Friday 20 November 2009

Anime REVIEW: Eureka Seven

After having my mind blown away by the movie at the Sci Fi London Anime All Nighter a few weeks back, I thought it was time to take a look at the 50 episode long series that is Eureka Seven. And boy, was it worth it.

The story revolves around 14 year old Renton Thurston, son of miltary researcher and world hero Adroc Thurston, who died saving the world. He loves lifting, a sport similar to surfing but with trapar, a substance abundant throughout the air, as the medium. He dreams of joining the renegade group Gekkostate, led by his idol Holland, a legendary lifter. An opportunity to do so literally falls into his lap when a large mecha, called the Nirvash typeZERO, and Eureka, its pilot and a member of Gekkostate, crash into Renton's room. Renton's grandfather orders him to deliver a special part to the Nirvash called the "Amita Drive", which releases the immense power dormant within the typeZERO called the "Seven Swell Phenomenon". Afterwards, Renton is invited to join Gekkostate, where he quickly discovers that the behind-the-scenes life of Gekkostate is hardly as glamorous or as interesting as printed in the glossy pages of their magazine, ray=out. Only one thing makes it all worthwhile for him: the presence of Eureka, the mysterious pilot of the Nirvash. Renton, Eureka, and the Gekkostate embark on an adventure that will shape their future as well as the worlds'.

Okay I admit, I ripped most of the from wikipedia, but it pretty much sums up the premise of the series without giving too much away. And I want to avoid spoilers if I can, because this was without a doubt one of the best anime series I've ever watched (top 5 easily, possibly in the top 3). Once you get to grips with all the terminology within the series (trust me, there's quite alot of it) you get sucked into this wonderful world of action, adventure, romance and mecha. The amount of character development in the series is staggering, with most (but not all) characters getting their fair share. Eureka is one of my favourite anime characters ever now, beaten only by Nia of Gurren Lagann and Lucy of Elfen Lied. The last few episodes brought me close to tears and its finale is one of those ones that closes everything nicely yet still leaves you wanting more. Add in a fantastic soundtrack and you've got yourself a modern classic.

I HIGHLY recommend this series to both newcomers and anime fans alike, it really does have something for everyone.


And now that I have an understanding of the series I've got back and rewatched the movie again to give it a fair review. After seeing many "hardcore" E7 fans blasting it online I needed to know what the fuss was about. And now I somewhat understand. This review WILL HAVE SPOILERS so you have been warned...
As a parallel universe title - lots of things have shifted around. Renton and Eureka now know each other from their childhoods, Dominic was their teacher, the Nirvash is a weird fairy type thing, the Coralian antibodies are now an alien life form called the Image and perhaps the most drastic change - Gekkostate are the enemy. Sure, at first this does seem very very weird (and in the case of Hap and Stoner remains weird until their deaths) but you have to remember this is a clean slate and anything can be done with it. In fact I like it that way - I like to see "what if" titles, to be honest I really wish Gainax would do another Gurren Lagann series like that. Gekkostate are the victims of a scientific experiment that has left them with rapidly aging bodies (all of them are around 17 in reality) and need Eureka and Renton to unlock the gate to Neverland, a place where time is frozen.

The Peter Pan ideology works really well in this context and the romance between Renton and Eureka is played out very different - despite still not being human (she is in fact an "spy robot" sent by the Image - which sounds very bizzare) her personality is far more human. Since there's less time for character development in a 2 hour movie there's no time for her to discover emotion and THEN fall for Renton, just the latter. It works out a little differently, but the end result is still pretty much the same. The mecha battles are alot more high budget and pretty than in the series too. I also like the fact that they made Eureka and Anemone of the same race in this continuity...while I understand the logic behind it in the series I think I prefer it this way. Fairy theEND was awesome too.

My opinion has not budged on this, it’s still a movie worthy of a full five. However you will understand alot by watching the series first, that way you can make out some of the more obscure cameos present in the movie. But I suppose it’s possible to watch this first since I did. Highly recommended either way.

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