Aquarian Age Complete Collection (Thinpak) (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, February 03, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, October 04, 2005
What They Say
For centuries, five supernatural factions have waged war for supremacy over mankind, with legend prophesying that one day the Aquarian Age will begin, and only one group will reign supreme! Now Kyouta's dreams of becoming a pop idol must take a backseat to his destiny when he and his girlfriend Yoriko unwillingly become embroiled in the conflict, as both may hold the power to turn the tides of war in favor of whichever faction can control them! Can love conquer all?
For my primary viewing sessions, I did listen to this show in its original language of Japanese. I did also listened to a few episodes in English in order to judge the English voice work. I found that the audio was done quite well with no distortions or crackles. The speech volumes and are ambient sounds and cues are perfectly matched, keeping you from wondering what was said. The English voice acting is right on the money in this series. The voicing is consistent and true to the original character types that the original Japanese audio has established.
The transfer for this collection is done in its original 4:3 format. The video is clear and there is very little or no color anomalies. The animation is quite smooth, and done in the modern style. With animation done by Madhouse, the designs really stand out.
This series is packaged in the Thinpak cases, giving it a slim and compact feel. The box itself is nice and sturdy, with a black background and cover art featuring the characters and factions they represent, with the many faction symbols across the bottom of the box. The spine is a basic black with the enlarged title across it and a side picture of one of the main characters. The ThinPak cases inside contain the same cover-art style as the outer box, with portraits of the various factions and characters from the series.
The menu layout could be a little more impressive. I was quite disappointed with the extremely minimalistic look of each menu. Then again, with no special features and only the scene access and language setup, how much embellishment can you really expect?
The bad news is this collection did not avoid the “extra-less thinpaks” initiative at ADV. It has no extras, and this also leaves the menus quite lacking and very plain.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kyouta a harmonica playing musician along with his two best friends and bands mates Shingo the hippy guitarists and Junichi the nerdy keyboardist are ready for their big break. At a New year’s show they finally get their wish when a top agent for the Cosmopop Agency scouts them. Now all he has to do is convince his childhood friend and main love interest Yoriko that this is a good thing. And as if all that excitement wasn’t enough Kyouta suddenly begins to have visions of lovely ladies battling each other in mid-air, but he soon comes to realize that not only are the girls really battling it out over Tokyo, they seem to be battling over him.
Little does he realize that a war has invaded his life. A war that has been raging for centuries now between five factions of females that hold special physic abilities and he is what they are fighting for. He should be on top of the world with his band’s debut all set and women throwing themselves at him left and right, but instead he is hitting rock bottom when his sometimes girlfriend, Yoriko begins to shun him. Yoriko has denied her destiny as the leader as one of the many factions in order to join forces with Abuto, the manager of IJF Talent Agency, and a mindbreaker bent on using her to further his own powers. Abuto, the established “bad guy” of the series has surmounted an unlimited amount of power by binding several of these females fighters to him, and when he finds out that Kyouta is a mindbreaker too, it all hits the fan.
While Yoriko tests the seemingly limitless boundaries of her powers, Kyouta slips further and further into an ever-deeper depression. Then after the latest attempt on his life he comes to the realization that his powers as a mindbreaker can save not only his music but Yoriko as well. This leads to answers to many of his questions and knowledge of the mystical war that has been going on. The series ends with a climatic battle to confront Yoriko’s worst nightmares in order to save her and return her to herself, bringing together for the first time in centuries all the factions for one purpose.
Of course while this entire main plot is going on there are multiple subplots with the factions themselves. There is the sub plot of Yoriko’s choice between Abuto and the Arayashiki with whom she grew up. Then there is the sub plot between two of the other female factions characters Asumi and Kiriko. The two are best friends, but when Kyouta comes between them, Kiriko goes to Abuto as well to put her into the entertainment world and get her closer to Kyouta. And let’s not forget the Wizdom faction and its attempts to gain access to Kyouta through Asumi. Plus we can’t forget Kanae, the Darklore under Abuto’s control. There is so much going on with the subplots that it is occasionally hard to keep track of the main plot, but when the sub plots all finally come together in the grand finale battle at the end, it is worth following them as much as the main plot. A bit confusing at times, a bit slow in some places, and occasionally too much attention paid to the subplots but a complete success.
Aquarian Age is an interesting series. Although the plot is very serious, it doesn’t drag you down with its depressive tones. The characters have real personalities and do have real reactions to the things that are happening around them. A few of the episodes are slow and the series could have flowed better if the pacing had been picked up a bit, but it still works well. All in all, I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you are looking for something light to pass the time, this one's a thinker, and it keeps that feel throughout the series.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: C
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 325
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen Letterbox
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Aquarian Age