12 Days of Anime 2012, Day 12: Let’s Fly

let's fly

Let’s look a little more at yesterday’s theme of Grown-Up Versions of Old Characters Showing Up In the Sequel, shall we?

I was never quite sure what to make of Eureka Seven AO. I’m still not, really. On the one hand, I did enjoy the show on its own – it may not be the greatest thing since sliced bread, and it got a little too convoluted, especially toward the end, but it has solid enough legs to stand on. It was certainly better than that alternate-universe movie that came out a little while back. On the other, I get the same vibe from it as I do from Darker Than Black season 2: “Maybe I would like this more if it wasn’t called Eureka Seven/Darker Than Black.”

Being a sequel, especially to a well-loved franchise, offers up certain promises. A sequel doesn’t need be a direct continuation of the story, or even have the same characters or take place in the same world/dimension, or have the same staff working on it – it can, and that often is the case, but it’s not required. What the audience wants from a sequel is, like an adaptation, for the derived work to live up to the name it bears. It needs to capture the heart, the core of the franchise, and put its own spin on that baseline idea. If you can walk away from Eureka Seven AO reminded of why you so loved Eureka Seven, then AO has done its job.

And that’s where my mixed feelings come from. While the animation, art style, and music were as Eureka as can be, for most of its length, AO felt like one of those in-name-only sequels that missed what the original was all about. It didn’t capture the counterculture atmosphere, grand adventurous scale, or – centrally – the excellent, balanced cast of characters that were the defining features of the original.

That, more than anything, is why this moment stood out. Where I had originally been watching with merely passive interest, this was the moment that made me sit up and pay attention. When the Gekkou-go appeared from the coral meteor; when Eureka stepped out in her Nirvash and said “Let’s fly;” when the namesake of the series finally showed her face, suddenly, the game had changed. A ball of fire had fallen from the heavens, tearing straight through the sky and exploding into a familiar shape that triumphantly bellowed, “THIS IS EUREKA SEVEN.” For the first time, AO gave me the rush. After twelve episodes, it had finally reached one of the stratospheric highs for which its predecessor is so well-known. Everything about AO that was not inherently Eureka Seven was for that instant wiped away.

THIS IS EUREKA SEVEN

For that moment, AO was able to soar with its mother series, Eureka. She just needed to drop in for a second and say “Let’s fly.”

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About BokuSatchii

Yoroshiku ne!
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2 Responses to 12 Days of Anime 2012, Day 12: Let’s Fly

  1. Shinmaru says:

    Yes, this is the point where my interest in Eureka Seven AO was renewed — it had been waning hard before then. It never quite got back to these heights for me, but it was a decent diversion, overall.

    The cast of characters whom I could love and cherish their highs and lows is definitely what I missed most. There’s not a single person in AO I really cared about beyond the machinations of the plot. Elena is probably the closest, but the way she is developed seemed deliberately offputting for reasons I can’t fathom. It’s as if the show itself doesn’t want the viewer to get close to her at all, even after her past and such is revealed.

    • BokuSatchii says:

      Yeah, I think the closest it came to reaching this height again was, tellingly, the moment when Renton appeared at the end of episode 22. I felt more or less the same way – it wasn’t really anything special, but I certainly don’t regret watching it.

      It’s really weird, it almost felt like AO was actively counteracting any attempt at attachment to and tearing down relationships between its characters whenever it got a chance. This is an especially big no-no when you’re trying to follow up Eureka Seven, whose biggest selling point was its characters and their relationships. I actually really liked the fanservice OVA of Eureka AO, because being detached from the main story meant that they had to step back and focus only on the characters, even just for one episode, and as a result I felt more personality coming from them there than I did through most of the series. The fact that the fanservice came in the form of numerous references to the original series and a bunch of other (mostly BONES) anime didn’t hurt it, either.

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