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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Eureka Seven AO: Part 1 (Blu-ray)
Eureka Seven AO: Part 1 (Blu-ray)
FUNimation // Unrated // Region A
List Price: $69.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Kyle Mills | posted February 18, 2014 | E-mail the Author
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Content:
If you're a anime fan, you have no doubt heard of Eureka Seven, easily one of the most popular anime of the last decade. The series primarily focused on the relationship between an enigmatic young woman named Eureka and Renton Thurston, a determined and over eager kid, as well as Renton wanting to become a member of the elusive and famous Gekkostate. Over the course of the original, Renton and Eureka fell in love with one another and we watched as their relationship developed, we grew a connection with these characters. While there are themes from the original series that tie into this story along with some cameos from the past season, AO is really it's own story about the son of Renton and Eureka, both of whom are missing. So the question is, does AO live up to it's predecessor?

Important to the story of AO is a returning element from the first series, the Scub Coral. Eureka Seven takes place 10,000 years after humanity has made a mass migration into space, due to the arrival of the Scub Coral, an intelligent, sentient life who merged with the planet, forcing the humans to abandon it. Upon returning to the planet, eventually the Scub Coral was viewed as a threat, although it's intentions are a peaceful cohabitation among humans. So Renton, Eureka, Holland Novak and the rest of the Gekkostate vowed to protect it. It's here that we start Eureka Seven: AO.

AO takes place in the year 2025 in Okinawa on the island of Iwato Jima, where every one is under constant threat of Scub Bursts, violent explosions of alien material, followed by "Secrets", which are monsters looking to destroy anything in their path. Enter a resistance group referred to as Generation Bleu, an independent organization that has been dealing with the Scub Bursts, saving people from them, and acquiring something called the Quartz from inside the Scub.

This is where we the story of AO begins. AO is about a young boy named Ao Fukai (voice if Micah Solusod) who lives with a doctor. Ao's mother, whom we quickly find out is Eureka (voice of Stephanie Sheh) from the original series, mysteriously vanished 10 years ago, and his father is nowhere to be found either. One day while he and his only real friend, a sick girl named Naru Arata (voice of Lindsay Seidel) are out together, AO gets into an argument with a group of smugglers named Gazelle, Pippo and Han Juno. Ao accidentally ends up in the possession of a bracelet that was trying to be smuggled out by the group, as this happens, out of nowhere an alien entity referred to as the Secrets, and Scub Bursts begin attacking the city. Caught in the middle of the 2 warring alien life forms, Ao ends up synching up to the original IFO known as The Nirvash, which turns his hair into the same shade of Turquoise as his mothers, and he begins battling the Secrets to protect the city.

After this, in order to find out what happened to his mother and continue to help defend humanity, Ao is recruited by Generation Bleu and is placed on the team consisting of elite group of fighters made up of children, who are the only ones who can pilot the mecha. The team consists of Fleur (voice of Sainty Reid), a girl who has feelings for Ao. Elana, a reserved girl who has a deep seeded hatred toward Eureka, Ivica (voice of John Swasey), a war veteran who worked with Eureka. Rounding out the team is Rebecka (voice of Jamie Marchi), the commander of the team.

The whole of the series thus far is really finding out about what happened with Eureka and the events surrounding her disappearance. Eureka's mystery deepens further when a shape-shifter calling himself "Truth" (voice of Todd Haberkorn) arrives hellbent on finding Eureka and taking the Nirvash for himself, as he proclaims it to rightfully belong to him. When Truth doesn't find Eureka herself, he sets his sights on the next best thing, AO. This leads to a pretty great hook for Part 2 that I'm sure fans of the original will love.

Positives:

+ The Eureka mystery.

+ A great lead in to part 2.

+ Animation quality.

+ Intriguing villian.

Negatives:

- The 1st set of episodes is tedious at times.

- Unlike the first series, AO features a ton of cliche, boring, and one note characters.

- AO is NO Renton.

- If you're a big fan of the original and are coming into this series looking for a continuation on Renton/Eureka. You're gonna be in for severe disappointment.

Video and Audio
I always have loved Bones' animation style, they're the animation studio behind series' like Wolf's Rain, Soul Eater, FullMetal Alchemist and Brotherhood, Darker Than Black, and Space Dandy. Their animation is usually always so unique, slick and quite stunning, [i]Eureka Seven:AO[/i] being no exception. The character designs are unique and expressive and the background shots are well detailed. By far the best part of the animation are the mecha battles and the coral scub ignitions. Both are beautifully done.

For Audio, we have two different audio tracks. The first is a TrueHD 5.1 English Dolby and the second is the original TrueHD 2.0 Japanese Stereo track, as usual I watched the English dub, which per FUNimation's standards, is well done. The dialogue is crisp and clear throughout. The soundtrack is dynamic in the action scenes and appropriately mellow in the intimate/dialogue scenes. There were no signs of any audio dropouts or distortions throughout the set.

Extras: - Episode 5 commentary with Chuck Huber, the voice of Blanc. Jad Saxton, the voice of Elena, and Sainty Reed, the voice of Fleur.

- Episode 10 commentary with Zach Bolton, the ADR Director for the series. Tyson Rinehart, the voice of Georg. Lastly, John Swasey, who provides the voice of Ivica.

- Inside the Booth with Eureka Seven: AO - A 14 minute behind the scenes feature showing the dubbing process of Eureka Seven: AO.

- Original Commercials

- Textless opening and closing themes.

- US Trailer.

- FUNimation trailers.

- Part 1 also comes with a nice limited edition chipboard art box that fits both sets.

Overall:
The 1st set of episodes is off to a somewhat mediocre start, luckily going into the final episode of Part 1 we're provided with a great hook for Part 2 that I'm sure fans of the original will absolutely love. For fans of Eureka Seven, the first set of AO is recommended.

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