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Sousei No Aquarion, Fin. - Elf M. Sternberg
Sousei No Aquarion, Fin.
I finally finished Sousei No Aquarion, a 26-episode series that at first seemed to be a riff on just about every anime genre that ever existed: giant robots, mysterious mentors, bizarre love triangles (in the case of this series, made completely manifest), Lovecraftian enemies, reincarnated heroes, and whacky marital arts maneuvers with Kanjiified names. This show must have been an absolute hoot to write for every week. And it's fun, for the most part. You can tell that the writers and animators are having a great time, and their fun is infectious.

The one thing everyone noticed when this series started was that it was unbelievably cliche'd. At first, it seemed to be a badly-written giant-robot show with a stereotypical cast: two incredibly talented but annoyingly cocky leads at odds with each other, a girl besotted with her brother, an honest-to-Horus goth-loli vampire chick, and those shouted-out martial arts maneuvers. The heroes are summoned to pilot the Aquarion, a giant mecha found in the depths of the ocean that requires three pilots who must have some kind of psychic ability to make even their component move, and need it to battle the Shadow Angels, a dark force that is "harvesting" humans for their psychic energy-- for reasons unknown. At first, the show seemed to be so cheesy that it bordered on ridiculous.

But the fans noticed two things: one, the production values were amazing. The music was incredible, the art wonderful, and the writing was relentlessly fun. The writers were willing to fail. Like Mai-HiME before the final battle began, there was a monster-of-the-week filler run, where the heroes slowly figured out which trios among them worked best against whatever new forces the enemy deployed, and figured out that their nifty giant robot could do whatever they needed it to do-- all they had to figure out was what they needed it to do! This leads to much angst and anguish. And the "union" scenes where the three characters merge their psychicnesses to mobilize the robot is a little... implicit. Well, okay, in one scene Sylvia literally shouts "I'm coming," and Tsugumi's psychic ability is to blow out every machine in a three hundred meter radius whenever she has on orgasm, so maybe it's not so implicit at times.

There are surreal episodes. The one where the commander has everyone learn psychic "balance" by making them take off their shoes, only to reveal that the entire epsiode has been one long pun on his name: Gen (as in Barefoot Gen, one of the earliest and most famous of all animes), or the cosplay episode where, in order to make his pilots more empathetic to each other, he makes them all wear each other's clothes. Episode 19 was especially crazed: the heroes get transported to another world, and to emphasize the weirdness the producers hired a French animation team to do the whole episode in a Moeibius-like art style, very flat and soft and utterly unlike the series in general.

And in the end, it turned out there was a plot, a major conflict, and lots of intercharacter pain that made the series worthwhile to the last. All the way to the end, the writers kept the cheesy elements and made them interesting, did something new with them, and never, ever apologized for trying. The led to a great beginning, a sagged middle, and a strong finish.

I am, I have discovered, a terrible, tragically sentimental sap after all. When Tsugumi finally cracks and confesses her love for the hapless Reika and when Toma described his love for the rebellious Apollonius, I got all teary-eyed. I also got a special thrill out of watching Rena, our goth-loli-vampire chick, finally get into uniform and run the giant robot and kick ass. It was totally a show for fanboys without, ultimately, being a fanservice show, one of those geeky anime endings full of English/Japanese puns that you have to be totally otaku to get, and it was wonderful all for it. Nobody thinks it's a masterpiece (some reviewers seem to utterly loathe it), but it's fun the way Zappa is fun: unapologetically so.

Ack! There are Reika and Sylvia body pillows!

Tags: ,
Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No 2 in F Major

6 comments or Leave a comment
lisakit From: lisakit Date: March 14th, 2006 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like fun. Is it in English (subtitles are difficult for me to read)? Could I find it in the local video store? Seems the only anime I get these days is the occasional episodes I happen to catch on adult swim and I'm getting tired of seeing the same stuff, no matter how good.

BTW - is there going to be another Miazaki(sp?) movie coming out soon? I'm trying to refer to the guy who did Princess Monoke and Howl's Moving Castle and such.
elfs From: elfs Date: March 16th, 2006 02:15 am (UTC) (Link)
It's subtitled, I'm afraid. I don't listen to many dubs these days; the subtitled episodes are always out a years or more before the dubs and are much, much cheaper. I'm also not sure what Miyazaki's up to right now. People worry that Disney's money is pushing him to go faster and cheaper.
lisakit From: lisakit Date: March 16th, 2006 06:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Subtitles - how annoying.

I thought Miyazaki's last flick (Howl's) was just as well done as some of his earlier stuff. Just seemed like he was about due for another.
mundens From: mundens Date: March 15th, 2006 12:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, based on that review, I'm totallly gonna have to watch this one!

I love the idea of the French animation team! Then again I also loved the style shifts in FLCL, especialy the "manga episodes" :)
sianmink From: sianmink Date: March 15th, 2006 01:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like Martian Sucessor Nadesico, but with even more genre-self-parody and silliness. hmmmmm.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 15th, 2006 05:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Misuko and Linia

Harking back here to an earlier topic of Misuko Ffanci and Linia in Honest Desires/Response/Question, and A Fragile Dream, I have to say that Misuko is not a very caring or considerate lover to Linia. [ducks quickly]

How do I contend this? Easily. Linia very much enjoys her sex. She seems to love attention to all parts of her lovely body, even if her legs do seem a bit short for the rest of her. Yet Misuko has only made proper love to her penis on a couple of occasions, and on another time helped convince Linia to use it as part of a practical joke that backfired badly.

A truly considerate lover -- whether female or male -- with as wonderful a partner as Linia clearly is, should make a much better effort to satisfy *all* of Linia sexually, rather than mostly pretend that part of her really doesn't exist.

Yes this means that Misuko is going to end up with a relationship rather different than the straight female/female love she has basically grown up with, but change can be better. She can have a truly unique relationship with her robot lover. And aren't your stories about the unique relationships?

As for Linia, this should truly put her in heaven, since finally Misuko will hav finally and fully accepted *every* part of her.

To remedy this lack I've now had to write all this correctly now for my own very lovely herm-bot in "Far Future Fembot: Darlene" chapters 62 through 64, which will be posted to SOL when I get them back from my proofreader. [vbg] (Yes I'll send you a copy if you don't have premier access on SOL.)

This completes my Kaizen for today.

6 comments or Leave a comment