Eureka Seven AO – 07

Without warning or declaration of hosilities, Truth singlehandedly wrecks havoc upon Generation Bleu, easily breaching security forces and eventually entering the hangar bay. Ao launches Nirvash with Truth clinging to it, and he unleashes a huge monster. Scenes unfold back on Iwate island, where a trapar factory is being built on the site of the scub coral. Naru approaches the coral and is met by Ao (actually Truth in disguise). He shows her she doesn’t need her inhaler, and she can fly if she wants to. The real Ao shows up and chases Truth, but Naru makes him stop and flies off with Truth, her “sea giant”. Ao wakes up in the hospital next to Fleur and Elena, but they show him a news report of Naru’s abduction.

What do Nazo no Kanojo X, Sakamichi no Apollon, Hyouka, Natsuiro Kiseki, Jormungand, and Sankarea all have in common? They’ve all had at least one episode we’ve seen fit to award a “9” or “Superior” rating. Eureka Seven AO has yet to accomplish that feat, despite being a remarkably consistent, entertaining and well-made series. This week is no exception. While imbued with exciting action, a rousing siege situation at Gen Bleu HQ, and some very strange psychological dream sequences, we found ourselves a bit lost throughout the episode. It’s not impossible to enjoy a story that leaves us in the dark, but in this case, the intrigue was overshadowed by our frustration. In short: we wanted the episode to throw us a bone, and it refused to do so.

Chalk up a lot of our frustration to this “Truth” fellow. After a quick and rather random introduction last week, this week he goes right at the heart of Gen Bleu’s strength, in search of “truth”, which is also his preferred name for himself. He goes after Ao at first, apparently knowing his mother Eureka, but when he sees Ao isn’t going to play ball with him, he goes after Ao’s friend Naru. Hardly anything Truth says makes any sense; he’s trying way too hard to be cryptic and mysterious, and his motives strike us as just as perplexing. His plan changes in the middle of the episode, and we’re suddenly back in Ao’s hometown. Super-omnipotent god-like beings are often tricky because there are so many directions you can take them, and their potential can be overwhelming. That was the case this week; the episode lost us and didn’t bother explaining anything.


Rating: 5 (Average)

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Eureka Seven AO – 06

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)

Eureka Seven AO – 05

The Triton returns to Generation Bleu’s HQ in the Swiss Alps, a huge city-like complex forged from components recovered from scub corals. Nirvash is repaired, and Gazelle, Pippo, and Han are discovered in the hold. They meet with Bleu’s President Blanc and join the company. Fleur and Elena give Ao a tour, where he meets another team, Goldilocks, led by Bruno and composed of Maggie Kawn and Maev and Chloe McCafferty. Goldilocks are mobilized and are quickly ambushed by Secrets hiding in a hurricane. Pied Piper are called in as reinforcments.

This week is all about introducting the organization Ao has just joined, Generation Bleu. The episode does a good job sweeping him right into the middle of this strange, sprawling new place, aptly portraying how overwhelmed and unsettled he feels there. We’d even say he’s a little unwelcome at first, as the snobbish, entitled Elena and Fleur seem put-out having to babysit him. We meet yet more characters, including the three pilots of team Goldilocks (all girls), who are a little kinder to him. But the scene with Elena leaving Ao in the hall is pretty dire; as is Fleur constantly asking him “What are you doing here?” “Why are you here?” “What are you here to do?”

Yeah we get it, Fleur: you don’t like uncertain people. She has a military, no-nonsense way of doing things, and as for Elena, well, she’s in her own little world. But there’s one nice little moment that gives us hope: when Fleur helps Ao get into his suit. She may not be pleased that this green, blue-haired, wishy-washy guy is now a part of her team, but he is, she and Elena are going to look out for him. Maybe. Bleu is putting a lot of faith in the kid’s innate abilities and will, but with Goldilocks in serious trouble, they need all the pilots they can get. Here’s hoping his first official mission doesn’t turn him into a whimpering pile of angst.


Rating: 7
 (Very Good)

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.