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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Eureka Seven: Part One (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray)
Eureka Seven: Part One (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray)
FUNimation // Unrated // April 22, 2014 // Region A
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted May 18, 2014 | E-mail the Author
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Eureka Seven Part 2 Blu-ray Review

Eureka Seven (otherwise known as Psalms of Planets Eureka SeveN) is an anime series produced in 2005 which garnered great acclaim and popularity across it's fifty episode run. The series has often drawn comparisons to Neon Genesis Evangelion despite some clear differences between the series. The show first began in conception when a idea to create a new Mecha anime was pitched from Bandai Entertainment to the popular Japanese anime studio Bones.

The idea was first dismissed by Bones as something to produce but the idea was later developed further as other unrelated work at the company led to its formation as an original anime series. Unlike many longer-run anime productions, Eureka Seven was not coming to fans through an already established franchise (whether that be in manga or anime form) and it surprised as a big hit series that established a number of dedicated fans.

One of the things that set Eureka Seven apart from a lot of the other anime productions from the time was the fact that it was a new story. It was something that was trying to be unique, different, and original from most productions at the time. The series stands out for being a show that wasn't based upon any manga work (though a manga series run did shortly follow in its footsteps) and it helped the audience embrace it, partly because they did not know what to expect as the storyline unfolded. This helped the series to become more popular and renowned.

This set from Funimation is Part 1 (of 2) and features the first batch of episodes that establishes the core ideas of the series and introduces the main characters of Eureka Seven. The introduction revolves largely around the two leads, Renton and Eureka, and their relationship formed together as they become close friends with a romantic interest in each other. The story begins with Renton joining up with the Gekkostate group of rebels and as he becomes more involved he discovers a lot more to the story of the crew and it's team. As the storyline unfolds, there is also much more to learn about Eureka and her role there as well. The story at its core remains one that is about these character relationships and the journey more than it is about the Mecha aspect that's also part of the equation with the Nirvash robot.

Fans of great animation will be impressed by the way episodes are so well done in terms of both the fluidity and the artwork. The animation amazes on the show with excellent character designs, stunning backdrops, and a dedication towards a number of good details in the artwork. This is an altogether lively and well done series when looked at from the anime production standpoints that are so integral to the art on display within the show.

The series had a number of anime directors involved in the production, including Tomoki Kyoda, who is reportedly the director most involved with the series (though for an unknown number of episodes). The series is written by Dai Sato. I think from a directing and writing standpoint this series is a high quality one that is much more interesting than many other anime series which were being released around 2005.

Many fans regard Eureka Seven as an all time anime classic (as one of the "greats"). I'm not sure if Eureka Seven fits into that ballpark for myself; it's certainly not the type of anime series that interests me the most. However, the series is nonetheless a solid anime series all around and is worth checking out for anime fans interested in a sci-fi series that has elements of mystery, romance, and adventure. This series is certainly a good step above many series and should manage to entertain audiences with its abundantly high-quality style.

The Blu-ray:


Please Note: Portions of the review are from the review of Funimation's release of Part 2 of Eureka Seven. Both set's features and specs are virtually the same and can be combined to comprise a complete series set by placing Set 2 in the designated slot in the Part 1 Limited Edition art-box.

Video:

Eureka Seven is a bit disappointing on its Blu-ray High Definition debut. The series was never actually animated in a format where it can be natively rendered in HD. This means that this is actually a standard definition upscale Blu-ray release. On top of this issue, the presentation is relegated to 1080i upscaling, which prevents the image from being quite as smooth as it could perhaps be given different production circumstances. Then there's the encoding work done by Funimation. The transfers are around 18.5 mbps and this is not really adequate enough, in my estimation. It results in compression artifacts, fluctuations in sharpness (which is not simply a source issue), and some posterization on some larger HDTV displays. These quality issues on this release could have been easily avoided with some better encoding methods and a few more Blu-ray discs.

On the positive-side, if you are a viewer who is not viewing the series on as large of a display, you are likely to be less finicky with the bit-rates and encoding method. The series has better color depth and fewer compression issues that are relegated to DVD's. Yet the DVD's from Bandai Entertainment are probably about the same (if not a bit better) in certain regards. Unfortunately, viewing these Blu-ray's on a 50 inch HDTV is definitely disappointing.

A reasonable way to discuss the upgrade to the HD upscales would be to say the picture is 15 percent or so better than the way it would have looked as simply native SD material. This demonstrates both a reasonable reason for this Blu-ray release to exist and also the fact that source-wise this was simply not going to be as stellar a HD release as some fans may have been hoping to find. Eureka Seven is never going to "wow" with its High Definition presentation as it was never animated that way to begin with.  

Audio:

The audio presentation fares quite a bit better than the video does even if merely for the fact the dialogue and sound effects are more clearly distinguishable with a decent bit-rate lossless audio presentation that is available in both English and Japanese language. The series is presented in stereo 2.0 Dolby TrueHD and as a result there isn't much to the dynamics to begin with but the front-only mixing sounds reasonable enough.

However, the audio is still relegated to only 16 bit depth, which means things won't sound as impressive or as dynamic as a proper 24 bit presentation can provide. Considering the fact that many series are never given 24 bit audio presentations (and I don't actually have information on the audio encoding on the JP editions), it's safe to say this is a reasonable presentation boost for the clarity of the audio.


Extras:

First of all, as a bonus to the Limited Edition version of Eureka Seven: Part 1 you get an art-box which is designed to house both parts of the series. In essence, this allows one to combine sets to form a truly "complete" edition.

The set contains some on-disc supplemental materials of note, including some Japanese (with English subtitles) commentaries and English dub commentaries. There is also a selection of voice actor interviews, including interviews with the Japanese voice actors, and on this Limited Edition of Set 1 the release contains a DVD disc that contains these additional SD (Standard Definition) interviews. The set is rounded out with standard extras: textless opening/ending credits and trailers promoting other recent Funimation Entertainment releases.

Final Thoughts:

Eureka Seven is heralded by many as one of the quintessential anime classics. I'm not quite as big of a fan of this series, but the series still impresses with stellar animation by studio Bones, solid craft in both writing/direction, and with likeable characters that help define the show. It certainly deserves the fan-base for its originality in storytelling.

I have some reservations about the picture quality presentation of Eureka Seven on these Blu-ray releases by Funimation.  However, for any fan of the series who has not owned it before, this is still a reasonable collection and is worth considering as a potential purchase.   

Putting aside the disappointment of the PQ, which will never be stellar as it comes from standard definition origins, Eureka Seven is a quality program that is worth having in a collection in one form or another: if that happens to be these Blu-ray sets, that's OK. If  you already own the DVDs... just decide whether or not the  minimal upgrade is worth the added cost to you.

Newcomers or fans who never purchased prior editions are more likely to embrace these sets as Eureka Seven is now in-print again. For those viewers: this set comes with a reasonable recommendation.

Recommended.

Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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