The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Eureka 7: Astral Ocean

Title: Eureka 7: Astral Ocean aka Eureka 7 AO
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: BONES
Format: 24 episodes
Dates: 12 April 2012 – 19 Nov 2012

Synopsis: Twelve year old Ao Fukai lives in Okinawa in the year 2025. His mother, Eureka, disappeared 10 years ago and he has since lived with Dr. Toshio Fukai. One day his island is attacked by these giant monsters called Secrets. During the chaos he comes into contact with his mother’s mecha, the Nirvash, on a military vessel and despite no one else being able to make it work, he manages to pilot it. In order to help fight against the secrets, Ao and the Nirvash end up the joining the organization called Generation Blue.

The Highlights:
Story: As bad as your average fan fiction.
Narrative: Incomprehensible.
Viewing Experience: Meaningless.

A surprisingly incompetent, soulless and incoherent production, Eureka 7 AO is, frankly, a complete failure of a sequel. The plot is perforated with enough gaping holes that you might mistake it for Swiss cheese, that is, if you can even understand the extremely obtuse story. The characters are generally unsympathetic, vapid, and impossible to understand, due largely to the fact that basic character motivations remain elusive and hard to follow throughout. Even the mecha action is pretty boring throughout; half the show is bogged down by senseless monster of the week fights that are extremely bland and lacking in dramatic tension.

Perhaps failure always seemed inevitable for this sequel considering that the original Eureka 7 is one of most iconic titles in the history of Studio BONES.  However, what is most frustrating about this sequel is not some abstract notion like failing to stay true to the original, but that the show’s failures are just so rudimentary. Many subplots introduced throughout the show are either dropped or concluded in hackneyed fashion. Plot twists occur that in no way grow or add dimension to the story. There is not even a clearly defined narrative for the story because it redefines itself so often that it is in constant flux. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the writing feels as if someone picked out random plot ideas by throwing darts at a board blindfolded

All these issues serve to underscore what is basically a meaningless experience. It is impossible to care about and take anything away from a story when nothing feels connected in any way. The characters especially fall victim to this, since any given decision or significant event in the story has a high probability of being overturned as soon as the next episode, which only serves to emotionally detach the audience from the show altogether. At times I was reminded of my days of reading bad fan fiction in which the author would constantly change things up in the hopes of creating an interesting story. Unfortunately the writer forgets that it stops being entertaining for the audience when there is a clear lack of a cohesive narrative force to grapple onto.

None of this even begins to delve into what may be the worst issue of all – Eureka 7 AO actually contradicts and retroactively smears some of the most important revelations of the original series.  Eureka 7’s story becomes tainted by some of the most asinine plot twists imaginable. It is bad enough that this sequel is about as terrible as your average fan fiction, but this lack of respect for the original just goes too far. The one solace any viewer could hope for in a sequel is that there is always the original, but somehow the staff thought it was pertinent to spit on its fans. In the end, all this show left me with is the feeling that it should never be talked about again. As far as I am concerned, it does not exist.

The Rating: 2

Reviewed by: Reckoner

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