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Aquarion #4 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Wednesday, 24 March 2010 00:00
AquarionIt's the end of the line for Aquarion (unless the OVA ever makes its way westwards), with this final volume kicking the series into high gear for a conclusion than, even after several viewings now, still flicks all the right switches for me...

21 - Crimson Path
Toma, outraged at Futaba's death, is out for revenge - to take from the humans someone or something that means as much to them as Futaba meant to the Shadow Angels. Back at Deava Base, very few people there are able to sleep - partly out of guilt at the part they played in Futaba's death, but also out of some sort of intimation that the Shadow Angels are going to respond. Sirius, in particular, has been having strange visions, and Silvia begins to realise that something's not right with him. When Toma launches an attack against the base in a mech that appears hugely more powerful than Aquarion, it soon becomes clear who Toma's target is...

Toma grabs Sirus' attentionCherbim Warrior

22 - Wings Unseen
Atlandea, a city of elegance - just the place where Sirius would fit right in, you would think, especially since he was born there. Certainly, under Toma's guidance he seems happy to join the Shadow Angels' cause - but not everyone in Atlandea is pleased to see him there, seeing bringing the Solar Wing to their home as an unacceptable risk. Back at Deava, the first priority is retrieving Vector Mars, which Sirius had taken with him, as Commander Fudo's in danger of being relieved of his post if it remains in the Atlandeans' hands - but first, there are some people who need to learn about the origins of Deava base...

Word of encouragement from ApolloToma deals with criticism

23 - Fleeting Wings
According to Fudo, both Apollo and Sirius are transient - implying they're on their way to becoming something else, but what? Something like Glen? He volunteered for the experiment that has made him what he is - a not entirely successful experiment, but with his combat potential hugely boosted by the Shadow Angel feathers implanted in him, apparently the best chance humans now have of winning the war. When facing Sirius, though, Assault Aquarion is easily defeated, leaving Apollo, Reika and Silvia to deal with Sirius themselves - but is Silvia capable of fighting her brother..?

Come with me...Staying together

24 - Heaven's Gate
Sirius' defection to the Shadow Angels has tipped the balance of power in their favour, and humanity is now finding it impossible to fight back effectively - the Atlandean Tree of Life has flowered, and the resulting spores - distributed worldwide through dimensional gates - are draining the Prana from millions. Silvia's still feeling partly responsible, thanks to not being able to persuade Sirius to stay - but as she's been removed from active duty over fears she'll defect herself, she's not even getting the chance to help defend the people she counts as friends. Apollo's approach is to sit back and wait for Sirius to come good again - but with the situation continuing to deteriorate, Fudo can't afford to wait, and prepares to deploy the production version of the Assault Type Aquarion - but it seems his time has just run out...

EmbraceFlowering

25 - Final Battle! Atlandia
With Tsugumi unconscious after her efforts to open the gate, she's swapped with Pierre, and Pierre, Reika and Apollo head through the gate. The Assault Type squadron was able to get through ahead of them, though, with enough heavy weaponry on hand to destroy Atlandea should they be able to get through its perimeter defences - so time is running short if they want to save Silvia. Apollo and the others have one secret weapon up their sleeves, though: Reika, whose past relationship with the leader of the Assault Aquarion squad, Glen, allows then to arrange a little extra time for their mission. Sirius, of course, is on hand to try and stop them...

The attack beginsAquarion vs Toma

ApolloniusSyvlia counterattacks

26 - The Day the World Begins
Sirius finally realises that Toma's just been using him while Apollo's enraged at Toma's attempts to have Silvia killed. He manages to pull Aquarion free of its bonds and use its power to heal Sirius and reform the original Aquarion with Vector Mars, setting the stage for the final battle between Aquarion - the Solar Wing - and Toma. ::deep breath:: As Aquarion grows stronger during the battle, though, the Tree of Life, which had seemed to be growing strongly off Aquarion's power, suddenly goes dark and dies. With the Tree being closely tied to life on Earth, the battle with Toma suddenly becomes irrelevant, as all life on the planet is threatened by the Tree's demise. Apollo quickly figures out a solution, but to carry it through he needs Toma's assistance...

Joyous moment for TomaApollo means business

Unlikely saviourFudo delivers another cryptic clue

Final kissSolar Wing

Futaba's capture and subsequent death proves to be the catalyst that kicks the series into its closing arc, and that's where Aquarion once again begins to shine. The "crimson road" is calling for the Solar Wing - and Toma finally identifies Sirius as the man of legend himself, before drawing him away to join the other side. Frankly, I wasn't hugely surprised by this - Sirius never did fit in with the Deava folk and has more in common with the Shadow Angels, personality-wise, than with the people around him (it's the arrogance that's the giveaway), so this wasn't so much a betrayal as a case of "what took you so long!?". Sylvia's reaction is equally predictable - she's always idolised her big brother, so it was always going to be tempting for her to join him. How her decision plays out, though - taking up a large chunk of episode 23 - is one of the highlights of the series, and pretty much settles any arguments over the Sylvia / Apollo pairing.

There's some really good music used the final arc, too - not just instrumental pieces, but insert songs as well that do a good job of conveying the feeling of what's happening on screen. The story itself kicks into really high gear, with plenty happening and very little time given to allow events to sink in - either for the characters or the viewers. By the beginning of episode 25, the fallout from Sirius' switch of sides has been dealt with, all the core characters are at Atlandea and the real battle can begin.

That's also when the flow of revelations can get underway, too. If Celiane and Apollonius where two of Aquarion's pilots 12,000 years ago, who was the third? He's still very much on the scene. Who really is the Solar Wing? Despite all hints to the contrary, neither Apollo nor Sirius. What exactly is the relationship between Sirius and Sylvia? She feels a closeness to him for a very good reason - which makes his defection a little easier to understand, but harder for her to deal with. All this is covered, in some detail, in a completely engrossing passage of storytelling.

The final episode then comes along to do a superb job of tying up all the outstanding plot threads, while still being an action show and throwing in some wonderfully touching Apollo / Sylvia scenes that should keep most people happy. All the pain and suffering caused because of one jilted lover, and ending that resolves their differences, and not a reset-button ending in sight - what we have here is a rare example of the near-perfect ending.

Only near-perfect, though, as there are a few flaws. Much is made of the Assault Type Aquarions, powered by fragments of Shadow Angel wing, but they don't live up to their hype - we even get a glimpse of Armageddon Aquarion, 9 Vectors in one union, that has its ass kicked in two seconds flat. So much for humanity's ultimate weapon, and it does make you wonder why they were even bothered with as their impact on the story is minimal. There are a few other points you could nitpick at, but nothing really serious - for the most part, these episodes just carry you away into their own little world, and you don't realise time's passing until they're over. In short: it's damn good, especially when compared to the cheese that most of the series has been made of. If Aquarion had managed this level of quality throughout its run, instead of spending so much time with Angel-of-the-week stories, it would have rated very near the top of my personal top ten. As it is, overall it's a guilty pleasure, but the closing episodes are almost classic material.

I've watched through Aquarion several times now - it's lost none of its appeal with those repeat viewings, and this volume is by far the best in the series. While for a lot of the series Aquarion almost falls into the "so bad it's good" category, the conclusion of the story is done extremely well, with real emotion combining with some very enjoyable action sequences to make sure that there's something here for everyone. For my money, Aquarion is easily one of the most enjoyable recent releases, and is well worth picking up.

Rating - *****

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