This is a tale about a group of teenagers with Psychic Powers piloting an orgasm-poweredSuper Robot to fight evil Shadow Angels from Atlandia who feed on human lifeforce......but that's a little too far on the simple side of things. Let's try again.Twelve thousand years ago there was a great war between humans and Shadow Angels; the humans won, in no small part thanks to Apollonius, an Angel who turned against his own people out of love for Celiane, a human woman, and the Angels became dormant under the South Pole.Flash forward to Twenty Minutes into the Future. Eleven years after a catastrophe known as the Great Incident ravaged Earth and gifted a few young people with Psychic Powers, the Shadow Angels awaken, and start harvesting humans all around the world. Ordinary militaries are unable to stop them, and it's up to the aforementioned young people (referred to as "Element Users") to stop the Angels, using an ancient Atlandian weapon: the Aquarion, a Humongous Mecha which is the combination of three different flying machines called Vectors (causing the three pilots to join their souls and spiritual bodies into one).As soon as the Aquarion pilots first engage the Shadow Angels, however, they promptly get their asses handed to them, and crash-land near the place where two Element Users were investigating rumors of a possible reincarnation of Apollonius. The supposed reincarnation, Apollo, climbs into the robot and pilots it to a first victory against the Shadow Angels, losing his True Companions to them in the process. He then joins DEAVA, the organization which handles the Aquarion and Element Users, in the hopes of finding his friends and bringing them back.The series was created by Shoji Kawamori, the designer of the Valkyrie and the Nirvash typeZero amongst other mecha, and was animated by Studio Satelight. Hence why the titular robot looks so awesome.A two-part OVA (entitled Wings of Betrayal and Wings of Glory, respectively), was released after the series, taking place in an alternate timeline.A movie, Wings of Genesis, was also released. It recycled the plot and footage of the OVA and a few other goodies. Released with the movie was a comedic short film featuring the characters from the original series.A sequel began airing in January 2012. Entitled Aquarion Evol, it takes place 12,000 years after the first series, chronicling a battle against new enemies from another dimension.
Bifauxnen: Reika dresses the part, complete with another girl crushing on her. It doesn't make her any less desirable to the guys, though. On the other hand, Sirius is the partial reincarnation of a woman, so his attraction to her probably has more layers to it.
Bifurcated Weapon: Moroha's mech, Cherubim Iskuron. Literally. As in, his mech literally splits into two (not evenly down the center but close) and either of them can chase different targets.
Blessed with Suck: Tsugumi can create explosions when her pulse reaches its peak, and has probably the strongest raw power of all the Element Users; unfortunately, she's really bad at controlling her emotions, so whenever she gets excited or anxious things around her tend to go KABOOM. It's heavily implied that because of this she was shunned by her family and friends.
Reika's powers are based on bad luck.
Brainwashed: Glen, due to genetic experimentation by the military with Futaba's extracted feather, becomes a mindless Super Soldier. He breaks free of it at Reika's urging, only to enact a kamikaze Heroic Sacrifice about five minutes later.
Brown Note: The Monster of the Week for episode 7 is so beautiful it causes the Aquarion pilots to experience supreme jealousy and start fighting amongst themselves.
It is also a case of Alien Geometries, because it appears as an "impossible" polyhedron.
The Brute: Angel Moroha. You'd think from the first opening the brute would be the masked gorilla-dinosaur.
Char Clone: Sirius de Alisia fits the bill for this one.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Silvia to Sirius. Otoha to Touma. Needless to say, they don't enjoy it when their men show affection to someone other than them. At least Silvia grows out of it with time. Otoha... doesn't. No, really. She never gets over it, and then Silvia kills her. In one blow.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Not only do the Element Users each have uniquely-colored pilot suits, but when a teleport change is done the replacement Element actually leaves their clothing behind and materializes in the empty suit of the last pilot, said suit then magically changing color to match the new wearer.
Yes, this does mean that the pilot being replaced comes out at mission control completely naked. Invariably results in Barbie Doll Anatomy.
Combining Mecha: The titular Aquarion. In three different ways, depending on which of the three vectors forms the body.
Cosmic Plaything: Reika, who is really, really unlucky, and tends to avoid human contact whenever possible to prevent her bad luck from "rubbing off" on those close to her. Pretty much exists to Freak Out and get swapped with someone else.
Cosplay: Played completely serious. Fed up with the Element Users constantly playing the blame game, Fudou gets the idea (from Sirius' words, no less) to have each member portray another Element User, assuming their appearance and personality. Hilarity Ensues from the matches (Apollo and Sirius, Silvia and Reika, Pierre and Chloe, Jun and Tsugumi; while it would seem that Sophia and Fudou have swapped, it turns out that Fudou has been impersonating Rena the entire time), but there's a method to his madness. By seeing through the eyes of their comrades, each Element User is able to accept who they are, as well as appreciate the unique traits that their comrades bring to the table, understanding that together, any trio can compensate for the shortcomings of the individual units.
The same episode shows that Jun is an Otaku who regularly attends Anime and Cosplay conventions.
Not to mention when anything bad happens when she's around.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite being the possible reincarnation of Leeroy Jenkins and having his fair share of jerkass moments towards the other Element Users (then again, most of them ostracized him to varying degrees over the course of the series), Apollo has made it clear that his friends are the most important friends to him. In fact, when Touma offers an Equivalent Exchange to sacrifice Silvia and Sirius in order to return the recently-killed Baron back to life, Apollo vehemently refuses. That's right; he denied himself the return of his best friend to save his new True Companions.
Love Dodecahedron: It was a trainwreck waiting to happen. From the beginning of the series, Sirius, Reika, and Glen seem to be in a Love Triangle (albeit a friendly one), one that's put on hold when Glen is put in a coma. Sirius and Reika have some chemistry together, but Reika is usually reluctant due to confidence issues and the fears that her bad luck will rub off on anyone who gets too close to her. It gets tricky to keep score from there on.
This is actually referencing vectors in math and physics. If the vectors aren't moving in a similar nature, the overall force and direction of said force is diminished. Isn't this similar to the point of the Vectors themselves? If the pilots are moving in different directions, the merging is marred.
The Nose Knows: Apollo has an inhumanly keen sense of smell, capable of detecting... well, pretty much anything the plot calls for, really. Implicitly hand waved as being the result of his harsh upbringing, but the scope of his ability is so truly ludicrous that it might be more plausible to attribute it to his Element Powers.
To put this in context, he regularly figures things out through his sense of smell while piloting Aquarion. That's right, he can smell things on the battlefield from inside his cockpit. Usually from several hundred feet away.
Ominous Latin Chanting: A staple of the soundtrack, especially in scenes focusing on the Shadow Angels in their headquarters.
Only Sane Man: There are times when Jerome seems to be the only one acting like the battle against the Shadow Angels is a war to stop the genocide and consumption of mankind instead of a chance to sling metaphors.
However, the tradeoff is that he veers into Well-Intentioned Extremist territory, best shown with the killing of Futaba and the genetic experimentation on Glen by the military that (temporarily) turns him into a mindless puppet.
Our Angels Are Different: Sort of. If you get technical, the datenshi are only angels in that they apply a pun. Their kanji doesn't actually use "angel."
Parental Abandonment: We don't get to see the parents of any of the Element Users, and it's implied that they all either died in the Great Incident or were harvested by the Shadow Angels.
The Power of Friendship: Usually how the protagonists win their battles, until later in the series it's superseded by...
The Power of Love: Though they have also won battles with the power of jealousy, the power of bad luck, and the power of hunger.
Power of Trust: Usually played straight. Sadly subverted during the start of Sirius' Face-Heel Turn, where Reika is horrified to discover that Sirius has the blood of Shadow Angels in him (plus the feathers) and withdraws her hand, shunning Sirius and prompting him to fully cross over to the enemy's side.
Red Shirt Army: The United Nations army, who last all of five seconds against the Shadow Angels.
Reincarnation: An important theme of the Anime. At first it seems that Silvia is the reincarnation of Celiane and Apollo is Apollonius', but the reality is much, much more complicated and a spoiler of gigantic proportions.
Rewrite: The sequel did this to the the show. In Genesis, when the show was being planned out, Kawamori wanted to include Apollon, but he was rebuffed by the staff of Genesis, who told him that such a plot twist would only take away from the love story between Silvia and Apollo, and so the plot was scrapped and the Shadow Angel dog Pollon was erased from the series, ultimately erasing the character completely for the OADs. Then when it came time to create EVOL none of the original Genesis staff besides Kawamori was on the project and when Ohkada saw the notes for Pollon she easily convinced Kawamori into including him into the show. In other words if you finish the series and come to the conclusion that Apollo is Apollonius you're correct; if you watch the sequel and come to the conclusion that Apollo is Pollon you're still correct.
Rocket Punch: Solar Aquarion's Infinity Punch has the spirit of this trope, except it never actually detaches. Instead, it has an infinite number of extendable arm segments packed inside each other.
Played right in Wings of Glory, when all the segments fly on their own and defreeze Earth.
Sacrificial Lamb: Glen, whose entire purpose in the series boils down to 1. piloting Vector Sol to the battlefield so Apollo can fall into its cockpit and 2. getting put in a coma so Reika can have someone to angst over.
Well, that and being the first successful guinea pig for the military's super-soldier program...
Sixth Ranger: After her vampiric nature is discovered, Rena begins to take a more active role in battle.
Spider Tank: In the second to last episode of Aquarion we find out that the Assault Type Aquarion can assume an "Armageddon Formation" where all three vectors combine into a six-legged mech with the PSG cannon mounted on the top.
Splash Damage: Moroha repeatedly hits Aquarion while Aquarion is defending from the attacks, but the entire Aquarion gets damage from the attacks that were directed on the arms.
Start X to Stop X: In episode 21, Sirius declares that "the reason I fight is to create a world free of fighting, where beauty prevails."
Strictly Formula: Not all the time, but quite a few episodes play something like this: There is some conflict between the kids, then Fudou shows up with some kind of seemingly absurd lesson or exercise that no one can figure out. Then the angels attack some random city and the trio departs to fight them. They get their asses kicked at first until mid-battle epiphany about the meaning of the earlier lesson. They defeat the cherubim, unfortunately the harvesting ships manage to get away. But at least the team learned some valuable lesson and can now work better. Till the next episode that is...
Theme Tune Cameo: The final name appearing in an attack card in the series is "The Day The World Began" ("Sekai no Hajimari no Hi" in Japanese) - the very first line of the theme song.
This and That: In episode 8 Tsugumi and Jun ask Reika and Pierre respectively for advice on their first union, and the other two naturally assume they're asking for advice on This and That (although, seeing how the "union" works, they might as well have...).
True Companions: The Element Users, and especially important for Apollo, who puts friendship before everything else. Rena is a Really 700 Years Old vampire? Who cares, she's my friend. Sirius and Silvia are part-Shadow Angel? Who cares, they're my friends. And so on and so forth.
This is also important to Fudou, who gets mightily pissed when Apollo destroys the shield protecting Daeva from the Datenshi in an effort to save Baron. He gets pissed at everyone criticizing Apollo for doing this, going so far as to say anyone who abandons his/her friends has no place in Daeva.
Tsundere: Silvia. She does get better as time goes on.
Definitely Pierre's CMOF. He had his fellow Element Users down to a science.
Weapon of Choice: Sirius wields a rapier, adding to his composed and foppish air, while Apollo (on the few occasions he is seen with a sword) uses a broad-bladed scimitar more appropriate to his wild, feral personality.
What the Hell, Hero?: Reika delivers one to Apollo upon discovering that he knew about Sirius' status as a half-Shadow Angel and didn't tell anyone. The fact that Apollo didn't fret over such a major detail shows how loyal he is to his True Companions.
Winged Humanoid: A variation with the Shadow Angels. Most of them aren't human or possess vaguely humanoid shapes. The few that are (such as Touma and Otoha, among others) have wings in odd places; Touma's hair is made out of feathers, while Otoha's wings are her arms (much like that of a harpy or Siren) and she can play them not unlike how one would strum on a harp or lyre. Apollonius seems to be the sole exception that plays this trope straight.
Woman Scorned: Touma, despite being male, is precisely this after being dumped by Apollonius in favour of Celiane.
You could also consider Jun possibly in this category as well. In the episode where he inquires Pierre about merging, they have a yaoi moment, and in the following episode, Pierre's dream of a harem has all of the female pilots plus Jun in female clothes all fawning over him.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Surprisingly avoided for the most part. Few of the characters have have wild Hair Colors, the oddest example coming from the twins (Kurt and Chloe), who have blue hair, and Futaba, who sports green hair braided in a ponytail.