Eureka Seven: AO this week? Can only be summarized in one word. Wow.
If I had one complaint with this episode, it’s only that I didn’t get the FLOW opening I was hoping for, but I’m guessing that’s for next week. But that’s it. This episode was an emotional roller coaster ride, hitting the adrenaline-pumped highs and the downright nostalgic and heartwrenching lows. I’ve praised Eureka Seven AO for having a solid shounen mecha style with subversive shounen tropes, but now it’s a good time to start praising how it manages to further the boundaries of what it means to be a ‘sequel’. Not only did we get serious continuity here, but we also got a very strong vibe that despite having strong attachments to the original series, AO is still very much a show that stands on its own two legs.
We can start off with saying that the Eureka we see is the one who was pregnant with Ao and is from the past…or future (totally called it!). As such she doesn’t know Ao is her child, nor does she recognize Ivica or Endou when they recognize her. Luckily, I’ve seen enough time loops (thanks, Doctor Who) in television to get a solid grasp on what was going on early enough, but even then it wasn’t too hard to understand. The good thing was that the time loop was kept simple. It consisted of two events: the event from 13 years ago and the event of this Eureka crashing down to Earth. The Eureka from the past doesn’t know the people whom she interacts with months later…or thirteen years past for us, but it’s because she’s introduced to them now that she’ll be able to help them in the past/future. It sounds confusing, but the episode does a good job of making the time loop clear and concise. What’s more interesting than the time loop are the several revelations. The first one being that Eureka happened to come here because in her world- Eureka Seven‘s world- the Scub Coral are dying and she needed to find out the reason why. As she was working with Renton to find the cause, she stumbled onto a Scub Burst and was transported here. Second, that the Scub Bursts can be prevented by taking the Quartz; Eureka took the Quartz from 13 years ago as she instigated a Scub Burst and went back (presumably) to her world. Why she needed that Quartz to find out how the Scub Corals were disappearing, or why IFOs need Quartz to function, is something we still we don’t know. But she did leave her Nirvash behind with her 13 years ago- the Mark I that Ao is currently piloting. Lastly, the Secrets are not our enemies- predictable of course, but it does raise up some interesting theories. One is that Truth, who was revealed last week to be a scientist’s son, might be a Secret himself. The form he released in this week’s episode was awfully familiar to the Secret Eureka escaped from with the Quartz 13 years ago. The Secret appeared to be solidified, which begs the question of who really defended Naru from the Scub Burst if Truth/Secret was immobilized. Also, the fact that the Gekko Go was carbon dated to have been created in the future either makes Ao’s world the world before Scub Coral really existed properly and covered the Earth, or just an alternate universe where the timeline runs a lot slower.
Despite this episode being loaded with some heavy content, the pacing made it feel pretty light-at least, plot wise. Emotionally though, like said before, this show was loaded with feelings. From the moment Eureka gave details about her life with Renton to the way Truth brutally killed Endou- Endou, whom we only had a glimpse of here and there- this show doesn’t give the audience a break, mentally or emotionally. Even the moment where Eureka stuck her drive in and rose into the air felt intense and uplifting at the same time. Even then, the episode still didn’t feel so overwhelming to the point where I felt totally lost or stranded from the linearity of the past episodes. Why not? Eureka Seven: AO definitely keeps an intense pressure on all of its episodes one way or the other, something different than the way Eureka Seven handled its episodes. This is because AO has less filler episodes and less episodes in general, and thus focuses much more time toward its plot and character building. Despite the episode count, it builds gradually though, which makes the journey enjoyable and smooth rather than feeling uneven and jagged, as most sci fi two-cour shows do these days.
And so far, this show has kept that pacing and quality up. We’re steadily working our way into the second half, and as the preview states, the walls of our universe are about to crack. Eureka has given new life into this show, and it’s time to see how that energy and life will be used. My hunch is that this is only the beginning of a descent into more serious and troubling times, and Ao is going to be caught in the middle of it all. While everything is progressing perfectly to me so far, Truth really needs to get a grip. The dude is annoying me to the point where I might punch something if he gloats around and offers no reason or actual truth behind his motives. I know the show is probably going to paint him as a tragic hero once we understand the nature of the Secrets and their origins, but by that time, it probably won’t be enough to actually shake my negative feelings toward him. Hopefully the other parts of this show will amaze me as they’ve been doing for some months now and balance it all out. I guess we’ll have to see next week to see if things will clear up a little better, right? Nah. Eureka Seven: AO has showed me enough that it knows what it’s doing; I have enough trust in it to just ride where it takes me. :)
Extra Note: That said, something I really need to praise, more than just pacing and plot reveals is Ao’s character. Bless. This. Kid. I usually don’t have too many feelings about shounen protagonists but Ao is a shounen protagonist done right. He’s mature but still childish enough to not fully comprehend the entire situation, but he’s willing to learn from his mistakes, and he never whines. Even in this episode, where he finally broke down and decided to be selfish (and let’s be real- he had every right to, this was his mother we’re talking about) he still mustered the courage to a.) understand that he was in his mother’s belly and called Eureka by her name and not ‘Mama’ b.) try and understand Eureka’s feelings about Renton, and c.) let his mother go and help her return to her world despite wanting to keep her to himself. Ao is really the reason why this show shines other than for plot reasons, and his maturity and growth has been really splendid to watch.
Enjoyment Level: 12/10