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Aquarian Age (Sign for Evolution) #3: Destiny PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 23 June 2006 00:00
Volume Three (Cover Art)Kyouta and Yoriko face their respective destinies as Aquarian Age comes to a close.  Earth-shattering events?  No - but each of the factions have their part to play, and there's plenty for the various cast members to come to terms with, not least Yoriko herself...

10 - Yellow-Green Suffering World
Having his song rejected by Yoriko has knocked the wind right out of Kyouta's sails, to the point where he's almost lost interest in his music.  His friends in the band have figured out that his depression is something to do with Yoriko, but without being aware of the full story they're left just waiting for him to get over whatever's bothering him - and with their debut fast approaching, there's not much time for Kyouta to get his act together.  At least his music's having a positive effect on one person - Kirika, who's having her first photo shoot.  At first she's too nervous and stiff to come across well for the camera, but one listen to an MD she has of Kyouta and the band and she loosens up and begins to show her talent - and Abuto's not at all happy about the source of her inspiration.  Meanwhile, Kyouta finally decides that if he's going to get Yoriko back, he's going to need his friends' help....

Wondering what's bothering KyoutaMisato revealed

11 - Indigo-Green Vortex
From having no enthusiasm, Kyouta's gone to the other extreme, aware that if anything's going to get through to Yoriko it'll be his music - but if anything he's trying too hard now and it's wrecking his performance.  Somewhere inside Yoriko's Sarasvati persona, though, her Benzaiten persona is still present and is trying to reach out to Kyouta.  Asumi, meanwhile, decides to try and deal with Sarasvati herself, but soon discovers that Yoriko's powers have grown far beyond anything she can hope to deal with - and after having dealt with Asumi, Yoriko decides to have a little "fun" with Kyouta...

Mean and moodyRemember this?

12 - Faded-Red Conflict
Despite his best intentions, Kyouta still hasn't told his friends about what's really happened to Yoriko.  Just before the band's debut concert, he sees a vision of her Benzaiten persona pleading for his help - determined to do something to help her, he asks Misato to delay the concert for as long as she can and heads over to the film set and with Asumi and Kiriko's help tries to free her from Abuto's influence - but with Sarasvati as powerful as she is and with Abuto continuing to exert his influence, it's no easy task...


Rumiko enters the fraySettling differences

13 - Pure-White Embrace
After Yoriko's two personas settle their differences, it at first appears as though she's dead, but Rumiko tells Kyouta that her spirit is just wandering somewhere and that if he acts quickly enough, he should be able to revive her.  His search for her spirit involves a trip into Yoriko's soul where she's still coming to terms with her dark side and whether Kyouta will still accept her knowing Sarasvati is still a part of her...

Litte YorikoDebut

Abuto's plans begin to fall apart almost as soon as this volume begins - although he orders Kanae to kill Kyouta and the band, Misato intervenes, revealing her true nature in the process & foiling that little intended payback.  Yoriko also proves to be beyond his ability to control - her Sarasvati persona's quite happy testing the limit of her powers, and when her own safety is threatened she's happy to use Abuto's powers for her protection.  Even Rumiko's able to deal with him quite easily, when it's required.  So much for the powers of a Mindbreaker - although Kanae at least stays partly loyal, if nothing else.

While Yoriko, Kyouta and their respective minders take centre-stage, the minor characters get their fair share of the action here.  Asumi & Kanae both make their own attempts to deal with Yoriko, one under manipulation from another faction, one out of jealousy at no longer being the centre of attention - but the end results for both are the same, as Sarasvati is simply too powerful for any one other opponent to handle.

The story proper actually ties itself up in episode 12, with a suitably epic battle involving all the various factions in the never-ending power struggle.  For all that, the final scenes come down to something far more mundane but, given the focus of the series, more appropriate for the setting.

The final episode is almost is two parts - the first one looking at the immediate aftermath of the final battle against Sarasvati, which brings some nice closure to the Yoriko / Kyouta story, while the second part flashes forward a few years for a "where are they now" sequence.  I have to admit to a little bit of disappointment at how this turned out, as I would have liked to have seen more made of the links between the various characters that developed over the series - without wanting to spoil too much, it felt that there were definite missed opportunities to show how people had moved on and grown over the intervening years, but instead nothing had really changed.

Overall, then, Aquarian Age has been surprisingly good - I wasn't expecting as much from the series when I started is as I finally got out of it.  The ending could perhaps have been handled better and the setting has the potential for far more explosive storylines (as the "movie"/OVA series shows off), but this has been a good story to follow.  Worth checking out.

Rating - ****

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