Without having seen the the first Eureka Seven I was able to come to Eureka Seven AO without expectations, which was nice. Because of that, I suspect I enjoyed this anime more than the fans who seemed disappointed with this sequel series.
Eureka Seven AO
I was in the mood for a mecha show when I came across Eureka Seven AO one day, and gave it a shot without worry too much about the first series, thinking this would be different enough. And the battles were certainly great, the animation too; but in the end, I probably enjoyed the political aspects and the Okinawan setting most.
Having said that I did have a few issues but I’ll quickly include a few other aspects that stood out as positives for me; everything looks great and the tension between both pilots and their leaders at Generation Bleu keeps things interesting, as does our hero Ao’s search for his mother.
On that note, especially toward the end I bet I would have picked up on a lot more hints and reveals connected to the original series, had I watched Eureka Seven first.
I also enjoyed the occasional twist to the story but when I step away from the setting and the engaging visuals, there was something didn’t hook me as much as I’d hope, the characterisation.
Sometimes it felt a bit ‘off’. Maybe it was because motivations weren’t always made clear enough for me to ‘go along’ with some of their choices – Naru especially comes to mind here.
Another aspect I didn’t enjoy was the lack of time spent grounding the viewer in the world re: the alien aspects. Once more, this might have something to do with me having missed the original anime.
One of the main villains ‘Truth’ felt a little generic too but there was an extra moment that I loved, occuring near the end. I remember being pretty thrilled by what I feel has to be a homage* to the opening of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
Not to be too relentlessly down on this series, there was also the use of some fourth wall-style humour that was fun but even with elements I mentioned above (and a great OST), I’ve definitely enjoyed other mecha shows more.
*Below, I whipped up a quick side by side – and even though there are clear differences (and I also changed the sequence of one shot), you can see how Eureka takes time to offer a fond homage to Nausicaa.
On the left, there’s Nausicaa and the right Eureka: we start with an establishing shot of a ruin, then our viewpoint characters burst inside, then they attempt to lift a crumbling toy/notice the corpses of the previous inhabitants (in both texts they have succumbed to a spore-like sickness).