Renton tells Ao and Pied Piper about how the Scub Coral used quartz to travel across parallel universes, but when they approached Earth, were attacked by the Secrets. The Scub Coral traveled to Earth’s past to escape, but to no avail, and Scub Bursts were born. Renton believes it’s his duty to restore the natural timeline by destroying the first coral, even if it means sacrificing himself and Eureka. Ao disagrees, flies into the pole light, and goes back ten years to when Eureka became quartz to protect him. Renton follows, and the two are reunited. Ao tells them to flee, and stays behind to fire the quartz gun once more. Having saved his parents and secured their happiness, he wanders time and space for a time, returning to Iwato Island in 2027.
This final episode had a lot to say do and no extended amount of time to do it (save abstaining from an OP), and while at times it struggled under the weight of its own convoluted explanations and convictions, it handled the task quite well. The series amounts to a jigsaw, the peripheral pieces of which had been set into place in a scatter-shot manner, always holding back till the end, which was this. The final pieces, the ones that bring the whole picture together, were set down. Now that we can see the picture clearly, the series could just as well have been titled Eureka Seven AI. “Ai” as in Love. Love brought Ao into the world and his parents’ love protected him.
Ultimately his love for them drove his decision to repay them for giving him life and preserving it by saving his mom and making sure she reunited with his dad. Despite growing up without either of them in his life until then, he turned out to be a pretty grateful kid. And we really can’t criticize his sentiment; he quite literally wouldn’t exist without them. The love they had for each other, then, was the real truth of this whole series. As for Truth, the guy? Yeah, he was an evil villain in one universe, but a Nirvash archetype in another. Go figure! Fleur, Elena, and Naru? They kinda get hosed in this episode. When an older, longer-haired Ao arrives at the post-quartz world of 2027, we unfortunately don’t get to see them, or how they might have changed. A wrap-up montage would have been nice.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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.