Why I'm still watching Aquarion EVOL
Back when I wrote about reducing what I was watching in the winter, I was somewhat negative about Aquarion EVOL. However I'm still watching it, somewhat to my surprise. It's not because of EVOL's plot, characters, or story; I don't like any of them half as much as I do in the original Aquarion. But what EVOL has going for it over the original is that EVOL has completely embraced the crazy, and doing this makes it easily watchable just in order to see what they're going to come up with next.
The original Aquarion was always somewhat crazy but it mostly put the crazy on the backburner in order to have room for the story and the characters. EVOL hasn't bothered with this, so in pretty much every episode it has been free to have something really over the top going on. Electric bracelets that shock the pilots when they get too lovey-dovey for each other? Music that can kill? Burying everyone in a graveyard to connect them to each other? EVOL will do all of that without blinking, and more. The old standby of Aquarion's Mugen Punch turned out just to be the starting point. For me, this makes EVOL quite entertaining to follow; I can always count on something interesting and absurd going on, something I would never have predicted.
Although I'm not a mecha fan, the mecha fights are part of this too. The EVOL Aquarion has far more craziness, crazy combos, and weird powers than the original did. As of the last episode I saw there are even two of them (at least). Crazy unpredictable fights go a long way to making mecha interesting to me.
Sidebar: elaborating my relative views of the two shows
In a move that's sure to irritate fans of EVOL, I find the main plot to date laughable (really, 'Mars needs women'?), the story uninspiring (although there are flashes of promise if it makes a real stab at developing the 'fighting apparent fate' issue with Amata and Mikono), and the characters mostly reduced to barely developed cliches. As usual, the melodramatic romantic angst between the protagonists makes me wish they'd shut up (Mix and Andy are more interesting, partly because they are more low key).
By contrast I actually have fond memories of the main characters and plot of Aquarion, partly because the original focused on far fewer characters and so was able to develop them much better and partly because it actually bothered to give its characters real backgrounds and then tell us about them.
(I am not particularly grumpy about Aquarion EVOL's faults here, I just don't expect much from it beyond easy entertainment.)