Final Review: Eureka Seven AO

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless otherwise noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Eureka Seven AO (Astral Ocean, Ao Fukai, etc…) whatever you want to call it, follows titular character Ao Fukai as he tries to find out the mystery behind why his mother, Eureka, disappeared. Granted with Nirvash Mk-II, which was supposedly piloted by his mother, he now joins Generation Blue in the team Pied Piper to fight against the Secrets, Scub Corals, and the “Truth” that threatens humanity. Eureka Seven AO is the sequel to 2005-2006’s popular series Koukyoushihen: Eureka Seven and by the same staff and studio who worked on the original series. Eureka Seven AO ran for two cours starting in Spring 2012 with its final two episodes delayed (supposedly due to the summer olympics) until November 2012. It was licensed and simulcasted by Funimation Entertainment during its run.

Eureka Seven AO’s setup is boring and dull compared to its predecessors. It was full of a whiny main cast, a whiny military, a whiny island, etc… Everything could really describe the first few episodes as whiny. It left a very sour impression on me given how good the original series was. Even if you haven’t seen the prequel, it should immediately evident why this series is bad. It starts out very cliche and predictable and there’s no real hook. As the series progresses, the character development is generally scarce and episodes feel far too episodic. Once it reaches the half way point, the series becomes an acid trip. Eureka finally makes some sort of an appearance yet we’re introduced to this whole space time continuum nonsense that never fully gets explained. The primary antagonist, Truth or even Ao’s childhood “friend,” Naru hints that the “true” timeline is what happens in “reality’s” actual history, i.e. Okinawa is part of Japan, event of WWII, etc… Regardless, the explanation is incredibly shallow and the story never manages to focus in on one particular idea. It jumps around as much as Eureka basically comes and goes. And of course, we then run into events such as the Scub Corals not being bad, the Secrets not being bad, and of course prequel protagonist, Renton, shows up just in the final couple episodes to “save the day.” Unsurprisingly, the conclusion provided a “closure” of some form but of course in a deus ex manner where nothing felt really resolved and easily forced. Should I also begin to question how Ao is able to breather properly while several thousands of feet in the air or even why the series did a “world reset” in episode 22?

Background is nice and detailed. Character designs are okay but definitely preferred those from the original Eureka Seven much more. Animation is okay and could be better. Dog fights are cheap looking. BONES should really get another studio like GAINAX, Sunrise, or Satelight to teach them how to do proper mecha dogfights. In terms of quality, it’s pretty much Star Driver level. Maybe a bit better but like I.G. Production, BONES has really disappointed me as of late.

OP themes are by Hemenway and FLOW. Hemenway’s theme is okay but not really memorable. Still fitting with the show, however. FLOW on the other hand easily struck Eureka Seven nostalgia. ED themes were primarily by Stereopony and joy. joy’s theme doesn’t really fit with this show nor is it my cup of tea. Stereopony’s theme is only okay at best and rather disappointing seeing as this is their last anime song (the band disbanded recently). Background music is okay with sound effects also relatively average. Seiyuu wise, it’s rather disappointing. Hearing Kaori Nazuka as Eureka again was probably the best part of this show but I feel it wasn’t as good as it used to be. Keiji Fujiwara as Renton disappointed me. Eureka Seven fans know that Renton looked up to Holland in the original series and even said he wanted to be like him when he grows up. However, who would’ve thought that the staff would even dare to cast Keiji as the same voice for both Holland and Renton? I’m personally not a fan of this choice. Lastly, Yuutaro Honjou voices Ao. He’s never been close on my list of “good seiyuus” and this role only drops him further. I’m a bit worried now of his role in Nerawareta Gakuen as Kenji.

Enjoyment? Not a single bit. This is a disgrace to the original series and follows the already borderline movie from 2009. I’m rather skeptical at this point about the franchise and it goes to show to not beat a dead horse, or in this case a series that has closed and succeeded. There’s no real recommendation to this series as the overall Eureka Seven concept is unique but if you’re a fan of the first series, I advise you stay away and don’t waste your time. Let yourself enjoy what Eureka Seven originally was.

Overall, the Eureka Seven franchise is on a downwards spiral. It’s failed to prove itself twice in a row now and it only gets worse and worse. The show basically tries to pull a combined Evangelion and Gurren Lagann. Clearly this failed and the staff need to begin trying new works/ideas outside of the Eureka environment.

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0/1): Uninteresting.
  • Character Personalities (0/1): Whiny brats all over the place
  • Character Development (0.5/2): Maybe a little but not very relevant to the “plot” if you could even say this story had one.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (0/2): So it turns out Ao is the only important character as he basically stole the spotlight in the last four episodes by being able to rewrite history. Thereby erasing Truth and Naru’s relevance in the show at all.
  • Pacing: (0/1): Easily a 0.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (0/2): Nope.
  • Conclusion (0/1): Can you even call that a conclusion?
  • Total: 0.5/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1.5/2): Nice and detailed.
  • Character Designs (1/2): Average. Unique for some.
  • Fluidity (1/2): Cheap dogfights
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (1.5/2): Eureka Seven has always been flashy but they really need to mix it up some more. It’s starting to get old fast.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1/2): Star Driver quality, which isn’t bad seeing as Star Drive was relatively pretty. Just not up to the quality of some of BONES’s older titles. Seems BONES has hit a wall.
  • Total: 6/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (1.5/3): FLOW’s theme is great. Hemenway and Stereopony are okay. joy doesn’t fit the show.
  • Background Music (1/2): Okay
  • Sound Effects (1/2): Average
  • Seiyuu (1/3): Kaori Nazuka drove this all the way. Lazy casting for Renton and Ao was just annoying.
  • Total: 4.5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (0/2): I am not amused
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (0/2): None
  • Presentation (0/2): Episodic early on for the most part then suddenly introduces all this nonsense.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): None
  • Recommendation (0/2): the original Eureka Seven, Gurren Lagann, Evangelion. Madoka Magica if you want to see time-space continuum done in an okay fashion.
  • Value (0/1): No value.
  • Total: 0/10

Preliminary Score: 6/10

Final Score: 3/10

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