After accidentally forming the legendary mecha “Aquarion”, Amata finds himself at a pilot training academy where the flirty girls love to get a rise out of him and the boys seem more interested in exploring mysterious holes and big bangs than harnessing their elemental superpowers. It’s all awkward dates, hijinks, and threesomes until otherworldly beings start abducting powerful female students.
As a mysterious megalomaniac plots interplanetary disaster, the fate of the galaxy depends on whether or not the hormone-fueled academy co-eds can come together to fight evil.
Set 12,000 years after the events of Aquarion.
The story of Aquarion Evol starts when Amata meets Mikono. They get along quite well from the start, especially because Mikono thinks that both she and Amata have no special powers in a city where this is pretty common. Little does she know that Amata starts to float uncontrollably whenever he gets excited. During their stroll across town, mysterious mecha called Abductors attack the town. As the name implies, these mecha abduct people and it doesn’t take long for Mikono to be targeted. Amata manages to protect her just long enough for the Aquaria (mecha piloted by teens with special powers) to show up. During all the chaos that follows, Amata finds himself piloting one of these Aquaria and manages to combine three Aquaria into the legendary mecha Aquarion, which gets him semi-forcibly admitted to the training program.
The training program is a bit special in the sense that it has strictly male-only and female-only sections, with a nice big Berlin Wall to separate them. Apparently some big disaster in the past with mixed pilots made this necessary. Also, combining your mecha with the mecha of someone of the opposite sex feels really good. Needless to say, the second the academy is attacked, the wall gets destroyed and no one bothers to rebuild it. Because of this, the students suddenly have to deal with being around the opposite sex, which causes all sorts of “problems”.
In any case, as training continues, Amata meets a whole spectrum of different students, each with his/her own special power which is needed in the various battles they fight with the Abductors, who seem to have developed a special interest in Mikono. This leads to some pretty spectacular fights and some nice (though predictable) character development, comparable to that of Aquarion. One thing that seems to be missing compared to Aquarion is the reincarnation theme. There are occasional references, but so far the show hasn’t done much of anything with it. This also means that the show is very easy to get into, even if you haven’t seen Aquarion. It does take place 12,000 years later, after all.
The characters of the show may not be the most original ones around, but they work together pretty nicely. There’s Amata the new student, Mikono without any special powers, Andy who wants to dig holes to the girls’ dormitories, tomboyish Zessica, shy Yunoha, and so on. While a lot of the interactions between the characters feel a bit formulaic and predictable, it still works well enough and never feels out of place. Also, most conversations can be taken multiple ways, depending on your point of view. It’s a bit odd that none of the characters seem to realize this, but considering the lack of common sense of some of them, it’s fairly understandable.
The animation is very lively and colourful. A lot of the backgrounds are just great and especially the cityscapes are very detailed. The character design is pretty good, with some simple designs and some fairly complex wardrobes, both of which help to bring out the personalities of the characters pretty nicely. Of course, being a mecha show, an important part is the design of the various mecha. And those are pretty impressive. All of them are made using CG, but for a change this works perfectly fine with the rest of the show. It gives the mecha a futuristic look that fits them very well. The fights are also very nicely animated, with lasers and missiles flying all over the place, chasing the mecha around. The fights by themselves should be enough to convince mecha fans to watch this show.
The music is just phenomenal. The show has great supporting music for just about every scene, be it one of the many battles, a regular classroom scene, or one of the less frequent emotional scenes. The show also features a number of very strong vocal scores during the battle scenes, not unlike the Macross franchise (Youko Kanno took care of the soundtrack of Aquarion Evol and Macross Frontier, after all), though no one is actually singing this time around. The opening and ending theme are also very good and work just about perfectly to get you in the mood for the show and slow you back down after the episode is over.
The only minor issue I have with this release is that the names of the gattai (the moves combining the mecha into various forms of Aquarion) are left untranslated. This seems a bit of an odd choice, especially since it sounds like most of them are referring to the personalities of or the relations between the characters involved. However, this shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying the show’s many good aspects.
Episode 01 commentary by Christopher Bevins (ADR director/Amata), J. Michael Tatum (script writer/Mykage) and Brina Palencia (Mikono), episode 09 commentary by Christopher Bevins (ADR director/Amata), Alexis Tipton (Mix) and Josh Grelle (Andy), interviews and launch event footage, creditless opening and ending, various trailers.
Though the story so far is a bit on the simple and predictable side, the colourful and lively animation and a very strong soundtrack make this show worth watching, especially when you like mecha shows.
- Released By: Funimation Entertainment
- Available on BLU-RAY + DVD Combo Pack
- Running Time: 325 minutes
- Rating: TV – 14
- Release Date: 10/22/2013
- Reviewed By: André Van Renssen