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)
Nirvash is fixed as Generation Bleu tries to plan their next step. Han and Pippo are in Japan witnessing Nakamura’s continued parading of the Secret head; they report they’re getting close to communicating with it. When a dormant scub coral reawakens, Pied Piper goes after the secret, which has human form and shoots Ao down. Corals all over the world start to reawaken. Han and Pippo smuggle Georg into a server farm, and he is ‘hacked’ by the secret.
With all the recent doins’ transpirin’, it’s starting to look more and more like a crossroads is coming for Fukai Ao. It also seems like as brief as his mother Eureka’s presence in his timeline was, it was definitely some kind of catalyst. The scub corals are behaving like they never have before, the secrets are getting less and less secretive, and, as we said, Ao is torn between believing his mother’s insistance they’re not his enemies, and his comrades at Generation Bleu insistance that they are.
Ao isn’t the only one facing a tough choice (though it’s wearing on him to the point he needs pills from Gazelle to sleep); Fleur’s dad Cristophe Blanc needs to decide who to fight: the scub coral, the secrets…or both. There’s a sense of hesitation in Ivica’s talk with him: what if the secrets are allies simply protecting their dimension? Blanc’s ultimate decision is to use the massive stockpile of quartz they’ve extracted from scub corals as secret bait. We’d probably just maintain a high-alert wait-and-see position before going after one side or the other, but maybe Blanc knows something we don’t. He’s the boss for a reason.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
After communicating with the Coralians, who are partially occupying her body, Naru emerges back on Iwato Island. After helping Eureka return to where she belongs through use of the pillar of light, Ao visits Iwato Island where he learns his real father didn’t abandon Eureka, but was fighting for him. Before leaving, Eureka insisted she was pregnant with a girl, not a boy. Ao visits Naru at the hospital, but they’re both arrested by Nakamura and the JAF, who have invaded Iwato. Naru escapes with the help of a real coral and unearths the Mk. I. Eureka travelled in, and when Ao hesitates joining her, she flies off with Truth.
This week we get a new OP, a new ED, and a whole lotta new, big developments. Ao and Generation Bleu are faced with two possible truths: either it’s as Naru says and the Coralians are only interested in communication and coexistence, or it’s as Nakamura says; the Scub coral are an invading force, and secrets are the earth’s defense mechanism. Nakamura retrieves a secret fragment and parades it over the airwaves like it’s King Kong, and the international community okays his invasion of Iwato. He wants Naru under quarantine and for Ao to pay for his crime of attacking the JAF and killing Colonel Endo. The usually neutral Gen Bleu can’t do much.
Who are we to believe? Well, we’re more inclined to believe Naru about the Coralians, but she’s so cold towards Ao, we have to wonder about her motives, especially since she’s not 100% Naru anymore. Her transformation into something nearly as enigmatic and powerful as Truth was something we weren’t expecting. As for Eureka having a girl…what does that mean; Ao has a sister out there somewhere? And why was Elena hellbent on killing Eureka? For every mystery this episode shed light on, many more remain. But we’re definitely enjoying the ride.
Rating: 8 (Great)
A pregnant Eureka arrives on earth, and she and Ao hole up in the Gekko-go awaiting rescue. Nakamura calls upon Colonel Endo, whose life Eureka saved 10 years ago, to join him as the Japanese navy heads to the Gekko-go; the Okinawans are also en route. When Ivica arrives and Eureka doesn’t recognize him, he realizes she’s come from thirteen years in the past, when she was still carrying Ao. Endo arrives to take Eureka into custody, but Truth stops him and claims her for himself. Both Ao and Eureka board their Nirvashes to fight him.
I tellya, Eureka can’t be in a dimension for ten minutes before nations converge on her. The girl from the first series who would become Ao’s mom, is a mysterious and intriguing twist on an already interesting series. We don’t mind her showing up, especially under such strange circumstances: it seems she’s a time traveller. The fact that she’s carrying Ao…while talking to the thirteen-year-old version of him – is just bizzare, but we like it. It doesn’t matter where or when she is; Eureka is compelled to protect her son and the world he lives on…from the likes of Truth.
As for Truth…we’re not quite sure why he allied himself with the Japanese forces, when he can go wherevrr or do whatever or be whoever he wants. But we do understand why he wants Eureka…kind of. Eureka’s special, no matter what dimension she’s in. She’s also powerful. Whatever Truth is after, he may be able to get it faster with Eureka’s power at his disposal. Naturally, Ao is having none of this, and neither is she; they’re not going down without a fight.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
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.
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)
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)
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)