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Eureka Seven AO(TV) (2009)
For almost half a century, mankind has been at war with a mysterious entity known as the Eizo. It is the year 2054 and human-kind is on the brink of destruction. A select few are evacuated to colonization spaceships and the government is about to fire their doomsday device, the Hammer of God. In the middle of this war are two teenagers, Renton and Eureka; two childhood friends who were separated when Eureka was kidnapped by government forces eight years ago. Renton is now a soldier, piloting the Nirvash, aboard the Gekoo led by Holland Novak but the crew of the Gekko is actually rebels with their own mission. Renton and Eureka are now reunited and fate will test the young lovers as they fight the Eizo, government forces and even Holland. Their love will be the key to mankind's future and fulfilling their dreams.
For more about Eureka Seven AO and the Eureka Seven AO Blu-ray release, see Eureka Seven AO Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on August 3, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Yűtar˘ Honj˘, Kanako Miyamoto
» See full cast & crew
Eureka Seven AO Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, August 3, 2013
It can be a fairly risky business to revisit a beloved franchise, reinventing it for (hopefully) a new audience while not alienating the fans who made it a success in the first place. Witness Eureka Seven: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers, a feature film redaction of the original Eureka Seven anime that was met with some less than universal acclaim from longtime fans who wondered why Tomoki Kyoda would want to figuratively reinvent the wheel when it was already spinning rather well in the original series. Those same fans may be understandably nervous about Eureka Seven: AO, the latest outing in the ever expanding Eureka Seven franchise. This time things started with a manga which was then adapted as an anime, the more typical route for these types of things, but the exact opposite of the way the original Eureka Seven came to light. There are a number of surface similarities between Eureka Seven and Eureka Seven: AO, including a teenaged male protagonist who ends up piloting a gigantic mecha to keep his homeland safe, but on several other levels, Eureka Seven: AO is its own beast, in some ways literally. Both of these series follow the time honored anime tradition of offering a rather simple storyline surrounded by at times maddeningly dense terminology and in this particular case acronyms which will probably put off substantial numbers of new fans. Soldiering through some of this arcane verbiage, though, ultimately leads to an experience which, while perhaps not quite at the level of the original Eureka Seven, still offers some substantial pleasures along the way.
While those with a prior knowledge of Eureka Seven will at least have a leg up on Eureka Seven: AO's nonstop barrage of terms, even longtime fans may be momentarily confusedŚalong with everyone elseŚby at least the first episode and a half or so of this latest enterprise. But that's not necessarily as bad it might seem, and in fact the opening episodes of Eureka Seven: AO are in some ways the most interesting in the opening dozen contained on this two Blu-ray set, actually because of the roundabout way several characters and plot devices are introduced. There's an off kilter aspect to the opening gambit of Eureka Seven: AO that initially at least suggests the series is not going to be just another mecha outing, which unfortunately is what the series does tend to settle down into after awhile, albeit with some interesting sidebars.
While the AO of this Eureka Seven"s title is ostensibly an acronym standing for Astral Ocean, it also refers to the series' hero, Ao (pronounced "Ow", which creates some humorŚintentional or otherwiseŚin a few episodes) Fukai, the biological son of Eureka Seven's hero Renton Thurston, though who is ostensibly an orphan now being raised by Dr. Toshio Fukai (hence Ao's assumed surname). Ao is just a "normal" kid caught in the swirling political environment of Eureka Seven (a far too complex issue to really delve into here), albeit on the relatively peaceful island of Okinawa. Ao is the son of Eureka, a mysterious woman whom the islanders blame for their relatively recent spate of disasters, including the appearance of the so-called Scub Coral, weird humongous growths which often presage the appearance of various destructive "monsters".
Ao comes into possession of a mysterious bracelet that is dropped by a trio of buffoonish smugglers, and he soon becomes aware that it once belonged to his mother. In the second episode, he discovers that the bracelet allows him to "connect" with a long hidden mecha called Nirvash, and in fact he finds himself able to pilot the huge craft rather easily, taking on and defeating one of the so-called G-Monsters that has appeared in the wake of some Scub Coral. Ao then finds himself an unwitting pawn in a tug of war between various factions fighting for supremacy in the internecine war that plays out in the background of the Eureka Seven universe. He also finds himself a social pariah of sorts, especially after his piloting escapade morphs his appearance into something more akin to his despised mother Eureka.
Eureka Seven: AO has a lot going for it, including a wealth of great characters, a really sleek design aesthetic, and a lot of nicely staged action sequences. But this another anime that is a lot of sound and fury often signifying not much. The show devolves into a "battle of the week" format relatively quickly, even as some longer plot arcs play out in the background. The saving grace here is the really interesting way the writers have mirrored some of Renton and Eureka's stories into Ao's. Despite the interest they provide, there are probably a few too many supporting characters in this enterprise, and the interrelationships are sometimes as confusing as the often arcane terminology, but at the core of the story is a young boy trying to figure out who he is and what happened to his Mother. That gives Eureka Seven: AO enough dramatic juice to carry it through some of its more clichÚ ridden elements.
Eureka Seven AO Blu-ray, Video Quality
Eureka Seven: AO is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. This is a very nice looking anime which benefits from excellent character design and a nice interweaving of CGI (especially with regard to some of the Scub Coral, G-monsters and other peripheral elements which appear in Ao's universe) and traditional cel animation. Line detail is quite crisp, and there's a really nicely diverse palette that varies from gorgeous pinks and purples when the "portals" open up to more bold primaries in the Japanese environments. Some of the apocalyptic landscapes are also very well rendered, in an intentionally softer ambience. There is occasional banding that crops up here, but otherwise this is a solid looking transfer that should please most videophiles.
Eureka Seven AO Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Eureka Seven: AO features an English dub delivered via a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix and the original Japanese language track delivered via Dolby TrueHD 2.0. The 5.1 track is quite consistently immersive, with excellent use of the side and rear channels in some of the more boisterous battle sequences. Both tracks offer very clear dialogue and effects, but the 5.1 is a much more forceful experience, especially with regard to the very impressive low end. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range is extremely wide.
Eureka Seven AO Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Eureka Seven AO Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Eureka Seven: AO starts out with a bang and really offers a fascinatingŚif confusingŚopening which quickly introduces a glut of characters and interlocking storylines. Unfortunately, once the show pauses to catch its breath and starts to explain things, it loses a bit of steam, and it, as so many anime tend to do, falls into a fairly predictable rut, at least with regard to the repetitive action elements. But there are so many interesting characters here and the basic storylineŚwhile repeatedly obfuscated with a bunch of technical jargon that is downright annoying after awhileŚthat the show continues to entertain even if it's occasionally frustrating. Those who were fans of the original Eureka Seven may feel like Eureka Seven: AO is a bit of "dÚjÓ vu all over again", but there's enough distinctive material here for this Blu-ray to come Recommended.
Eureka Seven: AO: Other Seasons
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