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The Summer 2015 Anime Preview Guide
Aquarion Logos

How would you rate episode 1 of
Aquarion Logos ?
Community score: 2.7

Rebecca Silverman

Rating (EVOL special ep): 3.5
            (Logos): 3

The first thing you need to know when you see the fifty minute runtime on this show is that it's actually a combination of two episodes: an “episode 0” for Aquarion Evol, the previous series in the franchise, and the first episode of Aquarion Logos, the newest. While ostensibly you could jump in at Logos (around the thirty minute mark), the first part will make exactly zero sense if you haven't seen EVOL.

If you are familiar with it, however, this is a pretty great little bit of what feels like authorized fanfiction. Basically what it's trying to do is to take the sting out of what was one of my least favorite parts of EVOL, Jin's death. It does this through a convoluted series of time warps, which lands not only the heroes of EVOL but also those of the first Aquarion in a time-out-of-time, along with two kids from Japan of 1966, Shin and Yuno. As you may have guessed from the subtle naming scheme, these are the past incarnations of Jin and Yunoha, and the end goal of the episode is to show us that the two have clearly met before and had a happy ending, so even if it didn't work in EVOL, they will have another chance. It's bittersweet and really didn't need the other characters, although it's always nice to see them again. The main complaint I have is that there is so much bloom (since most of it is spent in an otherworld and/or inside the vessels) that at times it gets too bright to really make out any of the details. (On the plus side, one of my seventeen-year-old cats thought all the shooting lights and auras were awesome, so there's that.) This episode is 100% doughnut-free, although it substitutes some very heavy-handed tadpole symbolism for EVOL's doughnut fetish, which was really not needed; the biggest weakness of this episode is that it tries to cram almost everything that made EVOL what it was (awkward moaning, overdone symbolism, the Power of Love, reincarnation, etc) into half an hour, when really they would have been just fine giving us the Shin/Yuno story. Despite that, it is fun.

Thus far this little journey to the past has pretty much nothing to do with Aquarion Logos, which has its own goofy premise. In this iteration of the franchise storyline, words have power. Not just in the sense that they can hurt your feelings, but more in that kanji specifically has a special, physical power because of its pictograph nature. Since each character has a visual correlation to the word it represents, it can at times go rogue and take on a bestial nature, attacking people with its physical manifestation. It's kind of a neat concept, but one I think probably works better if you're fully literate in kanji or perhaps Chinese. Naturally DEAVA is prepared for this with a secret base under a café and a group of teens and young professionals ready to take off to fight the word monsters. What they don't count on is Akira, a self-proclaimed savior with an annoying habit of making it look like he's holding the sun in his fist. He's of course a natural at piloting and word manipulation and he makes sure to “gattai” with a girl first, so we get our requisite sex metaphor as well.

I was less impressed with this half of the fifty minutes. Although I appreciate the new angle the franchise seems to be taking with the use of kanji, the show was so eager to jump into action that we barely got to meet the characters and understand the threat, much less how widespread it is. Akira is really quite obnoxious, and the girl who looks to be the primary heroine seems to speak only in a whispered stutter, which gets grating. The monster Akira takes down was also underwhelming: a big mass of scrolls that writhes and only can speak the word “maki” (roll) like some of the youkai in the classic Sailor Moon TV series. The visuals are easier on the eyes than in the first half, which is good, and it contains the franchise's trademark cheesiness, with a particular highlight being the naked (and sexless) bodies of Akira and Maiya forming a heart when they first combine.

LOGOS is going to have to a lot of pulling together – and toning down of Akira – if it wants to hold my interest, but it does have its moments and the concept is interesting. That's what it mostly has going for it right now, the use of words as monsters. That's unique and could be symbolically interesting...if I trusted a show with Aquarion in the title not to get overexcited and take it too far. C'mon, Aquarion Logos. Prove that you can do it.

Aquarion Logos is available streaming at Funimation.com.

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