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Aquarian Age (Sign for Evolution) #2: Troubled Dreams PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:00
Cover Art (Volume 2)After a first volume that was infuriatingly short of real information, this second volume of Aquarian Age begins filling in all the gaps and explains what's really going on around Kyouta.  With the knowledge that he's got more of a role to play in the coming conflict than he'd ever expected, Kyouta has to deal with the machinations of the factions around him - one of which has taken control of Yoriko, turning her into someone very different from the girl he once new...

6 - Illusion-Green Salvation
Yoriko finds herself in the battlezone (in Arayashiki mode) and under attack by a Darklore - Kanae, displaying her own true form, but she's acting against Abuto's wishes and soon pays the price.  Back in the "real" world Abuto approaches Yoriko and offers her an alternative to following her destiny with the Arayashiki - an alternative that Rumiko knew about but had chosen to hide from her.  Meanwhile, Kyouta's got a new charge - Asumi, who's just been signed by Cosmopop, and who Misato has asked Kyouta to look after until she gets settles with the agency.  To Kyouta it's a bit surprise, but to his bandmates it's all starting to seem just a little bit suspicious...

Kanae vs YorikoKyouta gets unlucky

7 - Deep-Red Offshoot
Kyouta's attempts to contact Yoriko and explain that what she saw wasn't what it appeared to be aren't meeting with any success - she's not answering her 'phone, and obviously calling the shrine isn't much use now that she's left the Arayashiki.  With her movie debut fast approaching, she's immersed herself in her work - and it's not hard to see that the "new" Yoriko is very different from the old.  It's not long to Kyouta's debut, either, but recent events have killed his will to work and left him in a seriously depressed mood - and with another of the warring factions deciding it's time he was separated from his friends, his life's about to get even worse...

Dangerous roadtripRumiko fails to reach Yoriko

8 - Light-Purple Awakening
Rumiko fails in her attempt to bring Yoriko back to the Arayashiki, and her failure has left the factions unbalanced and the Arayashiki facing destruction.  One possibility for dealing with the problem is to use Kyouta's influence to break Abuto's hold - but is swapping the control of one Mindbreaker for another really an improvement?  As luck would have it, Kyouta manages to persuade Misato to allow him to visit the movie set where Yoriko's filming, but any hope of talking her round disappears when he's given the brush-off treatment.  Later, an Arayashiki fighter, Byakko, decides that the risk of Yoriko coming under Kyouta's influence is too great, and takes action herself to remove him from the picture, but the attack only triggers the awakening of his own powers...

Kyouta and AsamiKyouta's powers awaken

9 - Fierce-Silver Remnants
Misato seems to have plans to deal with Yoriko herself, and has arranged for Asumi to be given a role in her movie.  Kyouta's also looking for a way to return her to her old self - but with other groupings within the Arayashiki agitating to take direct action & Rumiko having problems holding the faction together, time may be running out.  Even his friends are encouraging him to do something about her, although they're not aware of the full story - but if he's going to use his power as a Mindbreaker to free Yoriko from Abuto's influence, he first need to know what exactly he is.  Kanae, meanwhile, has had enough of being treated as a cast-off by Abuto and tries to tackle Yoriko herself - but she's no match for her awakened form...

Facing down her challengersKanae tacles Yoriko again

It surprised me how quickly this volume got down to fleshing out the factions and their backgrounds.  Abuto admits quite freely that he's a Mindbreaker - not that he's really trying to help Yoriko, despite what he says, he just has his own plans for her - while Rumiko's equally open with Kyouta about her clan.  It's all quite refreshing after volume one seemed to go out of its way to keep you in the dark.

The main force of "nature" coming into play now is good old jealousy. Yoriko's transformation is triggered when she sees Kouta playing around with Kanae, the friendship between Kiriko and Asumi breaks down for much the same reason, and Kanae's feelings at being rejected by Abuto in favour of Yoriko are definitely driving her.  With the girls being the driving forces behind the various factions (Mindbreakers being the exception) and teenage hormones being a major issue in the lives of this lot, that's hardly surprising, and it does mean that the rivalry between the girls does get vicious at times.  Oh, the drama! - and I mean that in a good way.

Poor Kouta also become the centre of attention for other reasons, as his status as a Mindbreaker makes him a target for pretty much all of the factions.  With the Mindbreakers able to control them with apparent ease, there's just too much at risk should he develop his abilities and choose to work against them.  With at least one of the groups taking the rather cowardly option of attacking his friends first (remove the support network and you reduce to target's ability to cope, I guess), hard times are definitely ahead.

For all the good work done in these episodes in making Aquarian Age make sense, I still can't warm to some of the characters, most notably Yoriko.  Her "normal" persona failed with me for being too wishy-washy; her new personality is too primadonna and ends up turning me off just as much.  With the attempts to bring her back from under Abuto's influence looking set to become a major plot issue, there's a worry for me that they're focussing on the "wrong" person - but that's solely based on my own character preferences and probably won't be an issue for everyone.

Just like volume 1, this was one of those discs where you just don't want to stop - there's still the same "what happens next?" feeling at the end of each episode, all with the added bonus that you've now got some idea of what's going on.  Aquarian Age has never really had a very high profile, which is a shame - it definitely deserves more exposure than it's had up to now.  Well worth watching.

Rating - ****

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