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Aquarian Age:Vol 2 Troubled Dreams
The second volume of Aquarian Age has Kyota pulled deeper into an ancient battle, with the sanity of his friend Yoriko at stake. The show grows more mysterious and several surprising events occur that raises the interest level of the show. This show definitely doesn't suffer from the sophomore slump.
Kyota and Yoriko have unknowingly become pawns of the mysterious manager at Cosmopop, Abuto. He is a 'Mindbreaker' and able to manipulate the pair a puppet master pulling the strings on a marionette. Abuto manages to convince Yoriko that Kyota loves someone else. This trauma causes her powers to awaken, but also makes her turn her back on the Arayashki, the mystical clan that she was destined to lead.
Turning from that path that she's been on since childhood drastically alters Yoriko's personality. She's no longer nice and lovable, but calculating and mean. She becomes an actress, working for Abuto at Cosmopop, and her innate talent and ruthless demeanor soon lands her the staring role in a big budget film.
The head of the Arayashki approaches Kyota and explains what has happened to Yoriko. She tells him that Yoriko's personality change isn't natural, and if she doesn't rejoin their clan, she will soon be driven insane by the stress. It is also revealed that Kyota is also a Mindbreaker, and that he's Yoriko's only hope.
Many anime shows have a great first volume, only to slow down in the second. This show is one of those rare series that actually gets better in the second set of episodes. The creators increased the speed of the show a bit, and filled in a lot of the background that I felt was missing in the first DVD. They do a nice job of answering some questions while raising others. After this disc, I feel I understand this world much more.
The plot took some interesting and very unexpected twists. Yoriko's personality change was so abrupt that I was shocked, and I was happy that they explained the drastic alteration in her demeanor. The story kept me guessing, something not a lot of shows can do.
On the down side, I'm still don't feel that connected to Kyota. He doesn't seem that excited that his band has landed a major contract, and he seems to just react to what is happening around him, like a lot of it doesn't effect him. He never mentioned, or even seemed surprised at the fact that Yoriko blew all of the windows out of a skyscraper. You'd think he'd tell his best friends. I still can't get a handle on a lot of his motivations, but this doesn't spoil the series for me.
Like most anime that is put out nowadays, this disc offers the choice of a stereo Japanese track with optional English subtitles or an English dub in 5.1. I alternated between tracks as I watched the show. I had a slight preference for the original language track, but thought the English dub was fine. The English track was a more full, but the Japanese track wasn't flat at all. Both tracks sounded fine, with no distortion or other defects.
This show was presented in letter boxed format, which is, unfortunately, not anamorphically enhanced. Even so, it looks very good. The lines are nice and sharp, and the colors are vivid and even. Digital defects are practically nonexistent. Even aliasing, something that usually plagues animation, was very minimal. A very good looking DVD.
This disc features a clean opening and closing, a Japanese promo trailer for the show, and a 3½-minute reel of production sketches. There is also an ten minute short, Behind the Anime: Aquarian Age, that has short interviews with the English voice cast. This was a fun bit.
Overcoming the sophomore slump that affects a lot of show, Aquarian Age improved with the second volume. They are supposed to wrap the story up with the next DVD, and I'm interested to see how it all turns out. I was pleased that the pace of the show picked up, and that they revealed a lot of background information in this set of shows. A high recommendation.