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Aquarian Age Vol 3:Destiny
The Aquarian Age series wraps up in this 3rd volume. With only 13 episodes in the series, it's fairly short and the episodes in this final volume feel a little rushed, and the back story wasn't as well developed as I was hoping it would be. Though it started out really well, this is one of those series that has trouble coming up with a satisfying ending.
Kyota and his band have their big debut concert coming up, but after his rejection by Yoriko, Kyota's heart just isn't in it. He just can't seem to get his voice to sound the way he wants it to. Meanwhile, Yoriko's power is growing by leaps and bounds. She is becoming so powerful, and evil, that it appears that no one can stand up to her. She's gone so far down the wrong path that it seems that she'll never be able to be saved, but Kyota gives it one last chance, risking his life and those of his friends to save Yoriko's soul.
I really liked the first two DVDs, but the final volume was a bit of a let down. The show just didn't fill out as much as I was hoping. Rather than flesh out the characters and go more into more detail about the background to this world, they plunge head long into the conclusion, trying to wrap up the loose ends. They do wrap everything up, but only with the use of some deus ex machina plot devices that seem to come out of nowhere. Even with this defect, the big battle that takes up most of the penultimate episode was fairly exciting.
They never really take the time to make the audience connect with the main characters either. I never could identify with any of the main players. They don't seem to be acting as real people, but rather as actors in a play. The steps they take aren't logical a lot of the time, and that makes it hard to really see them as people. I was hoping that this would improve as the series progressed, but it really didn't.
While the show seemed to be running towards a conclusion, there was also a lot of padding in the individual episodes. It seemed that they played Kyota's song two or three times in every episode, and it really started getting on my nerves. Since they didn't use the time to make the characters more three dimensional or make the story more detailed, the show comes across as an empty shell.
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 3-minute reel of production sketches. There is also a thirteen-minute short, Behind the Anime: Aquarian Age, this time they talk with the translator, Sarah Alys Lindholm. There is also a bit with Monica Rial in the studio taping her parts. It was another fun extra.
When all is said and done, Aquarian Age comes across as a poor shadow of the series X. With their mystical clans who fight behind barrier fields, the show had a lot in common. This series didn't have the detail, and consequently the rich atmosphere, that X had. Unless you are a die hard completist, the final volume of this show should be rented.