about. Well, in one fell swoop, this anime proved me more right and more wrong than I could accurately describe with words.

Let's back up just one moment. Aquarion has always been a flawed anime in my eyes. In 2005, it showed up with unlikable main characters, inexplicably hokey leaders on both sides, immensely bad looking cg robot work, and just lasted way longer than it should have. However, it did have a fairly dramatic backstory - something between a Prometheus / Pocahontas crossover with the whole love never dies reincarnation theme. Their sole unique twist was the idea that a reincarnated soul could be fractured among multiple people, thus giving rise to perfectly explainable love quad/tri-angles. I was not a fan.

From what I've seen so far Aquarion Evol (the sequel) extends the same formula to another reincarnation cycle but infuses it with an even more generic high school comedy cast (call it modernization). But despite my preference for these harem-esque anime, this week I witnessed something in episode 8 that was just too much - too damn much for me to take and remain silent. The revelation that wearing less clothing is somehow a tactical advantage in a mecha battle. Wearing less clothes. Lets you feel the air outside better. Inside a mecha cockpit. Sigh.


Seriously? Ikkitousen and Seikerei fans would applaud. Mecha fans should revolt.

I can see it now, the next era of mecha pilots sitting in their skivvies. Kira Yamato activating SEED mode by tearing off his shirt. An entirely new anime sub-genre is born. In hindsight, how did I not see this coming a decade ago? Evangelion took robot pilot fashion to another level when it unleashed sleek swimwear-like plugsuits into the mecha multiverse. So as a matter of escalation, someone had to do this eventually right? Aquarion Evolution is quite apt indeed.

Disclaimer: I have a pretty high bar for what I would consider to be jumping-the-shark in the realm of anime. This one blew it away.

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