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This series was one of the first heavy-hitting anime I watched growing up. I thoroughly enjoy it and find it thought-provoking to the point that you could lose yourself in endless mountains of ideas.
However, there's so much I feel hasn't been explained that it's caused me to feel conflicted about the series. All of the Gekkostate supporting cast feel like they're just they're as opposed to people you can care about and are simply fixtures who happen to be involved in the main story. How they all came together is not resolved at all, and there's so much one wishes could be said as opposed to watching Renton constantly being a dork (which isn't awful, but at times it's just annoying). I have my own theories as to why people like Gidget are on the team, but I get infuriated with how little they seem to be present near the end of the series. This is stuff you would definitely get to see in a long-running series, but don't in an anime-only story.
I also find it very upsetting that Diane seems to act very creepy in the one episode where Renton finally meets her, like something has possessed her, and I wish I knew why she was so intent on staying in the Command Cluster instead of coming home. And I want to know what happened to Renton's mom and grandma in full, not just the cheap "they're dead". That may fly with a different series, but not here. Those people obviously mattered.
It's like the series itself makes you feel powerless at times to a world beyond comprehension and discourages the answers you really want in favor of emphasizing the romance between Renton and Eureka. You want to see the Thurstons all back home and happy, but that doesn't happen. You don't even see Holland and Talho's baby born. The sequel only furthers this problem by not knowing what to do with the story, ignoring the predecessor almost completely, and raising more questions.
Finally, this is my biggest issue: the series seems to revolve on a principle that people should and hoping that things will get better. I am almost led to believe the series itself is suffering from a lack of ability to explain itself and on some meta level, it's reflected in the way it's written and how each new installment seems to hike the confusion even more and further remove us from getting a resolution that feels definitive.
I really adore this show, but I also get so upset that it expects us to just assume everything will get all better without showing it getting better. Characters genuinely muddle through a conflict bigger than what they can deal with, and honestly, feel like they are ill-prepared to handle it, then go away from it having done only a bit to fix it and lamenting they were too late. That's human, but it's saddening.
A good idea for another sequel would be showing a world that isn't so naive and has actually assembled a force to deal with the problems directly instead of assuming it's okay.
It's not okay. Someone has to deal with the fallout. Humanity has to improve!
Eureka Seven is a textbook case of Better Than It Sounds. Yes, the comparisons to Neon Genesis Evangelion are present and numerous, but I don't care. As far as I'm concerned, this was just BONES reconstructing it before Gainax themselves did.
So you've got your downtrodden boy who can't seem to catch a break, your emotionless girl that doesn't quite understand humanity, your Jerkass father figure who hasn't quite grown up himself, and giant robots that really aren't. Original? No. Engaging? You bet.
Eureka Seven takes itself slowly. I've oft heard it said that you don't start to understand until episode 20, but I got the gist of it sooner. The direction it ends up doesn't become apparent until around episode 30 however. In the meantime, there's always some character development, World Building, and overall atmosphere for you to enjoy along with the action, and the execution of all of them is superb. The ending left me with a few questions, but it's probably the most emotionally satisfying end I've ever seen to an anime.
That said, here's what might put you off: First and foremost, Renton's attitude goes into Wangst territory now and then. Then, there's those annoying kids and their Aesop Amnesia. More importantly, Eureka's proficiency with the Nirvash and Action Girl status seem to diminish throughout the series. Not a fan. Lastly, my biggest issue is that my favorite characters (Dom and Anenome) didn't get near as much screentime as I'd have hoped, and the latter suffered from the Worf Effect.
Other than that, the animation quality is sublime. There's more Scenery Porn here than in any other animated production I can think of, and the fight scenes are freakin' awesome. Voice acting is nothing special. Soundtrack, on the other hand, is absolutely perfect. Best I've ever heard.
On the other adaptations: The manga version is fairly similar, but much shorter and a good deal sadder. Still a good read, but don't go into it with the expectations of the anime. The OVA is similar in tone with the manga, but in different ways. It reuses a lot of footage from the anime, though all character personalities are inverted other than Dewey's. There are also a few pointless name changes. It's okay.
Bottom line: Watch it. You won't regret it.
Eureka Seven is a truly superb anime series. It's got plenty of humor, well-written and compelling characters, an interesting plot, and several truly heartwarming love stories. It relies very heavily on The Power Of Love, and often throws in a lot of Rule Of Cool, so it can come off a bit cheesy sometimes, but in the end that's all part of its appeal. The show definitely lands more toward the idealistic side of the Sliding Scale Of Idealism Versus Cynicism, so those who think that True Art Is Angsty may not like it very much, but for those of us who prefer a somewhat lighter story now and then, Eureka Seven is just what the doctor ordered. Just to be clear, though: it's not all sunshine and rainbows. It has its darker moments, and ultimately is an Earn Your Happy Ending story, though the final victory is a lot less pyrrhic than other such stories. Despite the frequent comedy, it still manages to execute a serious plot more or less seamlessly. But what makes this series truly enjoyable is the characters. Over the course of the series, you really develop a sort of bond with the characters, and the writers skillfully leverage that connection to produce some of the most powerful Crowning Moments Of Heartwarming ever experienced. If you can watch through the whole series, get to know the characters, and then go through the last three episodes without once having to struggle to refrain from cheering out loud for the characters, then I'd have to say it's a pretty sure thing that you have no soul. * Okay, maybe that's a little bit of an overstatement. But only a little bit. Also worth noting is the outstanding soundtrack; the music for this show is simply excellent.
The show does have its flaws. Certain plot elements, like Desperation Disease and the Ritual of Kings, never get satisfactorily explained, and certain characters * *cough*DominicandAnemone*cough* never quite get the screen time they really deserve. It's a little slow in the beginning (it took me a good 20 episodes or so to figure out what was really going on with the plot), and it has an annoying habit of occasionally inserting completely unnecessary jokes (usually of a fairly juvenile nature) into otherwise serious scenes. Nevertheless, it's a thoroughly enjoyable show and definitely one of my personal favorites.
I'm going to break the review into 5 sections to make it easier to read:
The story in a nutshell: A boy meets a girl, and they save the world through The Power Of Love. I really don't want to spoil this because the plot is great. I will say that there is great integration between the romance and the action/story. The romance isn't a random sub-plot either, it's one of the core parts of the plot, and this itself makes the plot that much better. A great blend of action, story, and romance.
Suffers from Growing The Beard for about the first 20 episodes (out of 50).
Very well done. Most, if not all of the characters are relate-able and most, if not all, go through Character Development. Unfortunately, some characters get pushed to the back burner the longer the series goes on and are Demoted To Extra.
Scenery Porn and Scenery Gorn galore. Most of the art is beautiful and it seems like Everythings Better With Rainbows. Seriously, rainbow colored energy is common in this series. The colors in the series are vibrant and lively, and the Scenery Gorn sections are fittingly dull and sad. Overall, very good art. There are some bad shots, and some of the drawing can get awkward for a few scenes or seconds (especially in TheMovie, you'll know the scenes when you see them), but these mistakes are far and inbetween.
As the main page says Aphex Twin-style music is prevalent throughout the series. And it totally works. Powerful ambient tracks, exciting theme songs, and great openings and endings (including an Amazing Freaking Grace one), plus "Storywriter" and "Get It By Your Hands. A great soundtrack for the whole series.
All in all, this is a great series. A wonderful, romantic, suspenseful, and action-y plot with great art, music, and characterization. The Movie is great as well, though it's set in an Alternate Universe.
Overall Rating: 9/10
This is my favorite series ever and I'd seriously recommend it to nearly anyone. It has what everyone is looking for. I have yet to read the manga, but I hear good things about it.
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