The good news: We have two weeks to digest the information given in this week’s AO. The bad news: We have to wait two weeks.
I guess when you mix two of my favorite things in TV land – anime and the Olympics – disaster erupts. I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with two weeks of no AO to make my week exciting, but at least this will give me time to sort through the massive heap of questions and answers that have recently been given in the past few episodes, and enjoy the Olympics at the same time (I had planned on the latter anyways).
IMPORTANT: As it turns out, ggsubs made a critical error in their subbing of Eureka Seven: AO episode 14 (thanks, 8C and David for helping out!). At 20:46 onward, when Naru turns to talk to holographic!Eureka, Eureka says, “Please help Ao. He’s on a mission to destroy the Scub Coral.” FUNimation’s version was different, as it said, “Please help Ao on his mission to destroy the Scub Coral” (two very different things). The official transcription for the scene is “horobosu nakereba naranai” or literally “mustn’t not’, so FUNimation is correct in this version. Eureka is telling Naru that she should help Ao to destroy the Scub, not save Ao from his mission on destroying the Scub. In other words, my theory from last week about Eureka and Naru being on the same ‘side’ is wrong- Eureka clearly wants Ao to destroy the Scub while Naru does not.
I will admit that this episode was definitely more lax than the previous episodes, but it still had a chockfull of hints and answers (and more questions). For one thing, we finally got some more focus on the sort of ‘team’ dynamics of Generation Bleu and deal with the aftermath of Episodes 11-14. Ao returns home to find that he’s not particularly ready for what’s facing him. I would like to remind everyone at this point that Ao is twelve, and he is taking sleeping pills. The last time I saw someone take sleeping pills, they were twenty six. It may be Gazelle’s poor judgment skills, or maybe kiddie sleeping pills, but it clearly shows that the stress Ao has been building up all this time from these events is slowly taking a toll on him. That’s something I really appreciate in this show, as stress factor, or weakness in general, is something that’s overlooked in shounen shows. I guess this ties back to Eureka Seven: AO being a shounen-like show while subverting those shounen elements, as I’ve said in some of my earlier posts. Nevertheless, Ao’s judgement, clouded by a lack of sleep, bad dreams, confusion, and muddled emotions leads him to being vulnerable and attacked when he and Pied Piper attack their next Secret. A thing I do dislike is how the Nirvash, whenever attacked, isn’t shown to be attacked- this might be a restraint on budget, but some intercom stating that Ao fell down isn’t enough for me to really feel the whole loss. This is the second time they’ve done it, and it’s a bit annoying. But Ao being bedridden is enough, with Chloe, a nice reversal of roles from Episode 6. As Pied Piper falls with the new development of the Secret (whose attack is uncannily similar to that of Eureka’s Nirvash- the one Naru took), Team Goldilocks decides to take their place. The Secret is defeated with the effort of all five girls, but even Christopher notes the change in difficulty and how it will affect Generation Bleu and their teams.
If that’s not enough, the sudden change that Scub Coral around the world are suddenly becoming activating again heats things up. I really like this change for one thing, as it begs the question “What changed?” but also initiates a global change. Eureka Seven as a franchise is very much about global events- both in terms of sci fi mechanics but also political mechanics and ethnic tensions. As the world starts panicking and everyone starts calling for Generation Bleu for help- who only has eight children to save the world- Ao is also trying to deal with past events. His conversation with Chloe is one of the more emotional and solid things to come out of this show; while Eureka Seven: AO doesn’t have enough time to spare for excellent character development, the time it does use for character relationships is well spent. Chloe talks about the place where she grew up- a place affected by trapar waves but also violence. It’s hinted that Chloe lost her parents to the Secrets which is why she is so determined that they are her enemies. But her resolution is not enough to put Ao fully back together. On the contrary, it makes him even more depressed. Ao is saddened by confusion and loss, but isn’t allowed the time to pull himself out of this pit and get back on his feet. Clouded by a loss of what to do, who to believe, along with the feeling of being useless, all Ao can think about is why Naru left him for Truth, and what’s really going on. The great thing is that Eureka Seven: AO has built Ao so well as a protagonist that we nearly empathize with him throughout the series, and this moment is one of those where I, as part of this audience, felt his frustration. I really enjoyed this part, especially when Chloe and Ao switched places, with great parallels to what each one believed they were fighting for and their own personal concerns.
Ironically, what drags Ao is what puts him back to work: the desperate situation. Called back to his duties, Ao gangs up with Fleur and Elena to the main dock where George has finally been able to piece together the code that the Secrets have been emitting when they emerge. It turns out that not only are Secrets conscious beings, they can talk. Communicating with Generation Bleu, the Secrets say that they are organisms that have been created by the planet to defend any sort of invading system that enters the Earth. Similar to white blood cells, the minute an invader enters the system – an invader being a Scub Coral – the Secrets will appear to destroy it. This runs concurrently with Nakamura and Eureka’s statements in the previous episodes that Secrets were not our enemies. This is confusing enough as it is, so let’s try and sort out our facts and theories yet again.
- Secrets are biological organisms created from the Earth to protect the Earth (think: white blood cells)
- Secrets appear whenever a Scub Burst, but not a Scub Coral appears.
- We do not know why a Scub Burst happens, but it obviously has something to do with the Quartz.
- The Quartz are the ‘heart’ of the Scub Coral; when you take them out the Scub Coral is supposed to be deactivated and the Burst, stopped. The Trapar wave concentration also decreases immensely.
- The Quartz that were taken out of the Scub Coral are still out, but the Scub Coral have reactivated – probably thanks to Truth and Naru’s efforts.
- Secrets take a variety of forms that may or may not have to do with shapes involved in the future.
- They have also overlooked human’s progress and have even used humans’ technology for their own purposes (Benjamin Franklin, 18th century, electricity, in this episode, Nirvash’s ability to shoot and target)
- In essence: The Scub Coral take over and make a Scub Burst, the Quartz fuel the Scub Coral and the Burst, and the Secrets are after the Quartz.
Christopher stores the Quartz taken from the Scub Coral into a telescope (already mentioned earlier in the show) and remarks that it is used as a weapon to wipe out the Secrets, which is confusing to me. If anything, by creating a mass of Quartz in space, you’re drawing Secrets to the Quartz. Unless that’s Christopher’s intention of making the Quartz ‘bait’, I’m not really sure how the telescope can work as a weapon. What is interesting is that if the Secrets are after the Quartz, as they say, then shouldn’t they have noticed the pile of Quartz gathering in space a long time ago? Which leads me to think that either:
- The Secrets are lying
- The Secrets cannot function in an area that lacks trapar. Scub Corals emit trapar waves, but as Mama said before, space lacks any sort of trapar (which is why it was so hard for Ao to fly in space). If Secrets were created by Earth, wouldn’t they be able to adapt to function both inside the Earth’s atmosphere and outside of it? Also, weren’t trapar waves developed when the Scub Coral arrived (as they produce it) – so why would the Secrets need trapar to function when they are from the Earth itself and not the invasive species of Scub Coral? Which then leads back to the fact that the Secrets are lying, or they’re just not telling the whole truth.
There’s obviously some fishy stuff going on. The fact that the Secrets could speak but chose not to is shady enough for me- and if that isn’t enough, the fact that Mama disguises her testing of Ao through a ‘general medical checkup’ for the entire city is weird, especially when it’s been said again and again that the only thing special about Ao is his eyes. That, and the fact that the government was able to understand the Secret’s messages before they actually sent messages of their own is worrisome enough. Apparently next week is going to even be a bigger climax, plus Eureka coming back in some way or another. While things are slowly starting to add up, it’s still difficult to see what’s going to happen next or what the entire picture is. But at least we have pieces of the puzzle, right? …….Right?
“A life without pain is meaningless…” Fullmetal Alchemist tells us. Let’s just hope Ao doesn’t have to go through any more traumatic pain until the end.
Enjoyment Level: 9.5/10