OK. First off, let me just say that this series was a mess.
I had huge expectations for this sequel since I'm a fan of E7, however, this didn't even come close. What I enjoyed about E7 was the story and character development. I actually felt connected to many of the characters. The story flowed very nicely. I even liked the Nirvash as its own character.
E7AO started off ok while introducing the characters, then it quickly went downhill. The focus was more on the story and fight scenes. I dont think the story was good, but that's where the focus was.
I liked Elena and Fleur and
i thought they had great potential. I thought that Fleur would develop feelings for Ao but that never happened. They actually threw in some signs that she had a thing for Gazzele. Elena made a lot of references to other anime. I picked up easily on the Evangelion ones. Both these characters failed to go further and were just part of the cast for a majority of the series until they decided to wrap it up and give them their scene. I felt like it just came out of nowhere. Ao just made me upset. He was a wet blanket. He was boring and indecisive until the end. Truth. Wow. Just wow. I think its always great to have a crazy character somewhere and let them have their 1 second insane facial expression, but Truth had his on more than half the time. It got old and annoying fast. Anemone is 100% a better character. I didn't even understand Naru. Noah was better than her.
The Mecha designs were well done I think. I wish they gave a little more air time to appreciate them. What was bad was that there were too many special ones thrown in. There were several Nirvashs and it became confusing because of them coming from a different time and all that. I understand that there are two, but it seemed like there were many more. I wonder what the back story was for Truth's Mech. It just appeared.
Then there's the story. The basic plot was good, but all the little details they threw in made it a wreck. I didn't even know what was going on half the time. There would be a serious fight going on, then it just switches over to a calm island scene. I didn't like this at all. It sucked the severity and seriousness of the events. They just jumped on the time travel hype, but time travel is really hard to put together. Its an interesting concept, but difficult to make it enjoyable. They would have been more successful if they had kept it more low key with a single goal. The protagonist didn't even know what his own goal was until the last episode. Also, that ending! Seriously, what the fuck? If you've seen it you probably have the same thoughts I have. The main questions, how and why. The series would be better off without it.
What was good about the series were the animations and music. They were consistent with the first series. The openings and endings were also pretty good. The animations for Ao were a bit lacking about halfway though. It kept changing. It might have been just me.
In conclusion, E7AO failed to meet my expectations. It may seem my intent was to bash the series but that is wrong. I'm just expressing what made me upset. It had a lot of potential so it makes me sad when it turn out like this. I wouldn't recommend it if you want to keep all of E7 in a good light.
Building on an existing storyline isn't an easy thing to do - especially when the ending of the original tale has a degree of finality to it. That doesn't stop people making the attempt though, and nowhere is this more prominent than in the world of fanfiction. This rather odd realm of amateur (and not-so-amateur), writers is filled with continuations, alternate retellings, character side-stories, non-canon additions, and a host of other works that reflect the fan's passion for the source material. Although they often lack the quality and direction (and sometimes the logic and common sense), of professional pieces, they're generally imaginative yarns that can
sometimes lead the reader to new insights about the original work.
That said, there are occasions where the story has been created not out of love, but simply because the author feels that they can do better.
Eureka Seven AO (which stands for Astral Ocean, but is also the name of the lead character), is the sequel to 2005's extremely popular Eureka Seven - and with director Kyoda Tomoki at the helm again and Bones producing both shows, it's easy to see why fans of the original would be excited. Written by Kato Yuichi, the new story focuses on Fukai Ao - a 13 year-old boy living with his grandfather on the island of Iwato Jima in the independent nation of Okinawa. Considered an outcast by the residents who blame the disaster that occurred ten years before on his mother Eureka - who has been missing since that time - his life changes when an accident delivers a strangely familiar bracelet into his hands, which in turn brings him into contact with a mysterious robot called Nirvash.
The tale begins in relatively familiar territory and progresses at a decent pace for the first few episodes, but as the series continues more things are added to the plot until it grows into a ponderous, shambling behemoth of ideas and concepts that simply don't go anywhere. In addition to this the storyline degenerates into a mediocre monster-of-the-week narrative for a good portion of the show, and elements of the original series have either been left out, crowbarred in, or completely altered - sometimes for no logical reason at all - creating some major continuity issues. The problems are further compounded by the addition of time travel and alternate realities, all of which lead to a rather lukewarm, confusing, and decidedly unsatisfying ending that lacks the catharsis of the original series.
Eureka Seven AO takes many of its visual cues directly from its parent, and Bones have worked hard to maintain the style while updating the design. That said, there are some odd decisions about clothing (Ao's school uniform resembles a costume used by male strippers), but some good animation and effects work balances the strange outfits. Much of the aerial combat is fluid, and although there are some minor issues the character movements are handled in a reasonable manner. In addition to this the mechs - which are clearly influenced by the original series - have a definite "man-made" feel that highlights the creator's desire for Eureka Seven AO to be more than just a run-of-the-mill sequel.
The show features two opening sequences that serve as bland-yet-functional introductions to the story thanks to the use of the check-box approach (protagonist running, birds flying, people looking pensive/cheerful/heroic/constipated, [insert cool action sequence], [insert suggestive minor spoiler that may have no connection to the plot at all], rinse, repeat, end with cool and/or spicy action still featuring the protagonist (and his love interest - male or female, species is optional), adverts, etc). The first closing sequence is equally unimaginative (and ticks all the boxes), but the second is something of a departure as it adopts a "pop-art" style and relies on still images to suggest that Ao's playtime is over.
"Escape" by Hemenway (the first opening track), is the type of bland rock song that seems to grace every major shounen title at least once, but FLOW's "Bravelue" manages to capture at least some of the magic of "Days" - the opening theme from Eureka Seven. "Stand By Me" by the oddly named Steropony is a rather dull, brooding affair that doesn't really fit with the formulaic closing sequence, while Joy's "Lolite" is a poppy little number that works surprisingly well with the associated imagery.
Eureka Seven AO is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to overall audio quality, and the uninspiring opening and closing themes are reflective of the music throughout the show. The predominantly well-chosen background tracks often work within the context of a given scene, but there are far too many attempts at enhancing a humourous moment using a comedic tune, and many of these attempts fall short of the mark. In addition to this the diverse array of effects can be let down by a lack of care with choreography or poor production quality, and the issues are further compounded by a script that is sorely lacking in emotional intensity. With little to work with the Japanese cast are unable to showcase their talents effectively - resulting in performances that vary wildly as the voice actors struggle to breathe some semblance of life into their roles. Unfortunately things don't get any better with the English dub as, true to form, the approach is literal and the scope is limited.
One thing that should be pointed out is the continuous inability of the Western license holders to find people with accents to play particular roles, and it's painful to hear Sainty Reid as 16 year-old French pilot Fleur Blanc - especially when she macerates her way through terms like "maman" - the colloquial form of "mère" (mother). It's unfortunate that her first serious role is one that really needed a specific vocal style, and the truly sad part is that in an era where talented people can be found under every rock, viewers are still being subjected to the idea that everyone in the world speaks English (with an American accent), as their native language.
The wastelands of anime are littered with the shades of forgettable characters, and the numerous problems with the storyline and script deal what could only be called a killing blow to Eureka Seven AO. The foundation of good characters lies in the logical development of the plot together with an organic approach to dialogue - both of which require time, patience, an understanding of relationships, and a healthy dose of criticism. The original series featured some good character dynamics that added personality to each role, making Renton, Eureka, and several others believable to a degree - but more importantly they became interesting and likeable. Unfortunately logic appears to have gone out of the window with this "sequel" - resulting in a set of bland "people" with few saving graces.
The decision to treat Ao in a manner similar to Ikari Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion has backfired, and although some attempts have been made to save him from the pit of obscurity, he stands at the head of a queue of unlikable, uninteresting, and excruciatingly dull characters - all of whom shove him steadily towards the precipice. Truth initially serves as a decent antagonist, but his development is sorely lacking as he is quickly relegated from that role - becoming little more than a force of nature whose actions serve no purpose whatsoever. As for Naru, her status as Ao's love interest quickly loses all meaning once the plot shifts into monster-of-the-week mode, and like Truth her purpose in the story is ultimately rendered irrelevant. That said, there are some intriguing interactions between the supporting characters, but the approach to relationships is surprisingly lacking in emotional depth - becoming little more than background noises that are eventually swallowed by the confusing plot.
Eureka Seven AO is a strange, lumbering beast that struggles to maintain its balance before the weight of its collective flaws sends it careening into the realms of logical fallacy, but the odd thing is that nobody appears to have noticed any of the obvious problems during the planning, production, or ADR stages of the show - which raises quite a few questions. Kato Yuichi's confusing, poorly written storyline has a mechanical feel that lacks emotion or passion for the original series, and in truth has more in common with amateur fanfiction written by someone whose ideas, imagination, and belief that they can do better are greater than their talent. The shoddy dialogue makes it difficult to like or believe in the characters, and fans of the original series may find this addition to the franchise painful to watch. That said, the show does feature some rather nice action sequences that can distract the audience from the mundanity, and there are some interesting aspects of the story that really should have been more prominent. If all the viewer wants is something to pass the time then Eureka Seven AO isn't the worst show available, and if it isn't examined too closely then the show may attract its own fan base.
The decision to make a "sequel" to a successful show is understandable (anime is a business after all), but Eureka Seven AO highlights some issues that lie at the heart of the industry - in particular the lack of understanding about what the wider audience wants and a serious need for quality control at all levels. The simple fact is that the series has broken under the weight of too many unnecessary straws, and aside from the visuals the show lacks the finesse and polish that one would expect from a mainstream title.
Eureka Seven was one of my most favorite mecha-animes of all time, but I was very disappointed in Astral Ocean. Here are the reasons why,
Eureka Seven AO focuses too much on the action. In the previous series, there was drama and love. I know most of you will think to yourself "mecha animes aren't suppose to have any drama or love, just action" but the drama in Eureka Seven was what made the series. It made you love the two main characters, Renton and Eureka. But in Astral Ocean, you don't have the same connection with Ao.
The story of the show is still strong, it's
very mysterious. There are new entities called Secrets attacking the unnatural beings known as Scub Corals. There is a man named "Truth" who is trying to reveal the truth to the world (sorry if that sounded repetitive) and he is the shows main antagonist. There is Naru who was Ao's best friend who decided to go total whack on Ao one day and follow the main bad guy. And there is the mystery behind of "what happened to Eureka and Renton?"
The art is still beautiful like the original show, I love the action scenes and the mecha drawings, it's pure epic. The sound is crystal clear, the openings and endings are amazing, (OP 2- Very Nostalgic to Eureka Sevens original opening), and overall I give the animation and sound effects a ten.
Here is where I get a bit pissy. The characters seem very bland compared to the characters in the original series. Renton from the original series was a crybaby, he was a crybaby but we got to know his character so well that we felt like we actually knew him. He was very true to himself, and he loved Eureka dearly. He cared for others and put his life on the line at certain times. The rest of the crew- members in the Gekkostate (Gekkostate is their flying ship) all had their own unique looks and traits that made us love them. Holland (the captain) was a bit of a jerk but nonetheless I loved him as a character of the show.
But the characters in Astral Ocean is a different story. Eureka Seven had humor and the characters were fun to watch and listen to. But in Astral Ocean, many of the characters seem way too serious and it feels like you can grab several characters and just meld them into one person- that's how boring they are. A lot of characters feel the same to me and I just don't connect with them.
Even Holland (from the Original series) was such an ass to Renton that I actually hated Holland. To actually hate someone that doesn't even exist, means that they're a good and true character.
Here's how bad the characters are in Astral Ocean- I won't be sad if Ao dies. I'm serious. He's the main character but he's so boring like the rest, that I don't feel like I'll be very sad if he died. However, if Renton died, I would be extremely sad and I'll hate the show for killing him, (thank God he didn't die) but if Ao dies, I'll just say "meh the show could still possibly go on without him" (and a lot other characters besides).
The only reason I'm still putting up with this show is because I can't wait to see Renton and Eureka reunite. But Ao? Whatever. He can do whatever he wants to, because he's as boring as the shows pet.
My enjoyment of the show would be around a 6 when my overall enjoyment from the predecessor would be a 9.
Overall the show gets a 7 because the art and action saves it from dropping below a 5.
Watch Eureka Seven then watch Astral Ocean. You'll see a depressing drop and you'll wonder, what in the hell happened?
Eureka Seven AO serves as a sequel to the fantastic Eureka Seven of a few years ago. however to call it a sequel is akin to calling a doughnut a loaf bread, it shares many of the same base elements, is similar on a surface and level but make for totally different products in the end. one of which has a giant hole in the middle.
The hole in this context is the story, or rather the lack of it. The series mulls around being a monster of the week show for the majority of it's run all the while attempting to raise mysteries and intrigue
around a few side plots that aren't really addressed till later. the problem however lies in when it actually does address those plots, it's painfully rushed, borderline incomprehensible at times and leaves the impression that writers didn't have an ending in mind and just sort of winged it for the last stretch of episodes, culminating in a bizarre mess of a plot which feels like it was over too fast and drawn out at the same time.
the entire ordeal feels like a directionless mess. which spends so much time trying to make it seem like it's doing SOMETHING that it eventually becomes clear it's not really doing ANYTHING. introducing just a many plot points as it seemingly drops, it has a schizophrenic whiplash of a pace which never seems to settle in on what it wants to do enough to do any of it effectively.
as far as the plot goes, it's a disappointment to prior fans of the franchise due to it's handling of what few legacy elements it embraces but at the same time relies fairly heavily on you knowing/liking the previous series to fully understand it, which leaves new fans in the cold too.
While the story may be a broken mess, the animation and art design are actually very good. the show has some really impressive visuals at times and upholds to bones usual high standard of quality. backgrounds are often colourful and detailed and it features some of the nicest looking explosions I've seen in a long time.
The primary character designs were handled by Kenichi Yoshida, who was the character designer for the first series, which lends a nice bit of visual familiarity to the series and helps tie it to the original series.
mecha design is sadly a low point, the original series had shoji kawamori, a veritable god among mecha designers, and this series... doesn't. the mechs don't look bad on their own, but they lack the distinct visual punch the original had, only made worse by it's comparing the two styles.
and finally you have the G-monsters or secrets, the primary antagonists of the series. which are essentially monsters made of polygonal shapes. their appeal seems to be a matter of taste, they are simplistic enough to resonate with some, but bland enough to be forgettable to others. personally i found them to be an interesting concept that turned out to be unmemorable due to their execution, another failing of the story and it's lack of direction.
It's visuals are certainly one of it's strongest point and it rarely looks cheap, but some of the mecha/antagonist designs can feel sub-par which really takes away from some fairly well done action.
the music is the only point i have absolutely no problems with. the score is handled by Koji Nakamura (of supercar, lama and ILL) and is a audible treat, i often found myself rewatching parts of episodes just to hear the songs going on in the background. it ranges nicely from slice of life calmness to intense mecha action perfectly and compliments those scenes fantastically as it goes. the few insert songs are also great, though musical taste may be a factor in your enjoyment of them.
the music never failed to get me into the series moods and managed to accomplish the rare feat of both fitting the scenes subtly and without overstating itself but also being good enough for me to end up humming it long after watching episodes. of all it's traits, the soundtrack is the thing i've most taken away from AO and i personally am more likely to just listen to the soundtrack than rewatch the show.
overall the series is a real mixed bag, on the surface level it's great. it's pretty and sounds great with a seeming return to a fantastic world. but as is often the case things are not quite what they seem. it's ties to the original series are tenuous and confusing, it's own plot is underdeveloped and meandering and the whole experience ends up feeling a bit hollow. it's fantastic presentation does a lot to carry it, but in the end the the story is weak and it's art isn't good enough to watch just for it.
It's a case where the show is primarily bad, the most important thing (the story) is lacking and often confusing, but there is just enough good to balance it out. it ends up being a completely middle of the road show despite all it's qualities being at extremes. they just happen to cancel each other out into this weird show.
Personally it left me with an odd impression. I don't regret watching it, but i feel like i probably should and can't. which is really strange. much like this show.
Ah, Eureka Seven AO, how I was so excited to watch you before you aired. Now here I am facepalming all over the place at how bad this show is, and how I was foolish to be excited for this.
Let me start out by saying, the original Eureka Seven is one of my all-time favorite anime series, and it's just sad for me to see what BONES did. They are merely marketing a show purely based off of nostalgia, and putting zero effort into it, less so than those incomplete adaptions used to sell more of the source material.
So first off, what is this show
all about? Well originally it was about Ao, Eureka's son as you probably could have guessed from the promo image, joining a group called Pied Piper-actually, just a subsection of Generation Blue-(The E7 AO equivalent of the Gekkostate, not.), and trying to find his mom (Who he calls "Anma!"-Where did this shit come from?). From there, it's total nonsense, especially in the second half. Seriously, I doubt even BONES knows what they're writing in this show. Hell, it's even hard to review this show because it's so messy. So where did it all go wrong?
Part of the problem is how Eureka Seven had a completely closed ending, with no loose ends. So, what the heck were they supposed to do for a story, a sequel story? Set it up in our world, instead of the world of the original E7? Introduce an overpowered villain with no motives, and then come up with something along the way? Put in terminology the viewer is completely unfamiliar with, and explain it midway when all the characters knew everything from the start, and assumed the viewers were the same? Put random things in, and forget about them completely in only a few episodes, making it completely redundant? How about just put in random crap to fill up 24 episodes? Really, these are warning signs the show is going to be a total mess.
There are tons of plot holes everywhere (Especially in the final two episodes which are just one large Deus Ex Machina), and lots of things will not make sense as such. In one instance, it's stated everywhere the Secrets are not the enemy as they merely take an element called Quartz away from the Scub Corals. But then later, Generation Bleu tries to eliminate all the Secrets. Oh and let's not forget how you can travel around the world in only an hour, it doesn't matter where. Seems the earth is way smaller than it really is...
How about the characters? Did the characters turn out good? Hardly, the show makes some of the same mistakes Shakugan no Shana III (Final) made. It introduces a bunch of characters, and then doesn't bother to develop them, or show any backstory, so they're just...there. Many characters will develop in some way, but it'll either make no sense, or it'll be a total character rewrite. We'll also get some good backstory, but the show then tosses it aside and forgets about it. The backstory rarely ends up being relevant to the story.
Lastly, can we forget how they introduced certain elements you never in a million years wanted in E7? An otaku girl? Moe girls everywhere, resulting in a harem practically? Fanservice? And what purpose does this serve? Really, what does it serve for a good story? In this show, it can't co-exist with the story, and character development like does in various shows.
Now the production values, believe it or not, despite being newer, E7 AO visually looks worse than its predecessor, and the animation can be rather messy. The soundtrack, same thing. Not all that much to it.
Really, they should have either made this not a sequel, or took a page from Gonzo from when they made Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam, the sequel to Last Exile which also had a completely closed ending. That show managed to do a much better job at things, from the story, to the characters. It did not rely on purely nostalgia to tell a story, and the result wasn't all that bad.
Eureka Seven AO in the end is a prime example of doing everything wrong in a show, and what happens when a studio uses only nostalgia to tell a story. Take the E7 fanboy glasses off, and you'll immediately notice the many, many problems. One can only hope less of these kinds of shows get made in the future. Nostalgia can be great, but not when you use it to tell a story for a show.
It may be early days yet, but the refreshed and reinvigorated Eureka Seven franchise holds great promise. Earmarked as it's spiritual sequel, Eureka 7 AO appears to not only match its predecessor in beauty and story, but does create firm groundwork to better it.
By the end of the first episode, I was hooked. The whole progression is well-built, where E7-AO dips its toes pretty evenly between character dialogue and fast-paced action scenes. Just when you think the action has outstripped its relevance, the plot yanks you back, to cover any gaps you may have missed. This to and fro between action
and deep & moving storytelling creates means each is that much more compelling, as it is contrasted with one another. Episode four typifies this, where one half is pure mind-melting action, and the other half delving into the deeper mysteries of Ao and his mother.
More interestingly, the story feels darker than the original E7. This comes out in the open depictions of violence by the "G-Monsters" to the open yet diverse political opinion voiced between the main characters. Yes, politics and divided issues do form a subtle undertone here. Themes such as racism, nationalism, political identity and independence, and even government corruption are bandied about from character to character. Pippo's snide reply to Giselle's remark that the Nirvash being part French, US and theirs springs to mind ("it’s fat, wants to surrender and has bad teeth").
It reminds me A LOT of X'amd in a way, which also grappled with these issues, and as such, really makes the story feel real and visceral. More importantly, it feels like the story has aged with the viewer. Whereas E7 placed the viewer squarely in the sheltered and naive hands of Renton; here in AO, Bones does away with the protection and says: "Here's the real world - its not a fluffy fantasy - it's real, gritty and desperate." Nothing evokes better emotional responses than that.
Art & Sound
Please. It's Bones we're talking about here. There should be no question over this stuff. The artwork is BEAUTIFUL (as usual) and the voice-acting is top notch. More interestingly, the music really sounds like an improvement on E7, which did feel a tad repetitive. Here the music, especially the track concluding episode one, is swelling and moving.
For me, Ao as the protagonist is distinctly different from his previous counterpart (Renton). Renton in E7, was grossly naive for much of the early episodes, and his mood fluctuated wildly, often transpiring into tears or bouts of frustration/anger. Pretty understandable for his age BUT it did get on my nerves a little (probably doesn't bode well for when I have kids). Ao on the other hand, appears to be far more assured and assertive. He rarely contemplates/broods over issues, and rather jumps quickly to proactive action (Renton, to be fair, did this at times). For this reason, I prefer Ao, owing to his more assertive nature. Sure, there are times he is shocked or saddened, but several times, he shows this tough resilient attitude, such as the end of episode one. At other times, he acts entrenched and guarded of his secrets, such as his first interactions with Flair Blanc. Finally, Ao just seems to be less naive to Renton.
This is really the same for all the main characters in general. Naru, the vulnerable romantic interest, Elena and Fleur combining to make tenacious yet comical Generation Bleu team to the rough and rebellious Giselle and his crew (much like Holland and his). By the end of the four episode, each of these characters (and more) are memorable and provide their own watermark on the story. This most of all shows fantastic storytelling and writing, that it has only taken FOUR EPISODES, to flesh out stories, that take some animes triple the time to get to.
OH - and how could I forget NOAH. Easily the best pet-sloth-thingy ever. It's like Bones stole the "cuteness" potion from the Powderpuff Dolls and smeared it all over the one animal. Awesomesauce.
One analogy springs to mind when summing up E7:AO so far. One of my best mates produces electronic music, which is a time-consuming and hair-tearing process. By the end of writing and recording the track, the track must undergo "mastering." What mastering does, is basically it crams as much synth, bass, treble, percussion and general loudness into the smallest capacity. This process is often rife with error, and as such, the perfect final sound is hard to come by, yet sought endlessly by my friend.
Eureka Seven AO is really beginning to feel like that perfect mastering. To bring back to the topic at hand, it just feels like the writers have managed to craft episode after episode crammed with great storytelling - such that by the time the 22min (or so) disappears, you feel like you've watched an hour of story in 5 minutes. Every second is utilised. No unnecessary fat here.
E7:AO has set high expectations from its great opening episodes. As such, many commentators preach that like most anime, there will come the inevitable dip, when the studio needs to pad out the script. However, judging from the past episodes, I feel quietly confident that AO is quite safe in the mastered hands of Bones.
UPDATE: Episode 12 and on.
WOW. Just wow. M Night Shamalamalamalyan (maybe incorrect spelling :P) would be envious of this well performed twist. Without divulging spoilers, episode 12 represents a significant shift in the plot surrounding E7:AO, and direct links between E7 and E7:AO are beginning to show clarity, like peering through a clearing fog.
Up to this point, the plot feels like it has taken 3 sharp "chapters". Episodes 1-4 really introduce us to Ao and the main characters, as well as the greater world of E7:AO. Episodes 5-10 then slow down the pace, and allow in-depth character development to proceed, of supporting characters. Then from episode 11, the series begins to pick up pace again, whereby many questions and answers are raised, as the worlds of E7 and E7:AO begin to collide.
Regarding the three parts, probably 5-10 is the weakest. I still enjoyed them, but the view between E7 fans, voyeurs and the general mishmash of commentators appeared to hold a mixed, if not, negative reaction. In a way, I do share their criticisms. These episodes were very formulaic, whereby each episode could be summarised as the following:
Supporting character problem
Protagonist tags along
Monster of the week appears
Monster of the week is destroyed + supporting character overcomes issue
Pudding is had by all
In hindsight (eg. after seeing episode 12+), I can see why BONES had to approach the supporting characters with such detail, as the characters of Ao, Naru, Truth, Elena, Fleur and Ivica become incredibly central (I predict) to the quickly changing plot. But, I also think that despite the product being good, BONES could of thought of perhaps a more complex path to get there. To be fair, I am nitpicking, so as to not come across as completely biased :P
To cut to the chase: if you are an E7 fan but are unsure whether to proceed through the series, perhaps due to getting restless during eps 5-10 or due to the somewhat negative fans, my recommendation is to persist at least till episode 12. I can at least predict that if you watch it no further, you will still get a kick out of a certain blue-haired individual making their fashionably-late entrance ;)
...okay, that wouldn't make for much of a review, but really, the best way I can put this series was it was painful to watch. I remember seeing the original series in both English and Japanese and loved both. One of the few English dubs that I didn't despise that much. I really hope this doesn't get localized so it can slap the faces of any other Eureka Seven fans that don't watch subbed anime.
Okay, enough venting and more reviewing. The problem with this series was the story and character development...and boy, was it bad. Bones had a pretty
strong reputation before this series but I get the impression it's going to take a major hit. The writers tried to create an innovative plot that took Eureka Seven character archetypes, put them in a time travel/dimensional travel plot, and see what happens. It's almost as if Bones took a look at Steins;Gate and said "see how successful this was?! We need to do that!" Problem is, Steins;Gate created a full cast of likable characters and didn't make the plot any deeper than it had to be. This? It was confusing from start to finish. It's one thing to slowly pace out plot development out of suspense, it's a complete other thing to slowly pace out plot development and then not have a proper payoff.
What made the original series so great was the character development. There was a cast that was well hashed out, well developed, and most importantly, the characters were actually likable and memorable. Astral Ocean failed in that department. It had some unique characters that could've filled that role. I felt as though Elena and Fleur were probably the best characters outside of Ao in this series when it comes to likability. However, even they were not hashed out as well as they should've been and in moments where the dramatic tension should've been high, it wasn't. Simply put, I react well to animes that can convince me that there's dramatic tension between the characters and how they respond to each other. I wasn't sold on any of their dramatic tension.
By far the WORST part of Eureka Seven: Ao though was the ending. Since I'm not allowed to "spoil" it, I'll just come out and say...it was pointless...and I mean that literally. The ending deemed the entire Eureka Seven: Ao storyline essentially pointless. On top of that, it COMPLETELY hung Ao, the series lead character, out to dry. I found it to be an absolute TERRIBLE approach. It's one thing to have a tragic ending that has an affect on the main cast of characters. This anime didn't have that. It had a tragic ending that effectively left zero impact on the main cast of characters. Buzz kill is really the best way to describe the ending.
I know I said a lot of bad things about E7: Astral Ocean so far, but are there any good things? Yeah, there are. The artwork was pretty consistent with the original series and I'd even say slightly better. Although, I do think they went a little overboard with Truth's facial expressions. The music on the whole was pretty good. I also found myself REALLY enjoying the 2nd OP BlazBlue by FLOW. The OP set up the feel that the anime would have an epic 2nd half...so good advertising on Bones part...just poor execution.
Ultimately, the bad outweighs the good. I can say that for the most part, I did enjoy the series but like many series before it, poor writing and an absolute "worst possible ending" just ruined the series for me. The writers tried to do way too much with the plot and not enough with the character development. In an attempt to be innovative, the writers instead created a confusing, heaping mess that even by the time everything was cleared up and explained, it left me unsatisfied. For a sequel to a great series like Eureka Seven, Astral Ocean failed to meet expectations...and then some.
So I just saw the first episode and I was truly drawn in to the entire episode. The artwork is new and definitely fresh and at moments has some almost 3D aspects but it still has the Eureka 7 feel to it. The manga and the anime have a few different ambiguities that are slight. I have yet to identify the sound tracks that will be used or were used in the first episode, but hopefully they are correlated just as well as Sato Naoki's from the first series where you could literally hear the emotion in his music. Character development is good for the
first episode... I mean many things have been left for later to be summed up such as Eureka being Ao's mom and where Renton was when all of Ao's childhood and such. Surely to be covered as the anime progresses. Story is a little undefined as to what G-monsters are as well as FP's and other acronyms that aren't drawn out...yet.
Surely this will be a great anime. The only thing to do is to wait and see if it lives up to its predecessor.
Too be completely honest, I was a little disappointed With this series. I had higher expectations after Eureka 7. It was a great plot, very well developed characters, and had just the right amount of romance and action.
For Eureka 7: AO, This was not the case, the story seemed to be more thrown together and just tried to dazzle you with action for most of the episodes. This being said, character development was lacking and you could not relate or get to know the characters better. I loved the fact that Eureka 7 had great relationships which help bring it together but AO did
If you are into a lot of action though, you may like this anime. But if you were a very big fan of Eureka 7, you may be disappointed.
If you want to watch AO while not being bogged down by rage-fueled reviews, then look no further. This review will tell you what to expect from E7: AO so you can be spared the headaches if you don't want to watch it. I won't be doing the generic reviews of the usual elements since many others have covered them.
First, don't expect that the original series is paralleled here in AO. It's a completely different story with elements from the previous series, the only links being Renton, Eureka, Nirvash, and the Gekko.
Second, if you don't like to think hard on an anime, then don't watch
this. Spare yourself from a lot of hair pulling.
Third, this is a BONES anime. This means that the plot doesn't usually make sense until the end or near the end.
Fourth, if you're looking for action and lasers with good old mecha fighting, then don't watch this. Go and watch Gurren Lagann instead.
Fifth, if you're expecting romance like the original series, don't expect anything from this unless you're only watching for the Renton and Eureka one (which you'll have to wait for for a long, loooooong time).
Sixth, be prepared for a reversal of roles. Not everything you think is correct, IS RIGHT. It's like thinking for the longest time that 1+1 = 2, when the real truth is actually 1+1= 345934578934759.
Seventh, don't expect the typical plot build up. If you know about Romeo and Juliet and have read the book/watched the play, then you know what I mean. This is like Romeo and Juliet, without the romance.
Last but not least, if you care about background characters then don't watch this. Let me tell you right now, this is a story filled with resets and restarts. Stories like that don't usually bid well for people who want closure on everything.
People go hard on this anime because they didn't get what they expect. Let me tell you now, if you want to watch this, wipe all your biases and expectations. I learned it by Episode 13, and I say that's not too late a time.
E7 AO is a sequel made to close everything. It closes the scene on E7 POP and AO together. It's the curtain call for both series. If you like it, good for you, you understood it. If you don't like it, then too bad, go watch an anime with a proven formula for a plotline.
This proved quite disappointing considering how much I enjoyed the original Eureka Seven series, though I'm not completely condemning it to hellfire and brimstone as many folks presently are as there have been worst messes I've seen in anime. Eureka 7 AO gave us the promise of Eureka's son, Ao, trying to discover his mother's whereabouts by trudging through some complicated conflicts between military factions and Generation Bleu. While this idea showed its potential for much of the first half of the series, while also digging into the complicated issues surrounding affairs between the mentioned factions and monster threats, later episodes get increasingly messy with
the title's writing and its exploration of characters.
Let us first talk about the choices of writing for AO. The original series had a clear direction for what it wished to accomplish with Gecko State's motives, revealing Eureka's origins, some pretty shocking secrets surrounding the origins of the world and Dewey Novak's manipulations to bring forth his own twisted plans. For AO though, the series starts getting messy towards the middle of the show when we come to learn of Eureka's whereabouts as it introduces a convoluted plot device, that I won't spoil here, that makes things rather hard to follow with what exactly is happening to her and how this element to the plot affects things for later events in the series. The series also gets in the rather obnoxious habit of creating twists in the direction of the plot that you would assume would be relevant for later events of the show or unveiling details on characters yet in many cases, these twists aren't quite as relevant and were mostly there to swerve the audience. The final two episodes that were hyped up to just recently were noticeably more fast paced than earlier episodes of AO as a major character from the first season of the series finally made his appearance and the resolution to the series will have one questioning what the entire point of it even was with how mean-spirited and contradicting AO was from how it presented itself in the earlier episodes.
Characterization was another issue effecting AO. Relevant characters in the original series got a good amount of fleshing out with their personalities and backgrounds so the audience would learn to care for the issues faced by them throughout the series and see how they eventually grow throughout the series. Even among the supporting characters, the first series still gave them enough personality where they were entertaining to see in serious and light-hearted moments. In AO though, many characters who were relevant in the major events of the series get limited development and don't have much in the way of personality, limiting any kind of connection one could get from them. Those characters who do get reasonable fleshing out are still limited in their development and growth thanks to the mentioned messy writing. Any chemistry between characters that would have one think there is a significant bond between them, like friendship, family or love, or there is development of one is snuffed aside for the most part thanks to larger focus being on the advancement of AO's plot.
The only thing that AO seemed to genuinely land right were the visuals. Eureka 7 AO retains the same animation style used from the first season of the series while having a more vivid color palette and smoother details. The fluid and intense mecha fights are also retained here as well and make for some of the best animated moments I've seen from a TV anime this year.
Overall, Eureka 7 AO made for one of the year's biggest disappointments for me in terms of expectations. While I was expecting a title that would retain the spirit of the original Eureka 7 in exploring Ao's search for his mother from its earlier episodes, AO became quite a mess in terms of writing and characterization in later episodes as it had trouble deciding on a proper direction to follow with its elements compared to the original series. Diehard Eureka 7 fans may want to avoid AO lest they want to fume fan-rage over what they will inevitably see.
Honestly, it wouldn't have been an awful anime standing on it's own. But you had to attach it to Eureka 7, to which I have so many fond memories and emotions attached!
My first complaint with this anime is.. The waste of time. The key points of this episode could have been done in 12 episodes. There were no real filler episodes either!
Why 12? Well, at least half the content was just boring: Go here, kill these guys. Minor character development. Nothing really happens.
My next complaint is.. the characters. The super powers, they didn't make sense
in this universe. To some extent, Naru fit in great. However, Truth was just the personification of every awful villain of any anime. Even when you get his full story. He just sort of.. is horrible.
The other thing about the characters.. Is the lack of development. Even on the main characters. We saw more development from Moon Doggy in E7 than we did from Ao in the entire series.
The story doesn't make sense. I hate time travel. Hate it! With a passion, and this took confusing time travel and made it more confusing. They never answer a few questions which arise like "Were the scubs actually time traveling, or were they going to another universe in which an earlier time period of earth was occuring?" We don't have the insightful mind of a character like Dr. Bear to elaborate to the viewers what the staff knows.
To that end on the story. It kind of ruins the original series. I don't think I've been this dismayed at a series end since Mass Effect 3.
While creating a clone of the original is fruitless endeavor, making the sequel more similar than distant to the original story should have taken a precedent. When it didn't apparently. There were so many avenues to be followed upon with the original anime but instead they offer this short series which honestly should have been way shorter.
What I really missed were those scenes where you felt in touch with the character. I remember literally crying during Anemone's lamenting, and the tears of joy that followed when Eureka and Renton helped her see past the life she was locked in to.
Granted the end of Eureka 7 PoP was a little bit trippy for me, it was still amazing compared to what we got from Astral Ocean.
Okay, first of all let me just say that when I first saw the original Eureka 7 I actually had a hard time getting into it. so much so to the point where I put it on hiatus for a while. Now usually when I do that I rarely go back to finish watching it but E7 was different. I found myself checking it out once more and loving it! I'll tell you why I was so compelled to watch that anime again despite initially not liking it very much....the characters and character development was great! Even for characters I did not like such as
Dewy and Holland. I still was able to understand where they were coming from. Talho was a flawed character as well but she had a personality and was likable. Renton, I thought he was the typical mech anime boy until he opened up and revealed his true and honest feelings toward eureka, his family life, and his future. I was glad that none of the characters were up in Renton's buttcrack like most of anime characters tend to be toward the main character, they just liked him. Eureka, once again I thought she was the typical expressionless anime girl but she surprised me and revealed to be a girl who suffered a lot and truly wish to set everything right. Her, Renton, the kids, and the members of the Gekko State were unique and enjoyable to watch.
But don't expect that from E7:AO
Now when I finished watching E7 and heard there was a second part I was so happy I immediately began watching it. We're introduced to Ao who is Renton and Eureka's son and I'm thinking great start! But soon you learn that Eureka and Renton are nowhere in sight and he is in fact in another world on another timeline. Apparently Eureka and Renton get separated and Eureka came to their world and had her kid and went back blah blah.
First of all, don't expect to find decent character development here. The characters are ALL typical mech anime characters. First we have typical mech anime boy Ao who gets recruited to join "Generation Blue" a military like organization that uses children to fly IFOs because for some odd reason only children can fly IFOs *eye roll*
All of the characters are one dimensional including Ao. He's the typical mech anime boy that all the characters instantly love even when they say they don't. He comes complete with a "funny" pet, and a love interest whom he feels he must fight to protect. Of course there is a chief of the child pilots who love them all like they were his own children. And the story does take a five minute break every five episodes so we can see the characters be "quirky". But is this character development? No! These characters are so bland they could really all be just one person and you would never notice. These characters lack everything that made the members of the Gekko State fun and interesting to watch. The members of the Gekko state had lives, the members of Generation Blue needed to get a life. There is really nothing to them but never ending mech battles. Gone are the priceless moments such as the Gekko team tricking Renton into thinking a bowl of Ramen was a deadly mission. Instead with AO you get some banter about whether or not Ao can swim. Gone are deep characters like Charles and Ray and instead you get....nothing! None of these characters are remember-able!
The plot of AO simply sucks! the creators try to be deep with the whole mysteriousness of it but it's really just a ploy to keep people watching cause they really have NO PLOT!
They try to do this whole time travel deal but it's a mess.
Now I don't mind time travel stories being a little messy but this was just a hot mess and it seems as though the creators are just pulling plots out their rear to compensate for the lack of character. For example; When Eureka arrives again in that world on board a ruined Gekko State she is pregnant and just before Ao helps her go back she says she's having a girl not a boy which leads Ao to question the whereabouts of a mysterious older sister. There is never much of a explanation as to how Eureka is constantly traveling to that particular world while pregnant and she never even seems to remember anything. The anime also tries to remain interesting by not explaining anything and coming up with stupid names that are supposed to make you question what is going on. Such as "The Secrets" "The truth" *eye roll*
Yes the main villain's name is Truth and apparently he's Ao's girlfriend's (Haru) Nirvash although he's not in mech form. Anyway he's called a "Secret" which at first are the main bad guys of the show. Sigh. So this regular girl gets her own Nirvash simply because she was accidentally exposed to scub corals? Then she spends her time riding on the real Nirvash for some reason. Blah blah. And of course Ao wants to save her blah blah. The creators for some reason thought it made sense to take away everything that made Eureka and Renton and subsequently Ao, so special and just pass them to the other bland characters like hot cakes. Anyway, the story sucks, the characters suck, and the music sucks. I tried to watch as much as I could just to see Renton and Eureka and so far all I saw was Eureka and the show picked up somewhat but she left and it was back downhill again.
I don't exactly have much time to write a full review as the previous people did. But I wanted to get this down since I just recently finished watching Eureka Seven AO. Probably won't bother doing much editing either. So here goes my review of Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean.
I will start this off by saying up-front I am a huge fan of the first Eureka Seven. It is by-far my number one favorite anime next to Steins;gate, NHK, and a few others. Tbh, I did have some pretty high expectations for the sequel. Based on how well Bones did with the first series. I really
wanted / hoped the next one to be just as good if not better. And i figured with the way things ended with the last one they were free to do whatever they pleased and it should be fine. Right?
First off, in the beginning of AO I liked how everything was going. Bones has a way of leaving you with questions and building curiosity and suspense. After about maybe not even mid way through the season I got bored of it. Like, okay I liked where it was going but from the early-mid to end the plot practically stays the same. It's just flat out boring. Cool actions scenes, if you're into that kind of stuff. But not much worth watching if you're looking for a good story and some character development.
Speaking of development, AO had absolutely NONE (if any) character development. In Eureka Seven you got to see Renton grow from this clumsy silly little kid to this sort of heroic figure. And throughout the show you really get to connect with the cast. They were so likeable. Not only that you got to see what kind of challenges Renton faced as a young boy growing up. Not to mention the added love story which pretty much completed it.
I don't really want to delve into the soundtrack a whole lot but MY GOD they are seriously lacking in the OST department for AO. How do you go from an awesomely ridiculous soundtrack to like, half-assing the new OST?
It's as though Bones just said, "okay let's see how bad we can screw up and see if any of the fans will notice." I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed that there was a lot that should've been fixed with the new series. I won't spoil anything but some characters that were added were unnecessary. Because they hardly served any purpose other than to be there just for show.
If anything they introduced new elements to E7:AO that didn't need to be there so they ended up spending more time explaining all the new elements and spent less time on the story and characters. As a matter of fact there were a lot of things in AO that they simply wasted time trying to explain. I felt like I was watching a whole new show. Hardly anything reminded me of the original E7. So for the most part I would watch it believing this was some stinky new anime that just aired.
All in all, I watched AO with an open mind and holding it to no standards too high but even as an anime for simply watching and enjoying, or killing time, I couldn't have been more disappointed. I might as well have watched paint dry if sheer disappointment didn't kill me first. If I had to say whether or not I would watch it again. I may. But I'd skip through most of it because some scenes are a nuisance and a waste of time to watch.
If you read the reviews before watching, you probably shouldn't have. Just some fair advice. You should probably go watch it yourself before checking the reviews to get your own opinion on AO. Because I get a feeling that not very many people are going to be too thrilled about this one.
After watching Eureka 7 and loving it I decided that I would give this anime a try. I tried to go into it with an open mind knowing the eureka series, however this is not what I expected. The best way I can describe this anime is a mecha mystery mess.
Story- In my opinion I do not feel that this story is solid. There are many holes and mysteries that even after watching up to episode 20 still don't make sense or haven't been explained. This story has endless plot holes that will most likely never be explained or never make
any sense. You can't really write much about this anime without giving anything away the only things they do explain.
Art- The art isn't bad. There is a lot of color and the characters are well drawn.
Sound-well this category has never made sense to me because any anime I watch has good sound..
Characters- The characters of Eureka ao are not that great. Your left with wondering why some of them are even in the anime at all, and what their purpose is. Especially his friend Naru. I can't seem to stand her.
Enjoyment- I can say that after each eps. that I watch I get more irritated and seem to dislike this anime even more. I can't enjoy something that irritates me. To be honest I continue to watch it in some hopes that something that will happen. Some glimmer of hope that they will explain some of the mystery with the secrets, with Ao's sister....why the hell Naru is all high and mighty now...
Overall-I gave it a 4 for some level of hope that it will redeem itself with some awesome ending. If you are looking for an anime like Eureka this isn't it. This anime doesn't have half the amazing components that Eureka 7 had!
Before we get started I am planning on making a 2 part review of Eureka 7 AO this being the first one. Since i have reached the half way mark of AO i felt like it would be a good idea to give a opinion on it now, then an opinion after the show. Also i will not be ranting in any case of this review. I feel like people aren't here to hear a rant they want to know about what the anime features good and bad.
Eureka 7 AO or its full name Eureka 7 Astral Ocean is the sequel to the very
popular Romantic/Mech anime Eureka 7. If you have not seen Eureka 7 yet then it's recommended to watch it before AO as it does mention very important things that people who watched Eureka 7 would know. Another thing to note is that AO takes place in a different universe than the original show which is explained in the original Eureka 7 and in some of AO.
The story takes place on Okinawa's isolated island of Iwado where a young boy of the age 12 named Ao (yes the main characters name is the same as the anime title) Fukai lives. Ever since he was born nobody liked him and was known by many as a foreigner. Why? AO knows very little of why everyone hates him but what he does know is his mom at a very young age. She had Beautiful aquamarine hair and Mallow eyes with a red fringe. But soon after AO was born his mom left him alone with the old doctor of the island Toshio Fukai. AO tried living a normal life on thel island just like anybody else on the island, accompanied by her childhood friend Naru. a young girl of the age 13. Soon after AO's mom's appearance scub bursts begin to appear all over the world. for those who do not know Scubs are Intelligent lifeforms that has been on earth for 1,000's of years before the series. As soon as the scub bursts appear secrets( uninditified objects) appear creating havoc at wherever their destination is which is really close to scub bursts. But back to the story of Ao, Scub bursts start occurring more and more on his island and then he soon gets caught in the situation of the scubs and secrets and meets a mysterious robot named the Nirvash. A bit after his situation he soon joins Generation Bleu a organization dedicated to stopping the Secrets and extracting certain objects from the scubs. AO is teamed up with a group who name themselves the pied piper. From then on AO is dedicated to helping the world by defeating the secrets with the help of Nirvash.
I do not want to spoil everything I just wanted to Talk about the intro and a little summery of how AO got to the position he's in now. Story wise it keeps you very intrested in whats going on, but. It can at times be very slow in the first few episodes. It may also be very repetitve at times but they keep it from not getting to boring. But, give it time and it will become very awarding after the few episodes.
Like Original, Like Sequel, AO was able to provided outstanding visual performance that's even better than its Original. The animations had amazing detail and the fights with the secrets looked top notch and detailed. the way the trapar waves in this anime looked was outstanding even better than Eureka 7. The art was phenomenal all the colors that they added and all the detail in the background really gave it a addicting feel to it. The way the hair moved and the way the models interacted was outstanding job.
Bones seemed to pull it off again creating an amazing soundtrack for this anime. The music being played in certain scene gave it more emotion to that certain scene and created a sense of enjoyment. The sound effects in the anime sounded splendid to such as the way the Nirvash moved on the trapar waves or the battles with the secrets. As for voice actors, They sound fantastic the way the put in their emotions in certain scenes just added to the Anime's quality. As the music did sound great their were a few scenes where the sound shouldn't have fit in or just sounded weird. But never the less it is a great soundtrack.
The Characters definitively provided a sense of enjoyment to the anime. AO the main protagonist was really great and had a great personalty. Naru was really great character to be with AO its as if they could be lovers but i digress. Noah AO's pet sloth was really funny to watch too. As for other characters, Gazelle played a very important part in AO's story he has a great sense of how people feel and is a very smart person. Truth supposedly the main antagonistic of the story so far is really played out well. His ability's were really unique and kept you wanted to know who he was. Team pied piper are alright too but it seems as though they don't provide lots of back story about them SO FAR! Fleur and Elena are very interesting but it would be great to know more about them. As for Ivica the leader of the pied piper he has an interesting back story that's really enjoyable to watch. Other characters in AO kept the story interesting and made the anime oh so more fun to watch.
Eureka 7 AO provides a great deal of detail so far that keeps you wanting for more. Story wise it is really interesting but can get a bit repetitive and boring at times mostly just in the first few episodes. The art and animations are especially phenomenal and top notch for a show of its caliber it will keep you entertained with stunning visuals and effects. The music and sound effects play out very nicely in certain scenes of this anime and voice actors are espically top notch.(do know that I am talking about sub right now as dub has not came out yet.) The characters are very unique in there own ways and are very fun to watch. As for action and Mechas Eureka 7 AO is not so technical when it comes to Mecha battles they are mostly quick battles that are very entertaining to watch and are unique in their own way from other Mecha's. If you are a hardcore mecha fan then you will see that this show isnt really based on mechas but more of the characters themselves. Overall this anime is well worth the watch for anyone who has seen Eureka 7 the orginal show. for new people who are watching this first it can become very confusing and will leave your brain in knots and twists.
DO NOTE THAT I AM MAKING 2 PARTS THIS IS PART 1 OF WHAT I THINK AND PART 2 WILL BE AFTER EPISODE 26. SO PLEASE REMEMBER THAT I MAY CHANGE MY OVERALL OPINION OF THE SHOW AFTER THE ENDING FOR THE GOOD OR BAD.
As quick overview to this review: I liked Eureka AO but, I can't get into what I liked without discussing its shortcomings as a series and sequel first. There are a considerable amount of shortcomings to this series but, I am going to try to condense them down into three primary faults from which other problems with this series stem.
Probably the biggest problem I initially had with this sequel is that it denies fans the happy ending that a lot of us had pictured as following the end of Eureka Seven. Ao's parents are missing, Ao's island home in is remarkably different from
the setting of Eureka Seven and most returning themes are subverted in one way or another sporting a considerably different vernacular as well. This is an especially hard pill to swallow for fans who already watched Pocket Full of Rainbows as AO immediately gives off the feeling of another blatant redacting of the Eureka Seven universe. In retrospect this seems like a creative choice to play with fans' expectations coming into the sequel although this might have been a little over done as I dropped this series the first time I watched it because of this.
The next issue seems to be the result of over ambitious writing. The combination of everything that is going on in AO and the relatively large central cast results in a number of difficulties in telling each character's story while conveying a sense of overarching plot that viewers can comfortably follow. For some people this makes the character development seem rushed, unclear in execution or tacked on. Where as other reviewers were left wanting more character driven story and were disappointed with the overarching plot which was truly hard to follow with all the back stories popping up along the way. I found myself in the middle wanting a clearer plot and more time with each character (except Truth.) Aside from this, transitions between episodes often felt jarring and confusing since the series rarely fell into a familiar swing while trying to find a place for everything.
A lot of reviewers have said this and I feel it deserves restating: This series is not Eureka Seven. This is fairly obvious to those who've watched or are considering watching this series, but this phrase holds a considerable amount of weight to it. Lets consider some of the things that Eureka Seven has/had to its advantage over AO. Eureka Seven had the benefit of open expectations, a new word to discover and fifty episodes. This makes Eureka Seven a reasonably hard series to follow up in twenty-four episodes without disappointing a lot of people. It is arguable that issues with the story and presentation of the series could stem from trying to fit more into this series than could be done in twenty-four episodes, but I feel that is more a matter of opinion than fact so I've kept this as a separate shortcoming in the series.
My opinion of this series is that there is a lot to love and hate. For me personally there was more to love in this sequel. For a lot of reviewers there was more to hate and I find that completely understandable since there is a lot to look past to start seeing what this series did well. With that said I don't think everyone that enjoyed Eureka Seven will enjoy this sequel, but I think fans who approach this series with an open expectations and are willing to look for what they like in this series will find a lot of pleasant surprises.
I really liked the whole set up for this anime. In a cohesive, although not very well presented, plot the creators of this show managed to bring the audience into a setting that is both similar and different than the setting of Eureka Seven. This allows the audience to become reacquainted with the familiar while discovering what is new and different about the setting of AO through Ao's adventure in a way that was, for me, very nostalgic.
There is a large and diverse cast of characters in this series and most of them are pretty likable. Although the majority of the character development felt forced and out of place in this series I still really liked the characters and I have to credit this to the fact that every primary character has some form of back story or side story.
The setting of AO is much more politically diverse than Eureka Seven. I felt this really made AO stand out as a sequel and, although it added to the side story clutter and general messiness of AO's presentation, I still enjoyed the political aspects of the story.
Even by the end of Eureka Seven there where many questions left unanswered and aspects of mythos left unexplored. AO continues this tradition by answering some questions viewers might have never known to ask about the Eureka Seven universe while revisiting some old questions and introducing new ones along the way. Though fairly simple, I feel this is one of AO's more notable successes as a sequel. For me this is what most of my opinion of this series as sequel hinged on. More than the characters or the story, the world of Eureka Seven is what originally drew me into this franchise and I am glad to see that aspect of Eureka Seven done justice.
I read the guidelines and it was suggested to avoid something like this (but not expressly prohibited.) So, I held it off until the end to respectful of everyone's time. This is my first review and although I read the guidelines and kept them in consideration while writing this review I am sure people will notice things that I overlooked. If you have any advice on how I could make this review more helpful, clear or more compliant with the guidelines, please let me know.
This series cannot be reviewed as a sequel. It's best to look at it as an optional side story. That being said, it has both positive and negative aspects.
For those that love the original and have yet to give this a look, I do advise perhaps taking a pass on this one. It has very little continuity with the original, and it doesn't expand on the overall story. One word to sum it up is this is clearly DIFFERENT (than the original).
Eureka 7: AO has a lot of mystery throughout. The biggest problem is the overall delivery of the story. The flow of the story
is very choppy, almost like it was butchered in post production. Some scenes simply don't transition properly from one moment to the next. It is flawed in it's emotional delivery, and lacks heavily in character development. It's difficult to feel any emotional attachment to most of the characters as the story goes on. It does have great artwork and good music, but this isn't enough at most times. This is one series that could easily be redone with an hour and a half long movie that would probably work better overall.
I do warn that my next comments are a bit of spoilers.
SPOILER: this story works well with the time travel/alternate universe theme, and I do not feel it lacks in it's explanations of the universe. There are a lot of new things like their G-Monsters (or secrets) that have the cool factor.
Straight 7s all across the board ... minus a 3 in Character. So how do I feel about E7:AO?
I've been a fan of Eureka Seven since I first watched it subbed by Nanashi. It's also been a really long long time since Bones made that. Forgetting E7, let's look at AO for what it actually is.
Eureka Seven: AO is less like a drama and barely a romance anime at all. Its entire point lies in family ties and coming of age - which it does... Well. Not great. Well. I did enjoy it's constant change of perspective though, although that's really not a plus
- just me being absolutely insane.
The story encompasses a boy growing up without knowing much of his parents, like the original. Also is picked up by a militant like group designed to fight Coralians, reasonably similar to the original as well. In fact, the first 13 episodes, while lacking on any forms of true development and romance or coherency, are in fact fairly enjoyable. This however becomes a roller-coaster, as a cycle of enjoyment, boredom, followed by bitterness, rinse repeat.
See, Ao didn't have the same kind of run its predecessor had to tell its story. In fact, it had less than half the episodes. Bones made the decision to come up with a thousand events for this series that could've been awesome but just weren't. In fact, the show pitches around from one thing, to another thing unrelated, then pitches back, then decides it wants to play soccer.
I'm not kidding.
The problem really is that Ao could've had a fine story until it gutted any character development, decided to forget plot-lines, decided it wanted to implement a completely confusing time-travel plot, and decided to drop more than 2 -second gag humor. If one took each episode of Ao, added some fun and maybe some actual character development to the story, and really tried fricking hard to reason out the time-traveling thing (I've done it and frankly, the amount of deus ex machina made it basically a moot point), the show would've been that much better.
It's not just phallic, it changes bloody history! Also it will erase you. *click*
The story get's a 7 though, despite every actual flaw in it's telling, it's not terrible, (lose Naru though, she went from somewhat interesting to the most annoying and pointless prophet the world will ever know) and the first and last two episodes actually do a good job of sending nostalgia waves through the viewer. It also attempts to explain every thread it abandoned on the way, which is nice, but frankly, it suffers the whole "24 mins only" run-time problem, and we all have to just scratch our heads, pause the video, open Descarte, and then proceed to say, "Ohhhhhh..." as realization comes flooding in about what was actually just said. Or be me and rewatch the entire series just to remember what they were referencing.
We like to believe he gets it. Probably does, a lot better than we did in one viewing at least.
As for the art, the eyes don't lie, the art was spectacular, the animations fluid, the mechs were beautiful... I scored it a 7 though because frankly, we don't misspell white house as 'white hous' and spell it correctly in the same exact frame of the same episode simultaneously. (episode 18... What the hell man?) Seriously, this is the same studio that did Darker Than Black (which had EXTENSIVE screens and screens of English piled onto a computer monitor, with no misspellings, a sequel with tons of Russian, which I believe is okay, and a ton of Chinese. I think we can hold them to a higher standard.)
Sound.... Was good. Nothing truly new, but the sound library did feel decent, atmosphere matched well, music pieces weren't god-awful, and come on, we love it when the Nirvash does it's whole launch sequence, doesn't matter how bad the show was.
Characters are the worst of everything. I can honestly say I hated Naru for being a philosophical female dog, despised how the back stories of Elena and Fleur were glanced at and then never brought up again for the rest of the show (okay, like once or twice - but it was so pointless I really didn't care), Ivica was borderline frightening, and Gazelle was... Gazelle? Okay, point is - I don't even know if this show had legitimate villains. Everything just kept going a this breakneck speed that I had no idea who was who and fighting who and oh god this is a mess. Look, Ao has the personality of bread. Whiny, blue bread. With purple dots. I did not give a single damn about Ao (the character) after episode 10, and this continued until the very last episode where he finally develops a personality that isn't the equivalent to: Butthurt Mom Left Me.
And honestly, that personality change in the last 10 mins of the last episode ALMOST makes me forgive him. But only almost. Seriously, did Naru, Fleur, Elena or any one else even have a point after the Quartz Gun became a thing? Cos frankly, we already went over that that thing takes retroactive continuity and beats you over the head with it and makes you say it's your daddy.
Oh and don't get me started on Truth, that guy wasn't a villain at all. HE ACTUALLY HAD MORE BACKSTORY THAN MOST OF THE GODDAMN CAST!!!! By the end of it (prior to episode 23), I was basically hoping he'd kill everyone - and then...
I'm not sure I'm okay with this.
As for enjoyment... I have to say - I would've hated this anime - it would've gotten a 4 or 5 if it wasn't for episode 24. It's certainly watchable, and isn't actually that unforgivable, but because it's so dependent on its predecessor without even being good at emulating it, and because it has so few merits of its own it can barely hold onto, the majority of the series left an anguished taste in my mouth... Like eating babies... On fire. I feel like if it had been easier on the terminology, and took more time to explain itself, and CUT ALL THE CRAP THAT ENDED UP NOT MATTERING TO EMBELLISH ON ITS MERITS, it could have been amazing, but it's not. It's passable. And even then, it's predecessor makes it look like a joke.
Watching for what it is - you should watch it if you're a fan of the original, but don't expect much, and really don't buy it. It makes a sub-par show, and while it's better than a ton of garbage people will swear their mother's graves upon, it's just not living up to its name.
7/10 - watch on TV.
http://myanimelist.net/profile/eureka822/reviews for the record - this guy actually shares many of my opinions but still scored this show higher than I feel it deserves. Still a valid read.
*Astral Ocean has not yet concluded its run as I write this review and thus I cannot say whether the last five episodes are along the same lines as the rest that will be reviewed.*
Eureka Seven Astral Ocean is an interesting series for various reasons. While the parent series, Psalms of Planets, focused on character interaction and psychology (among many other topics) with plot taking the backseat for more than half of it's run, Astral Ocean, which is less than half the amount of the original, has a stronger focus on politics. This makes for fundamentally different plot and character development, and while much of
it is often seen in a negative light, some of it makes for very good viewing. Before I get into the pros and cons, here is a quick summary.
The series follows a boy, Fukai Ao, on his personal journey to find his missing mother. In order to find out more about her, he joins a for-hire organization, Generation Bleu, which fights mysterious creatures called "Secrets", which are destroying the world's precious Scub Coral, a valuable resource for an energy termed "trapar" (the same from the original series, but in much lower concentrations). The plot deals with various conflicts that surround Ao's life, namely; his (not quite) mysterious parentage and origins, the danger that the Secrets and Scub Coral pose to the world, generational politics in which adults are untrustworthy, and an even more mysterious and dangerous entity named Truth.
-Ultimately, the greatest flaw that AO suffers from is time constraints. Unlike the original Eureka Seven, Astral Ocean has a 24 episode run, which means that plot and character development take a dive compared to the scope of the first series.
-As a result of the time constraints, characters in Astral Ocean do not shine as brightly as memorable characters in PoPE7 such as Eureka, Anemone, or Holland. The majority of the characters seem to have little screen time or true importance (such as Gazelle and the smugglers) or are downright boring or generic (some of Team Goldilocks and Truth). However, there are still brilliant moments of characterization interspersed within these examples. Ao and his fellow pilot Elena are good indicators of this, as both are actually very complex characters with interesting reactions.
-Astral Ocean was not meant to be seen weekly. A lot of subtle and important contexts get lost in the week to week wait for the next episode. The episodes thus feel slightly disjointed compared to how they feel in succession.
-The plot devices are not as creative as they could have been; the first half of the series is run in a monster of the week fashion, which then gives way to a plot which borrows heavily from classical sci-fi devices.
-Truth is a very annoying, and know-it-all, villain that embraces all the stereotypes for generic anime villains I can think off, including being flamboyant. Not as interesting or complex as Dewey.
-Occasionally there are visible dips in animation quality, in which, for example, Ao's usually feminine features suddenly change to resemble a burly Elric from FMA Brotherhood.
Now, clearly AO is a flawed series, but there are far more pros involved that make Astral Ocean a very interesting series to follow.
-The major problems that people have with the series always begins with the sentence, "It's not as good as the original". I agree with this statement, to an extent. Yes, Astral Ocean is not a fifty episode epic chronicling the amazing romance of a boy learning to grow up and a girl learning to change herself, it's not particularly good at making you love its characters, and it's not full of the atmosphere that makes one so nostalgic for PoP.
Astral Ocean is very good at what it does aim to do, and what it aims to do is so different to that of the original that while it's easy to compare them, we shouldn't. We don't have a romance of the ages, we don't have a true makeshift family, and we don't have the themes of acceptance and change that made the original so poignant. Instead, Astral Ocean speaks to generational conflict and the ties between families. While the original did actually incorporate both themes, AO puts them on stage and presents them through an absolutely brilliant main character. The politics are very complex and have real world analogies, and they alienate the younger characters from the scheming and untrustworthy adult world. The family dynamics are interesting to watch and shape many of the characters in ways that are very natural and also very thought-provoking in retrospect. The pilot Fleur Blanc and her relationship to her father, as well as Ao's own family, are such examples.
-The production values are wonderful. The color palette is beautiful, the music, by composer Nakamura Koji of Supercar fame, is perfect for the atmosphere. The art is usually top-notch, and the battles, though short, are a treat to watch.
-Ao is one of the most spectacular main characters in recent anime history. To some, he comes off as whiny because of his attachment to his mother, and to others he comes off as boring because he's a no-nonsense type and does what he must when he's asked to. Ao is neither. He is a complex and amazingly developed character. His attachment to his mother, which is a very interesting parallel between himself and Renton Thurston's obsession with his older sister in the original, stems from her unexplained disappearance as well as the fact that she is the only blood relative he has ever known. He also identifies with her as an outcast, as both he and his mother were shunned from the island in which he was born. The resulting feelings and resolve are very realistic, and poor Ao has some of the most pitiable circumstances regarding his family outside of being downright abandoned. When Ao is not dealing with his mother complex, he is a very serious character, which might be the reason why he doesn't quite resonate with viewers. However, after a many truly whiny and annoying or useless main character in mecha, Ao is a breath of fresh air. He fights when he is told to, he does what must be done even if it means defying orders, he does not break down and run away from his problems. He might doubt himself or his orders, but sooner or later he tells himself he can and will do what is asked of him. The boy has what most mecha characters lack; a backbone and a no-nonsense resolve. This trait brings Ao into some truly interesting moral divides, and tests both his sense of what's right as well as that resolve.
-There are a great many superb references, both to the original series as well as to other franchises, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion or Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. Elena, the resident otaku character, is usually the one to bring these up, although Ao himself is a great reference to some of the most memorable E7 scenes and characters.
-While Truth isn't the greatest villain in the world, there is no denying that the plot is interesting to follow. There is no clear good side or evil side; even though I state that Truth is a villain, he is more of the antagonist instead, rather how Anemone and Dominic worked against Eureka and Renton but were not actually bad themselves. In fact, AO runs a bit like a free-for-all battle in which various sides have various agendas and everyone believes themselves justified. As a real world allegory, this is particularly intriguing.
-While the big picture feel of AO may not seem that great, it's important to understand the series as a whole rather than as separate episodes as well as to appreciate small moments of characterization, symbolism, conversation, and interaction in order to get the true scope of and appreciate what is happening and why.
Astral Ocean is a great series to follow, and while it is hindered by time constraints as well as the fact that it's related to an epic makes it feel underwhelmed, the fact remains that one should not judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree. On its own, AO is at the very least decent and at its best superb for what it's trying to do. It is still fun, engaging, and well worth watching, and while you won't get as attached to its characters as you did with the parent series, at the very least Ao himself is someone worth rooting for.