RogerBW's Blog

Aquarion Logos 13 June 2016

2015 science fiction, 26 episodes: AniDB. Mecha pilots fight against the corruption of words.

Yeah. The corruption of words. And that's what elevates this above the commonplace. But first I should mention that this is a third suck at the sav for the Aquarion franchise, after Sousei no Aquarion and Aquarion EVOL; it's only very loosely related, though. Yes, there are still combining mecha (airborne individually, humanoid in combination) with various possible configurations, and the act of joining seems to be at least mildly sexual for the pilots, but that's just about it; certainly the new viewer won't be lost by starting here, and in fact I'd rather recommend doing so. This show is set on a recognisable modern world, where the secret organisation Deava fights against word corruption.

And that's the key point. When a word (or rather a kanji) is corrupted, the entire concept becomes corrupted. When that word is "Love", people suddenly start to hate each other; when it's "Summer", there's a sudden blizzard; when it's "Shadow", there's not only darkness but despair. These corruptions are known as MJBK, with the contrived initialism of "Menace of Japanese with Biological Kinetic energy"… but surely it's no coincidence that this sounds like mojibake, literally "character transformation".

The initial plot has a Bad Guy setting up these corruptions for reasons that are unclear; but it then digs back into imagined ancient history and the lost Golden Age, and an attempt to destroy civilisation and bring on what may be the inevitable next stage of humanity. Principals and enemies come and go too, and Deava also acts as a theatre group (because the power of "Verbalism" is how all these mecha are made to work). I don't think I'm reading too much into the story if I see deliberate parody of trops of mecha shows: the five man band including a subverted Big Guy, for example, plus the mascot who's actually a potential child star, shoved into all this by her domineering mother.

As a mecha show, this isn't all that great, certainly not as much wacky fun as the previous two incarnations. As a show that tries to go a bit beyond that template, I rather enjoyed it. Recommended if you have my strange tastes.

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