Eureka Seven AO – 04

Ao gets assistance from Fleur and Elena and manages to destroy the secret carrier, but he crash-lands on a beach. A good samaratin rescues him and takes him to the Okinawan capital, where his sister promptly sells him out. They head to a trapar mine, where Generation Bleu and Naru are waiting for him. With the JAF on his tail, he decides to join. He wants Naru to stay with her family, but takes Noah with him. Gazelle & Co. stow away aboard the Triton.

Ao has now chosen to follow in his mother’s footsteps and pilot the Nirvash to protect his island, even if his island doesn’t like him. It may get him killed, but that’s what he feels he needs to do. This week he learned not everyone resents him, as Eureka saved many lives in the Nirvash, and many of those people remain grateful, like the good samaratin. Unfortunately his sister represented the other side; those who would sell Ao out for a quick buck or passage to the US.

As a member of Generation Bleu, Ao will be protected from all those who want him and his mecha. We can also look forward to more interations between him and the somewhat haughty and spoiled Fleur and Elena, whose senses of smug entitlement he cannot hope to match (though you neve rknow, as piloting Nirvash may go to his head too.) Personally we wish Naru was going with him to keep keep him grounded, but her mysterious illness (perhaps caused by scub coral particles) would put her at risk.


Rating: 7
 (Very Good)

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Eureka Seven AO – 03

Ao decides he doesn’t want to pilot the giant again, for fear he’ll cause more damage than he’d prevent. On the way home, he and Naru are ambushed by Naru’s father and friends. They capture Ao and plan to use him as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Japan. The Okinawans also capture Elena in order to get Gen-Bleu’s attention, and warn them to stay out of their affairs. When an aircraft carrier-sized secret appears, escorted by a fleet of smaller secrets, Fleur and Elena engage it in battle. Both Bleu’s Ivica and Gazelle descend on the house where Ao is being held, with Gazelle ultimately rescuing him and flying him to the Nirvash, which he decides he must pilot so he’ll never have to apologize to the next generation for doing nothing.

If it weren’t for the kind old Dr. Toshio Fukai, Ao probably wouldn’t exist. Yet when Eureka fell from the sky and was eventually ostracized by the island’s people, he took her into his clinic and she gave birth to a son. One person’s kindness made all the difference. “Never hate, no matter what,” is Toshio’s advice to Ao. This, in the midst of his hospital, burned down and ransacked by vandals (and not for the first time). He turns the other cheek. So what if all the older people on the island want to blame Ao for all their problems? He’s going to protect them anyway. Not for their sake, but for their children; for the future.

If we remember correctly, Renton was a lot more self-centered and his self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy often paralyzed him. While it seemed like Ao (his son?? who knows at this point) was possibly going to follow this path (you’re not piloting it anymore? Really, kid?), but after spending some time with bitter geezers and being rescued by their kids who feel bad for bullying a foreigner, he changes his mind. We’re glad it didn’t take six episodes to do so, either. This doesn’t mean he’s in that cockpit for good, of course, but it’s encouraging that he’s taking on challenges – like the super-huge G-monster. With all this heavy, serious stuff going down, though, the episode still makes room for a brief gag in which Elena and a government official are caught singing karaoke.


Rating: 6 (Good)


Car Cameos: More Nissan X-Trail action, and Naru and Noah are taken away in what looks like a black Toyota Crown sedan of some kind; can’t tell which for sure.

Eureka Seven AO – 02

Gazelle doesn’t take Ao’s bracelet, but suggests he come with them. They tether their car to the retreating JSDF ship, but the Secret attacks and they crash onto the flight deck. Ao has no choice but to enter the cockpit of a tarped FP that turns out to be an IFO called the Mk. I, the oldest of its kind known. He takes the reins and goes after the Secret. He almost has a redoubt, but Naru gets through to him and he defeats the monster just as Generation Bleu arrives. Ao ditches and is fished out of the sea by GB pilot Fleur Blanc. When he goes home he learns the townsfolk blame him and his mother for the island’s misfortune. Naru finds and reassures him. He shows her the “Sea Giant” he piloted.

In this world, Japan and Okinawa are separate sovereign powers that don’t exactly like or trust each other, and the Japanese forces exploit the island’s emergency to enter Okinawan waters. It’s an interesting dynamic, and the Okinawans don’t seem to like foreigners like Ao, especially when it seems troubles started the moment he arrived. This gets to Ao, but he learns that he’s a wanted man (and has blue hair) after he saves the island from the Secret. Talk about gratitude. Still, he’s upset that they may be right; fortunately, Naru is no fair-weather friend, and as far as she’s concerned, he’s a hero. We really like their friendship so far.

We’ll see from this point on where fate sweeps young Ao and Naru. There’s Gazelle and Co., there’s the JSDF and OSDF, and there’s Generation Bleu, who are rather surprised to see the Mark I flynig around, considering they believed it was scrapped years ago. There’s lots of danger and peril in these first episodes, but also lots of heart and determination, and lots of colorful, likable characters. We were better able to sort everything and everyone out this week, and this looks to be a most immersive sci-fi-drama. Not as in-your-face or insane as Aquarion Evol, but more serious and mature.


Rating: 7
 (Very Good)


Car Cameos:
Ao’s gramps drives a beige Suzuki Wagon R, while the Okinawan military guys get around in a Nissan X-Trail. Ao discovers his blue hair in the sideview mirror of a Toyota bB (pictured).

Eureka Seven AO – 01

Trouble begins to brew on an Oknawan island when Ao crosses paths with a trio of smugglers led by Gazelle. Ao comes into possession of a glowing green bracelet, and suddenly a “scub coral” emerges from the ground, and a “G-monster” emerges from the sky. They eventually retreat, but return the next morning, causing widespread destruction. Worried about his adoptive grandfather and sickly friend Narau, Ao is cornered by Gazelle & Co., but refuses to relinquish the bracelet, which reminds him of his mother…

It’s comforting to know that Japan shares Americans’ apparent obsession with remakes and sequels. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and slapping the name of something well-known and well-liked will always increase its chances of success. So here we have a sequel to Eureka SeveN, six years after its first run. It was, at the time, the longest series we’d ever watched at 50 episodes, and we really enjoyed its style, its beauty, and most of its characters. We say most, because Renton Thurston really dragged the series down with his angsty, selfish, annoying behavior.

Well, Renton isn’t in this; instead we have Ao, who we gather is Eureka’s son. He doesn’t come off as whiny, and even if he’s weak, he’s willing to protect his weaker friend Naru and isn’t willing to simply hand something over simply because an adult threatens him. We like him so far, and this first episode really gave us the feeling of him suddenly being dropped into this overwhelming, perilous situation, yet maintaining his cool. This pilot also went big on the visual front: lots of stuff got Blow’d Up Real Good (clearly this series won’t be as delicate with its town as Rinne no Lagrange). There’s also a sloth, which is pretty awesome. But this first episode was merely setup: all we know is that something life-changing is going to happen to young Ao – in the next episode. Till then!


Rating: 7
 
(Very Good)


Car Cameos:
Ao’s FP closely resembles a Piaggio Ape, only it canfly, so it’s much cooler. Townsfolk flee the carnage in what looks like a late-’80s, bug-eyed Honda Acty Truck.

P.S. Sorry for the belated review, but we were on the fence about getting into this series, and finally caved – a decision we don’t regret.

 

Yozakura Quartet ~ Hoshi no Umi ~ 03

We here at RABUJOI seem to have a knack for coming out with extraordinarily late OVA reviews. Case in point: this third and final part of the Hoshi no Umi trilogy aired back in November. Oh well, no anime blog is perfect…except The Perfect Anime Blog, of course.

This segment picks up right where part two left off: Kotoha’s utterly spent, but Zakuro’s just as powerful and evil as ever, and Rin is now in her clutches. The finale lacks the complete visual insanity that always accompanies the exhibition of Kotoha’s talents, but it still possessed a truly electric atmosphere; an irresistable energy that comes with everyone working together as a team, bouncing off of walls, and bounding across rooftops. The multi-vector attack and pursuit of Zakuro is stirring and expertly wrought, though her lines could be a little more inspiring (she mostly just yells ‘Shut up!’).

But while Demon Zakuro vows to kill every single human in the town (all 2,040 of them), she’s disappointed to find they’ve all been evacuated, so it’s pretty much a matter of chasing her until she gets tired and bringing her down. Neither is an easy feat, but the Quartet and their supporting crew are more than up to the challenge. That is, after Hime has a minute-long inner conflict (which Kyousuke even times). There’s also a very funny scene with everyone falling from an under-construction skyscraper and offering to cushion everyone else’s fall until they all fall on a giant cushion conjured by Kotoha on the ground, ending the debate.

So Rin is saved, the evil is drawn out of Zakuro, and everyone gets back to their happy lives. And it’s the little mayor’s job to keep ’em happy, along with the rest of the town. And now we move Yokazura Quartet: Hoshi no Umi into the “Completed” category.


Rating: 3.5

Yozakura Quartet ~ Hoshi no Umi ~ OVA 2

Ye gods, the first YQ OVA was pretty damn gorgeous in its own right, but this next one took the pretty visuals up to eleven. The character design is downright bangin’, the combat is as creative as it is lyrical, and the stakes for the town of Sakurashin have also been raised. Rin has become the puppet of the one who originally took her in, Zakuro. She’s under the control of Enjin, and has turned bad. She’s come to claim Rin back, but the YQ won’t let her have her without a fight.

And what a fight. Hime chasing her across rooftops was fancy enough, just as Yae’s awesome little battle in the first OVA. But the bulk of the fighting was done by everyone’s favorite half-youkai, Kotoha, who simply puts on a clinic of conjuring, sending, among other things, thousands of B-2 Spirit Stealth Bombers, an Airbus A380 Superjumbo, and a bunker buster into Zakuro’s summoned earth golem. I can’t overstate how sweet animation for this fight was.

But it was all for naught, as Rin finally surrenders herself to Zakuro in order to forestall future killing. But despite being momentarily touched by the gesture, Zakuro isn’t her own boss, and Enjin soups her up into an even more powerful killing machine, who promises to wipe out every single life in the town. While I’m confident Hime and the rest of the YQ will be able to deal, we won’t find out how until OVA #3. Rating: 4