Posted on 21 November 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Eureka Seven Ao



The original Eureka Seven is a classic. If you like teenagers and mecha, then by all means give it a chance: it has a very rocky start, but has so many defining moments. And so, six years after its end, Bones came with a sequel. It’s quite an interesting series: you really need to have seen the first series in order to enjoy it, yet it is nothing like its predecessor.

The series takes some of the core concepts of Eureka Seven, it takes its defintion of Trappar and Corallian, it grabs the son of the two lead characters of Eureka Seven, puts him into a completely different location and even time, and just goes with it, trying to explain what the hell is going on as it goes along. Where Eureka Seven focused on showing children’s naivety, this series instead turns this around by forcing children in the center of conflict, while emphasizing that they do not belong there in the slightest. With these themes, it tells a story that with one crazy amount of plot twists.

After a bit of a warm-up period, this show just delivers plot twist after plot twist after plot twist. It’s a really good mystery series, with a lot of interesting ideas and twists that come from out of nowhere and give completely different turns to what the plot was before. This obviously has its advantages and disadvantages.

I mean, back with Un-Go, that was a series that had perfect control of its fast pacing. Ao does not, and there are quite a few plotholes. On the other hand though, there are plenty of moments that might seem ludicrous, only to make sense when you start thinking about it. A lot of the plot twists aren’t explicitly explained, or require the viewer to constantly pay attention to what’s going on: this is one series that does not plan to hold the hands of its viewers, and you definitely cannot watch it when you’re tired, otherwise you’ll miss stuff.

Anyway, I have seen plenty of people turned off by the plotholes, but I personally loved what this series tried to do. It’s all about the suspense of disbelief for this series, and let me tell you: if this suspense of disbelief holds, then there is a lot to like about this show. Helping are the characters, who may not be as good as the cast of Eureka Seven, but still are very likable, diverse and entertaining, and this show is also full of unexpected character-development.

What I really encountered here that this show does like none other, is how it treats the old characters of the first series. Out of all the sequels I have seen that focus on different characters than the first, this is BY FAR the best use of the old cast. They are used at the exact right moment, and this show pays homage to them, yet also shows their flaws, it shows who they turned into after the end of the series, and it gives them their own storylines that are more than just “let us old guys just watch over you new guys”. It’s fanservice, but I appreciated it so much.

This is a very ambitious series. You can also see this though the production values, which were some of the most consistent of the year for an action series, containing a lot of fluid and fast-paced action scenes and a really good soundtrack. The plot twists and characters on top of that made it a really fun and entertaining series for me, although this ambition does have its prices to pay with the rushed plot that is easy to get bored with.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Love the ambition of this series of delivering as many plot twists as possible that attempt to weave a whole storyline together. Great mystery, though the rushed pacing and plotholes will be a turn-off for some.
Characters: 8.5/10 – Briliant use of the old Eureka Seven cast, Enjoyable and gripping cast of both main and side characters, although the cast is too big for every character to really show his/her best.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Great production values, excellent soundtrack, really fluid animation at times.
Setting: 8.5/10 – Takes the setting of Eureka Seven, expands upon it, turns it into something completely different and completely changes what it stands for. Might be hard to swallow for fans of the first series hoping for the same.

Suggestions:
Darker than Black – Ryuusei no Gemini
Un-Go
Noein

Posted on with categories: Eureka Seven Ao

Hmm, a lot of you will probably disagree with this, and I’m currently double-checking to make sure of this… but this episode was pretty much amongst my top 5 endings of the year (along with Natsuyuki Rendezvous, Chihayafuru, Natsume Yuujinchou and Sakamichi no Apollon for those of you who were curious).

Why? It just went all out, tried to do a ton of stuff in just 50 minutes and managed to wrap itself up really well for the circumstances, and the way its plot ended up focusing on Renton, Eureka and Ao was just the icing on the cake: the thing I’ve been waiting for for so long, and this show delivered on it. It gave plenty of character to Renton, Eureka finally got some closure, we finally know what happened to Ao’s brother.The entire episode was erratic as hell, and the huge amount of time-skips made it quite hard to follow everything that went on, but that has always been the selling point of this series for me: not holding your hand, and just delivering plot twist after plot twist. And my suspense of disbelief has always been high enough for the characters to not want to bother with the plotholes.

The ending itself, for Renton to not be able to be with his parents… I liked it. After the entire series was building up the themes that children shouldn’t be in the battlefield, and that adults should try their best to support them, Ao entirely turns that around by just trying to do everything himself. This could be his coming of age, or just that he got what was coming to him. I mean, it’s not like this show tries to portray its main characters as right: they too have their flaws, and I really like that Renton wasn’t portrayed in a positive light in this episode, rather than glorifying him way too much.

And the production values were also just awesome. There were lots of gorgeous dogfights and action sequences, and Bones really made use of their time to deliver a feast for the eyes, but the ears as well. The techno soundtrack here really caught my ears and made this an adrenaline rush from start to finish for me.

The thing I like about Bones’ sequels is that they don’t sell out. The creators could easily have made some shallow copy of the original series. I believe that this is what happened to Last Exile’s Fam. Instead, the creators decided to do something completely different with Eureka Seven Ao, and you can see that with all of their sequels: Darker than Black 2 was miles away from the first season. The Full Metal Alchemist and Eureka Seven Movies were also completely different from the TV series, FMA Brotherhood had a completely different style from its first season despite having the same set-up, the Wolf’s Rain OVA went into a drastically different direction. I used to hate this, but as time goes on, I have to say that I really like this: they try to experiment and they’re ambitious with different styles and premises, rather than milking out the same over and over. It is this ambition that I’ve been longing for for quite a while now, and Ao just answered it perfectly. It is both fanservice for the original Eureka Seven, and something completely different at the same time.

Review will come up tomorrow. Too late for that now, unfortunately.

Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 7 October 2012 with categories: Eureka Seven Ao

The bet OVAs are the ones that take an important side story and expand on it. The best example of that in the past seasons was Another with its prequel. Eureka Seven however, has no such intention. Instead, it’s a fanservice OVA. Having said that though, it is a very special fanservice OVA.

I’d recommend watching this one around the middle point of the series, which is where this OVA takes place. The reason I recommend watching it as soon as possible is because it’s an OVA that fleshes out the cast: its value is lost a bit when you watch it after the conclusion, when there is no point to flesh out any characters anymore, and I’m therefore glad to have watched this before the final two episodes, because this definitely showed different sides of the cast, something they actually needed a lot.

Also, by fanservice I don’t mean the kind of fanservice that involves lots of nudity. Instead, Ao dresses up like a girl. This goes to the point where he starts cosplaying as Eureka. Yeah. As weird as this sounds, the direction of this episode was actually quite good. I have to admit, as a fan of both this series and the original Eureka Seven, I enjoyed this quite a bit, especially with the way they used the music, and paid homage to a few obscure series along the way (yay Ranma, Osamu Dezaki and Soul Eater!) It’s just a holiday and everone conveniently forgets what happened at the end, but it was worth it.
Rating: 4.5/8 (Good)

Posted on 30 September 2012 with categories: Eureka Seven Ao

As I said in my Kokoro Connect review: I don’t include dvd specials in my reviews, simply because it takes too long to wait for them. With Eureka Seven’s final two episodes scheduled in November though, I can wait. My memory will still be fresh. And with such a cliff-hanger, I really want to include those final two episodes, because they are promising to be awesome. YES! Renton finally made his appearance!

Beyond that, this episode also offered a lot of answers, which is quite good. Naru and Ao also finally got a chance to talk again, and overall this was very fitting as the episode before the big climax, especially considering how it has been building up to give a major role to Renton and Eureka in the final two episodes.

Finally, I want to comment a bit on why I ended up really liking this series, even though I also dislike other series that also pulled questionable plot twists. First of all I want to get things clear: there is no formula in rating anime. With these things, not explaining everything or pulling plotholes, it’s not like there is one rule that says if there are plotholes, it’s bad. Instead, I care all about the context in which it happens: does it have things to make up for it? For example, I pay much more attention to the things I don’t like in Sword Art Online because I dislike that it wastes its potential with its setting. With Eureka Seven Ao however, I am for one a very satisfied Eureka Seven fan, so it can pull off a bit more, and it all just works together. The plot twists that it keeps pulling are all true to its themes and allow it to get the best out of its characters and have them show themselves off.

As for the characters, I honestly don’t mind them, and actually quite like their charms. This episode for example had some good comedy, their chemistry is good and it was all well built up in the first half. It’s not like in Guilty Crown where the characters just changed their personalities for no other reason than raise drama. This is a line that may seem small on first sight, but it makes such a world of difference. Or at least it does to me.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 23 September 2012 with categories: Eureka Seven Ao

This episode. There was someone involved who made the execution slightly different from usual. The way in which the characters interacted with each other was slightly different from usual, but very noticeable. There were these scenes which were a bit deformed, but very well animated in terms of character movements: they moved all over, and the episode had a lot of strange yet dynamic facial expressions. Most notably the animation at times was very smooth and the movement was very elaborate.

A quick look-up of the animators and directors involved with this episode doesn’t really point to one source that caused the change in style. My best guess is that a few people sat together and came up with the idea to try something new this time, because it’s both the storyboard, animation and direction that have changed. I like this a lot by the way, these experiments. Bones is usually a studio that thrives on consistency, especially in the past years, so seeing Eureka animated so whimsically definitely was a surprise here, but I liked how well that scene brought forth her emotions. Now that was some good use of fluidity.

What also caught my attention was the climax of this episode. This whole episode was basically about Elena. We now finally know all that is up with her: she was accidentally brought in from the past, but somewhere along the way she started finding herself special and thought that she came from a different world. That’s also why she probably created all those alternative personas. But anyway, her climax: she starts yelling and after just one love declaration of Ao she completely calms down. That was very unusual, and while it was a bit weird it worked surprisingly well there. Those emotions of hers were quite nicely done there and I really like these kinds of episodes in which the creators try to do things a bit differently.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 19 September 2012 with categories: Eureka Seven Ao

This show just keeps coming with twist after twist here. A few episodes ago Generation Bleu was against the entire world and now this episode things have turned full circle again with all kinds of alliances being made. On top of that, it turns out that characters who died last episode have left a few parting gifts which also shook things up tremendously, with the most notable being Fleur’s father, who immediately lost that glorious part of his death last episode by basically forcing all his problems on his daughter. That scene in which she broke down. Yeah, I can really imagine that.

Most of the twists were all very nicely built up and continued from the previous episodes. There was one that I’m a bit iffy about, though: that giant super mecha that appeared from out of nowhere and contradicts every rule that Eureka Seven has previously established, by being able to run without Trappar. Perhaps this has been hinted before, but this part for me unfortunately crossed the line between plot twist and ass-pull.

Also, it seems like a quarter of the cast of this show is some kind of spy for something. Elena Peoples especially was being a bit weird in this episode, but with the way she has been behaving lately it surprises me that she took this long to abandon Generation Bleu. Her mental stability makes her a very strange pick to be a spy by the way, since you’d usually want spies to be hardly noticeable. I hope that the creators still have time to explain exactly how she ended up crossing worlds, and why she was the only one from her world who did so.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 8 September 2012 with categories: Eureka Seven Ao

Now this was a big episode! It completely changed the plot and setting and after this, the series will look completely different. This is really what this show needed to make it even better and it’s a wonderful twist to prevent it from getting stale near the end.

I generally dislike “let us adults sacrifice ourselves for the younger generation”-twists, however in the context of this series it fits perfectly. The themes have always been that children should be protected, even if they’re the only ones able to pilot mechas, and that’s exactly what happened here. On top of that the creators went even further by giving the kids a good excuse to be the central focus of the plot: it’s exactly because they have been protected and bear no responsibility for the actions of these adults, that they’re able to be free in stopping the real threat: the Scab Coral.

And yeah: Generation Blue has been disbanded because it has been causing too much trouble and acted way too much behind the scenes. Beyond that Fleur got some really good development out of everything, Elena finally came clean with her story (what the hell has Eureka been doing?!), and Truth also is moving more and more away from the perfect villain that he was when he was first introduced. He may not be dead (unfortunately, I have seen too much anime at this point to know the trick of that cliff-hanger), but even considering that, his role in this series has been completely changed after this episode.
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on 1 September 2012 with categories: Eureka Seven Ao

This episode… had a really good director. This really was a sharp episode, and even though it may not have had the animation of the previous episodes with their Itano Circus and all, I really enjoyed it even more.

It’s not apparent when you just casually watch this episode, but what the direction in this episode did was put focus on the direct environment around the characters. What the creators could have easily done was show Elena peoples walking down some random road. But no, the camera stopped specifically at a flower with really well animated lightingeffects. Nick and Ao could just as easily have a conversation between the two of them, but with that sloth distracting in the background it made the scene so much livelier. And this episode was just full of these details that brought life to these surroundings, and the best thing is that you can really see that the creators put time into placing them there. They’re inspired and creative.

Beyond that, the acting in this episode was also much sharper than usual. Often the characters delivered a ton of emotion and meaning with just one line, or even a simple facial expression. Or take the point at which Elena was consumed by anger: the creators actually twice used the facial expressions of her giant robot and her helmet respectively to strengthen portraying these emotions. This was the work of someone with a lot of passion for this series.
Rating: 6.5/8 (Amazing)

Posted on 26 August 2012 with categories: Eureka Seven Ao

So, this series definitely has this tendency to come with back-stories right from out of nowhere. This episode treated us to the identity of the father of Truth. On top of the nature of the world that the series takes place in: we’re dealing with a parallel universe. Basically this show is what would happen if earth would be invaded by the Scab Coral: it would still thrive, but not as much as we do now. So wait, are the villains in this series trying to move the plot into the current earth?

What’s interesting is how Goldilocks isn’t dead, but instead they never got enlisted. And you know what? I wonder what happened to Bruno in this timeline then: is he still working for Generation Blue, but in a different division or something? Will we actually see him again? What’s also interesting is how Ao nearly loses himself near the end of this episode, leading to quite an interesting cliff-hanger where people actually realize that he is too dangerous with that dimension-altering gun of his. Is that really going to be it, though, or did this episode fail to mention something?

And then there are the characters in this episode who just started to act weird. Elena Peoples… didn’t she try to shoot down the Nirvash a bunch of episodes ago? This episode she apparently decided to try a completely different tactic, but what she has in mind still is a complete mystery. The trio of Gazelle, Pippo and Juno also were different from usual. Juno was in his element when he started explaining things, so that one is logical, but what about Gazelle being so blunt? And has Pippo always been this stupid? The most notable change however was Georg, who sometimes got taken over by a new voice. That one definitely is a plot point that the next episodes will touch upon.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 18 August 2012 with categories: Eureka Seven Ao

Finaly! After two weeks of waiting (those bloody olympics!), Eureka Seven Ao is back! And it still stands out as a very entertaining action series with hard-hitting plot twists. I again went wtf the end of this episode when it became clear what the creators were building up to: completely erasiing Goldylocks from existance.

Again what I like about this series is how vague it is on what’s real or not. This episode also had these strange dreams, but how real these were (whether they were just simple projections of Ao’s fears, or something more) is also very vague. Not to mention that giant superweapon that Ao pulled out of nowhere: what does it actually do? Does it remove people from existance, or was Goldilocks never there and was everything before just an illusion?

Surprisingly, this episode didn’t have Truth in it. Instead the main enemies were the Secrets, which surprisingly were revealed previously to be not as bad as we thought they’d be. Also, what was Naru doing again at the beginning of this episode? My memory from three weeks ago may be have been failing me on that one.

Beyond that, this show knows its action: it often uses this technique known as the Itano Circus, which basically is showing a huge amount of bullets and following them through complex camera movement. Add that to the techno-soundtrack, which I actually think fits better compared to the soundtrack of the first Eureka Seven, and you’ve got the best action of the season by far.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

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  • Emma
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 01:14 PM)
    Additionally Hammill’s joker got both sides of the character down perfectly.
    My favourite depiction of the joker though is definately in Grant Morrison’s arkham asylum graphic novel.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 12:56 PM)
    @bam, Ledger was the best possible live action joker. But Hamell is the real joker to me. When you read jokers lines in the comics, you hear Hammill. Still that fellow in batman arkham origins didn’t do too bad a job.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 12:19 PM)
    @Bam: I remember loving the hell out of that old animated Batman movie from the 90s, mask of Phantasm, that mystery of Batwoman one was worthwhile also.
    Here is the new Jared Leto joker: http://static1.squarespace.com/static/51b3dc8ee4b051b96ceb10de/t/54870f57e4b074be5ade38ad/1418137431644/jared-leto-as-the-joker-in-suicide-squad-fan-art
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 12:06 PM)
    Also it was neat for FF9 to include summons as a plot element. They always existed outside of the story, as most of that series’ battle mechanics seem to happen in a bubble separate from the actual stories.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 12:03 PM)
    *@Emma lol
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 12:03 PM)
    @Joker: he definitely had the quintessential Joker laugh. Ledger was good, but also a lot grirrier due to the film’s tone. That whole animated series is one of main reasons why Batman is still so popular even with the 90s kids who cared very little about comics at that point.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 11:02 AM)
    @Bam: I feel the same way about Mark Hammill voicing the joker.
    As for FF9, I really liked that games take on the Alexander summon.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 09:45 AM)
    @K-off: That’s pretty cool. Conroy is easily the best portrayal of the Dark Knight- as somebody who got the Batman/Bruce Wayne dichotomy down like no other. The trick to get their attention is to be real with them, since they’ve heard every possibly fan praise a million times. I still remember how Maynard’s eyes lit up when my friend screamed “Hey Maynard! You’re a Tool!” at a Napa wine-tasting function he was hosting. You can always bank on weird.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 07:17 AM)
    Very exciting, got to chat with Kevin Conroy in Vegas. I dropped 40$ to get a signature, but I met him afterwards outside the convention hall and talked some generic “fan-to-celebrity” talk, telling him how much I respected his work. I ain’t complaining though.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 12:43 AM)
    I enjoyed Vivi’s storyline tho. I think even tho he was bland and quiet he still had the most emotional developments as a character, which tied in to identity and what it means to be alive. I also liked the “I want to be your Canary” play within the game, it was like a fleshed-out version of the Opera House scene from FF6.

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