Genesis of Aquarion
|Genesis of Aquarion|
Cover of the first DVD volume of Genesis of Aquarion featuring main character Apollo
(Sousei no Akuerion)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Shoji Kawamori|
|Licensed by|| Madman Entertainment
|English network||FUNimation Channel|
|Original run||April 4, 2005 – September 26, 2005|
The science fiction series is a homage to the Super Robot shows of the 1970s and 1980s, executed with modern animation techniques and aesthetics. Set in the future, a giant fighting machine called the Aquarion is humanity's only effective weapon in the fight against the technologically advanced species called the Shadow Angels.
Aquarion aired from April 4, 2005, to September 26, 2005, on TV Tokyo. An alternate retelling of the television series, the Genesis of Aquarion OVA, premiered on May 25, 2007. The television series is licensed in North America by Funimation. On February 14, 2006, it aired on MTV Italia.
Twelve thousand years in the past, mankind was at mercy of the mythical creatures known as Shadow Angels (堕天翅 Datenshi?), immortal winged beings with overwhelming powers and technology. That is, until one of their kind, Apollonius, fell in love with a female human warrior, Seliane. Apollonius joins forces with the humans to free them from their oppression, by using the legendary giant fighting robot Aquarion (アクエリオン Akuerion?).
Eleven years prior to the story, in a disaster referred to as the "Great Catastrophe" the Earth's magnetic field shifted devastating significant parts of the world and killed off many of its inhabitants. Along with the disaster came the return of the Shadow Angels who have been in slumber in their city of Atlantia (アトランディア Atorandia?) since their battle with Apolonius. The Shadow Angels began invading human cites on Earth to harvest human beings, dubbing them as "the wingless ones", like cattle, to extract the prana (プラーナ purāna?, life force) from the harvested humans not only to serve energy and nutrition to them, but also to feed the legendary Tree of Life (生命の樹 Seimei no Ki?). The Shadow Angels facilitate their harvesting via giant, floating harvesting machines called harvest beasts (収穫獣 shūkakujū?) which are guarded by giant mecha called Cherubim Soldiers (ケルビム兵 Kerubimu Hei?). They are sentient machines, yet there are times when they are piloted by Shadow Angels.
Ordinary weapons prove ineffective against the Cherubim, with limited protection coming only from rings of projectors built around the remaining cities which tap into the Earths strata to project a quantum shield which limits the Shadow Angels ability to enter or materialise within. However a human expedition under the leadership of Gen Fudo eventually excavates three very technologically advanced fighter planes, and an organization called DEAVA (ディーバ Dība?, Division of EArth Vitalization Advancement) takes over the research of these machines, called Vectors (ベクター Bekutā?), trying to identify how to use them. The three Vectors are shown to be colored mostly in white and are identified as the green Vector Luna (ベクタールナ Bekutā Runa?), the blue Vector Mars (ベクターマーズ Bekutā Māzu?), and the red Vector Sol (ベクターソル Bekutā Soru?). DEAVA discovers only people with special powers called Elements (エレメント Eremento?) can control the Vectors and the three vectors are in fact the pieces of Aquarion, the same robot used to fight the Shadow Angels twelve millennia before. They also discover the Elements can ultimately unite the vectors into one of three formations of the giant robot in battle, and can use it to fight and defeat the Cherubim.
During the Elements' first sortie against the Cherubim by uniting the Vectors into a formation of Aquarion, they stumble on 13-year-old Apollo, who seems to be the reincarnation of Apollonius. They become convinced of this when he single-handedly takes control of the Vector Sol, unites the Vectors into the Solar Aquarion formation and defeats the enemy, thus causing him to be recruited by DEAVA to join their ranks.
In the process of Unification, each Vector is able to transform into a head section (a chest with a head and arms), a back section (a back with a set of wings) or a leg section (a pair of legs). Thus, when the Vectors combine to form the humanoid robot Aquarion, they make a leg/back/head formation with the head being the leading section. The Vector that makes the head ultimately identifies the form of Aquarion the vectors make as well. The Unification, the process of "merging", also combines the souls of the Elements to some degree, as each supplies one of the supposed three aspects of their soul into one when Aquarion is formed. During Unification, the Elements experience an influx of power and energy, which in classic Japanese fan-service style is shown to be a feeling of wondrous power for the men, while for the women it is blatantly orgasmic in nature. In all three forms, Aquarion weighs 88 tons.
- Solar Aquarion (ソーラーアクエリオン Sōrā Akuerion?): 48 meters tall. Corresponds to Vector Sol as the head, Vector Luna as the back, and Vector Mars as the legs. This is the most balanced of the three basic Aquarion forms as well as the true form of Aquarion, with its specialty in melee combat. It is the only form that can manifest the "Solar Wings" (ソーラーウィング Sōrā Wingu?) on its back. Later in the series, the Elements develop the Solar Aquarion's signature "Infinity Punch" (無限拳 Mugen Panchi?), an attack extending the arm indefinitely in order to reach even the most agile enemy; to elaborate, the Infinity Punch can reach distances that extends to the surface of the moon. The Solar Aquarion is almost always used by Apollo. With both Apollo and Pierre in control, Solar Aquarion can perform the "Fire Fist" (ファイアーフィスト Faiā Fisuto?) technique. In the events of Aquation LOVE, the Solar Aquarion shows the ability to transform into a beast-like form during its fight with Aquarion EVOL.
- Aquarion Mars (アクエリオンマーズ Akuerion Māzu?): 51.1 meters tall. Corresponds to Vector Mars as the head, Vector Sol as the back, and Vector Luna as the legs. It does have a set of wings on its back, but it cannot manifest or de-manifest them. This is the fastest of the Aquarion forms. It is Sirius de Alisia's favorite because it can wield a sword, enabling it to perform the "Long Range Saber" (ロングレンジセイバー Rongu Renji Seibā?) and the "Jealous Sword" (嫉妬変性剣（ゼーロテュピアーグラディウス） Zērotyupiā Guradiusu?, ζηλοτυπία, Zēlotupia Greek for jealous; Gladius, Latin for sword) techniques and due to its long legs and speed, it is perfect for Pierre Vieira's "Fire Kick" (烈火爆裂蹴（ファイヤーキック） Faiyā Kikku?) technique.
- Aquarion Luna (アクエリオンルナ Akuerion Runa?): 46.2 meters tall. Corresponds to Vector Luna as the head, Vector Mars as the back, and Vector Sol as the legs. It specializes in ranged combat, with the ability to wield a bow and arrows, or as another form to partake in melee situations, given the Aquarion Luna's agile movement and reflexes. It too can manifest a set of wings on its back. It is mostly used by Silvia de Alisia, enabling it to use the "Lunatic Archery" (ルナティックアーチェリー Runatikku Ācherī?) and "Spiral Arrow" (スパイラルアロー Supairaru Arō?) techniques, and Hong Lihua, enabling it to use the "Dragon Thunder" (昇竜天雷（ドラゴンサンダー） Doragon Sandā?) technique.
Powers and Abilities
- Elements: All elements have at least one special power that can be amplificated while piloting Aquarion. Sometimes these increased powers can enable them to create and use "sub-powers" besides their main power, like to make devastating lighting powered spin-kicks or create and use throwing weapon disks.
- Aquarion: All three Aquarion forms are capable of using the powers and/or abilities that the elements piloting it have separately or in any combination, as well as combining them with the main powers of the form Aquarion is in at the time (Infinity Punch, bow and arrows or sword) and using the main powers in special ways, such as designating them with unique names or using them in unique ways. The elements piloting it can combine their status, such as strength, speed, targeting, mental strength and willpower in any way as well, and enable Aquarion to use it as its own in battle. Gen Fudou also trains the elements routinely on how use their powers to unlock and wield other powers that Aquarion itself has, such as how to firmly attach Aquarion to the ground so it cannot be moved or make Aquarion's body grow. Sometimes the Elements can even combine their emotions with Aquarion's energies to make new powers, like when Lihua turned her fear of her bad luck into unlucky-like energy to defeat the legend monster or when Pierre turned his determination to save his family into fire-like strength to defeat Kumba and Nikumba.
The following are other forms the Aquarion can take, but only appear in specific situations:
- Aquarion Soluna (アクエリオンソルナ Akuerion Soruna?): After the Solar Aquarion's arms are destroyed and separated, Lihua, Tsugumi Rosenmeier and Pierre united to form this Aquarion. Essentially the Solar Aquarion, it uses the Vector Luna as the head, but flipped forward, becoming the torso on top of the Vector Sol, making a leg/stomach/head formation. It is assumed this is the tallest of Aquarion's forms due to its configuration.
- Aquarion Angel (アクエリオンエンジェル Akuerion Enjeru?): When the Vector Mars was absent, Apollo, Tsugumi, Lihua and even Silvia united to form an Aquarion out of the Vector Sol, Vector Luna and a Military Vector Omega, respectively, with the Vector Omega taking the position of head, the Vector Sol as the back, and the Vector Luna as the legs. It is assumed this form retains all of the Aquarion Mars' abilities, even with the lack of the Vector Mars' presence in the combination.
- Solar Aquarion 2: Another Aquarion form with the Military Vector Omega. It consisted of the Vector Sol as the head, the Vector Luna as the back and the Vector Omega as the legs, It was piloted by Apollo, Lihua, and Pierre.
Assault Type Aquarion
The Assault Type Aquarion (強攻型アクエリオン Kyōkōgata Akuerion?) is a copy of the original Aquarion, constructed in a joint operation between DEAVA and the New United Nations using Shadow Angel DNA collected by force. It follows the same basic architecture of the original with a couple of physical differences and uses massive versions of conventional weaponry of cannons, rockets and machine guns as opposed to the original's more traditional weapons of bow and arrows, sword and Infinity Punch. Because of the size of its weapons, it is capable of fighting and defeating the Cherubim. This Aquarion is normally piloted by one Shadow Angel DNA-infused mentally reprogrammed element or even a normal human being, while the other two corresponding Vectors are AI-controlled. It can configure into six different forms and is composed of three Vectors that are colored mostly in gray/black and look very much like the originals. The Vectors are a red Vector named Alpha, a green Vector named Delta, and a blue Vector named Omega, which corresponds to the Vector Sol, Vector Luna and the Vector Mars, respectively. These Vectors are compatible with normal elements and the original Aquarion Vectors and they are mass-produced by the New United Nations.
- Aquarion Alpha (アクエリオンアルファ Akuerion Arufa?): Corresponds to Vector Alpha as the head, Vector Delta as the back, and Vector Omega as the legs. It is the equivalent of the Solar Aquarion. It uses an enormous PSG Cannon on its right arm as its primary weapon and like the Solar Aquarion, it can deploy the "Solar Wings" on its back, but does not have the mystical effect of the original. Oddly enough, its head is shaped like the Aquarion Luna's and has a visor over its eyes. This configuration can transform into the Walker Formation without the need to separate the Vectors and reuniting.
- Aquarion Delta (アクエリオンデルタ Akuerion Deruta?): Corresponds with Vector Delta as the head, Vector Omega as the back, and Vector Alpha as the legs. It is the equivalent of the Aquarion Luna. Taking a similarity to the Aquarion Luna's bow, the Aquarion Delta specializes in long-range combat through a complement of rockets that fire from its own customized bow and can also utilize the Aquarion Omega's machine guns, mounted on the same part as the rockets.
- Aquarion Omega (アクエリオンオメガ Akuerion Omega?): Corresponds with Vector Omega as the head, Vector Alpha as the back, and Vector Delta as the legs. It is the equivalent of the Aquarion Mars. Using a pair of machine guns, this form is only featured once and can transform into the Armageddon Formation without the need to separate the Vectors and reuniting.
- Armageddon Formation (アーマゲドン形態 Āmagedon Hentai?): A formation where the three Vectors combine into a 6-legged walker with the Aquarion Alpha's PSG cannon mounted on top, similar to a tank. This formation exists due to the PSG Cannon being able to fire at its maximum capabilities with a stable footing. This form can transform immediately into Aquarion Omega without separating and reuniting.
- Assault Walker Formation (アサルトウォーカー形態 Asaruto Wōkā Hentai?): A vehicle formation used for speed, it appears as a jet-like machine with two legs. This form can transform into Aquarion Alpha without separating and reuniting. Its appearance closely resembles the GERWALK mode of the VF-1 Valkyrie from Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, another anime written and directed by Shoji Kawamori.
- Aquarion Beast Form: In the Aquarion movie, when Lihua gets mad and could not understand why Apollo was helping Silvia (who everyone thought was Scorpus, the person who killed Apollonius) Aquarion Omega transforms into a rampant beast form. The form appears similar to Seismosaurus from Zoids Fuzors and fired the PSG Cannon from its tail.
Shadow Angel Mecha and Monsters
- Cherubim Mars (ケルビム・マーズ Kerubimu Māzu?): After allying with the Shadow Angels and taking the Vector Mars with him, Sirius uses a Cherubim Soldier in place of the other two Vectors. The Cherubim Mars acts the same as the Aquarion Mars, but if its Cherubim Soldier body is destroyed, another Cherubim can take its place.
- Antichthon (アンティクトン Antikuton?): A three dimensional polygon that brings out the inner hatred and/or jealousy of those that see into it long enough.
- Black Rena (ブラックリーナ Burakku Rīna?): A harvest beast with the ability to make itself look and act like what the people facing it fear most. Because the elements were afraid of Rena at the time, it took on a Vampire Rena form and acted like a vampire to drain prana.
- Cherubim Blumeblatt (ケルビム・ブルーメンブラット Kerubimu Burūmenburatto?): Miniature versions of regular cherubim soldiers that act as anti-military forces. Although they lack legs they are highly maneuverable users of levitation and are armed with pulse lasers from the head and sometimes the hands. They are very important for the Shadow Angel invasions of human cities to harvest human beings, as they are what broadcast the Shadow Angel's "Hypno song", which hypnotizes normal unprotected humans and makes them sitting ducks for the harvest beasts to collect.
- Graave Cherubim (グラーヴェ・ケルビム Gurāve Kerubimu?): A special cherubim with immensely thick armor that can stand up to most assaults with very little damage. It can fire Pulse beams from its large head and the hands and it can also use its drill-like gloves for melee combat as well as launch them.
- Cherubim Iskuron (ケルビム・イスキューロン Kerubimu Isukyūron?): A colorful custom cherubim used by (and resembles) Mohora capable of bisecting. Its pulse beams are green instead of blue and aside from being normally fired from the head and club-like claws can also be used as daggers in melee. Other powers include an energy beam from the chest and teleportation.
- Cherubim Lune (ケルビム・リュンヌ Kerubimu Ryunnu?): A special cherubim that was infused with "the moon's ability to be not too near yet not too far". It can dodge nearly any attack and can produce black/purple electric balls from its hands. It can also quickly recover from normal attacks.
- Cherubim Soldier (ケルビム兵 Kerubimu Hei?): Standard mecha used by the Shadow Angels capable of flying very fast and firing a verity of blue pulse lasers and sometimes even missiles from their head and palms. The only notable versions are Toma's revived one capable of spinning fast enough to produce tornadoes in episode 2 and the soldier armed with the gravity staff from episode 4.
- Cherubim Sur le Kubera (ケルビム・シュルルクベラ Kerubimu Shururukubera?): A customized cherubim used by Toma and later Otoha armed with a pair of swords and pulse lasers from the palms designed for impalement like spears.
- Cherubim Verizeva (ケルビム・ヴェルルゼバ Kerubimu Veruruzeba?): A black cherubim soldier made and used by Toma in two of the last episodes in the series. It is armed with a pair of rapiers and pulse lasers from the palms designed for impalement like spears and has great speed and agility.
- Harvest Beast (収穫獣 Shūkakujū?): Standard Hammerhead shark-like vessels used to collect humans for Shadow Angels. They possess no offensive capabilities.
- Kumba and Nikumba (クンバ&ニクンバ Kunba to Nikunba?): A pair of cherubim that share a core and can exchange it between each other; the one without the core becomes indestructible and by exchanging it with the other when the one with the core is struck down, they are almost unstoppable. They look like a fiesta-like mix of the Cheribum Iskuron and the Graave Cheribum, except they have yellow-and-black coloring.
- Legend Monster (神話獣 Shinwajū?): An ancient water-like harvest beast that remained dormant in a lake. A plant-like one was hidden in a building in Apollo's former hometown.
- Mirror Aquarion (ミラーアクエリオン Mirā Akuerion?): A fake version of Aquarion made from three fake versions of the Aquarion Vectors that possesses all the regular abilities except expansion of the body.
- Reality Tower: A massive tower that can manipulate the reality around it thanks to dimensional distortion by Futaba.
- Dragon Monster: A living dragon-like monster, presumably some kind of bio-weapon.
- Mongie (モンジ Monji?): Tiny harvests beasts used to consume all the food consumed by humans with a great resemblance to the kaiju Dogora.
- Titania (ティターニア Titānia?): A dream manipulator harvest beast from the Moon that exists in the dream world and entraps people in their nightmares.
- Xibalba (シバルバー Shibarubā?): A cherubim-like digging machine that is essentially a giant mechanical worm with large clawed hands and a massive mouth that are used for burrowing through the ground quickly and can fire pulse lasers and missiles from the back of its hands.
Age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius, also known as the Aquarian Age, was a concept popularized by Carl Gustav Jung. The Age of Aquarius was seen in contraposition with current the Age of Pisces: whereas the Age of Pisces represents duality and antithesis (thus, conflict), the Age of Aquarius is an age of synthesis and spiritualism (in some ways, a new golden age). In the New Age, because of the implications of love, comprehension and one-ness, it can be associated with the fourth chakra. Aquarion as a name is a reference to this concept, but the show digs deeper in symbolism in using the Aquarion as an instrument for a "new era of holy genesis", managing to resolve conflict between the opposing parties of humans and Shadow Angels and showing a not-so-metaphorical process of oneness with the Earth.
Yoga Aquarion's main theme references Indian lore. The word yoga is translated as "unite" and means "union with the divine through the integration of body, mind and spirit" (in Japanese, the word "kokoro" refers to both heart or mind, but is more often translated as just the heart). During Unification, the Elements merge their bodies, minds and spirits, but a real Unification of the Aquarion can only be obtained with a Shadow Angel on board, fitting the scheme of the divine element necessary into order to achieve true Unification and completing Aquarion's power.
Prapti and the Infinity Punch Yogis are said to develop special powers called siddhis. One of them is called prapti (acquisition) and with this siddhi, the perfect mystic yogi can not only touch the moon, but he can extend his hand anywhere and take whatever he likes. In the series, the Solar Aquarion's Infinity Punch manages to reach the moon, although the real prapti should not involve greatly elongated arms, but rather the ability to cancel distances between objects (resulting in the idea of omnipresence). In this sense, the real prapti in the show is perhaps used by Gen Fudo, who makes things appear out of nothing from his hand. It is worth noting another siddhi called Mahima is the ability to become incredibly big; this may be referenced to the Aquarion's ability to expand itself in size during particular battles with the Cherubim.
Apollonius The character Apollonius is a passing nod to Greek mythology. Seemingly inspired by Apollo, the Greek god of light and Prometheus, who gave fire to humans and was punished by Zeus by having an eagle feast on his liver. Similarly, Apollonius is a Shadow Angel who seems to have light-like powers and gives the humans a fighting chance against the Shadow Angels with the Aquarion, but loses his wings as punishment from the other Shadow Angels. Like Apollonius of Tyana, Aquarion's Apollonius dies and is believed to be reincarnated as the protagonist Apollo, while the Greek god Apollo is stated to have been born in the bank of a lake, Aquarion's Apollo is given his name after he swims in a lake.
The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life Atlandia's Tree of Life took on two roles throughout the series. It is basically a large pile of multicolored flowers. The arrangement of the flowers at the end of the top central flowering portion can be easily seen forming the ten interconnecting nodes of the Sephirot from Hebrew Bible/Christianity, only that the flower at the top middle center of this arrangement, the spot that is supposed to symbolize the unity of the nodes, is absent. The tree's first role was made by the Shadow Angels to use it to restart the Shadow Angel race. The second role was its original role and was a similar function to its name, it literally contained the entire planet's life force. Because of this, if that force was unleashed as a power such as to give birth to a race of species, the planet would become lifeless and the tree would die, causing its remains to fall to the Earth's core and make the planet fall apart. This was something the Shadow Angels, who had possession of and took care of the tree, oddly did not know.
- Opening songs
- "Genesis of Aquarion" (創聖のアクエリオン Sousei no Aquarion?) by Akino (Episodes 1-17)
- "Go Tight!" by Akino (Episode 18-26)
- Ending songs
- "Omna Magni" (オムナ マグニ?, "I Can Fly") by Yui Makino
- "Kōya no Heath" (荒野のヒース?, "The Heath of the Wasteland") by Akino
- "Celiane" by Gabriela Robin
- Other themes
- "Nike 15-sai" (ニケ15歳 Nike Jūgo-sai?, "Fifteen-Year-Old Nike") by Akino
- "Genesis of Aquarion" by Akino (English lyrics by Bless4)
- Genesis of Aquarion made its video game debut in the Sony PlayStation 2 game Super Robot Wars Z. It has also appeared in the PlayStation 3 game Another Century's Episode R and the PSP game 2nd Super Robot Wars Z (both parts).
In The United States of America, Genesis of Aquarion has been praised for its excellent mecha designs, musical score and animation style. The story, however, has mixed reviews. AnimeonDVD, and Anime News Network has rated the series overall a C+, claiming that Aquarion tries to please everyone with the different elements that are reminiscent of other series, and fails to establish its own identity.
- Sousei no Aquarion Official Site (Japanese)
- FUNimation's Official Aquarion website
- Sousei no Aquarion (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia