Critic's Log: Earthdate: March 3, 2013. Review #37: Eureka Seven
I originally was going to post this sometime in February, but I had a hard time doing such a thing. I share a computer with my brother and I usually get kicked off the computer by my brother, that kinda sucks after knowing that he's usually on all damn day. At least I can watch some animes or play video games like Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros, and even a little Tetris to pass the time while waiting for my brother to get off. Even though I'm obviously an Otaku, I'm also a gamer. I'm not super-obsessed with video games or anime though.
The name's Morehead... Giovanni Morehead. I'm just a guy that likes to be with friends, play sports, a guy that likes anime (which is why I do reviews of anime), and I also like movies as well. I'm just simply a nerd and a social one at that. If you're wondering what sports I play, that's simple! I play Basketball, Softball, and Bowling. I just got back from a State Tournament from Basketball in which my team won 2nd Place. Sadly, the last game I was in was a shocker. My team was winning by one point and the opponent team scored a long 2-pointer right at the buzzer. My team was about to make a comeback in the tournament too and to end my team's Basketball season that way is something I can sum up in three words.
But I took the loss like a man instead of whining and sobbing like some kid. My team took it pretty well. I was a little upset from the outcome but there's always next year. All of this is a true story.
Well, now that I've said all that... WHY DID I FEEL THE NEED TO MENTION ALL THIS!? You know, if I was much younger... I think I would have mentioned stuff like this in whatever situtation, like this review that I should start right now instead of rambling on about something. Before I finally start this review, I must say that Sometimes I grow so tired, but I know I've got one thing I got to do...Ramble On, And now's the time, the time is now, to sing my song. I'm goin' 'round the world, I got to find my girl, on my way. I've been this way ten years to the day, Ramble On, Gotta find the queen of all my dreams.
Oh Yeah, I just quoted Led Zeppelin's song "Ramble On".
After rambling on all that and making this intro quite possibly pointless in the first place, I GOT A REVIEW DAMN IT! Here's Eureka Seven!
Renton Thurston is a 14-year-old boy who lives with his mechanic grandfather in a backwater town. Every day he aspires of being with the mercenary "Light Finding Operation (LFO)" aircraft pilot group "Gekkostate" and riding "Trapar" particle waves-- a sport called "reffing"with their charismatic leader Holland, especially when faced with his father's acclaimed past or his grandfather's wish to protect him. When a young girl named Eureka who pilots the original LFO, the "Nirvash", asks his grandfather for a tune-up and some repairs, she unawarely brings the attention of the military to the garage; as a result, the garage is decimated and Renton is forced to deliver a new type of interface, the "Amita Drive" to the Nirvash. After a heated fight in which the Nirvash destroys the military LFOs by unleashing an incredible amount of power, Renton is invited into Gekkostate. However, he quickly realizes that they are actually a traveling group of mercenaries and it is a very bitter reality.
To be technical, this is a Studio Bones production and knowing this is Studio Bones, stating the obvious can not be avoided. The animation looks gorgeous in this show although to be honest, The animation is a bit more colorful than some of their other shows, and the style of the show is pretty bright too. The animation is great in Eureka Seven and the style really fits the show with all the hip clothing designs for characters (with the exception of Holland when he's inside the Gekko). The character designs are mostly great but not exactly perfect but I'll give them a pass for this one. The animation isn't really too perfect here, but it's mostly great.
The music by Naoki Sato is an interesting bit to talk about. There is a blend of some genres and the most notable genre they chose was Techno, which is actually fitting considering the settings and everything and the techno is fine for the show. There are times when the techno music is playing during some dramatic moments and I personally thought it never fitted for some of those particular moments. The one techno song that gets a pass for this is the theme that plays while Anemone is piloting TheEND. It's a pretty cool song when it all comes down to the techno stuff. The music is pretty good for the most part. Each opening and closing song however are pretty memorable once you've seen the show to it's entirety. If the techno wasn't used during dramatic moments, I would have liked the music much more with the show.
When it comes to voice acting, The Japanese cast is excellent to say the least. Yuko Sanpei is great as Renton (except for that high-pitched whining and yelling that is), Kaori Nazuka is terrific as Eureka. Keiji Fujiwara is also great as Holland, Michiko Neya is great as Talho. As far as extras, there's Mamoru Miyano as Moondoggie, Kouji Tsujitani as Dewey, Ami Koshimizu as Anemone, and Rikiya Koyama as Norb. On the English Dub's side, Johnny Yong Bosch was kind of an interesting choice and (if not) kind of controversial choice as well as the main lead Renton. Some have said that Mr. Bosch sounds a little too old for the role. I actually sort of agree there. Some actually didn't mind his voice in the dub. At this point, all I can say is that this all leads to personal preference. I can say that Johnny Yong Bosch was actually pretty good in Eureka Seven. Stephanie Sheh is just as terrific as Kaori Nazuka when it comes to Eureka. Kate Higgins is also great as Talho. Patrick Seitz is great as Charles, and Melissa Fahn is pretty damn good as Ray. Yes, there's a reference to Ray Charles in this anime, so hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more. There are some well-known and some lesser known voice actors that play minor roles in this show and there's so many that I could count and I don't feel like listing them all. If there is on voice actor that's not really too active these days is Kim Strauss who voices Dewey. He was very good in this show but he does overact a couple times but he's mostly very good as Dewey. If there are knockout performances in the dub, it would be Kari Wahlgren as Anemone and she plays the role spot-on. She really is a good voice actress. Another knockout performance in the dub is Holland, voiced by Crispin Freeman. Mr. Freeman really nailed the role just right and I do believe this is (if not) one of his best roles. I know Alucard is unanimously is the most well-known character he has voiced, but outside of Hellsing, this was one great performance from start to finish. His voice is really cool and he was perfect for playing the cool guy in this anime. Tony Oliver did pretty good on handling the dub as the ADR director.
When it comes to characters, This factor does not disappoint. Some people may argue that Renton whines quite a number of times but hey, This is a coming-of-age like story so give it a rest. Eureka may seem a bit mysterious, but just you wait when you find out more about her. Holland is also interesting as well as Talho. Some of the minor characters are great with some development and humor. The characters are mostly well-written. If there's a minor nitpick about the factor of characters, I do have a slight nitpick on the character Dewey Novak. I like how there was a lot of mystery to the character and I liked how he kept mentioning about something like "The Sacrificial King" which I will admit was fitting in the long run but I felt somethings were a bit rushed near the end, but these characters were great in the long run. If there is a bit of a common nitpick regarding the characters, I keep hearing that Maurice, Maeter, and Linck were really annoying in this show. Allow me to put out my defense, THEY ARE KIDS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, if you were somewhere where a group of kids are around, chances are...They might be somewhat annoying. Hell, Some of us were probably a little irritating for others when we are younger, what makes them any different? Like I said, the characters are great. They are also mostly well thought out. Enough said on that matter.
If there are some problems with Eureka Seven, it would have to be that some people percieve this series slightly unoriginal, and the anime that tends to be brought up alongside this show would be Neon Genesis Evangelion for just a couple moments in the entire show. The final episode makes this somewhat obvious but one of the creators of the show was influenced by that anime and I can see why there's a couple of possible homages to that anime. Is that such a big problem with Eureka Seven? No! Not at all. The big problem is that it has some plot holes and some things unexplained. For example, There was a subplot dealing with something called "Desperation Disease" and it was never explained fully on what it's really about. There are other things that were brought up but never fully explained and that's a bit of a big issue I have with the show and might turn out to be a big issue for some others as well. Also, the pacing is very slow around the first 10 episodes or so and then the pace speeds up a little but not too much, If you are patient enough to stick around, the second half does pick up fast. So pacing is a little on and off in this show, just go with it. What does work for Eureka Seven is the premise at times and the themes in the show and the primary theme in the show (if you haven't guessed it yet) is Love. There are some little subplots that deal with this central theme. As the plot progresses, the themes work out greatly for this show and that is the strongest suit in Eureka Seven. There are a quite a number of people that love this series and they like it despite it flaws. I actually am glad I spent the time watching this anime after procrastinating so long after finding interest in it years ago and didn't bother to watch it till now. This anime isn't perfect and I wasn't expecting it to be perfect either. I liked the style, the animation, and more importantly... The characters. Those three factors alone made me like Eureka Seven despite its flaws. Dai Sato at least made an honest effort in the writing process for this anime. When it comes to directing. So far this is Tomoki Kyoda's only main directing role since then. I'll say it once again. What works in this show mostly overshadows some flaws although those flaws didn't get fixed in the long run. Now that I've said everything. Now I have to mention all the supplemental material, which I really don't feel like doing that. But I guess I have to. Alright, here goes!
Eureka Seven was available by Bandai Entertainment but since they went under, Eureka Seven is sadly out of print. Until the show gets rescued, used copies are your only way of seeing this anime. If it's still on Toonami through Adult Swim on Saturdays, check your local listings to tune in to it. The film "good night, sleep tight, young lovers" was also available by Bandai Entertainment and chances are, that movie is out of print too. The sequel Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean is already licensed by Funimation but has not had a DVD/Blu-ray release yet. At the time I am doing this review, The sequel series can be seen Subtitled in a couple sites. The Manga by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou was available by Bandai and it is out of print. Another manga called "Gravity Boys and Lifting Girls" was available by Bandai and it is also out of print. A third manga called "Psalm of Planets Eureka Seven: New Order" was recently made and it is yet to be released stateside. The Eureka Seven Light Novel series was available by Bandai and it is out of print. The Eureka Seven Video games for the PlayStation 2 called Vol.1 "New Wave" and Vol.2 "New Vision" made it stateside back in 2006 and 2007 and these games were prequels to the TV show. A PlayStation Portable game called "Psalm of Planets Eureka Seven" never made it stateside during its release. Also, if you watch Eureka Seven on DVD, give the voice actor interview extras a try. It's a pretty nifty extra.
With all that said, Eureka Seven is quite unique for blending elements such as Action, Adventure, Mecha,War Drama, and Romance while being classified as a Shonen anime. It may have a slow pace on its first half but it does pick up after that. Eureka Seven manages to have great animation production, a fitting style, and great characters. It does have plot holes and the music could've been more effective if it was placed right. Even with it flaws, This anime is definitely worth seeing
I give Eureka Seven a 8.5 out of 10, it is VERY GOOD!
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