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Eureka Seven: Part Two
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 2 (of 2) and features the final batch of episodes in the series run: episodes 27-50. The entire arc is concluded. The series continues to revolve around the two lead characters Renton and Eureka, who are both connected to a rebel ship where they work with the Nirvash typeZERO robot. The story is something that advances in the last rollout of episodes as the characters discover that they are more intricately involved in the legs of a battle against an alien species and the fate of every being is connected to them. There is also more to the quite intricate relationship that exists between Renton and Eureka and their stories. The characters clearly both care for each other and the question of this acceptance becomes fully realized in these episodes, while the shyness and manners stay somewhat. Both Renton and Eureka are dedicated to helping to protect each other and to work together on a mission. This helps to continue the established idea of friendship and an underlying current of romance that has surrounded this story.
As the conclusion to Eureka Seven unfolds, the action and the adventure intensifies towards a climatic ending to the show with a lot of battling and a full-throttle showdown. The end really genuinely concludes the show and answers questions that were lingering about the plotline of Eureka Seven. It wraps things up and doesn't suggest a sequel would be made (though there is actually a semi-related spin-off series that was finally created in 2012, know as Astral Ocean). Fans will either love the ending or find it a decent wrap-up, I do not imagine many fans of the series outright disliking it.
Fans of great animation will be impressed by the way these last few episodes are so well done in terms of both the fluidity and the artwork. The animation continues to amaze on the show with great character designs, stunning backdrops occasionally rendered, and a dedication towards a number of good details in the artwork. This is a lively, well done series when looked at from production standpoints.
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.
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.
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 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.
The set contains some supplemental materials of note, including both Japanese (with English subtitles) commentary and English dub commentary. There is also a selection of voice actor interviews, including interviews with Japanese voice actors. The set is rounded out with the standard inclusions of textless opening/ ending credits, and trailers promoting other recent Funimation Entertainment releases.
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. While the series should be a easily recommended anime, this Blu-ray release from Funimation is another matter entirely.
Presented only in 1080i due to the source materials available for the show, which were in native standard definition (and then upscaled to HD), and with low bit-rates to boot there isn't much to make this set feel absolutely essential. However, certain fans will still appreciate this small but appreciable upgrade (dependent upon what size HDTV you own). Consider both the pros and cons of the release and then decide if you'd rather purchase the DVD's - or potentially hold on to them if Eureka Seven is already in your collection.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.