Fate / Zero – 10

Fate/Zero takes a slight detour from the various machinations of all the Masters of the Holy Grail War to focus on one of their children, specifically (one of) Tokiomi’s (two) daughter(s), Rin. I know Rin from UBW as a kind, brave, talented and headstrong young mage, and her seven-or-eight-year-old Zero self seems to possess all those same qualities.

Following her father’s every word of guidance, young Rin seeks to develop a “reserved and elegant” magic befitting the Toosaka name; of course, she’s just a little kid, and as such has far more potential than proficiency, but Tokiomi is a patient teacher and clearly has big plans for his progeny. However, it’s not safe in Fuyuki City, so he sends her and Aoi out of town for their protection, giving Rin a mana compass as an early birthday gift/bribe.

Rin is well-liked at school, happily spreading her considerable book smarts to her classmates and defending the weaker ones from bullies, who show no interest in going up against her. But one day classmates start to disappear from her school, one ends up dead, rumors fly, and finally her good friend Kotone vanishes.

Rin being Rin, she doesn’t leave the solution to this problem up to the adults, and hops on the night train to Fuyuki to sleuth around…rather randomly actually, but hey, this show is called Fate, so it must be fate that Rin happens to find the perpetrator of the kidnappings in the space of a few hours of wandering the night streets (which the episode makes clear are no place for young kids).

Rin follows the strange man with two kids in tow and a glowing purple bracelet. She doesn’t follow him particularly quietly—causing a racket when she accidentally knocks over some garbage—but she eventually comes upon an abandoned bar where she finds Kotone and many other kids in some kind of trance that renders them unable to defend themselves.

While trying to rouse Kotone, Uryuu appears, and is happy to find another “guest” has arrived of her own accord. Considering Uryuu is the “kid murderer” among the Masters in the Grail War, it seems only fitting to show him from the perspective of a kid, particularly the kid of another Master.

Unfortunately for Uryuu, Rin isn’t your typical grade-schooler, and she summons all her spunk in maneuvering herself into a position to grab Uryuu’s bracelet and destroy it with her mana.

At first, the bracelet seems to affect her like the other kids, but she fights it back, and the bracelet eventually shatters, staggering Uryuu and awakening all the kids, who Rin leads out of the bar. Uryuu is less concerned with them escaping than the condition of the bracelet and the mood of the “big guy” (Caster) when he hears of this incident.

The police are called and all the kids are reunited with their parents, but Rin stays in the shadows, not wanting to take any credit for her heroics lest she be scolded and sent back not homebut away from it. All of a sudden, some of Caster’s tentacle demons take an interest in her, but they are eradicated by Matou Kariya, who either happened to be passing by, or had been monitoring Rin the whole time, concerned for his old friend’s daughter’s safety.

Aoi arrives in the park to find Rin sleeping peacefully, being guarded by Kariya, whom Aoi hadn’t seen since his grotesque transition into Berserker’s Master. He promises Aoi that he’ll win the war and free Sakura from the torture of being a Matou Mage. Aoi worries Kariya will kill himself after killing Tokiomi.

As for Rin, her big adventure taught her that she still has a long way to go before becoming a reserved, elegant mage. But with hard work, perseverance, and obedience to her folks, well…we know how she turns out. It is a bit sad to think that the course of her life, as well as those of Ilya and Sakura, are already all but mapped out, due to their obligation to their families. But that’s just Mage Life, I guess.

GATE – 23

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The last couple of weeks of foot-shuffling was almost worth the wait: this was an adrenaline-pumping powerhouse packed with some proper SDF domination over the Special Region’s painfully outmatched military, and I daresay it’s the best presentation of pure righteous spectacle since the showdown with the Fire Dragon, which feels like ages ago.

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What added to the satisfaction of what was really just a rescue op for the civilians and doves was the intense preparation and precision involved. The SDF officers men have trained for all of this, and now they finally get to show their stuff.

This is less about who’s going to win (obviously, it’s the JSDF in a rout on every single front), and more about the deep pride the SDF shows in everything they do, no matter how pathetic the foe, they exercise the utmost professionalism and efficiency in their work.

The comprehensiveness and abruptness of the SDF’s assault throws Zolzal off balance, but Tyuule is always right behind him to say—in not so many words as to tip him off as to her true goal—he’s dug his grave and now he has to lie in it. She makes sure he understands no matter what happens, he can’t leave this place, or the Empire will fall.

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Itami & Co. are in transit, and miss the big show, but the other forces get the job done, quickly routing the army beseiging the Jade Palace and rescuing the civvies, doves, and Rose Knights without any trouble.

Their swift and forceful efforts have left Zolzal looking weak and kept the possibility of peace alive, all before Zolzal even knows where to send his men (also sending the royal palace guards, leaving himself mighty exposed should Tyuule get stabby).

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However, as Tyuule remarks after Zolzal’s underlings give a very sobering report on their defeat, they still have a significant trump card, and that’s Princess Pina. Bozes knows she’s being imprisoned there, and races off to try to rescue her single-handedly, a highly questionable course of action that exposes Bozes’ lack of experience in this kind of thing.

Luckily for her, Beefeater followed her, and when Bozes’ horse takes an arrow, Beefeater carries her on hers as they flee the charging army. They’re spotted by one of the SDF unit commanders (who is sticking around until the officially sanctioned end of the operation, just in case), who take out all of their pursuers and bring them aboard their helicopters.

Now everyone is safe but Pina, who doesn’t seem to have been sexually assaulted by anyone, but is still not used to being imprisoned, and is starting to panic over the fact she may have been left in that cell to die. Of course, she’s still very much alive for the moment, as Itami, the only man who can save her approaches the capital.

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GATE – 22

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This week everything inches incrementally toward some kind of final confrontation in the capital, where it’s quickly becoming clear to everyone interested in peace that Zolzal can’t be allowed to rule much longer. The Rose Knights continue to fight for his bedridden father, against men who don’t at all want to slaughter the women they respect, who were allies until today. But it’s either the Roses or their families.

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As for Lelei, the assassination attempts continue as she attempts to make a presentation for her promotion to master; a cat-woman under the apparent influence of the Pied Piper. This time, the attack is foiled by Lelei’s fellow mages, watching her back and prompting Itami to wish the JSDF had magic.

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Of course, it’s good old-fashioned dagger in the chest by someone unexpected that seems to get Lelei, as the opportunity for Shandy to strike presents itself, and she takes it.

Meanwhile, as the low-morale Imperial soldiers continue to be beaten back by the knights, Tyuule tells the Oprichnina leader to either gather more men and get the job done, or kiss his own position and life goodbye. All the while, the SDF awaits official orders to intervene in the Jade Palace siege.

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Speaking of inching along, Pina is a “free captive” for all of a day or so before Zolzal’s henchmen clap her in irons and a burlap shift and toss her roughly in a cell, dispensing with her status as a member of the royal family.

Tyuule takes great pleasure in seeing Pina wearing the same shift she wore, occupying the same cell she once spent an inordinate amount of time…perhaps enough time to drive her to her crazy, power and revenge-hungry state.

The thing is, she hasn’t referred to Zolzal as her ultimate enemy in some time; all she seems to be doing is doing his bidding, perhaps all in the name of bringing down the empire. Right now her priority seems to be remaining in power and taking sadistic pleasure in throwing her new-found weight around.

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Shandy, it turns out, was not under the Piper’s spell, but heard that Pina was in mortal danger and believed the only way to save her would be to bring Zolzal Lelei’s head. This is an incredibly naive and shortsighted strategy, so I’m glad she was foiled. But at least she’s able to relay the fact Pina is in a very, very bad way, and needs rescue before something terrible happens to her.

Fortunately, the SDF gets their orders, and a paratrooper unit is quickly mobilized for an operation to save the Japanese citizens and pro-peace asylum seekers. At the same time, Itami and his gang races to the Imperial Palace to free Pina.

Everyone still in play is moving into position, and hopefully their efforts will bear fruit in terms of stopping Zolzal/Tyuule’s reign of terror, which is benefiting no one.

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GATE – 21

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Pina’s Rose Knights fight, bleed and die, but ultimately prevail against the initial force of Gimlet’s cleaners, seeing as how the latter aren’t equipped with plate armor and aren’t exactly great fighters. Sherry, wasting no time demonstrating what a badass she is, stands and watches with unblinking eyes the violence and death she knows is of her making (though I wish she and Sugawara had retrieted within the Palace, lest, say, a stray arrow find one of them).

The knights managed to keep Oprichnina at bay and protect the embassy this time, but a bigger, tougher force will show up eventually, and they’re going to be woefully outnumbered. This leads the officials responsible for the diplomats’ safety to beseech a minister for authorization to rescue them, along with the pro-peace refugees.

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The civilian politician is, well, like pretty much every civilian politician in GATE: a weak weeny who is waffling about doing the right thing because he’s too concerned about his own career and upcoming elections.

He has reason to worry: Alnus is full of press and military officials from all over, and he doesn’t want to look weak. As if the waffling politician weren’t enough, we also have a self-important journalist who has a low opinion of the noble SDF, and makes no bones about his journalism not being totally objective, since at the end of the day it’s a business.

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Meanwhile in Rondel, assassins make another attempt on the lives of Lelei & Co., only they are foiled by Itami’s stuffed beds and a flash grenade. The assassins are far from pros, but they are representative of the M.O. of someone called the “Pied Piper”, who exploits those who are easy to convince of huge plots and conspiracies and lies; in this case, young inn employees were told Lelei & Co. were impostors and murderers.

The key, then, to stopping these attempts on Lelei’s life is to figure out who this Pied Piper is and take him out. At the same time, Rondel has learned through recent messenger of Team Itami’s exploits with the Fire Dragon. In particular, Lelei is lauded as the one who finished it off, furthering the Imperial position that a human and Imperial citizen get the lion’s share of credit for the feat, which doesn’t sit right with Lelei (her word for it is “nasty”).

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Because the Jade Palace-protecting Rose Knights are under Pina’s command, it isn’t long before Zolzal “kindly requests” that she order them to stand down, promising no harm will come to the diplomats (but making no such promises for Casel or Sherry). Naturally, Pina refuses, and attempts to set off for the Palace to see what’s what, but then, in the least surprising move yet by the Acting Emperor, he places Pina under arrest. Frankly, Pina should have sneaked out of the Capital ages ago.

With a force of Imperial regular army—the Rose Knights’ own comrades—over one thousand strong at the Palace gates, the situation is about to explode. So it’s a relief that the civilian minister finally gives the go-ahead for a rescue mission.

Like Sugawara last week, his professional training gives way to his humanity, and he makes the better of two bad choices. There were going to be consequences either way, but at least this way he won’t be sitting back and twiddling his thumbs while his diplomats are slaughtered, along with what’s left of the pro-peace movement.

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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)

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 – 20

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.

Eureka Seven AO – 18

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)

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 – 10

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)

Eureka Seven AO – 08

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)