Saturday, January 20, 2007

Eureka Seven - Anime with Edge

I have more anime DVD tiles that I would care to admit.

Obviously I like them all, or else I wouldn't have spend my lunch-money on them, but some just live on with me more than others....like Last Exile, or TenchiMuyo, the Onegai series (Teacher, Twins) , or Oh My Goddess!

They touch a nerve in me, the characters capture my heart and imagination, the ladies are pretty....you know....

I really wasn't expecting to get very excited when Eureka Seven burst onto the anime scene here in the States. It had two very big things going against it for me: Mecha and sky-surfing Mecha. WTF???

However, now that I am about 29ish episodes into the story (about 1/2-way done) I can't get enough. (I also have a Eureka Seven t-shirt, manga, and three DVD's so far). I'm hooked.

So just how did this edgy anime title knock me off my feet? Let's see....

Seven Reasons to like Eureka Seven

  1. Renton and Eureka - These two kids are the entire reason the story is worth watching. In the very first episode a cold and distant Eureka crashes into Renton Thurston's unfulfilled and shy life. He is instantly smitten. In the end he follows Eureka and their lives and hearts will never be the same again. The slow development of their characters, filled with fears, warts and desires slowly matures (sometimes agonizingly) before our eyes. It's kinda like being back in Jr. High school all over again, but in a good way. Strip out all the other story-line plots and distractions and their story alone would be worth watching. Episode 26 was a defining moment in the relationship between these two. The anime-video mashup done by a fan (8GaugeBrett) posted above from YouTube does a really good job of capturing the moment.

  2. Good / Evil / Gray - There are lots of clear good-guys and evil-guys. But there are even more gray-guys. Characters who seem quite nice and kind and motivated for good, but are on the evil-side. And the good guys have dark motivations that drive them to do some pretty mean-things. And then there are the supporting cast of citizens that are caught up in the drama. That mix of shades-of-gray makes for a deeper and more fascinating storyline--and mimics real-life much more closely.

  3. Getting-Along Theme - This is a hidden theme that slowly swells through the episodes I've seen before. There seems to be a desire for the sentient creature that inhabits the entire planet to want to get along with the humans. And many humans want to live in harmony with the being/planet. Unfortunately, a powerful minority wants to destroy it forever. The members of Geckostate (good guys) just want to live in peace and sky-surf on their "ref-boards" but they have had to put their surfing desires aside to battle to save the world they love and enjoy. Their adult view mixes with the kids' youthful naivete and end the end they all are learning something.

  4. Yeah, the Mecha - I have nothing against mecha. Really. Gigantic battle robots just aren't my thing. The mecha in E7 (aka. LFO's), while important to the story-line, often take a back-seat to the overall character developments and plot line. That was unexpected. And when the mecha are in battle-mode, the battles are often conducted much like surfers and dancers....it's much less guns-a-blazing-missiles-a-firing and more like lethal dancing. The mecha designs are much more organic than is first seen and the Nirvash (good mecha) is also growing and responding to the budding relationship of it's tandem operators, Renton and Eureka.

  5. Mystery - This isn't your Scooby Doo. Yeah there are deserted cities, spooky underground mines littered with ghostly spirits, strange dreams, city destroying bizzaro creatures, etc.... What happened to Renton's sister and why did she go missing all those years ago. Who is the girl in the picture with Holland and why does his girlfriend Talho seem to feel so troubled about it? What did Renton's father do to make him such a hero--and give his life for? And what is up with Anemone? Will Dominic and Anemone "hook-up" like Eureka and Renton? Or not?

  6. Animation Quality - The production levels on this series are quite high. The DVD's look sharp and well colored. The ADR work is top-shelf. All the design work and character styling is very nice. The production uses a mix of high-tech "haves" and contrasts them against a stark background of "have-not's" The city and country folk live pretty simply where most of the story takes place. It reminds me somehow of a post-WWII Europe just as the last of the guns have ended--except the landscape is almost reminiscent of a colored coral barrier reef. Yeah. Really.

  7. Music - What an amazing soundtrack! I was fortunate to get a two-CD set with my collector's edition DVD box. If it was vinyl--it would have been worn through by now. The songs (in Japanese) are powerful, beat-driven works that soar and crash. And then "Himitsu Kichi" slips in, performed by the simple and strong-voiced Japanese female artist Kozue Takada, that just in the tone alone, brings me to tears (in a good way). In fact, almost every episode title refers to a real song from Japanese or foreign artists. Fascinating.

Where to watch Eureka Seven

If your interested--check it out. It runs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim Friday Fix or Saturday late-nights on Adult Swim. Set your TiVo or VCR. Go get a DVD. Or, if you just really want to dip your feet into the Eureka Seven waters...go to YouTube and do a search for Eureka Seven (while you still can find them there). Like I said, my favorite one that captures just about everything the series is about is Eureka Seven Episode 26. You could do a YouTube search on that as well.

I'm still amazed (not really) how much anime (of all titles) is still available there.

Additional Links for Eureka Seven Fans:

Looks like I'm going to have to save more lunch-money for all those E7 DVD's still to come down the pipes!

--Claus

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well I get your POV. And for me Eureka 7 is a very good anime. The story is more about the relationship of the main characters, Renton and Eureka, it doesn't concentrate on the mech or other such nonsense.

But what I am surprised is, about the level of their relationship, it is quite advanced for the age of their characters.

The series though picks up at around ep 25 or more and is actually quite dull at the first few ep's which would turn off most people.

Just hope though that they'd make a movie.



Also about the mystery part, all ye questions are going to be answered only near the end, around ep 40+. This is one of the downfalls of Eureka 7, they don't give enough details about everything, on some ideas such as Seven Swell Phenomenon, Second Summer of Love are never actually explained. They just give enough details on some things such as where Anemone, Dominic, Holland, Talho, etc came from, but they did it in quite a rush.

Claus said...

Thanks for stopping by!

I never really considered Renton/Eureka's relationship in view of their age, but you make a very good point.

He is supposed to be, what?, 14 and she, 15?

I guess I've been watching anime for so long now, I just make a mental note of the stated age, and keep on watching.

I wonder how much of that age/maturity thing is caught up in the cultural translation between Japan and America.

I watched a Japanese live action movie called "Gomen" and it was VERY frank for the young characters...coming of age themes. No way a film like that would fly here in the States.

I guess in the case of E7, I place them in context of the storyline...wars and conflicts tend to make even kids grow up too fast.

I read in an issue of Newtype magazine that the E7 creative team worked so hard to create a rich and detailed back-story of information before they actually wrote the scripts that they have tons of material that didn't make it into the anime. Maybe that is why some of the details you pointed out don't get fully explained. They got lost in richness.

I'd love to know more of all these details, but I'm satisfied (at this point) with the growth of the characters.

I'd never considered they might make a movie, but that would be awesome. Considering the popularity, I could see it happening!

Kaleb Stewart said...

I'm about fifteen episodes from the finale, and I must say this is the best anime I've watched since Fullmetal Alchemist. Touching, exciting, emotinally satisfying.. this is everything an anime should be.

Dante said...

This anime is the best anime on earth. I just want to say,claus, I am not bs-ing you, but BANDAI has recently released info that CONFIRMS that they are continuing the project for 2 MORE YEARS! Now, whether its a movie, a second series, or an OVA is unconfirmed, but the point is that they ARE continuing!!! Confirm my comment at www.eurekaseven.co.nr/
I also intentionally left out the "M" in the .com.IT IS actually ".co.nr/"

chanapong said...

Eureka seveN - Run video animation