Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Aquarion Season 1 DVD Box Set 1 Impression

Society is in shambles. Eleven years after the Great Catastrophe society still lives in fear of the Shadow Angels who, after 12,000 years of slumber, returned to wreck the world. With massive harvesting machines rounding up those humans left there is only one hope the mechanical, combining mech Angel Aquarion. Pilots with specific psychic abilities are selected as pilots and no two combinations of Aquarion are the same, each is unique based on the lead pilot and their emotional state. During one such harvest a boy by the name of Apollo is taken in by the Aquarion group and he shows a natural ability to pilot Aquarion, one that may mean he's the reincarnation of Apollonius. With Shadow Angels stepping up their attacks it's up to these pilots, these elements, to fight for the fate of humanity.

Ok, so we've got a devastated society, mysterious alien force, Shadow Angels, and special kids, Elements, who can pilot a combining mech, Aquarion, in fighting these Shadow Angels ... hmmmmm, yup sounds like Voltron (thanks Play!), Evangelion and a slew of other combining robot anime through the years, which is a good thing. In this first collection, 13 episodes total, we meet the main players in Aquarion, Apollo (mangy, raw talent street urchin), Silvia and Sirius (spoiled 'nobility' type pilots) as well as other like Reika who uses her bad luck to fight, a wheelchair bound little girl named Rena, Gen Fudo crazy commander, nerdy pilot girl, techie nerd pilot, soccer loving pilot ... yeah there is quite a cast of characters to meet and follow, each with their own abilities and reasons for fighting. The reason I gloss over some names (besides not memorizing all of them) is that the story really focuses on Apollo, Silvia, Sirius and the Shadow Angel named Toma. The story starts with Apollo losing his friends, most notably Baron, to a harvest then getting recruited into the Aquarion program. There he shows a talent that pisses off others, Sirius especially. These first 13 episodes set the stage, show the characters relationships, talks of reincarnation and prophecy and leave a hell of a lot of questions. Who are the Shadow Angels, are Apollo and Silvia truly reincarnations from the past, where did Aquarion come from, what happened during the Great Catastrophe, why were the Shadow Angels sleeping for 12,000 years and why did they destroy society? Want more ... who is Gen Fudo, where was he when he returned as base commander, what does he know about Apollo and the others and what's the deal with Rena?

So it's a combining mech anime with young pilots battling a mysterious force of Shadow Angels in a devastated future where mankind is looking at extermination ... and there are a ton of questions to be answered. Good. Created by Studio Satelight of Hellsing and Noein fame, directed by Shoji Kawamori (Macross Plus, Escaflowne) and scored by Yoko Kanno, there is nothing not to love about the creative minds behind Aquarion, and you most def see the directors influence. The animation is excellent. The character designs serve their purpose as you can guess each characters mood by their appearance form the prim and proper Silvia to the raggedy Apollo. Aquarion itself is a nice looking mech that take three unique vector units and combines them in any combination where each of the three units can serve as the head, torso or legs. The music is great, not as good as say Cowboy Bebop, but there is no denying Kanno's talent. See with Aquarion, it's the story that shines, but not right away.

This was one of the first collections FUNimation has released like this. Thirteen episodes in place of a five episode volume 1 DVD, good call. As I said the story is pretty standard mech fare with a team of kids, and if you were left to decide after one DVD to continue this series I'm not sure if every viewer would. I for one would have been 50/50, but not after the final 2-3 episodes of this collection. This is when Kawamori's genius shines, when viewers will feel a touch of Macross Plus and a heaping dash of Escaflowne. The relationships, hints of the past, the questions I talk about above really start to come to the fore. No longer is this just an anime about kids piloting a robot and fighting, no it turns into a suspenseful story where so much is to be revealed and Aquarion takes a backseat to relationships, both from the past and present. I loved Escaflowne and there is just something about this story that plays on those emotional chords for me. So here we are thirteen episodes in, collection 1 of Aquarion done and wanting more.

Animation is good, story is great (give it time to build), music is typical Kanno and this collection is a great addition for mech fans. It was bold of FUNimation to release a new series like this, quite a gamble, but I will say it paid off. You will not feel cheated in any way with Aquarion from FUNimation, so pick it up now, support the industry and enjoy.


  1. I keep searching for some good ideas about this on Bing. Great then for having some points on your ideas. Keep the good job but I'll be in touch. Lookin’ forward. I just ordered these consoles at PIJ! I’m excited! I’m going to have these in week!

  2. I read your post.Your thought of Aquarion is great.It is inspiring and beneficial. Thanks for sharing your details and views. I just ordered these DVDs at PIJ! Its amazing! I’m going to have these in week! Do you Have! ;)

  3. I relish reading and looking at posts that make browsers want to make comments that create good discussion about what has been written about on your anime blog. Thank you. have you seen this anime's merchandise, its pretty amazing! Although I have some these toys that I collected from PIJ I’m excited!Its really cool!