Recently, acclaimed series Eureka 7 got a sequel called Eureka 7 AO. If you saw my earlier review of Eureka 7, you’d know I’m a huge fan of Eureka 7. So what’s this sequel all about? Well, let’s start with the basics. Eureka 7 AO aired from April to September, and then took a hiatus due to the Olympics. The final two episodes aired November 19th. I’m not sure why the Olympics caused a 2 month delay, but there you have it. Like Eureka 7 before it, this was produced by Studio Bones and directed by Tomoki Kyoda. Now let’s get down to the details.
Eureka 7 AO, unlike the original, was only 24 episodes. Unfortunately, the story is similar in scope to Eureka 7, and as a result the pacing suffers quite a bit. Like another Bones show I reviewed, Xam’d: Lost Memories this show fell under the issue of having too much to say and having not enough time to say it. That being said, there is still something of a compelling story in Eureka 7 AO if you just dig a bit. There’s a ton of plot threads, and not all of them are resolved. There are also a few crazy twists and turns that have very unsatisfying endings. There was just too much for this show to live up to from its opening and it simply couldn’t deliver on all fronts. As far as what it did deliver, it did fairly well.
The storytelling was fairly similar to Eureka 7, just a little faster, which I thought was a mistake. The plot was eased in slowly, with a lot of filler-ish character-building that has little to do with the story at first. This led to a sort of mish-mash rush of significant details in the end, and even that didn’t properly address many of the questions raised within the show. The overarching story, unfortunately, was lacking, but the personal stories made up for that deficiency, to a degree.
The characters were by and large interesting and fun, with the exception of two. Unfortunately those two characters ended up being rather important later on. The subplots between the characters and the relationships they had with each other were interesting and well-done, particularly the familial relationships. The main character, Fukai Ao, takes a lot from both his mother and father, which I found very fitting. He’s honest and straightforward, and unlike his father, not a coward. He looks a lot like his mother. In fact, as the OVA showed, the resemblance is a little bit scary. Still, as far as a protagonist goes, Ao is interesting enough. He’s shrouded in enough mystery, and his straightforward nature resolves situations fairly quickly. He is, at the end of the day, a kid, so he’s not always going to make the right choice at the right time. But hey, that’s part of what makes it interesting to watch.
The other character I wanted to cover was Arata Naru. She’s Ao’s childhood friend and what you’d imagine to be the romantic interest of Ao. And in some respects, she was. Unfortunately, her plot line was cut short to the end, and poorly handled throughout. In the beginning her character was simple. She was the sickly childhood friend. Then she got cured of her illness, and got really… weird. The way her character developed made no sense, and the way her story progressed and resolved also made no sense. I’d go into details about her situation, but quite frankly I don’t exactly understand her motivations for doing the things she did. It was a damn shame too; there was a lot of potential in her character.
The art and animation are fairly similar to the original Eureka 7 series, in terms of design and style. Obviously it looks a bit smoother and in general more modernized, but it’s nothing spectacular, except for one major point. The aerial combat, which E7 is kinda known for, looks great. It’s a little lacking at times, but over all there are some great battle moments. The fast-paced missiles and homing lasers and bit attacks all look great, and some of the special effects (the quartz cannon!) look so so good. So there’s a plus.
The music felt a little lacking compared to the original. The opening themes in particular felt pretty weak. The two opening themes were “Escape” by Hemenway and “Bravelue” by FLOW. The ending themes were a bit better, and the accompanying videos were cute too (especially Iolite). The two ending themes are “stand by me” by stereopony and “Iolite” by joy. As far as the BGM goes, it was okay, though again not as good as the original. I will say the new mix of “Niji” that was in the last episode of Ao (just like the original!) was really good and a cute throwback.
— Some good characters, with well-done interpersonal relationships
— Neat mech combat
— Some parts of the plot are well-done
— Some of the major characters (Naru, Truth) are poorly handled and have bizarre resolutions to their personal stories
— Pacing is poor
— Some plot holes and a very unsatisfying and odd conclusion (in some respects)
Director: Tomoki Kyoda
Writer: Shou Aikawa
Character design: Hiroyuki Oda
Music: Koji Nakamura
Original run: April 12, 2012 – November 19, 2012
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