Check-in Station: Eureka Seven AO eps1-13 (a lifetime of experience)
These have been possibly the two best episodes of new anime I’ve seen all year. And you don’t get that kind of payoff from watching one series over the period of one year. Like the original Eureka Seven, this is the kind of joy you only get from experience. Something you get out of watching over a decade’s worth of anime. Eureka Seven AO is turning into another fine wine on a shelf full of well thought out, meticulously crafted anime.
Though my pace has slowed down considerably over the years (picks up cane), I’ve had the joy of digesting many wonderful plots. The plot for AO (as I’ll call it for the rest of this post) may be a little more difficult to digest than most, but I will say that it’s succeeded where many an anime has failed for me, even series that I genuinely like. AO finds moments where it hits the emotional nail on the head. Whether it be Ao deciding to take the Nirvash as his own; Truth’s invasion of Generation Bleu HQ and his “Spiriting Away” of Naru; the plight of Team Goldilocks; or Elena’s feelings, you feel all of it.
This series has a decent weight to it. And the bulk of it seems to have been packed into the last two episodes. In episode twelve, the audience is treated to what they think is a slightly unorthodox mission to dispose of a Scub Coral that’s appeared in space (how the f*ck do these things just appear?!). In reality we’re treated to possibly the best TV moment I’ve had all year. Not just anime! TV! To spoil that surprise would be a crime. In episode thirteen, the warmth of that moment is allowed to wash over us for a moment and the situation starts to come together at an accelerated rate. The warm, magical reunion of Ao with his mother changes into an all out war for possession of her. And in this same episode we may have been given the ultimate goal of this series. Not only is Ao trying to fit in with the people and situation around him, now that it’s discovered that he’s not wholly human, but his main goal will be to return home to his mother and father. There’s a lot at stake.
I’m really falling in love with this show. Something I don’t think the original series allowed me to do. I will avoid drawing too many comparisons, but what has stuck out to me is the sense of family being displayed between these two series. As artificial as it may be, Chief Ivica keeps Team Pied Piper together in a very stern, but loving way. It’s treats it like lifelong, bonded family, and I believe deep down every member of that team has that feeling despite their various hangups and allegiances. The Gekkostate was a far more brutal, fraternity sort of setting. There was love there, but it was hard earned. Over time, things changed on the Gekkostate, and I’m sure the same will apply here to Team Pied Piper and Generation Bleu as a whole as well. But for now, there’s no better place for Ao. For now.
Something else that I love, are the production values as a whole. The animation is beautiful, I would say it’s outstanding at times for a TV series. Even better is the music. The combination really gives it a wonderful, lush feeling when watching. The show is always full of atmosphere; a varied and timely atmosphere as the music punctuates whatever is going on on screen perfectly. I haven’t seen a new, true mecha anime classic in a few years. Star Driver was close, but fell apart at some points for me. I don’t know if Gundam AGE will ever reach that height for me either. But I’ve been holding out hope that Gundam Unicorn, and I will now add Eureka Seven AO, will add themselves to that group of prestigious, memorable series. At this point, I couldn’t more highly recommend AO.