The Complete & Ultimate Post on Aquarion EVOL Episode 1

This is exactly what you don't want to think this is.

Why does this franchise exist? Why? I am asking a serious question. Let’s put away the obvious reasons: make money, sell merchandise, etc. But surely, there are more efficient and less expensive ways to make a buck and sell toys and music. Why assemble the kind of talent that went behind these shows just for those reasons?

In the process of making this post, I figured it out. It’s so simple: It’s fun as fuck.

Kawamori and his tribe grabbed each other’s genitalia and just had one orgiastic creative party. Does the product have any “artistic” merit? It does. I really think there are cherries here for the picking. Does the product have fucktons of “artistic” demerit? You bet. There is probably a lot more bad, than there is ever any good in the whole thing. But I also truly believe everybody had fun making this show. It’s the bad idea everyone was wary to do, but had the time of their lives making, and then well, now Aquarion exists.

Then years later they made some more… then even later, they did it again!

Thus, this post is a metaphor for the anime:

  • A concept of dubious merit.
  • Content of doubtful value.
  • A talented (read: faggoty) creative team behind it going “what the hell.”
  • Incredible effort going into the production.

You think you’ve gone far into this post? We haven’t even started.

[gg]_Aquarion_EVOL_-_01_(42m)_[9A9E2BF9].mkv_snapshot_09.37_[2012.01.13_02.19.14][gg]_Aquarion_EVOL_-_01_(42m)_[9A9E2BF9].mkv_snapshot_09.01_[2012.01.13_02.18.25][gg]_Aquarion_EVOL_-_01_(42m)_[9A9E2BF9].mkv_snapshot_09.39_[2012.01.13_02.19.24]

I could write a whole post on how EVOL basically animated Aria’s Neo Venezia so awesomely beautiful beyond anything even Aria the Origination can hope to do, then have a whole super robot battle fuck the whole place up. For me, this alone was worth it. But this post isn’t about that. Maybe some other time.

[gg]_Aquarion_EVOL_-_01_(42m)_[9A9E2BF9].mkv_snapshot_19.31_[2012.01.13_02.23.07][gg]_Aquarion_EVOL_-_01_(42m)_[9A9E2BF9].mkv_snapshot_19.31_[2012.01.13_02.23.44][gg]_Aquarion_EVOL_-_01_(42m)_[9A9E2BF9].mkv_snapshot_18.02_[2012.01.13_02.21.15]

Instead I will note the significant thing in Aquarion EVOL is the metamasturbation (read: Kawamori “remembering love” for his own shows); this work immediately does, in Kawamori’s special way: He inserts an in-universe film version of the 2007 film Gekijoban Aquarion, and have the first leads fall over the film and perhaps each other. This is halfway between Macross: Do You Remember Love? getting discussed in an episode of Macross 7, and Bird Human being made as an in-universe film adaptation of Macross Zero in an episode of Macross Frontier.

The best part is how the “useless couple” as they will refer to themselves, note how the film was not successful, but it had a great song. Yes. Exactly. That’s how I feel about the franchise as a whole. It was unsuccessful (as an anime), but it had Kanno Yoko goodness, particularly in this variation of the first OP:

I think this is one of Kanno’s best work, and I love a whole lot of what she does for anime. But enough of this. Time to really talk about the show. Here to do just that is Digibro’s BRO, our token girl mecha pilot Victor:

What to make of that rapid-fire recapping? We complete our GATTAI trio with JoeAnimated’s wary but optimistic take:

Joe Animated on Aquarion EVOL 01-02

If you left reading this post with exactly how I left watching Aquarion, then I’ll take it.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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52 Responses to The Complete & Ultimate Post on Aquarion EVOL Episode 1

  1. otou-san says:

    I have slightly confused, random feeling, is that how you left watching Aquarion?

  2. Ryan A says:

    What to make of that rapid-fire recapping?

    I don’t even know, but it was p. awesome and super quotable, I think. lol

    Good GATTAI!

  3. Vucub Caquix says:

    I-, wha-, tha-, PICTURE!!!

    • Are you referring to how the crucifix completes the spelling of HORY SHIE– ?

      Hehe,

      Aquarion itself is an orgasm-powered robot, achieved through GATTAI. The original series had a more formulaic/stock footage combining sequence that properly references the robot anime tradition of such. But I can’t find videos of that. The one from EVOL would have to do then:

      • Vucub Caquix says:

        Whoa that guy’s chin is awesome. Android?

        So, now I’m beginning to wonder if Star Driver was influenced by Aquarion with its super sexualized robots in the Glittering Crux, and the reliance on “libido”.

        And man, listen to that j-pop!

        • Well, one could claim that trail of influence… but as far as I’m concerned it’s more like Enokido being Be Papas… and GATTAI/Henshin as references to sex are low hanging balls to kick man. I don’t think it’s a subject really worth much discussion… unless you really REAAAALLLY need to talk about sex and robots.

          Hot blooded manly passion and all that. Put a female character in the same context in the service of the male viewer and you get cumface.

          Yeah, Kanno Yoko is working with Kawamori again, which means good anime music:

    • JoeAnimated says:

      Which picture is that?

  4. dliessmgg says:

    Nice music bro.

    “No, you’re supposed to be a lesbian schoolgirl!”, nun teacher says, “How dare you have dirty thoughts about boys!” /shoots yuri gogglers

    Best moment was when hero guy punches the villains away with the Hand of Buddha.

    And it’s very Star Driver in here.

    Have you noticed that he’s the chosen one? Because he totally is the chosen one. They may have given one or two hints to hint that he’s the chosen one.

    What’s up with everybody making a big deal out of sexual gattai?

    The female lead needs to grow some balls and be less of a whiny doormat waifu.

    Also lol cat.

  5. bluemist says:

    I faintly remember in some other post you wrote that you want some peaceful setting to be devastated by explosions or something like that. Not sure what place, was it Neo Venezia or was it Kissuiso?

  6. Shinmarizu says:

    I want to watch it again to try and understand what’s going on, and I like the pretty pictures and music and such… and yet it also feels like I’m smoothing my face on a spinning tire.

    Wait, that’s Guilty Crown. My apologies.

    This wasn’t bad, considering I did enjoy Aquarion the first, but I am ALSO VERY CONFUSED. Which means I’m going to watch it. I also have an obligation to watch anything Kawamori and Kanno have a hand in creating. *sigh*

  7. Crusader says:

    I will watch because I am a drone and this looks to be Satelight’s flagship this season so I will kneel before the Giant Golden Mecha and that tiny Lady Statue and pray that Mix will jump Zessica so that yuri will ensue.

  8. MarigoldRan says:

    I’m confused. Is Kanno Yoko the same person as Yoko Kanno?

  9. animekritik says:

    It’s a pity that this blog isn’t in Spanish, because then I could do jokes with “disturbing” and “masturbating” that just don’t work in English.

    • Sometimes I think this entire franchise is one big joke…

      I remember Kawamori in an interview describing Macross as Mecha with idols, then Escaflowne as Mecha with fortune-telling. I wonder how he’ll describe this show, orgasm-powered homage to Getter Robo and all.

  10. JoeQ says:

    Does this shit work even if you don’t have affinity for Kawamori but do have affinity for Super Robots in general? Haven’t seen the first series (yet)

  11. Tenryu says:

    i don’t understand why people expect the first episode to make sense at all. What happened to patiently watching each episode and figuring things out before they are aired?
    The first episode ideally is suppose to hook you in. And it definitly did that for me.

    The first Aquarion was bad(for me) because the story line for the middle parts kind of went no where (and tried to be like evangelion with its own spin… which failed) and that one part where i think it went too far (leg wings). Hopefully this one has a better story that will blow people’s mind out with the plot twists

    • JoeAnimated says:

      I don’t think it has to make too much sense, but I think there should be some sort of time in to the original series. And as the show progressed, some references to the previous series did appear. And you are right, they need a good story to go with the great animation.

    • First episodes must make some sense, present the world, the characters, and the conflict in a sensible way… unless it is purposely mysterious, or ominous (e.g. Evangelion and its revealed horrors). Aquarion isn’t going for that, so it is expected to be intelligible.

  12. Xard says:

    Speaking of reactions, japanese ones are good too. Fucking lol’d hard when I saw their reaction to gattai scene: http://img824.imageshack.us/img824/683/aquarionbreakingggg.jpg 😀 😀

    First episode of Aquarion was glorious clusteruck of pure fun and beyond god tier production values. If Aquarion was attempt to bring Macross Zero level mecha CG onto television screens EVOL surely is attempt at bringing Sayonara no Tsubasa level mecha CG onto television screens. It’s criminally good looking. Fucking Kawamori and his Unlimited Budget Works. I don’t get where he keeps pulling those monster budgets time and time again.

    Didn’t see anything particularly confusing about it as long as you can roll with series’s main premise though. *shrug*

    What went on in Kawamori’s head when he created Aquarion (and hell even *he* admitted in Sayonara guidebook interview that Aquarion was “based on a pretty crazy worldview”) I do not know though I recently unearthed this hugeass Kawamori interview/lecture/discussion from 2010 where he basically goes through his whole career. I’m still stuck at 90s in terms of reading because it’s long and difficult as fuck. Nonetheless I really anticipate getting to read about Aquario because…well yeah. wtf. Creative ideas aside what I do know is that Aquarion was basically created as a test lab for Macross Frontier. They wanted to test if they can use animation techniques they developed for Zero within production schedule for tv series and instead of going headfirst into next Macross title and risking production disaster they first wanted to make a test run. I’ve personally thought it explains a lot about Aquarion: it’s extensive and really varied use of CG and general experimentation in animation side of things as well as the fact why the writing was often pretty haphazard and the main narrative thought through only halfway. It also explains why the first (great) fight scene in Aquarion OVA/movie plays out so much like Macross with its itano circuses and even GERWALK modes. This was 2007 and Frontier was pretty close at hand by now…

    For me the funniest scene in the first episode had to be the discussion about Aquarion film. The sheer metaness throughout early episode was laugh out funny for me but that really took the cake. Delicious self-deprecation. Aquarion’s OP is HUGE in Japan and sold massively well for a long time. It’s been even voted the best anisong ever (sans Cruel Angel Thesis because it gathers votes on another tier in comparison to other competitors) on 2ch once or twice. As the story goes the series wasn’t exactly a hit (though IIRC it crossed line of profitability) but somehow and against all expectations Aquarion pachinko became humongously popular. Boosted by popularity of the pachinko the theme song achieved legendary status and sold like hot cakes. Inspired by interest in series mainly generated by the theme song Aquarion OVA and film were then produced in 2007 two years after the series had aired without leaving much of a mark on anime scene.

    Kawamori’s meta is delicious but it just doesn’t get more delicious than that. Oh god. 😀

    Funnily enough EVOL ended up getting a lot of love on both /a/ and /m/. I’m so tired by now going through the “do I need to watch the original > no but go watch OVAs or something lol” routine though… but I really digged it too so ehh, whatever. Good fun.

    It’s hard to say how much music Kanno is going to write. She wrote the OP and ED songs and first episode recycled tons of her pieces from first series (please please please release some of those this time, they’re gorgeous) but how much she is doing new stuff is hard to say as the composition is co-credited to Kanno and Ayako Otsuka and Kawamori certainly has no intention of putting too much weight on her shoulders so soon after the simply gigantic Macross Frontier project. The new vocal piece that started the episode had Kanno’s fingerprints all over it if you ask me but then again I’m not entirely sure. Haven’t seen Zegapain so judging Otsuka’s style vs Kanno’s is difficult to me.

    Mikono gave way too many Ranka vibes for me. On top of she could be pretty useless and annoying but that just means there’s room for growth in there (though Zessica is superior at this point even if I feel more for Mikono by default): it doesn’t hurt that I’m armless against any bloody “We’re useless pair ^____^” spirit. It’s a moe button for me I can’t help it but get all empathetic over it gahh… though Mikono seems fairly fucked up and the tone in a sense more severe and creepy than with Ranka. To quote myself:

    there was one clear difference: Ranka’s this weird mixture of depressed and genki a lot of the time and she was way giddily fangirling about Sheryl here [ep 2 after they meet] so she was genuinely happy there – while partly the ^__^ came from her general politeness and not wanting to inconvenience anyone (like getting all depressed there would’ve)

    Mikono on the other hand seemed to positively revel in her “worthlessness” and seemed genuinely overjoined at finally meeting another such person ie. I’m not the only fuck up after all. Which, while Ranka was a traumaball, I think puts her a step ahead her in terms of being kinda fucked up. So it’s basically “waa Sheryl’s so awesome I wish I could be like her..though of course that’s impossible for loser like me I’m well aware of that” vs “I’m not the only failure in this world, let’s be failures together!”

    Which again adds a certain intrigue to Mikono. What on Earth gets her to be like that.

    This combined with the cool apocalyptic vision means I find her quite intriguing at this point. I just wish she ends up less and less Rankalike as time goes by. I swear “if” that cat (THAT IS NO CAT MISS) doesn’t turn out to be Ai-kun Mark II I eat my hat… besides they pretty much literally already have a Ranka character with Sasanka

    The best character here is Kagura though. Dark Apollo is already so much better than Apollo ever was that it’s not even funny. Kawamori is also trolling everyone with prominently featuring Mikono/Amata/Zessica trio, the true triangle will probably be between Amata, Mikono and Kagura…which will get resolved when Kagura and Amata become one as they’re different shards of Apollo and Apollonius. Alternatively the resolution will be another TWO GUYS AND A GAY ANGEL GATTAI END aka lololololkawamori trolling.

    • That pretty crazy world view led to making that scene in the OVA when it tried to go OH SO GRIM AND DARK IN HERE as the bad guy set fire to the forest and immolated the little furry forest critters.

      FUCKING DROPPED.

      I don’t really have an opinion about the characters yet. They’re all still bland to me and I’ll expect more impressive things (i.e. things that leave more of an impression) in the next episode.

      Gubaba and Ai-kun are token mascots that are here to stay. In the Macross The First manga, even Minmay gets one.

      • Xard says:

        lol you always sound so mad about Aquarion OVA. Apollo child of wilderness was far superior to Apollo the brainless retard of tv series so providing a personal reason for hero to dislike bad guys didn’t bother me. Besides any title that brings the end of the world in form of failed male pregnancy is automatically outside The naming scheme for Amata and Kagura (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amata http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kagura ) is kinda interesting. Guy who flies with boner is a

        As far as characters go I left unmentioned the by far best character because he wasn’t yet named in the first (two) episode(s): Fabulous Fudo Gen is back more Fabulous than ever in his pirate longcoat. This damn guy made Aquarion worth a watch on his own through shitty eps and I’m much more than happy to see him again. Can’t wait for delicious Fudo moral of the week…

        As for Mikono’s cat (THAT IS NO CAT) my point wasn’t about its obvious mascot character status but about the feel there’s more to it than that. I don’t trust that fucker at all, it’s even more suspicious than Ai-kun was. I mean, the abductors were chasing it when Mikono found it. Plus it looks kinda evil. (Ai-kun I liked but that cat isn’t even cute enough to undo the inherent creepyness).

        If there’s one thing I’m somewhat grumpy about it would be armtwisting me into loving a fujoshi character (or rather: giving her highly positive base score). Fuck that shit, even Kuragehime cast had to *earn* my liking… but what can I say, Sasanka’s basically brown Ranka with braids

        *sigh* I don’t like being pressured in such way 😛

    • JoeAnimated says:

      Sometimes a train wreck of a show is fun to watch just because it’s just that. Isn’t that what made Ben-To enjoyable?

      As for the trios, does it matter? You’re getting your orgasmic robot fix, can’t ask for much more than that.

      • Shinmarizu says:

        Not exactly sure if Ben-To qualifies as a trainwreck. Aquarion more or less is. Most of the time I like Aquarion because I’m laughing at all the facepalm moments. The OVA tried to be serious business, but it went too hard with the Drama Hammer and then I started laughing. EVOL? I have full confidence in my face being palmed repeatedly.

  13. kevo says:

    I think I have SO MUCH FUN making fun of Aquarion that I’ve actually become obsessively in love with the show. I was facepalming throughout the first time I watched the episode, but now I… I randomly just open the episode up to watch it again when I have nothing to do. Just because it makes me laugh. You could have told me this was a parody comedy anime and I would have called it genius. It’s a combination of utter disbelief that this anime was made and the cool music that draws me back over and over again. Damn this fucking show, lmao.

    Also, the new OP sounds BOSS.

  14. Vendredi says:

    The small glimpses of the city we get in Mouretsu (Bodacious?) Space Pirates reminded me quite strongly of Neo Venezia, and now we have a full on Neo Venezia proper in Aquarion. I suppose the lines and design Italian Renaissance architecture is just one of those things that viewers naturally associate with tranquil idyll.

    I think part of the really mindblowing nature of Aquarion Evol is that there’s a zillion different things going on with this show that could easily be a central theme on their own – the sexually charged dynamics of GATTAI, etc. take centre stage just for shock value, but we’ve also got technology regressing to religion, ancient heroes re-interpreted as gods, mecha as god-machines, and parallel dimensions/interdimensional invaders, the inherent differences between men and women, each of which could easily be a theme that could hold up an entire show. In that light I don’t think the first episode did that bad a job.

    • Yes, but just having each of those database points, without a strong core holding them together won’t separate this show from Guilty Crown, albeit GC is much more obviously terrible.

  15. Turambar says:

    The first series ultimately paid off because the Aquarion Mass Production model showed off a gerwalk mode for 5 seconds in the second to last episode. If this series does the same, it will be well worth it.

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