Of the many merits the Eureka Seven anime hold, the series is well-known for its outstanding soundtrack and slick animation. So naturally, the question that dwells on the mind of anyone who is considering the manga is: "Would the manga adaptation fare well within a medium devoid of these things?" The answer is "yes". With a darker and more mature story, great artwork, and extremely engaging drama, the Eureka Seven manga is well worth the time of newcomers and anime veterans alike.
The story centers around the adventures of Renton Thurston, who upon meeting a peculiar mecha-riding girl named Eureka, escapes his mundane life at the town of Bellforest to join the Gekko State, a band of counter-culture renegades. The coming-of-age story that ensues is one full of the spirit of adolescence: self-identity, love, rejection, and rebellion. Though this in itself may not be anything special, Eureka Seven sets itself apart by placing the balance just right. The unfolding drama never feels too vague or distant, yet it never dips into the "overwrought and cheesy" territory. The product is an engaging tale of two young lovers that should viciously tugs at the your heartstrings if you were ever young and in love at some stage of your life. As the story progresses, it becomes considerably darker as the reader is increasingly confronted with themes of human nature and the environment. Though this may take those who watched the anime off guard, the different direction taken by the adaptation is nevertheless a welcome one as the grim narrative not only has the intensity to glue the reader’s eyes to the pages, but to provoke some profound thought on the off chance as well. Furthermore, fans of Anemone and Dominic of the anime will be overjoyed to find a much more elaborate and emotionally charged story of the two characters, despite minor alterations to their characters.
Like the plot, the artwork does not slouch either. Though the dizzying spectacles of the mecha sequences are sometimes hard to follow on paper, the action is still kinetic, bold, and often more strikingly visceral than the anime counterpart. The character art does not deviate far from the anime, which is good news to veterans and newcomers alike, as the cast looks expressive and stylish. However, more so than the impressive technical merits, it is the creative aspects of the manga that really ought to be brought to attention. The manga masterfully incorporates motifs from The Wizard of Oz into Anemone's story, as well as taking imaginative liberties with the imagery of the hallucinogenic segments of the story. Not only does the symbol-laden art look great, it contributes to the intrigue of the story without the use of words.
Unlike many short anime-to-manga adaptations, Eureka Seven is by no means a quick money grab to ride on the success of its anime counterpart. In all fairness, this manga adaption stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its inspiration. While the anime offers a mostly light-hearted romance and adventure, the manga offers a grim and intense story that leaves reader little room to breathe – or put down the book, for that matter. Fans of the anime should find the distinct take on the story very interesting (assuming they are not die-hard loyalists to the anime’s plot), and newcomers to the franchise will have no problem diving into this engaging and well thought-out story.
- Substantive story complimented by effective drama
- Anemone and Dominic's story
- Imaginative artwork in the hallucinogenic segments
- Mecha action is sometimes confusing