Eureka Seven AO – 23

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)

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Eureka Seven AO – 22 (Fin; ’till late autumn)

Ao, Elena and Maggie face off against Truth, but he’s capable of creating a trapar storm that disorients Ao, who crashes into a scub coral. He comes out in Iwato, brought there by Naru, who serves him rice and tries to convince him not to fight Truth, who like him, is merely a child of two races. However, his mind is made up, telling her neither of them have changed. Pied Piper, Harlequin, and the Secret allies take Truth on, but can’t make a dent in him. Ao and Naru arrive, and Ao rushes at Truth. Flash forward to a ruined New York City in the year 12021. An adult Renton Thurston witnesses a Seven Swell and flies into it with his Nirvash, hoping to find Eureka and “bring everything to an end.”

We’re not going to mince words like we always do, and just curse instead: that was a fucking awesome episode. It soared with big happenings, big battles, big explosions, big revelations and one hell of a cut to a finish that brought friggin’ Renton back as a hardened, obsessed man on a mission – apparently jumping from time to time and world to world seeking Eureka. He’s a pretty snappy dresser and owner of some strategically graying hair to boot! And unlike the rather pointless momentary cameos of Claus and Lavie in Exile no Fam, he looks primed to play a crucial role in the finale, which apparently isn’t coming until late autumn. That…caught us a little by surprise, though we should have known that was going to be the case, considering the two week hiatus it took earlier in the season. Gotta milk it for all it’s worth, right?

But seriously, enough can’t be said about how much awesomesauce they crammed into this episode – and how it broke down a lot of previous assumptions and replaced them with new ones. Turns out, Naru’s alien ears are fakes, she’s not romantically into Truth (much to Ao’s relief), and is deeply insulted when Ao tries to refer to her as a big sis figure. But Naru’s theory about coral carriers being blessed is getting trashed by Truth’s evil rays, which cause fatal breakouts in anyone affected. Basically, this guy is just a pure force of nature now, who doesn’t want to reason, which makes it seem like a coral/human hybrid like Ao can exist in human society but a coral/secret hybrid like Truth can’t. Unless he’s just a dick…


Rating: 10 (Masterpiece)

RABUJOI World Heritage List

Eureka Seven AO – 21

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)

Eureka Seven AO – 12

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)

Eureka Seven AO – 11

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.

Eureka Seven AO – 09

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.

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)

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.