An “Ocean” of Problems
“Eureka Seven AO: Astral Ocean”, takes place about 14 or so years after the conclusion of the first part of it. Ao Fukai (our hero, dead center) is a 13-year-old boy living in the year 2025 in Okinawa, on the island of Iwato Jima with Dr. Toshio Fukai, ever since Ao’s mother disappeared 10 years ago. When a mysterious organization attacks the local Scub Coral, Ao somehow gets mixed up in the battle and manages to activate an enigmatic robot called the Nirvash while it is being transported by the Self-Defense Forces. Later, Ao finds out that the Nirvash belonged to Eureka, his mother, and embarks on a journey to find his mother and learn the truth about his origins.
Or so we hoped.
Because he is able to pilot this ship, he is conscripted by Generation Bleu, an organization dedicated to fighting Secrets, and joins Pied Piper. OK, let me explain. Every time there is a Scub Burst, these transforming robots/ships called ‘secrets’ come down to destroy the Scub. But they also take out the surrounding area, so there is a huge amount of collateral damage by them. Ao joins Bleu to get to the bottom of it all, but runs into more misconceptions and deceptions than ever before. A lifelong friend, Naru (the lovely lady in the upper right) suffers from a condition caused by the Scub but eventually has to turn against Ao.
Ao’s new friends are Fleur Blanc and Elena Peoples (the two at the far left), who make up Team Pied Piper, trying to protect the world from Scub and gathering as much information about them. But there is a lot of conflict between them and Ao, as they feel they feel he lacks what it takes to be a pilot and how to make hard decisions.
If you can detect a lack of interest in this show from my end, you’re very much right. I watched it to see if they could do better and it started out OK, but then it got too didactic and it dissolved into too many fight sequences. There were some interesting plot movements when the Quartz Gun came into being, but when the character Truth showed up, it went downhill for me. Easily the most annoying character since Nagi from My HiME/My Otome, Truth was nettlesome without any real goal or purpose, than to be nettlesome without any purpose or goal.
I should have followed my instincts and stayed away from this. I am going to suggest you do the same unless you feel compelled to close out the Eureka series. You have been warned.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 9 (Another good-looking show, but still with odd-looking villains)
Plot 8 (There is a compelling plot, despite the cheap ending)
Pacing 7 (Bogged down by the endless fighting)
Effectiveness 8 (It runs hit and miss, however)
Conclusion 5 (It ends, but the second-worst ending I have ever seen)
Fan Service 4 (A similar show would “Gurren Lagann”)
Overall 7 (Hampered by the bad ending)
And remember, it’s first run until you see it. Except for the last four episodes.