Eureka Seven Ao – 01 Review
You’d think having a prophet as girlfriend would stop him from making sentimental prophecies as well…
Eureka Seven Ao 01: Not Quite Eureka Seven 2.0
When I reviewed the crappy spin-off-Movie “A Pocket Full of Rainbows” I said in the beginning: “Eureka Seven is a popular Shounen Series and when I say ‘popular’ I mean ‘Someone somewhere will probably think about how to make more money out of this’. This movie is someone somewhere trying to make more money out of Eureka Seven.” This series? Same thing pretty much. There are so many series out there that deserve a sequel but instead sequels are invented because the original series was popular or you have a series which was planned as a 2-cours-series from the start but got turned into two seasons instead. While Eureka Seven Ao wasn’t really on my list of “most anticipated series” from this season I have to say that the first episode was quite solid as far as shounen-series are concerned.
A world faces destruction yet again and only turquoise hair can save it…! Thing is, though… Nobody of the cast has turquoise hair at that point, not even the main-chara! And that means there’s a lot of flailing around and some ‘coincidences’ which end up with the main-chara being in the position to start ‘fulfilling his destiny’ – which is to get turquoise hair.
“It’s quiet, too quiet…” Sometimes the dialogue in this episode was way too cheesy, I think. I hope this doesn’t get worse when the real epic action kicks in…
Eureka Seven didn’t really need a sequel but that didn’t stop anyone from releasing a spin-off-movie which was pretty crappy. Seeing this then just proves that popularity alone is as good enough as a reason for a sequel. The question is of course how much this will connect to the first series. The story-links are there but looking at Last Exile: Fam this doesn’t mean we get a true sequel. If anything Last Exile: Fam distinguished itself more with its differences than the similarities. I guess Eureka Seven Ao will be very similar in that regard.
The episode, though, was flashy and colourful. Well, at least that it shares with Eureka Seven already. And the episode is really well paced for all the action it handles. It actually manages to create this balance of introducing a large cast, the setting and the story. Especially these little tidbits about the characters like where they came from, who they are exactly, stuff like that, it’s handled really well by making it part of the dialogue without turning any scene in a tedious exposition-scene like we had in the first two episodes of Fate/Zero.
Gee, she and Renton have saved the world once already and look where that got them all…? Prevented one apocalypse just to slide into the next one, doesn’t seem to me like they’re the kinda guys who can put an end to the apocalypse-problem…
The story also follows closely the themes of the original series and at that point I really ask myself whether this series isn’t just a kind of re-vamp of the original series instead of a sequel. Again you have humanity facing destruction by a force it doesn’t understand but there’s also the power to stop it. Of course the main-character is connected to that power. A romantic relationship is also already established only that this time around it’s the boy who’s the weirdo and the girl who’s normal. Although the girl seems to be the prophetic type who tries very hard not to spoil the story for us with her babbling. And we already have a ship with a special independent crew that is kinda like the Gecko 2.0. The resemblance is very strong at this point and the differences are very small. In that regard it’s very unlike the beginning of Last Exile: Fam which was completely unlike Last Exile.
I don’t think it really hurts the series, I mean, as long as the series is as good as Eureka Seven I won’t complain. The only danger would be of course that the whole thing becomes predictable and uninspired by taking too many cues from the first series but I hope nobody’s that idiotic to think making a sequel with such a mindset could be a good idea.
The characters on the whole are okay, I think. The episode does a good job of presenting them while giving them a little bit of a background. It’s only that there’s nothing memorable or very individualistic about them. Especially the main-character strikes me as the sulky type who could easily start the angsty-teenager-routine just to turn up the melodrama. And the female character is really weak in the sense of her needing protection from the main-chara on multiple levels. Not only is she the one to worry about the main-chara constantly since she ‘knows’ what kind of shit he will encounter, she also has a certain frailty which just begs for her to become the damsel-in-distress. Well, that’s at least what I think her role is supposed to be but we’re still in the first episode and there’s a lot of ground to cover if it wants to be as epic as Eureka Seven.
Pacing-wise this series would’ve been better off with a double-episode, I think. Cliffhangers don’t replace a lack of a climax. You can’t just build up tension with plottwists and whatnot and then go “Ah, not yet, guys, tune in next week for the resolution to this mess…!”. Like that the episode felt to me like it left me hanging in the air with the development. Also, considering we’re talking about a sequel here, I don’t think that Ao getting his famous super-Mecha is much of a cliffhanger-worthy surprise. One could argue of course that like Last Exile: Fam this series wants to be approachable by fans and newcomers alike and that therefore it’s more important to get the newcomers hooked than catering to the fans’ expectations. Like I said, though, Last Exile: Fam made it clear that it mostly wanted to go its own way. In contrast to that this series very much seems like a sequel trope-wise, with Last Exile: Fam fans wondered whether they should consider it a true Last Exile sequel, this series though leaves no room for doubt that it wants to be a sequel to Eureka Seven.
Eureka Seven Ao got itself a solid first episode with a colourful flashy style strongly reminiscent of Eureka Seven. The introduction to the rather large cast is well-handled and none of them was particularly obnoxious although none of them was particularly interesting either, I think. The action of the episode offered some decent entertainment but the cliffhanger was a rather unsatisfying conclusion. All in all it’s a solid start for a flashy shounen-series.