March 20th, 2006

slotmachine

Nixie clock...

Well, so much for that plan. After overcoming the usual last-minute setbacks, we finally had it all together. But when I ran my test-program, it turned out that more than one number is glowing.
Obviously, we're doing something wrong, but I can't discover what. Usually one can wrangle an answer out of various web-fora, but that takes more time than we have right now.
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Finished series: Sousei no Aquarion

We've finished watching Sosei no Aquarion. My first episode review is here.

Apparently, humans possess some sort of power, prana, which the winged beings from Atlantis (which seems to be situated in a different dimension), to feed their 'tree of life'. 12.000 years, the Atlantean Apollonius fell in love with a human woman, and he defeated his fellows and sealed Atlantis away. But now, with the icecaps molten, Atlantis has once again access to the rest of the world -- they send their 'mythical beasts' off to the earth to harvest humans -- sending a seraphim angel along to protect them.
The humans are not entirely defenceless, though. They have built a mechanical angel, Aquarion, which consists of three separate mecha. These 'vectors' are piloted by teenagers who have some sort of special ability. There are three different configurations (each time with another vector as the head), with different attack and defense patterns -- so they can adapt to the different types of seraphim.

That is the basic idea behind Aquarion. Of course, the main character is a teenage boy who, for reasons unknown to him, seems to possess a knack for piloting the mecha -- but this time it's not a whiner like Shinji. Apollo is a vagrant boy, unconcerned by social conventions or niceties. He wants revenge because his friends have been harvested, and he is prepared to do anything for that.
The commander of the human forces is a pseudo-mystic who speaks in zen-like riddles. He gives the pilots weird assignments, which they promptly need to battle the seraphim of the week. Perhaps it's interesting if you're deep into yoga, but I found my disbelief stretched to the breaking point when it turns out Aquarion can suddenly do stuff merely because the pilot wants it badly enough (throwing a punch from the earth to the moon comes to mind). Or maybe because the pilot used his chakra's just the right way.

There is talk about reincarnation, and who is the reincarnation of whom from 12.000 years ago, and there is the rivalry between Sirius and Apollo, and Sylvia's brother complex, but that is never really resolved. The characters don't develop themselves (Apollo keeps making the same mistakes), and it all seems like an elaborate backdrop for the wonky yoga lesson of the week.

Visually, the series is a treat. It has a huge budget (and the accompanying huge list of program sponsors), and it shows: the CGI is meticulous, the cell animation is smooth and detailed, the character designs are expressive, and it is all blended perfectly together.
With the high budget come good voice actors. While watching the series, I wasn't too impressed with the music, but when taken on it's own (it's Yoko Kanno after all), it really shines.

Good points:
- Great animation;
- Interesting situation.
Bad points:
- Wonky yoga lesson of the week;
- Seraphim angel of the week;
- Little character development.