Review

Nov 30th 2006

Eureka 7

DVD 1

Synopsis:
Eureka 7 DVD 1

Renton Thurston has had enough. He's been living his his father's shadow (which many people have started to doubt), his Grandfather is always on his case, the one person he even remotely considered a friend has left and to top it all off the military has closed his favourite "lifting" spot. Oh and a cute girl piloting a prototype mecha has crashlanded on his bedroom and torched all his stuff. It's not much but it's a start.

Production Company: Bandai Entertainment.
Australian R4 Release: Madman Entertainment.
Runtime: 125.0 mins.
Aspect Ratio: 4:3.
Rating: PG Mild animated violence, Mild sexual references.

Review:

I see no point in causing any suspense here. I see no point in making you read this whole review just to find out if the first five episodes of Eureka 7 are any good. So I'm just going to proclaim the conclusion right here and now: if you are looking to start a collection of a new anime TV series, then it absolutely and unquestionably should be Eureka 7. Even if you don't want something with mecha in it, even if you don't want a teenage protagonist, even if you openly dislike anything futuristic, you should get Eureka 7 anyway. It excels at everything it does, it does a lot of different things, and if these early episodes are any indication, it may go on to be one of the greatest series to come out this decade.

The narrative opening is familiar territory, it contains a bored fourteen-year-old boy who is the son of a hero and has dreams of greatness, a mysterious girl, and a whole lot of cool looking mecha that are yet to be explained. The boy, Renton, is openly dissatisfied with his life and gets his only thrill whenever he ‘lifts’, the sport of flying through the air on a skyboard. He attends a ‘sucky’ school in a ‘sucky’ town, and although his father is noted as having saved the world people are frequently questioning the truth of that belief. The show tried a little too hard to question this, as it is quite eager to establish the impact that Renton's father's legacy has had on him.

When it comes down to it, this is really just a premise for what's to come – seeds being sewn that are yet to sprout and grow. Everything that happens, from Renton learning to believe in air currents to his meeting with (and becoming smitten by) the slightly odd Eureka. Building up to Renton running away to join a ship and crew he has always dreamed about, and this is all despite his Grandfather's well-meaning wishes. The end result is swiftly paced without ever feeling rushed. The show moves comfortably, starting off with a punchy rhythm and occasionally moving through more orchestrated or quiet moments, never settling into the one milieu but always directed with aptitude and confidence. The end result is a story opening that is more enjoyable that the whole sum of its immediate parts, and small techniques like having Renton give voice-over narration as if he were writing to his missing older sister make for nice touches that highlight the use of familiar convention in a way that seems misleadingly fresh.

By the general standards of a television series Eureka 7 looks absolutely amazing. It's still a long way from the theatrical standard of something like Innocence, but its ability to keep things hand-drawn while still appearing high-tech gives it a slight upper hand. The colour palate in Eureka 7 is an open embracement of everything digital, and the image on the DVD is clear and vibrant, which is only made better by the actual colour consistency choices made throughout the show. Most importantly is that even the mecha units (known as LFO's) are hand-drawn. They move with a dynamic sense of energy that 3D graphics are still some way from capturing. And there's no need to comment on how well the LFOs blend in with the rest of the 2D artwork by sheer virtue of them being an actual part of it. The added sweetener is that Shoji Kawamori has done an incredible job in designing them, further helping him to retain his reputation as a master of the field, and much like the human characters, these lithe robots surf the sky. This may seem ridiculous, but it's also an open embracement and extension of something that was always ridiculous to begin with, and this lack of restraint where restraint need not be shown allows the show energy without need for too much explanation. Finally, as if having excellent mecha wasn't enough, character designs are also are second to none. The overall visual package simply couldn't be any better for what it is, and what it is is more than just a little bit special.

Eureka 7 is a looking to be a very rare thing. It successfully opens with immediate impact but yet it never feels rushed, and the way it makes generic conventions seem new and fresh will probably lend it both mass appeal and critical respect as it continues to unfold. The DVD is no slouch either, containing a healthy five episodes and coming with a simple (reversible) cover that should allow for consistent design in upcoming volumes. The disc itself also features a interview with a very bubbly Yuko Sanpai and Kaori Nazuka (Renton and Eureka, respectively) that certainly benefits from allowing them to bounce the conversation off each other. They also provide an audio commentary for the first episode that is generally more fun than informative, despite a couple of quick observations. The dub's reasonable too – Renton's grandfather sounds a bit forced, and sometimes it moves too quickly to sound like natural English, but it's still a notch above the norm.

Dub or sub, this is an excellent show that could very easily continue to get better. It has few pretensions tying it to physical believability, and it's characters and general plotting will probably benefit from this in the long run. That such a loving production was originally broadcast in an early morning timeslot is almost a crime against humanity, and you owe it to yourselves to help rectify that by watching it.

Grade:
Production Info:
Overall : B+
Story : B-
Animation : A-

+ Brilliantly excessive, wonderfully confidant and highly energetic.
Dub a little off at times.

Series Director:Tomoki Kyoda
Director:
Tomoki Kyoda
Masayuki Miyaji
Yasushi Muraki
Kazuya Murata
Norimitsu Suzuki
Satoru Utsunomiya
Kenichi Yoshida
Series Composition:Dai Sato
Script:
Chiaki J. Konaka
Yuuichi Nomura
Hiroshi Ohnogi
Ichiro Okouchi
Dai Sato
Megumi Shimizu
Shôtarô Suga
Storyboard:
Takao Abo
Hiroshi Haraguchi
Masakazu Hishida
Kazuki Kakuda
Ikuo Kuwana
Tomoki Kyoda
Masayuki Miyaji
Seiji Mizushima
Takeshi Mori
Yasushi Muraki
Kazuya Murata
Hitoshi Nanba
Go Sakamoto
Norimitsu Suzuki
Masaki Tachibana
Katsumi Terahigashi
Yasuo Urano
Satoru Utsunomiya
Shinichiro Watanabe
Hideyo Yamamoto
Sayo Yamamoto
Kenichi Yoshida
Episode Director:
Takao Abo
Takefumi Anzai
Hiroshi Haraguchi
Yoshito Hata
Hideki Ito
Tarou Iwasaki
Yumi Kamakura
Shingo Kaneko
Daizen Komatsuda
Tomoki Kyoda
Shin Matsuo
Masayuki Miyaji
Kenji Mizuhata
Takato Mori
Kazuya Murata
Keizo Nakamura
Ikuro Sato
Yoshiyuki Takei
Hideyo Yamamoto
Sayo Yamamoto
Akitoshi Yokoyama
Takeshi Yoshimoto
Music:Naoki Sato
Character Design:Kenichi Yoshida
Art Director:
Atsushi Morikawa
Kazuo Nagai
Chief Animation Director:Kenichi Yoshida
Animation Director:
Nekomataya
Takao Abo
Yuriko Chiba
Atsushi Hasebe
Seiichi Hashimoto
Yuko Hirasawa
Koichi Horikawa
Satoru Iida
Kazumi Inadome
Kana Ishida
Atsushi Itagaki
Hideki Ito
Yoshiyuki Ito
Emi Kamiishi
Shuichi Kaneko
Hiroki Kanno
Shigeru Kato
Satonobu Kikuchi
Hirotaka Kinoshita
Yoshiyuki Kodaira
Daizen Komatsuda
Takahiro Komori
Satoshi Kubo
Ayumi Kurashima
Ikuo Kuwana
Kiyoaki Maeda
Hideaki Maniwa
Akira Matsushima
Kenji Mizuhata
Eiji Nakada
Kenichiro Ogata
Ken Ootsuka
Atsuko Sasaki
Jun Shibata
Koji Sugiura
Kumiko Takahashi
Masayoshi Tanaka
Takashi Tomioka
Shinya Uchida
Satoru Utsunomiya
Yuko Yazaki
Kenichi Yoshida
Shinichi Yoshikawa
Sound Director:Kazuhiro Wakabayashi
Director of Photography:
Shunya Kimura
Toshiya Kimura
Producer:
Hirofumi Inagaki
Hiro Maruyama
Hiroshi Morotomi
Koutaro Nakayama
Atsushi Yukawa

Full encyclopedia details about
Eureka Seven (TV)

Release information about
Eureka 7 (R4 DVD 1)

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