Ai KayanoYui OguraYuuki KajiKouki Uchiyama
Aquarion Evol
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2012
Director: Shoji Kawamori, Yusuke Yamamoto
Writer: Mari Okada
Actor: Ai Kayano, Ayumi Fujimura, Daisuke Namikawa, Hiroki Yasumoto, Jun Fukushima, Junichi Suwabe, Kana Hanazawa, Keiji Fujiwara, Kenichi Suzumura, Kensuke Satou, Kouki Uchiyama, Kousuke Toriumi, Megumi Nakajima, Sakura Tange, Sanae Kobayashi, Yui Ogura, Yuichi Nakamura, Yuuki Kaji
Keywords: anime, SF, mecha
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 26 episodes, plus a crossover OVA
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=12547
Website category: Anime early 10s
Review date: 28 August 2022
Aquarion Evol
Written by Mari Okada, it's the second and best-regarded of the three Aquarion series. 12,000 years have passed since Genesis of Aquarion and so 24,000 years since the triggering events of that story. (Yes, there will be reincarnations of the original godlike figures from the original mythology.)
I liked it, but there were episodes where I drifted a bit. Underneath the psycho-sexual stuff, it's still a giant robot show.
GOOD THINGS
Okada's going even further with the original's nudity-and-orgasm-powered giant robots. Most writers would hide it all away as subtext, but Okada plants it front and centre. We start with the Aquarion robots being piloted by male and female teenagers... who are forbidden to mix, with a giant wall between their barracks. When that gets knocked down, the base commander announces a prohibition on love. (He then sends them on dates together. Uh, for training. With bands that electrocute anyone who gets overexcited, which is everyone.)
Meanwhile, the invaders from Altair are attacking Vega for a reason you last heard in 1950s schlock SF. It's nonsense if you think about it. (The curse would surely affect all subsequent generations, so the planet is doomed.) It's brilliant, though, as a way for Okada to play with her chosen themes.
No one has actual sex, mind you. They're clueless. It's a lot of fun seeing this idiot cast smack against their hormones and feelings. This is a funny, sexually charged show (e.g. the "Stripping Pilot Power-Up" of ep.8) from a strong female voice. Meanwhile, Cayenne and Shrade are the most prominent BL fangirl bait you ever saw. Those two boys never stop making you wonder when they'll tear off each other's clothes.
Also, the "burial training" in ep.14 is one of the weirdest ideas I've ever seen.
WEAKER ASPECTS
It's still a mecha show. Giant robots. Big fights. The cast-driven episodes I loved, but sometimes it's more mecha-powered. The show hadn't been engaging me strongly when ep.8 came along and fixed that.
PUZZLING
Why do people call Yunoga's frog doll a cat?
Overall, I liked this. The cast's strong, with some unusual and potentially surprisingly love triangles. (A couple of male characters are capable of being infuriating.) People hurt and make bad choices. The show cheerfully kills half of a fan favourite couple, although admittedly they make up for that with alternate universe versions of them in the crossover OVA. (I'm not really a fan of Genesis of Aquarion, but it was cool to see that show's cast meet this lot.)
It's making bold and sometimes hilariously crazed or literal writing choices. The theme songs are awesome when used as incidental music to punch up big moments. One could make a more focused version of this show by removing a few episodes' worth of mecha content, but it's still far more interesting than its genre.