Episode XVI: ‘Eureka 7’
Written by: J. Johnson
Eureka Seven is an 50 episode action-packed sci-fi shonen anime, featuring mechas. Though after watching it, I would think that it should be defined as seinen, due to the bat-shit crazy story. And I say that in a good way. It has so many problems and there are lots I hate about it, but overall it is a great anime. I’d recommend this to anybody. Which IMO, I mean some of the characters. I had no trouble watching all 50 episodes and I have trouble watching long animes if they don’t have any substance (in terms of the story).
Synopsis: Young Renton Thurston, son of acclaimed and disappeared contemporary hero Adrock Thurston, lives in a boring town with his grandfather, a skilled mechanic. One day a mysterious girl named Eureka crashes her piloted robot, (the Nirvash,) into their workshop, asking for repairs. The story starts here as Renton leaves his home to embark in an adventure with the outlaw members of the “Gecko state”.
What never ceases to amaze me about Eureka 7 is how much I enjoyed it despite all of its evident flaws. On one hand, I have an action and romance packed adventure with stunning aesthetics, some brilliant symbolism, witty references to pop culture and a marvelous setting; on the other, I have a myriad of plot holes, a protagonist that cries an average of about three times an episode, a villain that makes very little sense, and the most out of place, uncalled-for filler episode (#39) I’ve ever seen.
This anime manages to somehow have a unique style for the year 2005, with character designs I don’t remember seeing in many other animes. Even if it isn’t unique, its still a rare style of animation and I must commend this for its originality. Some of the character designs I didn’t quite like, though they do change things up a lot in this anime. These changes are story related so I can’t get angry at that. Also as a bonus there’s no ecchi, though there is an episode where they merely reference porn, sex and how adolescent boys constantly have such thoughts on their mind.
Eureka 7 displays a wide array of characters, most of which are developed to a certain extent. I must state that at first I was charmed by every single character. They were all so varied and original. The relationships between them were so entertaining. As the series progressed however, a few characters and relationships exhibited some major shortcomings… Although he has his heroic moments, Renton is such an overly dramatic crybaby. I understand he’s been through a lot but he even cries when he can’t make a pass in a soccer game for goodness sake. The fate of the world rests on the shoulders of a teenager who weeps enough to make my little sister seem as tough as Chuck Norris. Eureka’s three children, while crucial to the story, can be a group a ranting brats that are almost guaranteed to irritate the viewer.
The grand victim of character malfunctioning however is without doubt, the villain, Colonel Dewey Novak. After watching Eureka 7 I thought I missed something; but after re-viewing some sections I realized I hadn’t. Colonel Dewey Novak, what he becomes, and what he turns out to be is an unexplained, illogical mess. As for Eureka and Renton’s relationship; it is, while touching, replete with repetitive and forced drama to the point where it mirrors a soap opera. I actually ended up enjoying Dominic and Anemone’s love story more.
The predominant themes of Eureka 7 are not new concepts by a long shot. Humanity’s mistreatment of that which it doesn’t understand, the inability of people to cope with others’ differences, etc… Regardless of originality, Eureka 7 executes these themes in a very effective and touching manner. The story’s execution, however, is a completely different animal. Plot holes run rampant, and innumerable ideas are left not fully explained. What really is “desperation disease”? The “zone”? What exactly did Adroc Thurston propose in the “Ageha Plan” to coexist with the scrub coral? These are only some of the minor questions left unanswered. The more major and pressing questions I can’t directly state for they would be spoilers.
Despite all these blemishes, Eureka 7 is one of the most memorable animes I’ve ever seen, and here’s why. Top notch animation to go along with fantastic background music and one of the most detailed settings you’ll ever see. A handful of some of the most touching and epic scenes I have ever come across; such as Captain Jurgen’s speech, Anemone’s realization, and many more. Not to mention some of the greatest symbolism through reference to culture I have ever beheld in an anime. “Eureka” being named after Archimedes’s famous exclamation meaning a great discovery; “Anemone” named after the character from Murakami Ryu’s novel, “coin Locker Babies,” who, as anyone who has read the novel would know, is just as emotionally unstable and also has a pet named Gulliver; “Stoner,” the laidback pacifist (needs no explanation), and my personal favorite, “Maurice,” “Maeter” and “Linck,” which, when combined, spell “Maurice Maeterlinck”, the Nobel Prize winning play writer who wrote mainly about death.
9/10 story | 10/10 animation |10/10 sound | 7/10 characters | 7.5/10 overall