Eureka Seven AO First Impressions – Looks like the Scub Coral is at it again
April 20, 2012 Leave a comment
Eureka Seven was a spectacular series, beautifully animated with a fascinating story set in a world that was both realistic while also being strange, bizarre and amazing. It was a series, which showed Bones at the exuberant best, with colorful backgrounds, great flight sequences, surfing in the sky and a fascinating story. It was however a deeply flawed series, one that hard grand ambitions which often meant that the show veered off course, and became a pretentious mess at times.
It also got so convoluted that it was often hard to really work out what was going on, with story arcs seemingly going nowhere, then suddenly picking up again later in the series and odd characters. The main character Renton, while fascinating, was also incredibly annoying and whiney, and while the story itself was great, there were times when it dragged its feat as if it did not entirely know where it was really going. And yet, it was a great series that even during its most pretentious and convoluted moments, still managed to pull out something excellent that made you forgive and perhaps forget why you were so annoyed.
It was however, and actually still remains one of my favorite series, and as such I was a little cautious when approaching this sequel. The problem with sequels, as demonstrated by the recent Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam is that they can be terrible and largely miss what made the original series so great. There is often a tendency to try and expand the universe from the original, which on its own is not a bad thing, however, they can also do it in the wrong ways. Now, I did have certain misgivings about Eureka Seven AO, and perhaps still do, largely because the plot synopsis looks remarkably similar to that of the first Eureka Seven series, albeit without the whole, father saved the world part.
However, unlike the Last Exile sequel, which changed fundamental elements of the Last Exile universe, plus adding what has to be the worst set of lead protagonists in a series for a long time, Eureka Seven AO appears to have kept the same elements that made the first series so great. Although, this does open up Eureka Seven AO to similar problems to do with convoluted plot, pretentious story arcs, and also annoying characters. But for now, that familiarity has certainly done a lot to bring the world once again to life in the vibrant colors that BONES are known for.
However, the premier of Eureka Seven AO clearly show that BONES are back, with their usual exuberant animation style, introducing us to the colorful world of eureka Seven once again. Seeing those bright green trails from vehicles in the sky certainly helped to bring back memories of all the ‘reffing’ (sky surfing basically) that took place in the original series. We seem to have the classic Eureka Seven mecha designs back again, with robots surfing on a sort of surf/snow board in the sky, something that was always great to watch in the original. It has all the hallmarks of a BONES series from the character designs to the colorful world itself, which is hardly surprising since it appears that almost the entire original team who had worked on Erukea Seven, X’amd, and many other great BONES shows’ are back.
The story starts in ruined Tokyo 2025, the world is divided into super nations with private security companies appearing to have free reign over the world. From the first scene it appears that the peace with Renton, Eureka and the Gekko State fought so hard to create is slowly disintegrating with the Scub Coral once again ‘invading’ earth (of course like always it remains unclear as to what exactly has happened and if they are even truly invading). The story then switches to the Iwato Jima, part of the Okinawan archipelago, and introduces us to AO and Naru. Ao and Naru pick up a sloth Naru calls Noah, apparently to save it from poachers, and I assume the sloth will become something of a mascot/pet for the series. It appears that Naru is ill, having to carry around an inhaler of some sort and cursing her ‘inconvenient’ body. It was also quite a surprise finding out that 14-year-old Honjou Yuutaro voices 13-year-old AO – and he does an excellent job in this first episode, showing Ao to be a teenager, although quite mature when he has to be.
Like always, while the world of Eureka Seven is incredibly colorful, there are also darker undertones, with the implication that political and military forces are attempting to get their hands on a new LFO (what appears to be a re-colored Nirvash is the preview is anything to go by). And just as AO gets his hands on a turquoise colored bracelet, dropped by a gang of what appear to be underworld couriers, a Scub Coral and subsequent ‘Secret’ descend upon the unsuspecting Iwato Jima, causing untold havoc and chaos.
It is not yet clear how Eureka Seven AO fits into the Eurkea Seven universe, and how AO himself is caught up in all this. It is clear that he is the son of Eureka and Rento, as shown in a brief flashback, and naturally he will have the power and ability to pilot the Nirvash, however at the moment that is about it. As with the original Eureka Seven, it will likely to take a few episodes to get into the swing of things, and probably a few more before anything is properly explained. Although it does not appear to need previous knowledge of the original series to watch this sequel, something that is clearly deliberate on the part of BONES.
Seeing the iconic mecha designs and colorful world once again was a treat, and it did bring back memories of the exuberant madness that BONES managed to produce with the original series. If Eureka Seven AO manages to pull of the same kind of plot that the original had, along with the great action sequences it should be great to watch. Unfortunately there is also the possibility that it falls into the same traps as the original, and becomes overly complicated, convoluted and pretentious. I still have certain problems with seeing a sequel to a show that largely ended on a perfect note with little need to continue the story though. Along with the initial plot while not identical, still incredibly close to that of Eureka Seven and I have yet to be fully convinced.
To bring up Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam once again (a different show, but one that did start well), there was the potential there, but it ended up degenerating into a horrible mess, and by the time anything interesting happened, I had since lost all interest. I am not suggesting that it will happen with Eureka Seven AO, but there is always an inherent problem with many sequels that try to emulate the brilliance of the original, while also attempting to change it and failing. However, having said that, the premiere held enough to make the show incredibly enjoyable to watch. Furthermore, seeing BONES back in action, demonstrating that the beautiful hand-drawn animation of which they are so famed for can produce a world filled with vibrant colors, along with producing an interesting plot with political and social undertones means that this show has got off to a promising start. I will not write it off as a waste of time, and remain optimistic about the prospects of another great BONES production, while tempered with certain element of caution, since this is after all a sequel.