I apologize for the delay in Jormungand and Zetman; those reviews will come later this week, I promise! But these past two weeks of Eureka Seven: AO have shown me that this show knows what it’s doing- maybe not yet with the plot, but with its characters, and that’s something I can totally and comfortably deal with.
Fandom apparently is voicing hate and concern for Eureka Seven: AO which in some way, is understandable (not really). We asked for a sequel, and we’ve got a sequel, but chronologically speaking, it’s not the sequel we asked for. Is that a problem with me? Absolutely not; on the contrary, E7 AO has showed me that it’s strong on its own and it’s doing a good job of setting boundaries and goals. I think we often forget that when it comes to a franchise, a series does not have to be chronologically coherent in order to be good; see: Blood C, which continues to get so much shade and hate thrown at to this day. But I won’t talk about that. Eureka Seven: AO may not be the direct continuation of Eureka Seven; I’m still trying to wrap my head around an explanation as to if it’s even in the same universe at all. Other than that though, the terminology and the setting are very much rooted in a Eureka Seven universe. The show didn’t even bother explaining the nature of them, or how the setting works in general. As such, it’s still a sequel- but once again, not the sequel we expected. Is it a bad show then? I don’t personally think so. AO has stood off strong since episode 1 and is still as entertaining to watch as ever. It hasn’t outdone itself in any way, but it has a stronger starter than the original series, and that’s at least one improvement in the area.
These past two weeks have shown me that. While episode 7 had a bit of a clumsy plot revelation, with Naru disappearing with so called enigma Truth, it still took a serious turn. The plot did whiz by us out of nowhere, but that’s the point. It was a smack to the face. The world is not well, not just politically with warring nations, but also with the secrets of…the Secrets and these Scub Bursts. Truth is an answer to it all: he is literally a packet of answers, and the key to understanding what’s going on in the first place, but what does the show do? Instead of focusing on what we thought would be Ao and how special he is and how he’s going to save the world, we instead get Truth going after Naru, who even more surprisingly goes along with him after realizing that he’s the “Sea Giant”.
With the focus swapped, we get some interesting development, albeit subtle, into Naru, who is a particular favorite of mine in the show. The fact that Naru goes out so far for Truth despite only seeing so much of him shows that Naru, while brash and very tsundere-type, has the appearance of a naive girl, but on the contrary, is much more mature than she lets on. Naru isn’t the type to go after such enigmatic men for a reason- she cares deeply about the people she loves, and she will do whatever she can to protect them. So, why go after Truth? Naru knows Truth is behind the circumstances of the Scub Burst that happened in her life years ago- the reason for her illness, the reason for her ability to see into the future- and because of that, she needs to find out about her life. But it’s not just for her. Naru knows that Truth holds the key to something much larger than just her life, and for that she’s curious as to how and what he is. Naru still is naive in some aspects though- defending Truth just because he could be the “Sea Giant’ that saved her life (and also apparently giving her the ability to ‘fly’ though this could just be metaphorical in nature for Naru’s suppressed desire to be free from her illness, the physical and emotional restraints of her family and the island) despite knowing very little about him in general, and going against Ao is childish. But even then, I dearly love Naru for her ability to make such an important decision on her own. The only problem here is if the show will take the “damsel in distress” route and turn Naru- confident, arrogant, but loveable Naru- into just another plot device to prop up Ao’s arc, like Production I.G did with Inori for Shu in Guilty Crown. I’d really hate to see that happen, because despite the little interaction Ao and Naru have had in the show, I do like them as a pairing a lot, much more than Eureka and Renton in first half of Eureka Seven.
On an another note however, I really enjoyed the entire dream sequence. The execution of it was fantastic- it totally threw us out of balance, and the muted colors were a great idea to emphasize the surreality but frightening realness of it all nevertheless. The lack of music, the lack of linearity of the entire sequence was also really great. More importantly, the idea that Truth temporarily took Ao’s form makes me question whether it was really Ao’s dream that we were seeing. Was it also Naru’s? Like said before, the dream was in her point of view, so it’s even more confusing as to what really happened. What was real and what was not is debatable- on one hand, Ao using Nirvash in the dream was probably not really what happened, but things like Naru being able to fly, and the fact that Naru did leave with Truth- all of it is highly questionable. In that sense, our point of view of the situation may be skewed itself. I would like that to be true- Eureka Seven did a great job of showing more than one dimension for the antagonists and fleshing them out in a proper way. Only time can really tell us if this will happen in AO or not however.
With episode 7 leaving us emotionally distraught and completely confused, episode 8 takes a step back and allows us to re-examine the situation, but from another angle. It’s here that Eureka Seven AO shows that it has complete control of itself. Despite such a shocker, it takes things slow- and gives insight into characters that have been kept on sidelines for the show so far while giving some more truth bombs (though more subtle than last episode) regarding the Secrets. Fleur is the star of this episode, with her interaction with Ao as we get a little peek into her life. It’s no tragic sob story, but it follows the parallels that we’ve seen from episode 1- family relationships. Fleur’s father turns out to be the President of Generation Blue (or Bleu, subbers keep changing names) who is more than what meets the eye. Despite telling Ao that he cares for his “children” he keeps an obvious eye on him- so obvious even Ao can spot it. He goes as far as to set up the entire situation in the Middle East, correctly predicting Fleur and Ao’s actions and manipulating them to strike a political advantage. That and the fact that he’s keeping something nasty- something plot relevant- in Generation Bleu and we’ve got ourselves a shady little subplot going on.
But despite knowing none of this (or some of it), why does Fleur hate her father so much? Naively, she answers first- “I just like to trouble him” but underneath that is a much more serious answer. Fleur’s mom and her were in an accident, and only one could live- the President chose Fleur. In one aspect we see this as selfish, but from a parental point of view, wouldn’t most parents choose their kid over their partner? Or at least, that’s the perspective I’ve grown up with. Nevertheless, Fleur bitterly hates the fact that she could have saved her mother even though it wasn’t her choice to make- and that her father truly doesn’t care for her in the way she wants.
Fleur’s struggle to mean something to herself and perhaps her father (Neon Genesis Evangelion vibes, anyone?) is also her strength- it’s what makes her follow Ao’s actions when they go after the Secret in the first place. Fleur’s confession to Ao signals the start of a new friendship because it resonates with Ao. Ao exclaims that he also hates his father, but for reasons unknown. As far as we’ve seen with flashbacks, Ao only really knew anything about his mother, Eureka. We assume that the father is Renton but considering the strong hints that this show is probably a parallel universe of Eureka Seven rather than a direct continuation chronologically speaking, it could be anyone. Whereas Fleur’s hatred for her father, or simply her frustration at him, is more because of an actual event, Ao’s hatred seems to be out of absence. That his father was never there for him- that he probably doesn’t even know who his father is.
While this all is great character development, it also speaks volumes in terms of plot relevancy and connection to the original series. And the show doesn’t stop there- more secrets about the Secrets keep showing up- this week, it’s regarding Benjamin Franklin,with the mention of Philadelphia and 1752. This is the second time this show has done it, and with the fact that the Secret gives off electricity this week, also showing up in a politically fragile spot once again has me thinking that the Secrets have been with humanity for a while- and are appearing at locations for reasons. Did the Secrets help Franklin? Or did they steal his creation/discovery? If we assume that the Secrets or G-Monsters show up wherever a Scub Burst comes, then why do the Scub Bursts show up at those specific locations? Why does Generation Bleu need those Scub burst for its robots? And the End figure, shown from Episode 7- these are all very clear hints that AO is a successor of Eureka Seven.
There are so many mysteries going on- not just with the Scub Bursts, but with Generation Bleu, with the warring nations, regarding Eureka and Renton, and why children must pilot the robots- answers that the show clearly will respond to. It’s just a question of when. So far though, I’m loving the subtlety of it all and the ride Eureka Seven AO is taking us on. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a worthy successor to the Eureka Seven franchise, and we’re only just getting started.
Enjoyment Level: 10/10