This is going to be a long post, some of it will be talking about the first Eureka Seven and thus there may be slight spoilers.
I haven’t had a good relationship with this series: I love the ideas that it presents, the soundtrack to the original series is one of the best soundtracks ever made and the animation at that time (2005) was beyond amazing, but the plot suffered from trying to do too many things and wasting time on pointless filler-like episodes (not actually filler, as it was an original series but felt like it) and the characterization was very hit and miss. Seven years later, how does it’s successor AO stack up? Compared to the first episode of E7, not very well. But there’s a lot of potential hidden with this new series and with 24 episodes, I hope Bones finally does this series justice.
Skip the red text if you want to avoid minor spoilers on the first series.
I felt that the first series spent too much time on pointless, almost optional side quests while failing to properly develop the more deeper issues like why Renton’s sister suddenly appeared out of nowhere right before the end. Things involving the escapades of Norb and Sakuya were, in my opinion, not important. Instead of those episodes, I felt there should have been more of a lead-in to either Renton’s sister’s future appearance or transition Eureka and Renton’s journey to the old Earth much better. The problem with the first series is that at times, mainly the wrong times, it had no clue on what it was trying to achieve and instead throws many confusing terms at us at a thinly veiled attempt to forget about the former. The characterization was also very shaky: True Renton did get a ton of characterization, but I still find him to be utterly annoying and one of the worst characters ever; I get he’s a teenager and a lot of crap is happening around him that’s out of his control, but there were only a handful of instances where I truly appreciated him (ironically, none of them involved Eureka) and most of the time I wanted him to just shut up, that’s where Holland comes in and..ahem sets him straight. Renton is the more grievous example, while characters like Holland and Anemone received stellar development and remained the two most likeable characters in the series. Eureka Seven AO feels like a hard reset after playing a long videogame: the bad things are gone, but so did all of the good things and now you’re left scratching your head.
Astral Ocean starts off with Ao Fukai, a teen living on Okinawa with his girlfriend Naru Arata. Life is pretty mundane and simple for Ao until a group of people, lead by a man named Gazelle crash into Ao, dropping a container with top secret vials. Ao picks up what looks like a bracelet and leaves but suddenly a scub burst forms, which then releases a scub coral that devastates Okinawa. The rest of the episode shows Ao struggling to understand what everything around him means, until a dangerous monster unrelated to the scub coral starts to kill innocent people. Frightened, Ao takes out the bracelet and remembers a promise he made to his mother who wore the same bracelet. Confused and frightened, Ao realizes he has to keep a promise and refuses to hand over the bracelet.
So my first fear has been partially erased: Ao is very much a likeable character, albeit a bit dull at times. I’ll be brief: I didn’t like either protagonist of the first series and this being their son, I was fearing the worst. The next thing was the change of music directors, and again it was another relief that the music still retains a very edgy, unique and definitely appropriate beat that the first season capitalized on. The episode, in typical Eureka Seven fashion, threw a lot of different terminology at us some of it from the first season and some new things to remember. I can say this for sure, the spirit of Eureka Seven still lives on strong in this new series more than seven years after the first series. It’s your move, Bones.
Ending Theme: stand by me by Stereopony (I don’t get the hate, it’s not that bad. Why is Ao flying with wings though?)