Prior to watching the trailer, I wasn’t aware of this series, nor was it backed by an existing manga. The only reference I could rely upon was the studio responsible, Bones, that have produced many of my favourite anime series to date, including RahXephon, Jyu Oh Sei and Scrapped Princess, to name but a few. Expectedly, the production was sharp and contemporary, with the necessary amount of style to make this seem worthwhile. The song accompanying the trailer (that was later used in the opening sequence for the first 10-15 episodes, thereabouts) was by FLOW, a band I had come to like from their debut album ‘Splash!!!’ and follow up ‘Game’. The voice actors (seiyuu) were also notable, including Yuko Sanpei, casting the main lead, and Kaori Nazuka, known for her role as Subaru of the ‘.hack‘ series (that has become an almost signature style for the voice actor). However, putting aside those responsible, it was mainly just the premise that seemed intriguing, original, but most of all, just damn right cool. The idea of having a mecha (robot) surfing on a board in midair just seemed too awesome to pass up. The trailer also showed glimpses of what seemed to be an engaging and fluid flight battle… Everything would suggest that Eureka Seven would be a series to look out for. To save the suspense, the series didn’t disappoint.
The series focuses on a certain Renton Thurston, a bored adolescent who has dreams of riding the ‘Trapar’ in the sky, a water-like substance, alongside this renegade (yet incredibly cool) group called the Gekkostate. The series begins by unfolding Renton’s current circumstances, his aspirations and the precursor to the adventure that is about to begin. I could immediately tell this was going to be promising, with the attention to detail of Renton’s home town and the fluid movements of the characters. Then it happened, almost on cue, the arrival of the mecha robot I had seen in the trailer, with what appeared to be a green haired girl emerging from it. Now, this scenario is not especially original for a series with mecha and adventure (funnily enough, I have recently finished Gigantic Formula, a series that followed just this, along with another, Linebarrels of Iron, that I have yet to finish and may choose not to, but that’s for another review… – maybe). Nevertheless, the presentation, buildup and portrayal of such an entrance proved to entice my intrigue, if only to reenforce that what’s to come will not want to be missed.
I guess, the most pertinent reason why Eureka Seven succeeded where many other series of its kind does not, is the multilayered plot line that is cleverly intertwined with that of its characters, their relationships, how they grow and change accordingly. The series also focuses on a wide variety of themes, the most prevalent being the racial and religious differences been the characters and how they perceive each other. This is appropriated and addressed especially well with the two main characters of Renton and Eureka, both from totatlly different ‘species’, and yet, the series manages to articulate this tangibly and realistically, without seeming forced or deliberate. Furthermore, it also addresses the act of growing up, where proactively seeking your own sense of purpose and identity is encouraged. This is reiterated throughout the series by both Renton and Eureka who openly declare their actions to be of their own choice, proclaiming the words, “I am me”, an intention that determines the growth of not only the two main characters but their friends and family. This was portrayed exceptionally well in Eureka Seven, along with the engaging and revolving plot line. It’s because of the aforementioned that I really felt part of the world the characters lived in and could relate with their circumstances. As mentioned, the animation was solid and this was best demonstrated during the intense battles. It’s also worth mentioning that the cast didn’t seem to be abandoned in favour of the two main characters, rather every character served a purpose and were given the necessary amount of screen time to seem part of the story. Lastly, the series ended satisfactorily, a feat for any anime series. This might be because its manga counterpart was released concurrently, thus the studio didn’t have to cut the story midway like with most series.
I could type on and on about this series, going into every intricate detail. If it’s any consolation, I’ve watched this series twice, something I seldom do with any series (simply because there’s always something new to watch), but this deserved it, despite being fifty episodes in length. This is also an indicator of how solid and engaging the story line is, it managed to sustain its momentum where some series or movies fail in a fraction of the time. This is a series I encourage anyone to watch, it’s a real gem.