“Seven” The Hard Way
I had a friend tell me that “Eureka Seven” (or, as it’s pronounced in the show, “Erika Seven”) is a really good sci-fi anime. I mean, even the Sci-Fi Channel (now known as Syfy) showed it, and it was really worth watching.
I decided to watch it with him and, quite frankly, I was disappointed with the effort.
The series focuses on Renton Thurston (that rather grumpy one dead center), the fourteen-year-old son of Adrock Thurston, a military researcher who died saving the world. He lives what he considers a boring life with his grandfather in a boring town. He loves lifting, a sport similar to surfing but with trapars, a substance abundant throughout the air, as the medium. He dreams of joining the renegade group Gekkostate. It is led by his idol Holland Novak (the jerk just off his left shoulder), a legendary lifter.
An opportunity to do so literally falls into his lap when a large mecha, called the Nirvash typeZERO, and Eureka (the smiling one off his right shoulder), its pilot and a member of Gekkostate, crash into Renton’s room. Renton’s grandfather orders him to deliver a special part to the Nirvash called the “Amita Drive”, which releases the immense power dormant within the typeZERO called the “Seven Swell Phenomenon”. Afterwards, Renton is invited to join Gekkostate, where he quickly discovers that the behind-the-scenes life of Gekkostate is hardly as glamorous or as interesting as printed in the glossy pages of their magazine, ray=out. Only one thing makes it all worthwhile for him: the presence of Eureka, the mysterious pilot of the Nirvash. Renton, Eureka, and the Gekkostate embark on an adventure that will shape their future as well as the world.
OK, so that sounds pretty good, but your disappointment is pretty much the same that Renton experiences. The run can be broken down into blocks of 13 (with the exception of the last one, which is 12). The first 13 shows Renton basically being used as a punching bag by everyone, and I mean in the physical sense. He is hit, kicked, slammed into a wall, flung into the brig and humiliated by all involved, especially the three brats in the front. They are orphans (plot device; can’t explain here without ruining key points) and are basically free to do as they choose.
Renton is feeling like a dirty rug as he gets zero respect. And leading the charge against him is Holland, the self-proclaimed leader of Gekkostate. He is a big jerk and you get tired of his ‘problems’ really quick. He is less mature than Renton, but Renton as an excuse – he’s 14. What’s Holland’s excuse? The only really decent people in the whole show are the Beams, Ray and Charles (and we are NOT going, there, OK?). But they are ultimately villains and we know what happens to those types.
I just found the whole show a rather laborious exercise. And When Commander Dewey Novak shows up (older brother of Holland), it just goes off the rails (or the trapars). I got the feeling that because we were dealing with space aliens and fly in space, that makes it sci-fi. At its core, it is a story about coming of age, being your own person and overcoming prejudices.
This is one of those shows that looks really good. A lot of thought went into design and production. There are some odd moments, like Ken-Goh (the one with the ridiculous mustache) and Dr. Bear, owing to his freakishly huge body, but those are kept to a minimum. Too bad that the final results are disappointing. Not “Peach Girl” disappointing, but that the end did not really live up to the hype that surrounded it. Plus, being a long-form anime, it just could not sustain it through its episodes. It also has a coupler ending in that these tales are done, but if they wanted to take it more elsewhere, they could (and they did). If you want to leave it as it stands, the conclusion will stand along. However, I cannot recommend seeing this show.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 9 (Strong, for the most part)
Plot 7 (Loses its way)
Pacing 8 (They can tell a good story)
Effectiveness 7 (Too much disappointment)
Conclusion 7 (It ends, but has a coupler)
Fan Service 3 (A similar show would be “ “)
Overall 6 (Just not my cup of tea)
And remember, it’s first run until you see it. You’re going to carry that weight.