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Anime review: ‘Aquarion EVOL’ part two

Aquarion EVOL Part 2
©SHOJI KAWAMORI, SATELIGHT / Project AQUARION EVOL. Licensed by FUNimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

On May 27, 2014, anime publisher FUNimation Entertainment released the second part of “Aquarion EVOL” in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and they gave us the opportunity to see the finale of this sci-fi mecha anime, the sequel to “Aquarion”.

Aquarion EVOL” is set 12,000 years after the events of “Aquarion”, and the story revolves around Amata, a young man who has the ability to grow wings on his feet and fly, although he makes all attempts to keep that hidden. One day, while working at the theater, he meets Mikono, a kind hearted girl that he feels an instant connection with.

While spending time with one another, Amata and Mikono come under attack by Abductors, a mysterious race that uses giant machines to attack the planet Vega and kidnap women. To save Mikono, Amata uses his ability and unwittingly unlocks a forbidden combination of Vectors to form Aquarion EVOL, a legendary machine. This prompts Neo-DEAVA, the organization established to protect humanity, to recruit both Amata and Mikono and enroll them into the academy, where they learn to pilot their Vectors and battle the Abductors.

The academy is originally kept separate, with the girls and boys training apart from one another, but by the end of the first part of the series Amata breaks down the wall and Neo-DEAVA decides it may be time to allow the boys and girls to combine Vectors once again. This is a relief for Amata, who wants to remain close to Mikono, but with Zessica pursuing Amata as well, things don’t always go smoothly. It also doesn’t help that one of their enemies, the wild-eyed Kagura, is dead set on making Mikono his and he will stop at nothing to have her. It would be simple enough to just keep Mikono away from Kagura, but Mikono also finds herself attracted to Kagura for some unknown reason, to Amata’s dismay.

Love triangles aren’t the only thing to watch for, the Abductors become much more aggressive in their pursuit of Vega’s women in the second part, when they believe that the woman they have been searching for, might just be a Vector pilot. This also means that there are plenty more battles to look forward to, and powerful new abilities for the young pilots to unlock.

The second part of the series starts off kind of sad, as both the enemy and the kids mourn the death of a fallen comrade, and a few pilots struggle with their emotions and powers getting out of control. Gradually, the story gets back to the action, there were some really entertaining battles, and the pilots continue to work on forming stronger bonds with one another, to make Aquarion even stronger, but a confession by Zessica and Mikono’s continued conflict of emotions make things difficult for everyone. The character development was probably one of the best parts of the anime.

“Aquarion EVOL” was a strange series for me though, it isn’t really unique, but it can still be entertaining at times. Amata, Zessica, Andy, MIX, Yunoha and the other members of Neo-DEAVA were fine, they all seemed likable enough, but I found it difficult to pull for some of the cast, especially Mikono, there was just something about her that I didn’t like and that didn’t change even by the end. The same goes for Kagura, I know he is one of the bad guys and all, but even then you can still find something to like about about the villain, that just wasn’t true for Kagura. At least, that is what it felt like for me.

Visually, “Aquarion EVOL” had a good look, the animation was smooth and the picture was bright and clear. This review is based on both the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the series, the Blu-ray was slightly better, but it didn’t feel like there was a drastic difference. The characters had some interesting designs, and in the second part it seemed like Zessica found a way to look even more provocative, by putting on more clothes.

With the audio, I typically watch half of a series in each language, unless one is drastically better than the other. I found this dub to be about even, the Japanese voices might have matched up a little better, but that can also be a bit of a bias when it comes to subbed versus dubbed. The English subtitles were easy to read, remained on screen for a fair length of time and the translations had good flow.

Included as on-disc extras are the clean opening and closing, Japanese commercials, promotional videos and trailers for other FUNimation Entertainment releases. There is also commentary for episodes 15 and 26.

“Aquarion EVOL” was an interesting series, filled with plenty of entertaining robot fighting action. The story was also engaging and many of the characters were likable, their development and relationships were also handled well. Mikono and Kagura were really the only drawbacks for me as far as the series’ story goes, for being important characters, neither really drew me in.

The battles were all fun to watch and there was plenty of action, but at times some of the speeches could get a little over the top and the names for some of the special attacks were really corny. By the end of the series, many early questions were answered, and that made it worth watching from start to finish. Especially to see the characters react to the reason for the conflict in the first place.

If you enjoyed series like “Vandread” and “Infinite Stratos”, then you may enjoy “Aquarion EVOL”. The series is also worth watching if you want to see more of “Aquarion”.

Score
3.5 out of 5

Aquarion EVOL Part 2

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Runtime: 325 minutes
Number of Discs: 2 DVDs (Also on Blu-ray)
Number of Episodes: 13 (14-26)
Languages: English, Japanese with English subtitles
Age Rating: TV-MA
Release Date: May 27, 2014

(A review copy of “Aquarion EVOL” part two was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.)