Aquarion EVOL is the sorta-sequel, sorta-reboot to Genesis of Aquarion. It's set in the future, so long that the events of the first series are a myth in this world. The show is designed to be more normal and appeal to a wider audience than the first show, and it surprisingly works.
Aquarion EVOL is written by Mari Okada to channel the same spirit of the original show while vastly simplifying the conflict and romance elements for a wider audience. It follows the lives of the primary love triangle (although it's more of a love polygon when you include the super-yandere): Amata, Mikono, and Zessica, with several supporting characters getting their fair share of screen time, as they join Neo-DEAVA, an organization dedicated to protecting the planet Vega from inter-dimensional attacks by "abductors".
They went out to make Genesis of Aquarion, a show unabashedly about the power of love, more accessible to a wider audience and they succeeded. This show is far easier to recommend than Genesis was. The plot simplified, the tropes are a bit more straightforward, and it's less based in the mythology.
The writing brought a particularly quirky (and kinda endearing) bit of humor to this show. For example, Amata's elemental power is flight, and the power is activated by him being aroused. This is definitely odd, but it leads to some particularly amusing situations where he literally has to hold on to something so he won't fly off. The whole religious subplot surrounding Neo-DEAVA is ripe with chuckle-worthy bits as well.
It's worth mentioning that I liked this opening more than Genesis', and it does a very good job of conveying the whole cast and the art style.
All around, Aquarion EVOL is most certainly a very solid romance show that happens to have mecha. It also manages to keep to its roots of being a reincarnation romance and still pull it off very well. The only downside I can see is that it's a bit on the cliche side due to the wider audience. Still, it's a very solid show that does a few things differently (let's just say there's closure).
Among other things, something that strikes me about EVOL is just how much the visuals improved. Satelight took all their lessons in CGI and applied them to EVOL to impressive effect, resulting in one of the most consistent and crisp art styles I've seen to date. The style is good, the characters are well done, and all around it's a very well animated show, especially compared to Genesis of Aquarion.
The downside is that this really is just Genesis of Aquarion all over again for a wider audience. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since they're done differently in many ways, but if you've seen Genesis, you pretty much know how this is all going to play out. The conflict source is different, but the resolution is very similar.
As I mentioned before in the "great", it's a very basic romance that doesn't throw many curveballs. This is not the sort of show that you watch when you're looking for something completely different.
One jarring thing about EVOL is that there's a clear retcon in the history and in the identity of one of the reincarnations. It isn't that bad really, but some have found it to undercut the first show a bit.
This show is Genesis of Aquarion for a wider audience, there's no disputing that. Even so, it's a respectable show in its own right with its big over-the-top action and unabashedly straightforward roots as a romance anime. It has its flaws with its overt simplicity, but it's still a charming show that never loses sight of its objective: entertain you with crazy antics, hit you with romance drama, and harp on the power of love.
It's a pretty good show all things considered and it's one of my favorite mecha shows from Kawamori, alongside Macross. Don't go in expecting much, but do expect to be entertained if you're into this sort of thing.
P.S. EVOL... get it? Get it?
This is part of Anime Marathon 2014, a continuation of Anime Marathon 2013 by popular demand. I'm on a mission to review every anime I can for the TAY community and anyone else that wants to read. I can never guarantee when these reviews will be posted, but I'll do my best to keep it consistent.