Genesis of Aquarion is a mecha romance written and directed by Shoji Kawamori; the man whom conceptualized Macross, Vision of Escaflowne, AKB0048, and most recently Nobunaga the Fool. It's heavily based in mythology and follows the lives of the Aquarion pilots in defending the world.
Shoji Kawamori, for the uninitiated, is a very famous director for his insistence on always codifying "This is your Premise on Drugs". Macross was a mecha show... WITH MUSIC SAVING THE WORLD! Escaflowne was a shoujo romance... WITH MEDIEVAL MECHS! AKB0048 was an idol show... WITH INTERPLANETARY MECHA DIPLOMACY! Nobunaga the Fool was a Sengoku period piece set around Oda Nobunaga... WITH CRAZY MYTHOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL ANACHRONISMS.
The pattern here is that he loves crazy with a helping of mecha, and I'm almost always sold on his nutter ideas.
In addition he's a prolific designer of mechs across the industry, including the Nirvash from Eureka Seven, and many of the mecha in his own shows.
Full disclosure, I watched this show back in the day when it was new. Back then, the animation in this show wasn't exactly pretty, but it was very groundbreaking. If anything this show was one giant proof-of-concept by Satelight (still around and kicking today) for their CGI tools and models. It's excellent in the fights and in the transformations.
That aside, this is a Shoji Kawamori show. One thing you should expect from him is that everything he puts out will be deliciously crazy and absolutely over-the-top. From totally absurd super-punches by the mecha to bonkers references to Greek mythology, the show makes no excuses beyond just going "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?"
But seriously, it's pretty over-the-top and it's pretty fun for that reason. Perhaps "fun" is the wrong word, but that's what I got from it.
All things considered, while the plot is borderline impossible to understand, it's very well done. Shoji Kawamori has made a career on big, giant battles revolving around some kind of romance. In Macross it was a love triangle. In Escaflowne it was a reality-spanning romance.
This show is no different, as it's a big mythological reincarnation romance, that happens to have a love polygon, with mecha.
While the show's animation was good for its time, it has aged pretty badly. The CGI doesn't measure up anymore by a large margin. It's not very pretty or groundbreaking anymore.
But, aesthetics aside, this is a niche show. It's weird, it's crazy, and damn it you'll never understand some of what's going on. There's a lot of space magic happening and things tend to go unexplained. It's not very upfront and that'll end up killing it for many people.
I'll not mince words, this is a niche show. It's weird and it makes no excuses for itself. That said, it's a really well done show all around if you try to not think about it too much. The animation holds up okay, but it's generally outshined by most shows today. The romance was pretty well done and it is an all around solid execution. I won't recommend this for everyone, but if you were a fan of Escaflowne, RahXephon, or any other odd romance mecha shows, this one is an easy pick.
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.