Full Name: Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill
Featured In: The Animorphs Series by K.A. Applegate
While I can claim that the fairy tales of old were what got me hooked on writing, what truly got me hooked onto reading those stories in the first place was the Animorphs series written by K.A. Applegate. Totaling fifty-four books in the main series alongside eight companion books directly or indirectly connected to the main one, the Animorphs series was one of the greatest book series of its time. How great was it? Well aside from that staggering number of books for a children’s series, there were toys and even a freaking television series! Neither of which were close to the awesomeness of the books but they tried their best regardless!
To summarize the series, the Animorphs are a small group of teenaged kids, and eventually one alien, who attain the ability to morph into animals and use this ability to combat against a secret alien invasion by a race called the Yeerks. The Yeerks themselves are a slug-like creature that, in their natural forms, are blind, deaf, and mute to their surroundings but by some fluke of evolution are capable of inserting themselves into the heads of sentient life forms.
Each of the books is told through the perspective of one of the Animorphs and throughout the series we see how it changes them both mentally and physically. To date, I’ve yet to see a book series, never mind one geared towards children, that touched on the aspects of war, dehumanization, morality, sanity, innocence, and freedom as this series had.
For pity’s sake, there are somewhat detailed descriptions of the Animorphs outright mutilating or being mutilated in kind, by the forces of the Yeerks. These forces include monstrosities like the Taxxons, massive centipede like aliens who are in a constant state of hunger and will eat virtually anything, or the Hork-Bajir, herbivorous humanoid reptilians armed with blades capable of rending through most Earthen materials with ease.
Of the Animorphs, my favorite amongst them, and my number eight favorite hero, is Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill, or “Ax” for short. Ax is an Andalite, an alien creature resembling a centaur insomuch that they possess a lower body resembling a deer and the upper torso of a humanoid but that’s where the similarities end. Andalites all possess a generous length of tail tipped with a scythe-like blade that they can whip about with frightening speed and deadlier accuracy and their hands have seven fingers each.
They possess two pairs of eyes, the atypical ones upon the face that are incapable of movement and a pair resting upon a short pair of stalks that grant them full 360 degree vision. What makes Andalites quite distinct even amongst most alien life forms is that they don’t have mouths and “eat” by means of grinding grass underneath their hooves and absorbing the nutrients through them. Andalites, and those in an animal morph, are capable of using “thought-speech” or telepathy to communicate with one another.
Speaking of, the ability to morph is granted upon an individual via a device informally named as a “morphing cube.” This small, blue cube allows any sentient life form touching it the ability to absorb the DNA of any living organism with no limitations. Ax’s human morph for example is a culmination of the DNA of his human friends intermixed into one for example. Morphing also has the ability to heal most injuries both in and out of morph so long as it is an injury that’s not grafted into one’s very DNA.
For example if one were to say… lost a limb whilst in a wolf morph, one would simply need to morph back to their natural form for it to be restored and can easily morph back into a wolf none the worse for wear. However, there is one stipulation for morphing and that’s the time limit of two Earthen hours. If one is still morphed past the time limit then they are stuck in that body permanently.
Ax is young by his people’s standards, only around four of their years old but considering an Andalite year is several times longer than our own, Ax is, roughly, the Andalite equivalent of a teenager. Of the group, he’s the… “Spock” character in that he is quite knowledgeable of advanced technologies and alien races but is… crippled you could say by his age. During an experience that resulted in the Animorphs ending up in the cretaceous period, Ax was able to surmise just what had happened to send them there but not a proper means of getting them back due to the fact that he was distracted during his lessons.
That is to say, he was busy daydreaming on a nearby crush.
Still, Ax is a very capable fighter in and out of his Andalite body and is one of the more tactical minded of the group second only to their leader, Jake whom Ax, refers to as “Prince Jake” as a sign of respect despite being told numerous times not to. While the Animorphs each have their “favorite” or “common” morph, Ax predominately fights in his natural Andalite body to keep up the ruse that the Animorphs are a team of Andalite rebels and not teenaged kids.
Ax’s greatest weakness is one that is sadly shared amongst his people whenever they happen to morph into something possessing both a sense of taste and the ability to vocalize, i.e. humans. Ax has come close to being made out to be a lunatic whenever he disguises himself as a human due to his inability to speak properly at times, or outright having fun making noises at all, and a sweet-tooth that borders on the obscene. Ax can and will stuff his face silly if presented with something that tickles his taste buds something fierce.
Ax’s greatest enemy is the same one amongst the Animorphs and that’s the vile Visser Three, a Yeerk that is literally the third amongst the hierarchy for doing something no other Yeerk had been capable of doing. Simply put, Visser Three’s host body is not a human, not a Taxxon, nor even a Hork-Bajir. His host body is that of an Andalite and not just any Andalite, oh no, but one entitled as a “War Prince” who has far too many dangerous alien creatures to morph into to name. While Visser Three is not the leader of the Yeerks, for most of the books, he is the driving force behind the invasion of Earth. Yet, while a good number of the Animorphs have their own reasons for taking Visser Three down, Ax’s is one of the greater ones amongst them. After all, it was his brother, Elfangor, who not only bestowed upon the Animorphs the morphing cube and the means of stopping the Yeerk invasion but in so doing, was killed by Visser Three.
I have heard that the book series are being rereleased with only minor alterations, what with technological advancement being whole leaps and bounds since the first publication some things in the originals are a bit dated. I hope that they continue all the way to the last book but whether or not they do, I sincerely recommend trying to find a copy to read. Young or old, the Animorphs is a book series that should never become forgotten amongst the cobwebs of yester years.