Tentacle-Free Anime: "Eureka Seven" (2005) Review
- by Kazekun, 4 March 2013
When you’re just getting into a new interest is generally when you are at your most impressionable. What you see first will hold a strong connection with you, that will stay with you until you die or for some reason give up on what you’re a fan of, and just drop all of it completely. My first foray into anime was with some really shonen titles on Toonami, plus the lovable Pokemon, but it was my staying up late at night to watch the anime on Adult Swim that really allowed me to see anime for what it could truly be: intelligent, satirical, and treating you like the adult you wanted to grow up to be. One of these anime was known as "Eureka Seven" and made such an impact, that it has lasted with me for some time now, and will probably never go away.
I am going to attempt to be unbiased when it comes to this anime. See, this is my personal favorite anime of all time and I recently re-watched it when showing it to my girlfriend (for the record: she enjoyed it). Eureka Seven (pronounced El-Wrecka Seven) also holds a very special place in my heart as the anime that showed me that you didn’t have to hold the viewers hand. Up until the point in which this show aired, I had been mostly used to shonen-style anime, or young boy’s adventure anime, that was lengthy and full of exposition up the wazoo explaining every this or that about what happens. Not always allowing you to figure it out on your own.
In all honesty this isn’t a perfect series. There are times when I would argue that a lot of events could’ve been avoided or put in motion much sooner, had certain logical questions been asked by the characters; but at 50 episodes and barely any true filler, there had to be something that got cut from the show to make it last. Eureka Seven is brought to you by Studio Bones, a quite notorious animation company responsible for the original Fullmetal Alchemist series and -- when the employees were working under another company called Sunrise -- Cowboy Bebop. The animation is beautiful, and both original Japanese and English dub are filled with top-notch performances, and I would argue is one an example of what superb dubbing can do for a show. Almost all the characters are likeable, some not at first but they almost all grow on you as you learn more about them. Everyone gets a chance to shine in this series in some way, it may not be much or it may be a whole lot, but they still get that moment.
The series takes many genres and meshes them together to offer a unique dinner for the eyes and mind. It is a coming of age story wrapped tightly into a romance + mecha + military + high sci-fi treat that doesn’t come around often. At least not this well planned out. Even the mechs in this series, the LFO’s are more like everyday planes that are used in dogfights instead of super robot battles that require a new more powerful move to be learned each fight; instead it’s a more realistic type of fighting in which you see in the majority of this series.
As for faults, I already mentioned the questions problem I have found with this series. Another would be that there are so many characters in this series, that at 50 episodes it would’ve been nice to at least be able to get to know a few more of the background characters a little better. Obviously not every side character need his/her own storyline (that would be overkill), but just something to make everyone a tad more interesting. The series can also linger in some spots for more episodes at a time than is required. For instance, the locations in which the loveable misfit group known as Gekkostate lands themselves, can take up to a few episodes at a time. These episodes could use a little less lingering in said locations to build more on the background plot, that continues to bubble slowly towards the surface throughout the series.
Even with some pacing problems here and there, and the Too-Many Characters syndrome flowing throughout it, Eureka Seven really is a good series. It’s smart, educated, and treats its viewer as such, opting to lift open the mind instead of dumbing everything down. There are some points, mainly towards the end, that can feel heavy handed or cheesy with how they get their point across but I feel it’s easy to forgive this. The story allows for you to get dragged through the mud with these characters and then attempts to award you with a warm fuzzy-feeling ending, that really exists to shine that big ole light at the end of the tunnel (for some people it doesn’t quite work, for me personally it worked in rainbows).
I personally feel every anime fan should give this series one complete watch, if not just to see why this series is so different than most anime, then to just say they’ve seen it. The English DVD’s for the series are now out of print. Thankfully I have my 2-part complete collection set, but it can still be pretty easy to find if you know where to look.
Final Score: 4.5 Coralians out of 5
Have you seen "Eureka Seven"? Enjoyed the review? Let us know in the comments section!
Tagged: Tentacle-Free Anime.