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Aquarian Age (Sign for Evolution) #1: Awakening PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Wednesday, 06 July 2005 12:31
Aquarian Age - Volume 1 (Cover Art)One man's quest for a successful music career looks set to be overshadowed by the maneuverings of rival groupings jockeying for a much greater power - Aquarian Age: Sign for Evolution may not explain too much in its first five episodes, but it doesn't half catch the attention...

1 - Deep-Blue Overture
Kyouta Kamikurata's just an ordinary guy, working in his parent's convenience store and trying to make it big in a band with his friends Shin and Jun.  He's not really interested in much past that - friend Yoriko keeps trying to persuade him to make more of an effort in school & work towards getting into college, but she's fighting a losing battle - writing lyrics is much more interesting to Kyouta than working on assignments.  But Kyouta's been having strange dreams lately, of girls in combat suits appearing in his window, and ground-shaking battles going on around the store.  At least he thinks they're dreams - but on New Year's Eve, while Kyouta's playing in a concert, he's unaware that those dreams have become reality around him...

Aquarian Age - Pictures of happy daysAquarian Age - Kyouta's visions

2 - Fire-Green Premonition
Unaware of the battle going on around them, Kyouta and the band continue to play, but it seems Yoriko is able to at least sense what's going on.  When one of the fighters, Rumiko, begins to unleash some of her power on the demon she's fighting, Yoriko is affected by the power and is left feeling ill.  Seeing what effect she's having Rumiko withdraws rather than hurt Yoriko more.  After the concert, Kyouta's approached by Misato Yukimura, who claims to be an agent for Cosmopop records and is interested in having the band record a demo for her.  Cosmopop is also the label that Kyouta's idol Ryusei is assigned to - by coincidence, the two meet after Kyouta records their demo, but Ryusei doesn't quite live up to his expectations...

Aquarian Age - Rumiko in priestess modeAquarian Age - Kanae thinks demonic thoughts

3 - Cloudy-Red Melancholy
Kyouta gets his dream, as Misato calls by to sign him and the rest of the band to an exclusive contract.  Their first job will be to apper on a local radio station - not quite the TV debut they were hoping for, but definitely a start, especially when they get mobbed on the way out of the radio station and rescued by a famous starlet.  While Kyouta's life is looking on the up, though, Yoriko's facing some tough decisions - not only is Misato hinting that she's be better off keeping out of Kyouta's way ('no third-rate scandals'), but Rumiko keeps reminding her that her destiny is to join this fight - she's been able to avoid it so far, but that's not going to last much longer..

Aquarian Age - Rumiko reminds Yoriko of her responsibilitiesAquarian Age - Kanae moves in on Kyouta

4 - Concealment-Black Offering
Seems nobody at school heard Kyouta's radio debut - or if they did, they're not talking about it, and it's a bit disappointing to him.  Still, Misato seems to be on the case for getting the band some more exposure, and for keeping Yoriko away from him.  When Misato takes Kyouta and the others to see a performance by Kanae and Ryusei, a backstage meeting between Kanae and Misato results in some unexpected fireworks, as there appears to be some tension between Misato and Kanae's agent, Abuto.  Yoriko, meanwhile, has reached a decision - to give up on avoiding her destiny and give up on Kyouta, but her last meeting with Kyouta doesn't go quite how she intended it to when another battle breaks out nearby...

Aquarian Age - Misato keeps an eye on YorikoAquarian Age - A rare happy moment for Yoriko

5 - Sparkling-White Inevitability
'Our one and only objective is Kyouta Kamikurata', according to what appears to be one of the 'bad guys'.  She's been using her power to influence one of Kyouta's classmates, Asumi, to make some moves on him, in the hope of getting him caught in a compromising position that could ruin his music career, while also taking steps to take care of Misato, who herself seems to be involved in the power struggle that's going on.  Meanwhile, Rumiko takes Kyouta to one side and asks him to stop seeing Yoriko - if he doesn't, he won't like the consequences.  Later, Kyouta becomes directly involved in the battles for the first time when Asumi is targeted by the other side, prompting Kyouta to run to her defence - giving another few good photo opportunities for those who'd like to bring Kyouta's career to an early end - while Yoriko is taken captive...

Aquarian Age - Asumi gets up close & personalAquarian Age - Photographic evidence?

Rival groups manoevering for position in an age-old battle - after five episodes, that's about all I can say about the events unfolding in Aquarian Age.  Normally, that lack of information would drive me nuts & I would have given up on the series, but for some reason it works quite well here - there are other things going on that keep you from becoming distracted by the lack of real information (mainly Kyouta's blossoming music career, which itself seems to play a key part in why he's of interest to everyone), while the large cast of characters continues to be introduced.

At least three groups have been identified so far - the Arayashiki (who nominally seem to be the 'good guys'), Kanae & Abuto (the 'bad guys'), and WIZ-DOM, whose intentions aren't yet clear.  Yoriko has links with the Arayashiki, while his new manager also seems to be playing a part but hasn't been linked with any of the groups yet.  Confused?  It'll make a bit more sense if you watch it.  I'm hoping volume 2 will start the process of tying everything together and explaining what's going on, but we'll have to wait and see.

Music for the series is provided by Yuki Kajiura, which will keep a lot of fans happy - it's similar in style to what she produced for .hack//SIGN, and it's bad at all.  The show thankfully doesn't rely solely on the music to carry itself, though - the story is engrossing.  I found it quite hard to stop watching and wanted to see more almost as soon as I was done with this batch.  Definitely a show that's worth checking out.

Rating - ****

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