If you're a anime fan in any capacity, then I'm sure you've heard of a little show called Eureka Seven. Upon it's release, Eureka Seven garnered critical acclaim for it's production values, the characters and their relationships with one another, and the fact that this is an original and unique story that had no source material, often being heralded as the greatest love story in anime history. Now with these last 24 episodes completed, Does Eureka Seven deserve all of the hype?
Eureka Seven starts off with a young boy named Renton Thurston (voice of Johnny Yong Bosch.) Renton's life sucks (as he proclaims on a consistent basis), he has no real family other than his crotchety Grandfather, Axel Thurston, and he's stuck in a backwater town as a mechanic's apprentice and is quickly going nowhere with his life. Renton has dreams though, he wishes to be live up to his deceased father's reputation and become apart of the infamous Gekkostate, a band of rebels led by the charismatic Holland Novak (voiced by Crispin Freeman), Renton's personal idol, as he is the number one ref board lifter in the world.
One day, things are going especially bad for Renton. He gets beat up in school, he finds out his mechanic is closing up shop and is scorned by his grandfather. To cap this day off, a giant mecha dubbed the Nirvash type Zero crash lands in his back yard, and out steps a beautiful, enigmatic woman named Eureka (voiced by Stephanie Sheh.) Holland arrives as well, unbeknownst to Renton, as he has a past relationship with Axel. Shortly after helping Eureka, Renton joins the Gekkostate.
Picking up where Eureka Seven: Part One left off, Renton, whom had run away from the Gekkostate after a confrontation with Holland and the crew, found shelter with an older charming couple, Charles and Ray, whom took Renton in after seeing how desperate his situation is. Renton seemingly finally found some kind of peace and acceptance with the couple. That hope of finding someone that will accept him is shattered as he finds out Charles and Ray are bounty hunters, and their current mission is to take down the Gekkostate and all of those involved. The last set ended just as Charles and Ray launched their attack on the crew.
Renton, now back on the Gekkostate, finds it under attack by Charles and Ray as they try to complete their job on taking down the Gekko. Renton realizes it's time for him to grow up and leave his childish tendencies behind, to step up and be the man he wants to be, to protect the one he loves at all costs, which is the theme that the rest of the series deals with.
After dealing with the loss of Charles and Ray, Renton continues on his path to pursue Eureka as she becomes more and more interested in him. They both soon realize that there is more to their relationship and begin to fall in love with one another. As things begin to fall into place for Renton, disaster strikes, Eureka falls ill and is getting increasingly worse by the minute. While Renton tries to find ways to help Eureka, things continue to get worse for the Gekko, the capital and military are closing in the crew, and worst of all, Dewey Novak (Holland's brother and the main antagonist of the series), whom remained silent for the large part of Collection One, finally moves ahead with his plan to destroy the world, heading to the brothers having a climatic showdown.
All of the mysteries that have been piling up throughout the first collection, like what happened to Renton's dad and sister? Why is Eureka the way she is? what exactly happened in Holland's past? Would Renton and Eureka end up together? Everything is resolved by the end of these 24 episodes, the ending is satisfying (at least to me), bringing resolution to all of these characters and storylines.
Eureka Seven's driving force is the characters. The first half of the series dealt with Renton trying to fit in with Gekkostate and his attempt of wooing and courting Eureka. The second half deals with Renton and Eureka united as a couple and determined to face their destiny. In all sincerity, the relationship between Renton and Eureka will pull at your heart, and with each passing episode making their future bleaker and bleaker, all you want are for these two to pull through and end up together.
+ The relationship between Renton and Eureka is beautifully done.
+ Renton is one of the most fleshed out protagonists I've ever seen in a anime.
+ Holland and his backstory.
+ Fantastic character development for supporting cast of characters on the Gekkostate.
+ The animation is outstanding.
+ The ending is well done.
+ Dewey is a great villain, and the dynamic between he an Holland, is fantastic.
- The (minor) problem with the last 24 episodes of the series can be a bit convoluted at times. Eureka being revealed to being a coral scub and getting sicker and sicker from it I felt was nothing more than a plot device to drive Renton, and that wasn't needed.
Video and Audio
From Bones, the studio behind popular series' like Wolf's Rain, the FullMetal Alchemist franchise, Darker Than Black, Soul Eater, and the recent smash hit, Space Dandy. Bones has always been one of my very favorite animation studios as all of their productions are aesthetically absolutely gorgeous and unique, Eureka Seven is no different. The production values are obviously very high and the artwork is at times, astounding. The character designs are all unique and original with each one standing out. Everything about the artwork is beautiful with a rich and vivid color palette.
As for Audio, we have two options, the first is a traditional English Stereo and the second is the original Japanese stereo track. As usual with my reviews, I watched a few episodes in it's original Japanese, and then as a whole in it's English dub. For Eureka Seven, I personally preferred the dub, it's flat out fantastic. The box sets audio was crystal clear throughout with no signs of distortion or any kind of dropout.
- Disc 6:
- Episode 27 commentary with Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nzuka (Eureka), Jurota Kosugi (Charles), and Aya Hisakawa (Ray.)
- Episode 32 commentary with Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nzuka (Eureka), and Ami Koshimizu (Anemone.)
- Disc 7:
- Episode 36 commentary with Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nzuka (Eureka), Eriko Kigawa (Maeter), and Fumie Mizusawa (Gidget.)
- Episode 39 commentary with Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nzuka (Eureka), Yasunori Matsumoto (Stoner), and Taro Yamaguchi (Hap.)
- Disc 8:
- Episode 43 commentary with Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nzuka (Eureka), and Koji Tsujitani (Dewey.)
- Disc 9:
- Episode 50 commentary with Yuko Sanpei (Renton), Kaori Nzuka (Eureka), Kazuhiro Wakabayashi (sound director for the show), and Tomoki Kyoda (Director for the series.)
- Episode 50: Special textless version.
- Textless opening number 3.
- Textless ending number 3.
- U.S. Trailer for the show.
- Trailers for various other FUNimation series' such as Shanri-La and Serial Experiments Lain.
- Disc 10:
- Interview number 6: Keiji Fujiwara (Holland) and Michiko Neya (Talho), Part 2. The interview is approximately 17 minutes long, and some of the questions fielded are how do they think Eureka Seven is different from other shows, comparing themselves to their characters, and their favorite scenes.
- Interview number 7: Keiji Fujiwara (Holland) and Michiko Neya (Talho), Part 3. The interview is approximately 10 minutes long, and some of the questions fielded are what their absolute favorite episode is, the theme of Eureka Seven and what they thought of Renton's influence on the other characters.
- Interview number 8: Crispin Freeman (English dub Holland), part 2. The interview is approximately 15 minutes long, and some of the topics fielded are the themes of the show, what role he would select if he couldn't play Holland, how he thinks Eureka Seven is different from other series', his experience working on the show, what challenges him as an actor, and he again touches on the themes of Mythology in the show.
- Interview number 9: Crispin Freeman (English dub Holland), Part 3. The interview is approximately 14 minutes long, and some of the topics fielded are what his favorite scenes were, his favorite episode (nearly every actor says the hazing episode with the ramen), how his character changes over time, and if Eureka Seven will appeal to the American audience (these interviews were done before it's release.)
- Interview number 10: Kate Higgins (the English dubbed voice for Talho.) The interview is approximately 18 minutes long, and some of the topics fielded are what she likes most about Talho, the most challenging aspect of playing Talho, who she would choose if she could swap roles, her inspiration for acting, similarities between herself and Talho, her favorite scenes to perform, her favorite episode, and she also gives a special message to the fans.
Eureka Seven is one of the most unique anime that is offered on the market. The best aspect of the series is easily the focus on the character development in a world where there are at least a dozen lead characters, and every single one of them is fleshed out. The series does take a little bit to get going, but that's OK, even the slower episodes are chalk full of development for the characters. After having watched both collections, Would I call it the greatest anime story ever told? or even one of the all time greats? I'm not sure, but it is an exceptional series with a solid ending. As a whole, Eureka Seven comes Highly Recommended.