Aquarion EVOL - 1 & 2
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Mecha fans assemble! This is probably the one anime that you all will be planning to watch for the winter season especially if you also happen to be a fan of the prequel: Genesis of Aquarion. Personally, I couldn't really find the series appealing but that's mostly to do with my lack of interest in the genre.
The starting episode being a double-bill lasting around 40 minutes was a necessary start, so that the story can actually progress well and remain interesting. The 40 minutes are used well to explain certain elements of the setting and to introduce us to the hero of the series. The introduction of the hero (Sora) itself was probably the highlight of the episode for me; it was humourous and I enjoyed the use of such an awkward moment between a young guy and a girl to be made into a date scenario. Other than the main protagonists, we are introduced to very likeable characters, all of which have their good points in one way or another.
Then as far as mecha anime go, the course of the rest of the first episode was pretty generic and predictable. Eventually the main character has to reveal his true powers (called "element" in this series) so that he can protect the cute girl he was having a nice date with, only to unknowingly cause the forbidden union of the opposite sexes and to bring about an evolution in the aquaria (name for the mecha), all so he can create Aquarion EVOL. A very generic progression indeed but it was helped by a premonition in the story, which showed Mikono (essentially the heroine of the story) marrying the enemy that was introduced to us in this episode.
Luckily the episode did contain snippets of mystery such as: Sora's past and the girl who disappeared, the strange man who keeps saying sentences of nonsense that later turn out to be important for Sora to control Aquarion and of course the enemy itself and their knowledge of Sora and Mikono. All of this clearly sets the foundation of the character development and of course the story progression. I hope that there will be focus on this, since the fight scenes themselves didn't impress and would get boring quickly.
As I said before, this is not my type of anime but it would be a good watch for all shonen mecha fans - only people who I would actually recommend this series to.