Have I mentioned that I’m not a fan of mixing CG models into my 2D animation? Nine times out of ten, it jerks you right out of your cozy viewing experience and smashes whatever sense of artful suspension of disbelief the animators worked so hard to create for you. I guess there are probably dozens of cases of this which I don’t notice because they’re so seamlessly integrated - - but this wasn’t one of them. The mecha in this show stuck out like a loose screw hanging out of a socket joint.
Oddly enough, this show reminded me of two hard science fiction novels which the creators have probably never heard of. The first is Octavia Butler’s XENOGENESIS, which centered largely on an alien species with three sexes. My dirty mind couldn’t but think of that during the parts where the trio of ships put a rather suggestive spin on the usual "combining process" we’ve seen in countless mecha and super sentai shows. I mean c’mon… their reaction’s during that process went well above the typical anime gasp. I suppose the chakras on some characters' outfits should've clued me on this, because I feel like erogenous zones are going to become more important as this show gets along.
The other book is Isaac Asimov’s NIGHTFALL, which posits a world where the stars only appear once every thousand years. The plot involved some Byzantine conspiracy, of course (as Asimov’s work tends to,) but the premise stands as a useful rhetorical analogy for how quickly we can get jaded to spectacle and wonder in our art and entertainment. I bring it up here because, even though AQUARION had some brilliant set pieces and lushly detailed animation (in between the parts that weren’t blocky CG models,) it all really just slid off my brain as soon as I was done watching it. I was going to comment about how helpful it was for this show to actually explain its complex world, for once, with an extended montage with narration…. but I can’t even remember what that intro said, now.
AQUARION’s got some impressive flash, but it’s a so-so story. I’ve dropped it into my “maybe” pile. Go on and vote in the poll if you want me to watch it, though. We're almost out of time.
Watch this episode, "Memories of Heavenly Wings” below and decide for yourself.