Fleur fights Naru while Elena fights Truth, but Naru easily evades them all and escapes with Truth, citing even Ao’s Nirvash has no archetype and isn’t alive. Ao and Harlequin catch up to Truth and Naru at the Okinawa Plant Coral, where Truth backstabs Naru and grabs the Quartz Gun and fires it. Ao opens his eyes to another rewritten history where Truth never existed and he just destroyed the Allied forces stole the coral relic IFO, saving the world. Renton emerges from the portal and confronts Ao, who gets news that Eureka has appeared on the Triton. Renton and Ao hurry there, where the family is briefly reunited.
It’s been such a good Fall season, we’d put Eureka Seven AO completely out of our minds, so the arrival of the final two episodes was a shock, but a pleasant one. The penultimate episode wastes no time jumping back into the action after leaving us hanging…somewhere, somewhen with Renton nearly two months ago. The battle between Ao and Truth is ultimately resolved when Truth essentially commits suicide. He is convinced the current world’s history isn’t correct and he shouldn’t exist, at least in his current form. Thus the Quartz Gun is fired for the second time, causing another vast, complicated explosion, and causing history to change once more.
What’s cool is that Ao isn’t the only one who notices. Two short scenes between Gazelle and Nakamura efficiently show us they noticed too, and even though Okinawa is part of Japan again Nakamura still isn’t happy with how small Japan remains. It’s this timeline where Renton chooses to travel in order to meet with Eureka in her Nirvash…only Ao’s in it, and Eureka is some kind of “ghost”, wandering time, without physical form and unable to stay anytime for long. Could she be Ao’s Neo-Nirvash’s archetype Naru said was missing? What “choice” led to Eureka becoming like this? Where does Renton fit into all this? We’ll find out…later tonight.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
Fleur, now president of Pied Piper, meets with the Japanese Diet to formalize a relationship, while Ao patrols territorial waters, turning away the Allied forces with the help of Secrets. On an Allied airbase on Guam, Elena meets Maggie and learns that adults infected with coral can fly IFOs. While in the cockpit of Elena’s prototype, Maggie gets flashes of her other life in Goldilocks. Eureka appears before her and Elena, telling Elena she can’t send her back. Maggie investigates and learns Elena wasn’t born on another world. A scub burst occurs in Indonesia; Elena confronts Ao as he emerges with the Quartz. He talks her down and asks her to come back. Truth appears and starts wreaking havoc.
Fleur and Elena both “like” Ao, but in very different ways. Fleur’s is a fairly conventional bond formed by mutual struggles, parallels in their pasts, and an ongoing mutual crush. Elena’s friendship is complicated by her feelings towards Eureka – feelings of hate and resentment. Elena is particularly fun to watch this week, as she’s excited about her her surroundings and the promise of returning home soon, while overlaying anime traits over her situation. It’s cute, but as we learn later, it’s also a little sad…and dangerous. When Maggie learns the truth about Elena, Elena doesn’t want to hear it, because it’s boring. She had this grand, fantastical idea of where she came from and where her destiny is (no doubt a fantasy fueled by her otakuism). The world she’s living in doesn’t feel quiet right, and never has. So it makes sense that she wouldn’t be too receptive of the idea that it’s her world.
Ao mitigates the sting of this somewhat by giving her a good smack (to her IFO, not her face) and delivering a heartfelt declaration of affection for her and an inteniton for them (and Fleur) to stick together always! It’s a very anime-like presentation that appeals to Elena, spicing up the otherwise dull proceedings. But this isn’t just about Elena: Nakamura has resigned, yet still vows to return Japan to greatness; Haru is home (in a hilarious breakfast scene) and stirring up resentment for the coral’s use as a weapon; Maggie sees her other life for the first time; Fleur trades in her flight pajamas for a smart pantsuit; and then there’s the wild card, Truth: who just wants to SHOOT and DESTROY. A little of everything this week, but all nicely juggled; we were never lost.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
After the fusion explosion, Gazelle fetches Fleur and Ao, who still has an instance of Georg on his phone that they can restart the Triton with. Ao takes the Nirvash into the bowels of HQ and finds the Quartz Gun, which triggers a massive burst of Quartz that he then neutralizes. Allied forces led by Tanaka destroy the HQ after civilians evacuate. Hanna and Harlequin’s survivors arrive and side with the Allied forces. Elena also defects to Tanaka, taking one of the goldilocks prototypes with her. Truth emerges from the HQ’s wreckage and attacks the allies. The Japanese government grants Pied Piper access to their bases and supplies in order to fulfill their end of a contract struck between them, the Secrets, and Blanc, with the goal of eliminating the last of the Quartz. A recording of Christophe details the contract and names Fleur the new president of Generation Bleu.
Sorry for the longish synopsis…a lot happened this week. Pieces are moving all over the board, and while Christophe has been removed from that board, Hanna, Harlequin (minus 200 casualties) and especially Truth are back on it. Truth in particular makes a frightening return having been fused to a fearsome-looking machine called IFO-0 AKA “Cannon” that looks to be a loose one and big trouble down the line. Even Maggie Kwan – not a Goldilocks member in this dimension – gets some time as an arrogant allied pilot. And the running theme of the week is “what is right and what is wrong”, only everyone’s too busy choosing one side for the time being to really mull over it for very long.
Ao, for one, isn’t willing to hand over the Quartz gun. Japan have chosen the Secrets as their saviors and vow to destroy who they deem the enemy: the Quartz within Scub Coral. With their HQ destroyed and enemies everywhere, Ivica can’t be picky about where he sets the Triton down, so Japan it is. Elena…well, she’s looking out for Elena, having gotten an answer from Ao regarding helping her (“no”, at least for now). And Fleur…poor Fleur lost her dad. She hated him for so long, but breaks down when she hears his voice and sees him on video, bequeathing his company to her. Ao is the shoulder she can cry on; these two are going through a lot together, aren’t they?
Rating: 8 (Great)
P.S. The Allied Forces’ Fortress-type IFOs resemble the flying robot guardians of Laputa in Castle in the Sky. Coincidence?
Car Cameo: Nakamura is sulking in a Toyota Century towards the episode’s end.
Tanaka and the allied forces launch an attack on Gen Bleu HQ, which experiences a blackout when Big Blue World cuts them off. Truth talks telepathically with the Big Secret Head, but doesn’t like what he hears. Naru tells Truth that the masive scub bust on Okinawa ten years ago bore him into the world, a secret who lost his quartz and thus his memory, in human form. He flies into space and manipulates satellites into destroying Poseidon Base.
As allied forces descend on Gen Bleu HQ, including Maggie Kwan, Elena tells Ao and Fleur she’s from another world and wants Ao to take her home. Truth takes the form of Christophe Blanc, but Fleur sees through it and shoots him. Her real dad gives her and Ao a chance to escape, closes himself in the basement chamber, and detonates the quartz within in hopes of incapacitating Truth.
Which world is the right world? Who is the true enemy, the Scub Coral or the Secrets? Who is leading whom, Naru or Truth? These are just a few of the many questions brought up and explored as the shit hits the fan hard at Generation Bleu HQ. We had a feeling the company had a tough road to follow, but we didn’t expect its absolute obliteration. Their space station is destroyed before the commercial break, for crying out loud! This is a big, loud, dramatic powerhouse of an episode that doesn’t hold back for a minute. Things move incredibly fast, but the characters aren’t simply swept up as pawns in the plot, but shine though and have lots of great moments. We found ourselves fully engaged in every single plot thread in play this week, because every one dealt with a revelation.
Elena’s reaction to her download being cancelled (very meta) and her hilariously-creepy Evangelion-referring sight gag belie a very serious and fatigued girl who’s sick of living in this crazy, messed-up world. Fleur’s love and trust in her father prove decisive to her survival, and she has the strength to shoot whom she suspects to be Truth. Truth has never been better, less bwahaha-y and more vulnerable and confused. Christophe, seemingly out of options, goes out with a bang. He’s left the stage to Ao, Fleur, and Elena – youth – hoping they’ll determine the answers to all those questions, free of the regrets and prejudices adults like him must bear. We were royally blown away by the events of this episode, and are extremely excited to see what comes next.
Rating: 10 (Masterpiece)
Ao is a “guest” aboard the USS Ronald Reagan as the carrier group sails to San Diego. Tanaka wants him to sign a contract that will formally end his relationship with Gen Bleu and begin a new one with the Allied forces. Cristophe Blanc and Rebecca are in New York for a UN inquiry. When Fleur and Elena learn about Ao defecting, Fleur gets upset; Elena scolds her for never seeking the truth, then tries to launch Kyrie on her own to get Ao. When the cheif mechanic sees the third engine levels of Elena and Fleur’s IFO’s rising, he gives them the ok to go retrieve Ao. Ao admits he truly wants to go back, and they all return to Gen Bleu HQ. However, after the act of aggression, America declares Gen Bleu a terrorist organization.
These are dark days for Generation Bleu. Once respected and lauded for being an international rescue operation, their concealment of vast quantities of quartz has given their detractors all the ammo they need to alienate them and turn global public opinion against them in the media and diplomatic circles. After the events of this episode – which on a basic level amounts to two girls going after their friend they know doesn’t want to leave them – Gen Bleu finds itself without a friend in the world, and soon, cut off from outside funding. Their alpine refuge may even be at risk. Despite all this, Cristophe Blanc seems amused and even proud that his daughter and Elena got Ao back.
In light of all this misfortune, it makes perfect sense that Ao would want to spare his friends and colleagues by going over to Tanaka and the allied forces, which, after all, outnumber and outgun Gen Bleu. He’s also scared of what the quartz gun may do, while the Americans are more than happy to take it off his hands. But everything about his arrangement with Tanaka stinks. An emotional Elena kicks the blissfully-ignorant-for-too-long Fleur in the butt and they go after Ao. And to his credit, Ao doesn’t turn them away. He knows this stinks too. Damn the consequences, Pied Piper is a team, and he doesn’t want to leave them. But now this means Gen Bleu is an enemy of the world – the “bad guys.” The road ahead will be tough, but they’ll walk it together.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
Hanna determines that Ao’s new “Quartz Gun” altered the timeline, while the quartz mission itself has damaged Generation Bleu’s international reputation. Naru saves the life of a Scub miner after an accident brought on by militant anti-scub supporters of Johanson. Juno’s talk of the alternate timelines Johanson believesin spurs Ao to investigate whether the Goldilocks pilots exist in the current timeline.
It seemed like Ao’s lil’ Itano Circus last week was going to have some lasting consequences, and it did: the world he’s living in is…different. For one thing, Scub Bursts have ravaged humanity in this timeline, to the extent that the world population is only 3.5 billion to the other world’s six. But Maggie and the McCafferys, far from “erased”, are alive and, well, we assume well, if not as happy as when they were pilots.
Ao finds them in Ireland, but doesn’t approach them. While Gen Bleu is surveying a fresh Scub Coral in the sea, they’re approached by a squadron of Chinese gunships. The quartz gun flies into Ao’s arms, is briefly stolen by Truth, then taken back after Ao talks with Eureka in his cockpit. A US coalition squadron led by Tanaka arrives, offering protection for Ao.
That’s what Ao’s faced with with his new weapon, which acts like Mjolnir on many occasions: he has the power to change history…so what should he do? What constitutes a “proper” timeline? Is he even capable of determining such a thing? For now, he wants to bring back Eureka, who told him he now possesses the weapon Renton was looking for for ages. The US offers him protection, deeming the now-pariah-ed Gen Bleu insufficient – which probably hurts Fleur and Elena. Another nice episode with a very surreal atmosphere, setting up a lot of decisions for young Ao, who is so far up to the task.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
President Blanc decides to initiate Operation Polaris, in which all of Gen Bleu’s quartz will be launched from space and lure the secrets that have emerged to its landing spot in the North Pole, where it will be detonated, destroying the secrets. Naru fights a secret off in Iwato, while Pied Piper counts down the hours until they spring into action. Goldilocks takes out rogue Russian missles launched by a cyberattack, but the shock waves knock the quartz off course. Fleur and Elena take it as far as they can, and Fleur hands it off to Ao, who uses his third engine to get it back in orbit, where it transforms into a weapon. He destroys the secrets, but when he returns to Earth, something’s different…
The Olympics are over, and the Astral Ocean is back in full force, with a stellar action-packed romp that’s full of suspense, explosions, and more E7-esque surreality. To whit: Generation Bleu’s President Blance puts all his eggs in one basket (and asks Pied Piper to bring back South American coffee), and they have just one shot to get rid of the secrets that have popped up everywhere. Ao is determined not to let that shot destroy northern Scandanavia, where the McCafferty sisters’ family is at. When the stakes are as high as they can get and he’s the only hope, Ao steps up and gets the job done, even if orders are stretched. He does so with one of the more colorful and elaborate explosions we’ve seen in a while.
Before his heroics, we were getting a little worried about Ao – either due to recent events, the drugs Gazelle gave him, or a combination of the two, Ao having experiences, then abruptly waking up in a camp with Fleur and Elena nearby. He has a bizarre and unsettling dream involving Naru. He still thinks Eureka is his mother. And stranger still, while his actions avert a disaster in Norway, suddenly nobody’s ever heard of Maeve, Chloe, Maggie, or Goldilocks. It’s as if they’ve been erased from existence, or never existed in the first place. Ao is the only one remembers. What exactly did that crazy Quartz Cannon do?
Rating: 8 (Great)
Pied Piper launches into space to deal with a scub coral that has arrived in orbit. They dock at a station occupied by Team Harlequin, led by Chief Hannah, who is interested in Ao. She and her “kids” tell him he’s an alien, as evidenced by his ability to see trapar, and is unnerved when he can’t see it in space. After destroying the secret, Ao heads for the scub coral, when it is attacked by a Japanese railgun satellite and starts to fall to earth. Nirvash can’t escape, but as the coral burns away it reveals a ship: the Gekko-Go, and a second Nirvash. After landing in the ocean, the other Nirvash pilot introduces herself as Eureka.
It was cool enough to see Pied Piper in space for the first time (and all the sundry novelties of a new environment), but we also get some major reveals. Ao learns quite a bit: he’s some kind of alien, at least partially related not only to Truth, but the secrets too. It’s great to see elements from the first series return: namely the Gekko-Go, the other Nirvash, and most importantly, Eureka herself, who no longer has that facial scarring. Her sudden emergence from the scub coral at just the right time suggests the coral affords some kind of transportation, both for secrets, and her.
The episode has a lot of new music tracks, Fleur and Elena get some good scenes and great lines and moments, we get a glimpse of Gazelle, Naru, Truth, and Nakamura, and even learn something about Truth’s past! But the big news here is that the time for keeping secrets from Ao has ended, even if doing so was for his own protection. Reuniting with his mother (if it is indeed the same Eureka) is something he’s always dreamed would happen, and now that she’s here, if I were him I’d have quite a few questions already spooled up.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
As Gazelle & Co. investigate the identity of the musician Miller in Britain and America, Pied Piper engages a new scub coral in Australia. Ao sees Truth’s shadow, but his attacks are useless. Upon retrieving the quartz, a strange trapar-based substance attaches itself to the ships, and later the pilots, causing them to hallucinate. Ao and Elena end up trapped in a vivid hallucination in which they’re on the run with Miller, but in real life Miller is made up of the substance. Investigators in Indiana learn that Elena is not really Elena.
This week, Ao gets all trippy and surreal again. We’re jumping here and there with the characters, and things are happening which may or may not be real. It’s a little disorienting, but that’s the point; the most effective way to portray the character’s disorientation is to put the audience in their shoes. This time the secret doesn’t take the form of an angel-like alien spaceship, but infiltrates thebodies of the child pilots. It makes quick work of scrambling their brains, presumably in order to scatter them far away where they won’t be a threat.
Ao asks a lot of questions about secrets and the scub coral’s origins that Georg isn’t able to explain in the alotted time. So we’re left wondering: are the secrets sentient beings, or do they operate on pure instinct, and this hallucinatory sand-like trapar is their latest survival tactic? A little more confusing is the role of Elena Peoples / Miller. We had a feeling they were the same person, but by episode’s end we’re meant to believe neither the pilot nor the rock star are really the real Elena, for real. So who exactly is she? For now, an enigma.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Car Cameos: Gazelle & Co. drive around in America in style, rockin’ a 1975 Chevrolet Caprice Estate Wagon, one of the more interesting rides we’ve seen in an anime. The MiBs also investigating Elena drive a fairly-new Cadillac CTS.
When Phoenix falls victim to a scub burst and resulting secret annihilates all military attacks against it, Pied Piper is on stand-by on the Mexican border. Rebecka and Gazelle attempt to get the governor to request Gen Bleu’s assistance. The governor himself was once a member of Gen Bleu, and considers himself Rebecka’s mentor. Ivica and Ao cross the border to aid people and soldiers who didn’t evacuate; Truth turns out to be manipulating the soldiers to hold the civilians in a store, which Truth transports to the Grand Canyon for an “experiment”. They learn that the secret considers anything with a human form an enemy and eliminates it. Ao leads everyone to safety by hiding in tents, and Fleur and Elena show up to destroy the secret.
This was a weird episode. At some points, it almost seems as if the governor of Arizona was stalling Pied Piper in order to observe the secret’s behavior, at the cost of lost of life and property. Phoenix is leveled and abandoned, save a group stranded at a big-box store. Ivica, a veteran of the Balkan War, decides it’s a good idea for Ao to get some time on the ground in a combat zone. This turns out to be a bad idea. We can’t say we wouldn’t freak out either if people are vaporizing into nothing right before our eyes. The secret’s “options” are cruelly quick efficient in their slaughter; like the Angels in Eva.
Ao snaps out of it long enough to realize said options are actually pretty dumb; they’ll leave you alone as long as you don’t look like a human. So Ao becomes the Pied Piper and leads everyone out using tents. When Ivica nearly sacrifices himself to open the secret’s mouth and allow the IFOs to deliver a missile buffet, as well as when he enters the warzone in the first place, it’s clear he’s a man who’s hoping to avoid needless bloodshed in the name of further understanding the secrets. Both he and Rebecka have seen enough.
Rating: 6 (Good)
In Japan’s capital Nagoya, army officer Nakamura argues in vain with the defense ministry on developing an artificial plant coral with which to reassurt Japan’s strength. He carries out the plan anyway, and Gen Bleu dispatches Pied Piper to retrieve the quartz at the core of the coral under Tokyo Bay. When the coral forms, a secret emerges. Ao diverts to deal with it while Fleur and Elena head for the coral. They learn the quartz is not whole, but the collected shards of the one that destroyed Tokyo 70 years ago. The secret and the water pressure damage Nirvash, but Ao is saved by Fleur and then Elena. He opens their trapar tanks to lure the secret to its destruction, and when the Nirvash runs out of fuel and is about to implode, Fleur and Elena carry him to the surface. Back on dry land, Gazelle & Co. discover Truth was behind everything. Truth lures Nakamura to his cause.
This week was another rousing and thoroughly entertaining episode with a little bit of everything, including Truth, who as it happens, is not so bad in small doses. We’re not even that concerned with learning more about him. He wants to destroy the world; we’ll leave it at that. This episode also features Fleur and Elena in surprisingly traditional bathing suits teasing Ao (go swim with them, dweeb…the sloth is!); a trip to Japan to maintain the balance of power (which no longer has a Tokyo…or an Okinawa, obviously); some cool, sleek submarine combat, and some really bad van driving from Gazelle (seriously, they’re lucky to have survived that crash…)
The underwater scenes had a nice sense of claustrophobia and suspence, especially when Ao strikes out on his own. About that: he’s never going to see eye-to-eye with Gen Bleu. They may need him to pilot Nirvash, but even if their missions put other considerations before peoples’ safety, Ao never will: he’s going after that secret before it hurts anyone. He gets a pass this week, since there was no quartz per se to retrieve and his insubordination has no ill effects, but there may come a time when Gen Bleu wants him to do something he really doesn’t feel right about doing. Of the three pilots, I’d bet Elena is the only one with no qualms about following orders. The other two have chips on their shoulders, so we’ll see.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Car Cameos: Nakamura travels around in a Toyota Harrier (AKA Lexus RX), while Gazelle & Co. ride in a Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear.
Ao is reprimanded for disobeying orders by being tailed very closely and obviously around Generation Bleu HQ. Fleur learns from Gazellle that Eureka hates his dad like she hates hers. When a scub coral and secret suddenly appear in the Republic of Faisal Arabia, Pied Piper is deployed to deal with it, but the US Government pressures President Fleur to recall the Triton while they’re still en route. Ao leaves the ship in disgust; Fleur follows him. After footage of the hardship in Arabia is shown globally, they are re-deployed to deal with the secret, which is protected by lightning. Elena’s IFO is disabled, leaving Fleur and Ao to work together to bring the secret down.
Finally, an episode that really went the extra mile. The strange confusing events of last week give way to some far more straightforward storytelling and action: Generation Bleu and Pied Piper avoid getting thwarted by bereaucrats and get the job done once again, with Ao and Fleur gaining trust in and respect for one another in the process, to the point where it looks like the begining of a friendship. Fleur is far less aloof in this episode (learning of the burden she lives with helps make her more sympathetic), as if she’s realized picking on Ao isn’t as fun now that she knows more about him. The two had always lacked something they could relate to (besides being teens who pilot mechas, but just watch Evangelion to see how well they got along), but now there’s an opening, and the two find that they not only work well together, but can socialize amicably too. Elena thinks it’s love. She may be premature, but perhaps not wrong. We’ll see.
As for the sci-fi action, there’s a lot of it, and it’s quite good. There’s a nice – if inexplicable – shoutout to Philadelphia as the place that last saw this particular secret-of-the-week, way back in 1752; and it somewhat resembles an eagle. The way it changes form and prepares a kamikaze run on the scub coral really ratchets up the tension. Ao is definitely finding his groove with Nirvash and Pied Piper; he may disobey orders, but his heart’s in the right place. He won’t stand by and let people get killed if he can do anything about it; and that includes stopping Fleur trying to beat the secret on her own, at the cost of her life. We also liked how her dad turned out to be not so bad after all, as he’d staged the footage that swayed the international community to authorize the resumption of the mission. Nice combination of character work and secret ass-kickin’.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
Pied Piper moves in to relieve Goldilocks, whose command ship Medon is destroyed when Chief Bruno collides with the Secret. The three pilots are recovered and sped to the nearest hospital. Ao stays beside Chloe McCafferty’s bed and falls asleep, having not slept for days, but when he wakes up and hears Chloe’s failed strategy, he goes back out in Nirvash. As Fleur and Elena cover him, he flies through the hole in the clouds created by the Triton’s main cannon, dodges the Secret’s attacks and and destroys its core. His victory is witnessed by a mysterious shapeshifter calling himself Truth.
This episode started rather randomly, with two drug-related events in Myanmar and Lima, where some strange dude who can change his appearance dishes out his/her own form of justice. This troublemaker remains nameless until the very end of the episode when she nonchalantly approaches the entrance to Generation Bleu, calling herself “Truth.” He seems like one of those kinds of characters who thrives on chaos, and that’s probably what’s coming next week. But first things first, Pied Piper had to go out and save Goldilocks, and it was up to a hospitalized kindergartner had to snap Ao out of a brief funk.
Again there are momentary shades of Renton: moping about not being needed, then saving the day in as badass a way as possible, then making a stupid face when he’s praised, like a dog. Thankfully they’re only shades, as Renton would’ve probably sat out the festivities this week. Not Ao: even though he’s tired as all hell, he knows he needs to make a statement to his snobbish colleagues, and make sure Bruno wasn’t killed in vain. With a little help from GEORG, the AI with the funny face, he makes that statement. Another very good episode, but Eureka Seven AO has yet to really WAO us.
Rating: 6 (Good)