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?
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.
In part 1, we were introduced to the son of Renton and Eureka Thurston, his name is Ao. 10 years before the series started, both of them simply disappeared. The main storylines of Part 1's focus went into finding out about Eureka's whereabouts and the mystery behind her disappearance. A shapeshifter who calls himself "Truth" arrived and is looking to take the Nirvash as his own at any cost. Part 1 ended with the cliffhanger of Eureka's reunion with Ao.
Spoilers for Part 1
Picking up right where Part 1 left off we were left with many questions going into Part 2... Why did Eureka disappear 10 years earlier? Where's Renton? What is Truth's end game? What is Generation Bleu's agenda? How the hell does the series take place in 2025 when the original took place thousands years ahead (the answer is obvious, although dumb), among many others. Thankfully, Part 2 begins to answer some of them right off the bat and becomes a stronger series once all is revealed.
AO has finally reunited with his mother, Eureka, although inside a scub beam, aboard a familiar ship, the Gekkostate. As Eureka begins to tell AO of their situation and answer his questions, Truth, the Japanese and Okinawan armed forces all begin closing in on Eureka and attack them. AO is able to transfer her back to her own time after they say their goodbyes.
Meanwhile, Generation Bleu continue their fight against the Scub and Secrets, but now with a very powerful advantage... the Quartz Gun. We're finally revealed the reasoning for the scavenging of the Quarts from the Scubs in the first place. However, the problem with this gun is that it alters entire histories. The 1st time the gun is used by AO, people are wiped completely out of existence and history is forever unintentionally changed.
The series begins to come to a close with Renton Thurston (voice of Johnny Yong Bosch) making his grand return, revealing why all of the events that have happened thus far are happening in the first place. It's been over 10 years since Renton had seemingly abandoned Eureka... In actuality, she left him to protect him, and in his time, it's been merely a few days. The entire time he has been strategizing on how to bring Eureka back to him, willing to do anything to do so, even if that means using the Quartz gun to rewrite history. With Renton's return the series finally comes full circle and actually manages to end on a somewhat happy and solid note.
+ Renton Thurston! Being a fan of the original, I totally geeked out seeing Renton finally return, albeit briefly.
+ Closure to the storyline that started in the first series with Renton and Eureka.
+ Improves on the first 12 episodes.
+ Decent ending.
- Series doesn't live up to it's predecessor in any way.
- Renton and Eureka seemed like nothing more than plot devices to link AO to the original series.
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.
- Episode 13 commentary with returning cast member Stephanie Sheh, the voice of Eureka and Todd Haberkorn, the voice of Truth.
- Episode 21 video commentary with ADR Director Zach Bolton. Mixing engineer. Brandon Potter, the voice of. Jad Saxton, the voice of.
- Episode 24 commentary with ADR engineer Zach Bolton. Micah Solusod, the voice of AO, and Johnny Yong Bosch, the voice of Renton in the original series, who returns in the final few episodes of AO.
With these final 12 episodes of AO and the storylines for both AO, and Renton/Eureka wrapped, I have to say that AO was a bit of a disappointment. It started off pretty rough, but it managed to improve somewhat as questions were answered. While it's not bad by any means, the series isn't very good either, and by no means lives up to it's predecessor. AO himself was not a very compelling lead character and I wasn't really engrossed into his journey. As a fan of the original, it was nice to see sporadic appearances from both Renton and Eureka, as the two truly deserved a happy ending. For fans of Eureka Seven, AO as a whole comes slightly recommended.