Eureka Seven Ao – 05 Review
It’s weird, who’d buy this explanation when your hair had a normal colour until it changed suddenly into a freaky turquoise. “Yeah, your mother had the same… it’s fine.” No, it isn’t! He still has a strange hair-colour nobody else shares with him! Shouldn’t he ask himself instead who his mother really was? She obviously wasn’t a normal person…
Eureka Seven Ao 05 – Random Side-Characters Dying Isn’t A Cliffhanger
Eureka Seven Ao has been a solid series so far, I have to say. It’s nothing outstanding but the characters do what they’re supposed to do, the setting is good and the story develops nicely so far. It’s just that there’s nothing to it. You have all these things and they’re well-executed but they lack meaning. There’s no real impact behind the information this series is giving. The depth which would enable to get into the series’ mindset is missing. I think that’s the one big thing that keeps this series from being as awesome as it could be. Because as far as the surface is concerned it’s a great shounen-series. It just has nothing to offer beside the generic front so far.
Ao lands with the rest of his team at the Generation Bleu HQ and immediately gets a physical exam. Surprisingly his turquoise hair isn’t the only weird thing, he also can see shit that nobody else can see. But they assure him that he’s totally normal and he buys it because seeing weird colours and your hair turning turquoise aren’t very definite indicators of him being not normal, right? Ao wanders around for a bit not sure what to do since Elena and Fleur are giving him a hard time and all Ao can do is weep in silence.
Meanwhile Gazelle and his friends are discovered as they flew onboard the Generation Bleu ship and as they talk with the President they pique his interest which secures their survival despite their unannounced arrival.
Searching for Noah they bumb into another teenager-Generation-Bleu-team (since only teenager can pilot those mechas for whatever shitty reason) who are called away to handle an emergency-situation. And as they start confidently and laughing their mission they quickly realize that shit can happen sometimes. Facing an anomaly which only happened a few times in the history of the Scub-Corals they are confronted with an emergency-situation. And surprisingly the protagonists are called to the scene to help those pitiful side-characters out.
A Madoka-reference… Well, not a very witty reference, that’s for sure but at least they quickly went on and didn’t drag it out like it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Although I still don’t like the way this show turns hobbies into jokes dressed up as fanatical obsessions. They did the same thing with the little girl liking sweet stuff which got twisted into her eating a whole mountain of ice-cream by herself.
It’s strange how this series has apparently settled for a two-episodes-rhythm. One episode deals with the action and the other deals with the slice-of-life. It isn’t as clear-cut as I make it sound but you can clearly see that in one episode there’s a lot of building-up going on leading to the next episode. Now the question is whether this is good or bad. Pacing isn’t really something that’s either good or bad, it’s very genre/story-based since most of what you want to do with the series determines what you need in terms of pacing. Personally I think the most entertaining series are those who can afford to have a revelation or plottwist in each episode to keep the story going. Of course that’s the kind of challenge not many script-writers will want to face. But especially in series like Eureka Seven Ao it’s important to keep the audience’s attention with the story. The characters aren’t deep and the dialogues aren’t very Shakespearan either so you gotta go with the setting and plottwists.
The setting is still the best part of the series so far, I think. Even if it involves a lot of technobabble it’s never going into the ‘As you may know’-territory. At least to me it’s still feeling like exposition instead of someone wasting my time like Ozma did. Those stupid sandworms hording all that water… Well, anyway unlike that disappointing series Eureka Seven Ao is still fairly interesting at this stage. Obviously they make a big deal out of Eureka which I didn’t really like. I mean there’s nothing bad with making references to her but her mysterious “death” sounds more like the build-up for a sudden appearance at a later point than anything else. And that’s just predictable. If she’s with the rainbow-aliens and may be alive then so be it but just acting like nobody knows shit about it without even guessing or assuming is just boring. That’s the chance for the setting to shine and offer its own logic. But instead most series just wait for the surprise as she shows up and would explain it then like “Oh, I didn’t know that was possible – but it actually is because of this and that.”. If it’s explainable nobody should be surprised! So although I suspect Eureka being some kind of Story-guru unloading a ton of exposition on the main-chara at a certain point I hope that everyone considering her dead means that she’s well, dead.
It was nice to see Gazelle actually making a backroom-deal that had something to do with his own sub-plot. Strangely animes rarely give the impression of having side-characters who have their own stuff to deal with. The way he didn’t just talk about his connection to the main-chara but made the most out of the trap he got himself into at the start of the series is the kind of thing you can do with adult-characters and it just shows again why there should be more series with adult-characters.
Another setting-thing was the examination of Ao and the mustache-dude saying “He doesn’t see the world like we do.”. Come on, that kid grows up seeing the world in ultraviolet, infrared and shit – but he himself never noticed it? When a normal human says something is green it’s not green when you see the ultraviolet spectrum as well. Ao won’t see the same green we normal people do but the series never brought any of this up. He didn’t have any problems having a different kind of perception until now so what kind of exposition is that? Hopefully it’s just a weak moment of being plain technobabble with no real significance because if it’s the explanation for a future plot-twist this thing is just plot-convenience. I mean him being somewhat alien is a part of the story at this point but all the story did was giving him a creepy hair-colour and strange eyes. He didn’t have a glowing fingertip and tried to phone home or something. He was a normal kid who looked weird – and some kids do that even without freaky mothers. They should give him some other freakish shticks to make it an issue the audience can understand. As the series portrayed it the distrustful islanders are xenophobic bullies who are like “Thanks for saving us! Now get the fuck out of here, you monster!”. I liked Gazelle’s confrontation with his dad, though, as he explained that he and his friends called Ao an alien only because his father and his friends called him that in front of them. That was a nice nod to how much influence parents have on their children. I mean they still bullied him which makes it kinda hard to understand why Ao so easily accepted their presence. “I just quoted my dad!” is a rather poor defense for bullying, I think. Anyway, Ao is supposed to be different but instead of making him seem different aside from the appearance it all just seems like a build-up for him kicking the Secret-Monsters’ asses.
Now Fleur and Elena are just as boring as expected. The series has weak characters in general who leave not much of an impression. I had forgotten that president of Generation Bleu even existed until this episode. And with a character as shallow as Fleur it’s especially bad, Elena can save some face with dull anime-references but Fleur? Right now she’s just there for fanservice – and nothing else. I don’t care about her. She has nothing interesting to say, she doesn’t do anything interesting and her personality is a tsundere-kinda “I’m trying to do the right thing – all the time.”. She really needs some better dialogue to make her character even vaguely interesting. In this episode she approached Ao a few times saying “What did you come here to do, Ao?”. And she’s SO serious about it! My god, Ao already has a tendency for whining and she just encourages him to sulk in the corner pondering this stupid question. Again it’s quickly resolved but seriously this series really doesn’t stop from getting Ao into these scenarios of him sliding down the rabbithole of melodramatic suffering. He’s already there at Generation Bleu! Of course he’s gonna pilot the goddamn thing! What did Fleur think he was doing on the flight back to their headquarters? He wasn’t hired as a janitor obviously with his strange hair and all that! That wasn’t even an issue at this point, also. He already had decided to pilot it. The dialogue should’ve gone like this:
Fleur: What did you come here to do, Ao?
Ao: Well, talking to you wasn’t it obviously.
Fleur is just coming across as insufferably arrogant asking these dramatic questions. Ao asking himself is bad enough but a self-pitying whiny hero is nothing unusual in a shounen-series. But having a female-side-character getting all high and mighty certainly isn’t the way to get me to root for her survival. Actually I might even start rooting for her demise if she doesn’t grow a character in the next episode. And I’m not talking about the Tsundere-characterization where she gets embarrassed and shit. Ao is already doing enough melodrama for the entire cast, I don’t want to see another dramaqueen entering the stage. In that regard I liked Naru more because she’s far more forceful and direct where Fleur is just distant and kinda arrogant. She wouldn’t have let Ao sit outside the flat like a lost kid waiting for his mom to come back. She would’ve simply yelled at him something “Make yourself useful, you lazy bastard!”. Well, perhaps not in those words but she’s the sidekick he needs since he literally needs a kick when he’s in these emo-phases of whining.
Also, aside from the revelations about Ao’s physique the fifth episode was surprisingly light on the plot-development-part. Gazelle and the President of Generation Bleu had an interesting scene which could’ve included some hints for a future-development but it wasn’t very definitive. And that brings me back to the beginning where I said that this series needs a constant barrage of plot-twists and story-stuff. Because the characters aren’t interesting and aren’t that enjoyable to watch. They are well-handled in terms of writing but when it comes to depth and substance there’s simply none to work with in the character-department.
Another solid episode from Eureka Seven Ao but the lack of depth starts to get obvious. The characters can’t build upon the first impression they gave since there’s nothing more to them than that first impression. The story is still in the first-act-stage so there’s nothing big going on and with the tandem-rhythem of apparently using one episode for the quieter stuff and the other one being more action-oriented this was the quiet one. Of course the slice-of-life just highlighted the lacking qualities of the show so I hope that the next episode will be better again when it concentrates on the action-part of the series.