Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean ended almost two weeks ago. It was an interesting ride, but did not leave me with the same level of satisfaction the original series and movie left me with.
Astral Ocean focuses on Ao, the son of Eureka and Renton. He is raised in Okinawa, Japan, on an Earth very different from the one we experienced in the original Eureka Seven. However, Eureka left him while he was still young, and Renton was never anywhere in sight. He accidentally comes into contact with a machine named the Mark-1, which is actually the Nirvash Eureka piloted long ago, that has been unable to be piloted until now. After a couple complications, Ao is recruited to pilot Nirvash for a company, named Generation Blue, to fight alien lifeforms known as G-monsters/Secrets.
While the plot summary sounds all great, the real problems lie in the reason why we’re seemingly in a different world from the one in the original series. While the main story gives off the notion that it was well-thought out, the minor details are what make the series suffer. Main characters tend to act a certain way merely to drive the story, never exhibiting actual true character during their screen time. Additionally, Astral Ocean makes good work out of baking up relationships, then dropping that cake on the ground. Ao meets several girls in this series. Although he is a complete beta-tier, whiny kid, just like his dad used to be, levels of trust (and possibly love) were within reach. But by the end of the series, that climb just let go for the sake of the story. As well done the main story may be, I cannot forgive the lack of proper character development. That is why I gave the story score such a low grade.
However I may feel about the story, I was certainly glad to see the sky-surfing glamour of mech battles in Astral Ocean. The series, overall, has always been visually appealing to me as far as non-space mecha go. In the art style and animation, the BONES studio definitely recaptured an essence of what used to be. So I am quite thankful for that. The soundtrack and voice actor choices did not seem to take a hit either. In fact, the music completely recaptured the innocence of growing up for Ao, just like the original series did for Renton. This is definitely a good thing. If there was anything I felt that the entire E7 series was about, it was about manning the hell up and taking responsibility. The music this time around does quite well to follow the discourse of the adolescent mind. The only time I felt there was something off, sound-wise, was when Renton finally shows up and his voice actor is the same as Holland. Of course, that is just me (and about a bunch of other people on the net) being nitpicky.
So, should you check this show out?
– Pros: Similar enjoyable feeling if you liked Eureka Seven.
– Cons: Lack of proper character/relationship development is astounding.
Good and bad things here, folks. Without giving away too much, the story of Astral Ocean gets confusing by the end. However, it can still make sense after some real thought. And with further thought, there are things from the first series and this one that contradict each other and thus remain questionable. If you’re looking for an experience with the same feel as the original series, you’re in the right alley. Just take it as-is and enjoy the ride, I suppose. You can find Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean on Hulu right now.