I’ve been going through phases regarding this episode ever since it aired (I watch live before translating). I might reach another one after I’ve slept, like last week.
First I liked it because shit was actually happening. Then I hated it because all the shit that happened was awful. Now I’m just sort of numb.
See, I thought that Aquarion not engaging me was because it made the curious decision to have long stretches of people (ZEN) expositing about things I don’t care about like reincarnation drama, and people (Amata) yelling about their feelings. It’s too late in the game to go back to Fun Bro Times, even though they were the best parts of the show, but can we at least get the ball rolling?
Well, the ball rolled, and I was wrong, because it rolled straight through the land of Awful Melodrama and when it stopped rolling I couldn’t feel anymore.
There are a few issues at play in this episode, and some of them are issues that have been plaguing the writing since around episode 15. I’m pegging it at the Special Training of the Grave, which is when the balance of the show started moving towards more drama and less personality, as exemplified by Zessica Wong turning into a worthless crybaby from a brilliant ace all at once.
By the way, neither Mikono nor Zessica did a single goddamn thing of note, and I’m trying to decide if I appreciate that or not.
Because there was a lot of action for the first time in a while, the show was straightforward for once, which means I have less to elaborate on, which is probably why I’m writing all this.
Izumo and Alicia
So I’ve been following various reactions, and they’re, well, something. Everyone hates these two. It’s really breathtaking. Kawamori seemed to want to play them as In True Love, not to mention that final scene as motivation for Amata, but the actual judgement is that they’re terrible parents who abandoned their kid because they’re selfish assholes and then had the nerve to dump their responsibilities on him with their last breath.
Either Shoji Kawamori is completely incompetent or a perfect genius at predicting audience reactions!
The absolute best part is when Amata goes from “I hate you mom why did you abandon me” to “I understand completely, you are a saint” because she basically said she cared about Izumo’s issues more than her kid.
But wait! Speaking of those issues, we haven’t even gotten to the punchline yet.
Izumo and Ianthe
This twist is straight out of some Outer Limits shit. Izumo’s entire arc as portrayed in this episode is melodrama of the cheesiest kind, and this bit of manufactured irony is frosting on the cake (I may be hungry). Come on, you guys! Izumo was a damn good villain who didn’t deserve to play second fiddle to the likes of the all-powerful, laughing mad Mikage. Turning the coda on his entire fight into this shaggy dog story is kicking him while he’s down, and kicking Amata in the bargain (because all his mommy trauma was retroactively over this).
Oh, I forgot this:
Andy and Mixy
I went through phases regarding these two, too. Remember when I got super mad (twice!) about how all the characters I used to like in the first half are now pod drones defined by their powers and single-minded devotion to their designated loves? Well, at first, I thought Andy was better. Then I realized that he was only a little better, because he’s still consumed by Being Mix’s Love Interest, but he’s allowed to be his loud, hole-loving self about it. It does help.
On the other hand, the conclusion at this point is strictly a matter of whether or not Mixy will get his big bangs back in addition to having his memories restored by the power of love and getting with Andy and being cute newlyweds again. Since the story’s end is effectively written, and Mixy’s presence isn’t doing much for the actual story (the one about an airhead and her dogs), I have no idea what the point is drawing it out for four episodes.
Mikono and Everyone
Much like how I was mad about Izumo’s shit, but then decided to accept it as the overblown drama it was and not worry about it, I’ve decided to stop worrying about Mikono and realize she’s just a catalyst for the show. After about three episodes of establishing that Amata likes her, okay, the show just ran out of things for her to do. I’m not the first person to observe this, but Mikono doesn’t do anything on her own, so Amata’s constant pining and fretting over her is kind of comical.
For a while, she was a base for an episodely hijinks-drama where Amata would do something, she’d be mad, and then he’d figure something out as a result. After the Big Suckification, she became something for Amata to worry about and a reason for Kagura to antagonize. Then she went on her journey, which served only to enable exposition, and when that ended she went back to being a prize for the two Amatas to fight for. As an entity, she could be cleanly replaced by a flower, a slice of cake, or anything shiny.
This has nothing to do with episode 24, which is exactly the point. Mikono sat mutely inside Legendary while drama erupted all around her.
She still doesn’t deserve a screenshot.
I might as well end this on things that happened which I actually liked.
I hope this was meant to go into a Super Robot Wars game, because it’s the MAP attack Aquarion needs (and not a little reminiscent of Wing Gundam Zero’s Rolling Buster Rifle, which I have to assume was deliberate).
Have more of the Altair Cannon, too, because it was great. I especially liked how Izumo incanted it – not by yelling, but calmly, like a stone cold motherfucker. What? He’s a shitty father (who didn’t even know his son’s name!), but I still respect what he managed to do as an antagonist. If the show were actually about him, instead of Mikage visiting pain on everyone with a twitch of his omnipotent finger, I think it could have been a really solid super robot show.
Finale’s in two weeks. Enjoy. Or don’t, whatever. I’ll be here, no matter how jaded and bitter I get, until the very end.