Eureka Seven: Volume 1 (ep.1-5)
The 2005 broadcast series Eureka Seven offers snazzy aerial sequences that suggest snowboarding raised to the nth degree. Fourteen-year-old Renton Thurston lives with his mechanic-grandfather, but dreams of joining the elite pilot-mercenaries of the Light Finding Operation (LFO) aboard their ship the Gekkostate. When LFO pilot Eureka crashes her mecha, the Nervash Type Zero, into his grandfather's shop, Renton is smitten with her beauty and her flying skills. He brings her the Amita Drive, a mysterious invention of his father's, that increases the power of the Nervash astronomically. Thurston's latent talents win him a place on the Gekkostate, but he has a long way to go before he's accepted as a real member of the team. Eureka Seven ranks as a noteworthy series in many ways. The aerial maneuvers and mecha battles are choreographed with exceptional élan; the handsome designs recall Last Exile, but with a bolder palette; and Renton expresses the enthusiasm and insecurity of a rookie without becoming a pill. The storytelling is rather oblique, but once the filmmakers finish cutting through the thickets of back story, Eureka Seven should really soar. (Unrated, suitable for ages 12 and older: violence, tobacco and alcohol use) --Charles Solomon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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As the series progresses the various characters are shown to have more depth than you would think at first, some have been damaged by their own history that we see get developed along the way. Renton's arrival, with what you might call the shattering of his own naive view of his world and his heroes, sparks his own growth as a person, which also seems to cause some of the others to look deeper into themselves as well.
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The plot is a bit far fetched, but interesting none the less. Man has colonized a planet at some point in the past, and there are environmental issues. The steps he has taken to correct those may be making the situation worse. There are other things at work here, but I don't want to spoil the series for you. This however is not for the impatient. While enjoyable, there are slow episodes and the plot develops quite slowly as well. If you are good at putting together hints you may arrive at some conclusions earlier. Not much of the back story is revealed in any particular episode, until you get to episode 29 when a major piece is filled in.
That's probably a good thing because it takes that long for the two focal characters to come to terms with who they are. Initially, I too felt impatient about the wait for this much of the plot to develop. I changed my mind about that after thinking about it some. There are a lot of anime series out there about boy mecha pilots (what is it the Japanese have with 14 year olds piloting these things). Most don't give the leads much justification, beyond simple protection, and sometimes revenge to take the controls. In the Evangelion series for instance, would you really want someone as naive, and messed up as the disturbed boy Shinji to decide the fate of the world? In this series, the boy pilot was put through a lot before the facts were revealed to him. It effected him greatly, but he came to terms, he didn't go nuts or all indecisive as in some series. You can understand him, and how he makes his choices later in the series. That can be said too for his main and initial reason for starting this adventure, the girl Eureka.
Now, I don't want to scare off a lot of parents here, but the group the boy joins, the Gekkostate, which sounds like a small country is more like a terrorist cell. Other than their deadly contacts with the military however they don't prey on civilians. A good part of the series illustrates a lot of the darker side of man. Governmental mis-information leads to racial and religious hatred and oppression. Mans exploitation of the environment has way overstepped the bounds of being judicious. In a particularly stupid, greedy, selfish, and perhaps evil manor the powers that be, plan genocide as a viable solution.
Now as for this box set, a real bargain if you like extras, it comes with a high quality brown (not the usual white or black) T-Shirt, although the transfer I got was poorly done, two Music CDs with nearly 50 songs, A full copy of the first graphic novel produced for the series, A DVD with the first 5 episodes, and a high quality art box to hold the first couple seasons. You will rarely find this much in one special edition set, at least not for the kind of pricing seen here. I believe that since this is a relatively new series from Japan, and has not had a long time in fan-subs, or other promotion, the idea is to give you some initial value, and a taste of the series. For those who want to wait, this is playing on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network. On TV there are likely to be cuts, either for time, or for some degree of violence. All that said, if you like your action Gundam Wing style, go elsewhere. If you enjoy a storyline that won't play out in the first episode give this a try. I had to take away a star for being a little far fetched as far as even SciFi goes. If you have good suspension of disbelief skills, go ahead and add one back.
I don't know what got into me when I purchased this set from Amazon.com. I'm usually never lolled in by Special Edition sets unless it has a box to contain all the discs in the series. Beyond that, I'm not too interested; all I care about is the anime. But I bought this box set on a hunch (though I was looking at the collector's box at the time, to be sure). Something told me that Eureka Seven wasn't to be underestimated as the next big series. And after I watched the first disc, I'm completely sure I was right. If marketed correctly, Eureka Seven should take the place of Fullmetal Alchemist when they finally complete their DVD release run.
In truth, I'm not really here to talk about the series, but this box set in particular. As the title says, this box is filled to the brim and running over. Not only does it have the first disc and a collector's case, but it has the soundtrack, which as of the time of this writing has yet to be released, the first volume of the manga series, and for all of you fan-boys and -girls, a t-shirt as well. And I will say that nothing here left me disappointed (except for maybe the shirt, as I'll probably never wear it, but either way it was free). The shear value of this set is what makes it great. Consider this: most special edition sets with collector's boxes market for about $30; the Eureka Seven soundtrack will go for $20; the manga will sell for $10; and the shirt will probably go for somewhere around $15. Added all up, that equals a value of around $75. Yet you get all of this for only $45.
So, if you're planning on collecting this series then I wouldn't miss out on this set. Everything here is a great companion to the excellent anime included, and the slip-case collector's box is unique enough to add a little flair to the DVD shelf. Get this and enjoy everything it has to offer. There is hours of entertainment in this box.
Now for the anime...
Eureka Seven is a beautiful anime, and has everything that to me makes an anime great:
1) Animation--Eureka Seven has some the cleanest and freshest animation I've seen, and seems to somewhat resemble an FLCL mixed with Fullmetal Alchemist. Not only that, but the action is smooth and exciting, the character designs are unique, and the settings really add to the story that is taking place.
2) Story--firstly, Eureka Seven has some great characters, with Renton, a bored boy who just wants a little change, to Eureka, a wise-for-her-age girl who pilots a giant wind-surfing robot. And while this series contains a large cast, it does well to keep a few of the cliches out (though not all, I will admit). As for the story surrounding these characters, that's pretty good as well, at least from what I saw so far. Renton, as stated, wants a little change, and feels locked in the boring city in which he grew up in. That's when Eureka makes an appearance--of sorts--and Renton not only falls in love with her but makes his decision to finally change his life. Also, he must do this while living with the knowledge that his sister has disappeared, and his father is the man who saved the world.
3) Music--if you've read any of my past anime reviews, then you know I highly regard Cowboy Bebop, FLCL, Samurai Champloo, and Wolf's Rain not only for their great stories but for their excellent music as well. Eureka Seven follows in the same route, adding a techo-dance theme to their musical score that accompanies the goings on in the series oh so well. Luckily, the soundtrack comes paced inside, so you can hear this music anytime you like.
No matter which version you do buy, though, I wouldn't miss this anime either way. Eureka Seven seems to me to have everything people should love in an anime. And the future for this long anime series is very promising.
Anyone remember the funky music and atmosphere of Jet Set Radio (not to mention that crazy-cool art sytle)? What about the sweet character designs of FLCL (and it's slick soundtrack)? Okay, now remember the feeling you'd get when you saw something just plain awesome in one of those Mecha sagas like Macross? Stir it all up in the anime blender and you get something...like THIS.
Just trying to describe the universe of this series is very hard to do. It's a sci-fi world unlike any other. Most people go about their lives on a planet where energy currents flow underground and through the skies (leaving glowing colors in their wake). People ride these currents on futuristic surfboards and (you guessed it) Giant Robots. (: Of course, the robot designs are by Shoji Kawamori, so of COURSE they transform :)
The plot is hard to describe because it's kind of hidden from the start. We get the generic pathetic kid wants to escape his boring reality and finds himself thrown into high adventure with a mysterious young woman leading the way, but naturally that's just an excuse to get things started. The real story involves aliens, the past, the main character Renton's lost family, and the secret of who exactly that strange girl Eureka is. Naturally we won't get into any of that for a while though.
What we will get into this volume is GekkoState, the terrorist/skysurfer organization with unknown motives, the stylish yet strangely stoic, yet compellingly sweet Eureka, and the poor teenager Renton who is obsessed with becoming a sky-surfing legend like the GekkoState crowd he worships, and the oh-so-mysterious disappearance of Renton's sister and father (who supposedly saved the entire planet once upon a time).
The story unfolds rather slowly, revealing very little about the true nature of most of the characters, or their true motives. There's plenty to keep you busy in the mean-time however. The music totally rocks and augments the action beautifully (I have the soundtrack on pre-order). The animation and artwork is breath-taking, truly pushing your TV and DVD player to their limits. The animation is just so bright, so detailed, and so GORGEOUS that the first episode took my breath away in spots. For a 50 episode TV show, the high budget and superlative quality really shines.
While not perhaps having the high amount of action as Gundam or Macross (yet?), the action sequences are well executed and fast paced. We've got Macross-style missiles being evaded, surf-board rides through the stratosphere, and super-weapons spewing light like the end of the world (and it's still only the first 5 episodes).
The voice acting in both dubs is quite good, although the English dub perhaps lacks some of the clarity of the Japanese, and some of the subtitle translations are questionable. I would probably listen to the English, except I just prefer the voice actress' voice who plays Renton for some reason. If you dig the Japanese track you may also want to check out the commentary with the two voice actresses who play the two main characters, and the interviews included.
This show creates a totally new world to be explored, and it wouldn't surprise me if it builds up a considerable following later on as people discover it. So far it's been worth seeing for the music and visuals alone. Oh, and if you don't think Jet Set Radio has anything to do with the sense of style in this show, just compare Gum's costume to Eureka's. Riiiiiiiiight.
At first the whole concept of air surfing mechs looked pretty cheesy (mostly cuz i'm still in love with the mechs from Macross) but it didn't take long to win me over. The aerial battle scenes are awesome. I like how they incorporate x-games type moves during battles scenes like the cut back drop turn (surfing) to evade missiles.
This series kinda reminds me of Lost a little bit. You start right in the thick of the story and throughout the series, you get a little backstory of the main characters.
The overall main story is terrific and imaginative. Basically, you're the events in the series take place in another planet where ancestors of "earthlings" have settled. Renton is the son of Adirock Thurston who was a military scientist who saved the world during the Summer of Love. He meets Eureka one day and decides to go with her and the members of GekkoState and from there he slowly (and sometimes painfully) finds out his role is bigger than he could ever imagine. I'll leave it at that. Along with the action is a sweet love story between Renton and Eureka and lots of comedy c/o the other members of GekkoState. Just a side note, if you watch carefully you'll notice little tidbits of pop culture. Two of the GekkoState members are Woz and Jobs (Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs) who are the tech guys and another two are Gidget and Moondoggie (from the Gidget movies). Also they mention that Holland is from North Shore (north shore hawaii is the mecca of surfing); when Renton goes to his uncle's plantation (that looks like cuba) he sees a billboard of his father that resembles the famous Che Guevarra picture; and a lot more. I dunno I just think little things like that is cool.
Pick up this series you won't be disappointed. I love it!
It has a great mix of comedy and action and definitely a hint of a greater story lingering beneath the surface. One of the best components of the series so far is the varied cast. It's a large cast, but doesn't suffer from many overdone character types or redundant personalities. Each character even has a unique look and you don't get much of the sibling effect in this show.
Another great element is the look of the rest of the show. It mixes a sci-fi/futuristic look with a retro 60s and 70s style. I'm usually not one for retro styles but it works quite well in this case. The animation itself is also well above average for an anime series and remains consistent with the quality set by the art itself. The soundtrack is quite diverse as well, but also seems to use a retro style at times, while other times it adopts a techno or even alternative style. The voice acting is great as well, both sub and dub. I prefer the dub myself, but sub fans certainly won't be disappointed either.
It is a mecha series at heart, but there's a lot to it at that. At this point there's not a whole lot of story, but what we've had so far has been great to watch and has done a wonderful job introducing the characters and themes.
The special edition comes with a free copy of the 1st manga, a 2-disc soundtrack release, an artbox and a brown size large t-shirt with the Gekkostate logo on the front and the Eureka Seven logo written vertically down the back. I felt the manga failed to live up to the style of the series, but the soundtrack is pretty diverse and impressive and the shirt is actually of pretty good quality.
The artbox opens and closes by removing the entire top piece, which is the bulk of the box. It's an interesting design, but the cardboard piece on the bottom portion that the top portion closes around when you put it back on is already showing wear on my artbox. It's still a great box though, and the artwork is a great example of the shows style. The image of Renton on the box seems a bit young compared to his age in the series, but that's only minor nitpicking.
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