While Eureka Seven has never been my favorite Studio Bones property, there were plenty of elements that have always resonated with me. The music was fantastic and one of the ways that I found out about Supercar, for which I am eternally grateful. Shoji Kawamori’s mecha designs have always been awesome and to have them flying around on surf boards were a huge plus. My major issues was that the series felt drawn out for far too long and various elements seems slapped together for no reason. Like when Renton and Eureka would have a fight, kiss and make up, only to have them start fighting again throughout the entire 50 episodes got pretty tiring. Another one was how the crazy, jam eating Anemone hooks up with Dominic, just for the sake of having another romantic relationship, for no damn good reason. Needless to say, I felt very mixed on Eureka Seven and there’s a reason why I’ve never revisited it.
When I found out that Bones was creating a sequel, entitled Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean, I didn’t know what to really expect. Sure, the animation and fights could be really awesome, but would I have to slog through another batch of episodes to get a mediocre mecha show or would it be a triumphant return to the Eureka universe? Astral Ocean begins in the year 2025, where we meet Ao, a 13 year old boy who lives on the independent islands of Okinawa. Before he was born, his mother, Eureka had fallen from the sky and landed near the waters of Okinawa, where she was rescued by a local doctor, Toshio Fukai. After hiding out for a year, she is taken away by the American government and tells Dr. Fukai to take care of her son. With Ao now growing into his teenage years, all he wants to do is go to school and hang out with his friends. The day before school starts, there’s a major outbreak of Scub Coral on the island and creates some chaos, which gets Ao involved with the Japanese Military, as he lands in a Nirvash that they were hiding on a naval ship.
While I was going to dismiss Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean, due to it being a bit incoherent for the first two episodes, little by little the series grew on me. Much in the same way that the first series did, it was through the music that made me begin to enjoy the series, as it swayed my emotions in various directions. From excitement to danger, I slowly began to immerse myself in the returning of this world, its characters and everything that Bones had to offer. I began to like Ao as the protagonist, his relationship to his neighbor Naru and other characters that were at first being hurled at me. From the anime obsessed Elena Peoples, to the entirety of crew of the Pied Piper, Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean offers a slow build of a series, that seemingly pays off after each episode that you watch.
The production on the first series was really nice and its great to see many of the people that had brought Eureka Seven to life, were lending their talents once again. From director Tomoki Kyoda, to character designer Hiroyuki Oda, many of the staff are on their second go into the world of Eureka and the overall production on these first 13 episodes feel like a proper return to the universe. One new addition to the writing team is Shou Aikawa, famous for writing some of the stronger episodes of the original Fullmetal Alchemist, whose hand delivers some of the most effective episodes in this set.
While this first set from Funimation only contains the first 13 episodes, I can honestly say that I’m eager to see more of this sequel. If you liked the original series, or if you’re like me and liked bits and pieces of it, you’ll probably find something to like in Astral Ocean, so do yourself a favor and check it out. Highly Recommended!