Review by VF5SS
Genesis of Aquarion was a quirky giant robot series that proudly wore its own brand of absurdity steeped in mysticism on its mechanical sleeve. Its sequel, Aquarion EVOL, managed to retain a lot of that feel while adding more romances, bromances, and smelly wenches in a way that took everything up to eleven! Shoji Kawamori managed to find the perfect match in writer Mari Okada whose own brand of insane melodrama served to make the show one of the more notable anime series from 2012. She also had the good sense to not have the characters experience an orgasm each time the robot combined which won the show some points in tactfulness. I mean it still happened, but they saved that for the big moments instead of at least once per episode.
Much like in the previous series, the Aquarion EVOL is comprised of three spaceships that can combine three different ways to create a fighting robot tailored to suits the needs f different pilots and different situations. While there were plenty of figures, cosplay outfits, and other items available on the merchandising front, Bandai kept things pretty quiet on the prospect of a deluxe combining version of the titular mecha. Eventually we got a Super Robot Chogokin figure that is the subject of this review.
If I had to sum up this review it would be, "mixed feelings" like the heart of a young woman who must choose between a loyal (if somewhat wishy washy) puppy or a crazy wolf with a scent fetish.
The SRC Aquarion EVOL stands about six inches tall and is relatively light for a figure marketed as a chogokin. As far as I can tell only the lower legs have any significant amount of metal. Details wise, this is a good representation of the Aquarion EVOL's primary form which is confusingly enough just called Aquarion EVOL. Sadly neither of its other forms, Aquarion Spada and Aquarion Gepard, have received a toy. Also note that the EVOL totally has the same crotch as White Glint from Armored Core 4 Answer. I pride myself on knowing my Kawamori designs from head to crotch... er toe.
It's a good 'n Kawamori-y looking design that addresses the back heaviness of the original Aquarion by moving parts of the "wings" to legs when not in use.
The upper body features a pair of movable red panels around the collar that feature some crisp tampographed details and the face sculpt captures the strange samurai-esque design of the EVOL's design. The little laser guns on the shoulder can wiggle around a bit as well.
The halo atop the EVOL's head is meant to resemble a heart because "love" is a very big theme in the series. Sadly the halo is one of the things I love the least about this figure because it's made of very cheap feeling plastic. This wouldn't be a huge deal if the halo didn't make it hard to grab a hold of the head to turn it. Overall I find a lot of small plastic parts of this figure to feel either cheap or fragile.
The waist has a compound ball-joint and hinge setup to allow the torso to move about. While this does work pretty well, I find the ball-joint on my figure creaks in an unsettling way when I turn it. It's a similar to my issues with the Super Robot Chogokin UCR-10/A where the figure can be irritating to handle due to this flaw.
Overall the EVOL's articulation is well above average. As a design that started as a CG model, the EVOL is mostly bereft of overhanging parts that would impede movement. The compound joints in the ankles allow the EVOL to balance on one foot. The double-jointed knees and free moving hips are a mark of true divinity. Similarly the arms feature all the articulation they need. Be sure to check out my video review for a more detailed demonstration of all the joints.
While the Aquarion EVOL packs a lot of accessories in its box, most of them are just smaller parts of larger pieces which can make the overall spread seem a bit sparse. Now the Aquarion EVOL didn't have a lot of weapons in the series so the light load out is understandable. It does make me wish the base figure was bit more gimmicky though.
Unlike the SRC Solar Aquarion, the EVOL requires some parts swapping to achieve its "wings open" look. To do this you must remove the hip thingies and false extra arms on the back. The hip thingies are some of the cheaper feeling parts of the figure with them being both non-transformable and mostly hollow.
As a nod to the design's transforming nature, these false arms are fully detailed to reflect how these are appendages for Aquarion Spada. Unfortunately they have no articulation outside of the hole they plug into.
Aquarion EVOL's golden "wings" take on an appearance similar to trees or those religious icons from the island of Mayan in Macross Zero. These parts simply plug into where the false arms were and feature a few points of articulation. The gold chrome detailing is suitably vibrant and shiny.
One of the more curious parts of the Aquarion EVOL's transformation is how parts actually detach and reattach all over the main body to better distribute the weight. In a move that echoes the VF-1 Valkyrie's leg delivery panels, the arms on the EVOL's backpack literally reach down to the hip thingies and grab them so they can unfurl into wings. I give the SRC figure props for having all these details in these static wing parts that do indded show fists grabbing the other parts of the wings. It does a lot to confirm that, "yes that's totally how it works and it is crazy."
Unlike the Solar Aquarion which had the stand plug into a part on its butt that could come unglued, the EVOL simply has a hole right in the nether regions. This is where the light weight of the figure works to its advantage as even a Di:Stage can take the Aquarion EVOL into the skies. Owners of Tamashii Stages should probably use an ACT 4 or the Trident base for EVOL.
The EVOL looks pretty good while in flight. The small amount of diecast in the lower legs keep it well balanced.
It can even pull a good SHORYUKEN like in the series.
In the spirit of a great yoga master, the Aquarion EVOL can extend its arm out to deliver its signature Mugen Punch. You get three parts to do the normal looking attack which plug together via some really fidgety ball-joints. Plugging these things together is the least fun thing to do because I always feel like I'm going to break those little flanges on the end of each segment. It makes me wonder why each part doesn't just use a simpler peg and hole connection instead. Also be sure to remember that the segments with a slightly angled edge are the ones that plug into the wrist socket. The other segments don't really attach to the wrist joint even if it looks like they should.
For the more impressive version of the Mugen Punch, you get this massively oversized fist that takes two hands for the EVOL to lift. Remember to always lift with the knees.
Much like with the Solar Aquarion, the Aquarion EVOL comes with a set of stylized extension parts that use a little forced perspective to make the Mugen Punch appear to stretch to mugen-ity and beyond. I appreciate that they give you two segments for plugging directly into the wrists so you don't have to do as much parts swapping to get both displays.
Both Aquarion shows featured many special attacks that are only used once or twice with each one getting an identifying title card. The SRC Aquarion EVOL comes with one such card that consists of a single piece of plastic with the graphic printed on the front. Oddly enough the graphic extends a little too far down and gets partially covered by the stand. I know that seems nitpicky but that little bit of the lowest most triangle is very important.
When the main characters of Aquarion EVOL dare to break the "no love" rule, the main machine starts to react strangely and produce some of the most wild attacks.
The MUGEN ATTACK allowed the Aquarion EVOL to smash through the boundaries of space-time to summon up stock footage from Genesis of Aquarion! This truly frightening ability is aided by an additional effect part that fits around one of the arm extension segments to show off a crazy dimensional rift effect. The piece itself is just another sheet of plastic with a graphic printed on it. While the effect part itself does its job adequately, the act of putting it on while also connecting the various arm segments stretched my patience from here to the moon.
In the world of Aquarion EVOL the events depicted in Genesis of Aquarion are the stuff of legends which the Solar Aquarion serving as a object of worship for some. For others it was just the subject of a movie that played over and over again in an old theater.
As a fan of both shows, having both Aquarions makes for a good display but handling both at the same thing has made me wonder... Why are these even in the Super Robot Chogokin line? Neither design seems particularly well suited for the chogokin format. Their lithe frames leads to a minimal amount of metal which turns your focus to the less than stellar plastic used in the rest of the figure. I feel like both of these designs would be better suited to the Robot Spirits line, which revels in doing more mechanical looking designs with lots of gimmicks and bits of weird articulation. I think they would most definitely benefit from the hardier plastic used in Robot Spirits figures.
As it stands the Aquarion EVOL is merely a competent figure that is best suited for fans of the series. People who are into robot toys in general probably won't like the sparseness of the figure coupled with some of the more fragile feeling parts. People who are into chunky chogokins would probably be much happier with a Real Robot design like the Alteisen from Super Robot Wars. Our review crew at CollectionDX are generally quite positive about the other Super Robot Chogokin figures like Gaogaigar or Daijyujin which leaves me as the big Shoji Kawamori fan handling a pair of chogokins that are for lack of a better word... token. Both the Aquarion EVOL and the Solar Aquarion do just enough to be alright but in the end feel like they were pigeonholed into a line that just doesn't suit their style. In the end the absence of a deluxe combining Aquarion EVOL figure, the Super Robot Chogokin fills a void if only adequately.
|Posted 12 June, 2013 - 08:11 by VF5SS