Saturday, June 30, 2012

Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean - 11

[Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_13.11_[2012.06.29_14.24.02] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_16.56_[2012.06.29_14.28.25] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_20.41_[2012.06.29_14.32.28]

If you want intrigue and mystery, this episode of AO should be your one-stop shopping for the week.

I've enjoyed the world-building episodes of the last several weeks (and I’ll gladly fight the legions who disagree with me), but I was strongly inclined to believe we were about to see a sharp upturn in both the “canon” level, E7-wise, and the intensity.  And boy, did we ever get them this week.  I think those world-building eps were necessary for roughly similar reasons to the buildup eps in Seirei no Moribito and Tsuritama that people complained about, and the payoff will come in the second half of the series.  It’s actually started to come while we’re still at the tail-end of the first cour in AO’s case, which means we’re likely in for an intense and dramatic second half of the series.  Every one of those episodes was telling us something vital we needed to know about the world of Astral Ocean – it just wasn't being terribly obvious about it.  Now it appears Aikawa Shou and his writers are asking “Were you paying attention?”

And not just to the first Decalogue of AO episodes, but to the original E7 as well, as it’s clearer than ever now (though I was never in doubt) that this is a true sequel.  This really feels like a BONES series now more than ever, with its increasingly intricate plot and “kids vs. the world” themes.  Aikawa-sensei is not a writer who gives up his mysteries easily (see UN-GO) but rather makes the audience work to connect the dots themselves.  That increasingly makes me think that The Truth is Aikawa’s avatar on screen, acting as The Pied Piper to the cast (no matter what Ivica says) much as Aikawa is to the viewer.

Let the theorizing begin – I have no more definitive answers than anyone else, but it’s certainly fun to speculate.  I made note of some small stuff – for example, GenBleu’s employee file lists Ao as 13 years old (Fleur as 16, Elena as 15), which struck me as odd as he was referred to as 12.  But then I noticed that his birthday was this week (6/27/12 – Happy birthday, Ao) and I tend to believe that date was conspicuously included for a reason.  I also thought it odd that BONES placed the Cavern Club in Manchester and not Liverpool – another “this world is incorrect” hint? 

The meat of the mystery in this ep was certainly Elena and her identities.  Remember way back when, when it was insinuated that Elena was actually Miller, the idol?  Turns out the reality is a whole lot more complicated than that.  In the first place I think the name itself and the Japanization of it, “Miller/Mirror”, is clever and possibly significant given the circumstances.  What are we told?  Miller and Elena are two different people who look alike – Miller/Mirror notes “Maybe we’re related.”  And Miller was acting as a spy for the US Government, but Elena at some point began to impersonate Miller the spy (if not the idol) and give info to the Americans – though whether than info was good or not we can’t be sure.  And Miller herself appears to have been some sort of “alien” creature composed of trapar particles that look like sand, and which have the ability to induce hallucinations in the minds of children who grew up in trapar-intense areas.

Did we mention that growing up in such places supposedly induces changes in a child’s brain?  That’s important because it’s those changes that make children able to pilot an IFO.  But there’s much, much more here.  Gazelle, investigating the Miller-Elena spy angle, seems to be getting closer to sniffing out the truth that The Truth keeps referring to.  Along the way he discovers that Elena apparently died five years earlier – which begs the obvious question, who is the Elena we see at GenBleu now?  Rebecka makes reference to Ao being “physically different” and Christophe adds “And Ao” – and Rebecka refers to them as “Secrets”.   Not only that, but it’s clear from Elena’s hallucination that she’s connected to Eureka and the world “our” Eureka comes from – because we see her with Eureka on a very familiar beach and best of all, we see a very familiar moon with two names on it.  Could Elena be Ao’s sister (the eyes say it’s possible)?  A Coralian?  Could she be possibly be Anemone and Dominic’s child – providing a connection to what looks like typeTheEND beneath GenBleu headquarters – in a cavern Elena posing as spy-Miller tells the Americans looks like remains of “alien technology”?

There are obviously way more questions than answers there, but for now that’s the way the ledger looks.  My feeling from watching this episode was that the GenBleu pilots are rats in a cage, living inside an artificial world they’re made to believe is real.  Trapar Miller/Mirror might not have been their friend, but I’m not so sure she was the enemy either, just as I’m not sure The Truth is.  I thought the aftermath of the crash scene was very interesting, with Ivica wrapping Ao and Elena in a bear hug – and then, after a moment’s hesitation, Ao hugging him back.  My gut is telling me that Ivica is playing along with the ones doing the experiment on the rats, but that it’s killing him inside – I think what he feels for the kids is genuine, and he’s carrying a load of guilt above and beyond that associated with his time in the Balkans.

In addition to the huge and excellent mystery element, I enjoyed a lot of the smaller character moments and humor this week – like Rebecka chopping George’s nose off when he got off on one of his long-winded explanations, and his deeply offended response.  We also had some nice banter that seemed to put a damper on any Ao-Fleur speculation (which I never believed, anyway) courtesy of a typically indelicate Dad-like question posed by Christophe (she’s too old for Ao, if nothing else).  It appears that we’re finally ready for Naru’s re-entry into the story next week, as well as Ao’s first taste of space combat – which should give the animators at BONES a chance to strut their stuff.

[Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_06.47_[2012.06.29_14.14.51] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_08.59_[2012.06.29_14.17.02] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_09.02_[2012.06.29_14.18.44]
[Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_09.31_[2012.06.29_14.19.22] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_09.39_[2012.06.29_14.19.30] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_10.08_[2012.06.29_14.20.00]
[Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_11.05_[2012.06.29_14.21.25] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_12.05_[2012.06.29_14.22.41] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_12.34_[2012.06.29_14.23.10]
[Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_12.37_[2012.06.29_14.23.13] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_12.47_[2012.06.29_14.23.23] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_12.51_[2012.06.29_14.23.27]
[Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_13.02_[2012.06.29_14.23.38] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_13.19_[2012.06.29_14.24.39] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_13.22_[2012.06.29_14.24.43]
[Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_13.35_[2012.06.29_14.24.57] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_13.49_[2012.06.29_14.25.11] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_13.57_[2012.06.29_14.25.24]
[Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_14.02_[2012.06.29_14.25.31] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_14.37_[2012.06.29_14.26.07] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_14.50_[2012.06.29_14.26.19]
[Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_15.48_[2012.06.29_14.27.18] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_16.00_[2012.06.29_14.27.29] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_17.47_[2012.06.29_14.29.17]
[Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_18.36_[2012.06.29_14.30.05] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_19.21_[2012.06.29_14.30.50] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_19.26_[2012.06.29_15.35.39]
[Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_19.46_[2012.06.29_14.31.16] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_19.50_[2012.06.29_14.31.36] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_21.52_[2012.06.29_14.33.39]
[Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_22.12_[2012.06.29_14.34.20] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_24.01_[2012.06.29_14.36.08] [Hadena] Eureka Seven AO - 11 [720p][3382391C].mkv_snapshot_24.22_[2012.06.29_15.32.37]


12 comments:

  1. Holy cow, the mystery meter was cranked to 10 this week. It gives me the feeling that Durarara!! did when it will make no sense for 3-4 episodes and then BAM it will all come together. It is weird that you say that the pilots are rats in a larger experiment. I think that is to be true, but I don't quite grasp the separation from the whole world as they are pilots that fly to scub bursts.


    But the moon does have "Eureka and Renton" written on it. I'm just waiting for the connections to be made even further. This is the first time in a while that we have had Eureka come to the flashbacks.

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  2. It can't be a coincidence that Elena's hair and eye colour are nearly the same as Anemone's, can it? Other than Eureka, Ao and Truth, everyone else has pretty normal hair colouring, unless I missed someone. I'm not sure she if she is Anemone's child, but there has to be a relationship there. Also, they both have names that are originally Greek.

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    Replies
    1. Blue = Eureka/AO
      Pink = Anemone/Elena
      Violet = Sakuya/Yuna (new character from Save the Prayer spin off manga)

      ...children of the stars?

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  3. Damn, week after week, I only see people praising E7 AO...Having not watched it myself (yet), at least I can say I'm loving the color palette in those screencaps, week after week too. Judging by first impressions, I love the character designs: they take me back to my fond days of BONES, original FMA and Xam'd. Damn, this nostalgia feel is a powerful element indeed if you need to attract people to a new product...

    I'm eagerly waiting for this series to end so I can marathon it! Hopefully, having not watched the original E7 will not be a huge obstacle. I'm really hoping I can also end up agreeing that this series is a good sequel; but an excellent series on its own merit too, whatwith its own story and original characters(having not watched the original E7, that latter point is what'll be the Do or Break for me :/ ).

    Here's to hoping it's a fresh series from BONES corp!

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    Replies
    1. Having said that, I gotta say that I don't really know if this new mystery element I see you guys talking about is necessarily a good thing. This is BONES we're talking about, and they have a tendency to leave things unresolved; that always makes me die a little bit inside...

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    2. Heh, it seems to me that week after week I only see people ripping E7 AO to shreds. I think it's a little more positive here than most places.

      I think this show does stand alone - that said, there are elements of the series that will seem a bit puzzling without knowing the plot of the original. Maybe you could check out the recap special that aired a week before AO started.

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    3. If you haven't watched the original Eureka Seven yet, you might as well do that now. The marathon goes by quickly cause each episodes leaves you wanting more.

      Although I would understand if you wanted to marathon AO before E7, to really see if it shines on its own. I just wonder if it'll be confusing or too dependent on the original.

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    4. Hmm py687, seems I'll be the guinea pig to see if it shines on its own then, mwaha!

      And thanks for letting me know there's a recap of the original E7 Enzo! I will at least check that out before going into this.

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  4. Warning: wild speculation and E7 spoilers ahead.

    The first time that Truth said "this world is wrong" the first thing that came to my mind was Morpheus giving a speech to Neo about how the Matrix "is a dreamworld" prety sure a similar prhase was also thrown around.

    With that context I also remembered that at the end of E7 that the Scub Coral had to take half the world population to avoid reaching the limit of life.

    At this point I'm thinking that E7AO is not taking place in the original earth but rather wherever it is that the Scub Coral took that other half of the population (another world? Commnad cluster?)

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    Replies
    1. That's exactly what I thought too. There are a surprising number of parallels AO draws with The Matrix.

      If this does turn out to be the case, then I think BONES is doing a great job setting it up. I was initially going to temporarily drop AO after the last ep, but after watching ep 11, there's more than enough intrigue and mystery to keep me on board.

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    2. The "This world takes place with the people the Scub Coral took" theory seems to be popular. However, I wonder if Truth says the world is wrong only because Ao is there (when he shouldn't be), and not necessarily because this isn't the real Earth.

      But I understand why it's a popular theory. It still doesn't explain Truth's motives however, nor Elena's origin.

      Delete
  5. Ahhh, starting to make sense now, especially on the naming for this sequel: "Astral Ocean". So yea, seems like what some of the comments above and what this post has written may be it. That this is some sort of a dream world or hallucination or something of that sort for the kids or populace.

    Just why, where and how?

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