Year: April 12, 2012 - November 19, 2012 | Directed by: Tomoki Kyoda |
Episodes: 24 | Written by: Shō Aikawa
Studio: Bones | Roundup Rating: A
What I love about watching Science Fiction is that I could experience things that I wouldn't normally experience in real life. And when my beloved genre is told in anime the super imposing nature of reality simply flies off at the window. Everything that is impossible becomes probable. I just recently finished Eureka Seven: AO (or Astral Ocean), the sequel to Eureka Seven. I have not seen the latter, I have no idea about the story prior to Astral Ocean, and even though I am overwhelmed by all of the scientific terminologies I immensely enjoyed its entire 24 episode run. Watching it as a sequel I wasn't confused either -- I think Eureka Seven: AO can be a stand alone series -- you can come in as a viewer without the knowledge of the first installment and watch it on reverse. But once again, I won't go into details with the narrative (because I just suck at it), rather I'll just write what I know -- random stuffs I guess.
UNDERNEATH THE SURFACE
The way I see it, Eureka Seven: AO goes beyond mecha action, alternate universes and time travel. The story delves deeper into human nature, parent-child relationship, alienation, our eternal search for truth and existential purpose. I've written down on bullet points some of my analyses and lessons learn based on what I've gathered from the said series.
- I know this has been said by many, to the point of it being a cliche, but if there is an enemy that we humans cannot defeat that is our "fear of the unknown". And just like the citizens of Iwato Jima, we are simply scared of things that we cannot understand, and when fear dwells in hate takes over man's ability to reason.
- Two people in love can be selfish. They only view the world with their own pair of rose-colored glasses and they refuse to see what is real and what is not. They believe that their love can magically wipe their problems away or things could just work itself out for them. You can be as selfish as you want if it only involves the two of you. However, being a parent is a whole different ball game. No matter how good your intentions were, one should contemplate on having children based on his and her capacity as a person, may it be financially, mentally and spiritually. Children are the unwilling victims of their parents mistakes and they are the sufferers of their poor judgment.
- Parents and children rarely meet halfway and it would always remain that way because they came from completely different generations. But one thing that much is true is that even though they are constantly on opposing ends their love for each other would never change or fade away.
- It is our nature to question our purpose. With all the bad things that may have happened in our own life or to those whom we played as witness it is a given to question some higher power the reason and truth of our existence or the ultimate purpose of everything. In my opinion we are just puppets if we accept things as is, there is no point in living if we never ponder about anything.
- As long as one is different he/she would always be alone. However, chances are, out of the one in a billion people in the world there is that one person -- similar or not to your circumstance -- that would wholeheartedly accept you as you are.
I love mecha anime's. I would be a hypocrite if I said that I don't because my first favorite happens to be Voltes V. But I stop loving the said genre after Power Rangers made mecha so generic and cheap, and well, because I was growing up. However, it took another mecha to bring me back to anime, and that is Evangelion. There are talks of comparisons between Astral Ocean and the former, but apart from the robots being operated by children and its philosophical mood there is nothing similar about the two series. They are entirely different in their own special way.
Bones got it right for me. They reaffirmed my opinion that they are one of the best working anime studios in the face of the Earth. They did it once when I saw Darker than Black, twice for Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and thrice for Astral Ocean. When it comes down to Shounen they are the Kings of anime (believe me it's a close call between Madhouse and Sunrise), unless KyoAni made a decision to broaden their palette by doing mecha then this statement is bound to change, but for now that's my opinion.
I can still see clearly Ao Fukai's turquoise hair with or without my eyes close, the Scub Burst glinting brightly in the sun lit sea shores of Iwato Jima, the spectacular mecha's operated by the Generation Bleu, and the moment when Eureka crossed in Ao's time (or the other way around) was just mind boggling, and the visual is nothing short of fantastic. I cannot, for the life of me, recall an episode in Astral Ocean that is poorly animated. I was blown away that this series was actually hand drawn -- what with all the CGI's out there to take care of the usual business -- that piece of information is just an astonishing feat indeed. Talk about being tickled. The whole parallel universe and time travel thing is just enough ticklish excitement for me. Bones gave us conundrum, but left us with answers -- without overstating the details letting us viewers come up with our own interpretation. That is for the time being until season two begins.
Both the OP and ED songs from the two cours is enjoyable and appropriate for the series to listen to. But it has to be the background music of the original soundtrack that made every scenes of Eureka Seven: AO heartbreakingly memorable. I think a series becomes more powerful when its music is capable of stirring up emotions to its viewers or when viewers can associate the BGM to a particular moment in the anime.
I think the strength of a good anime -- or at least the sequel -- can be measured when it can stand on its own two feet in spite being a follow act to the original series. (Think of The Godfather part II). Though helpful, it is not a necessity to be entirely familiar with Eureka Seven in order to watch and appreciate Astral Ocean. Actually, it's better if you don't. Either way I love this anime and I'll be watching E7 when I've got the chance and the season 2 when it comes out.