Note: It is suggested that you watch Eureka Seven AO before reading this post, but it is not necessary. It is divided into three parts so that anyone can read it: 1. Relatively spoiler-free thoughts on the characters. 2. Spoilers on Eureka Seven AO. 3. Spoilers on Eureka Seven AO and Eureka Seven. Each section is clearly marked.
It has now been a while since Eureka Seven AO finished and I feel like it is time to share some of my thoughts on the series. I will avoid going too deep into the details since I do not remember them all, which is not that odd considering how the series introduces lots of ideas but never really does anything with them and the fact that I never really like it to begin with.
In other words, if you see some mistake, please call me out on it! When I someday re-watch it in the near future, I will go through every episode and point out the flaws. You can view this post, along with the other coming two, as scattered thoughts on what I believe the Eureka Seven AO did wrong.
To start, let us talk about how poor the characters are.
Why Eureka Seven AO is Bad #01 – When Shallow Characters Dominate
Why Eureka Seven AO is Bad #02 – A Story That Never Really Matters, Identity Crisis and Other Things
Why Eureka Seven AO is Bad #03 (End) – It Goes Against Everything Eureka Seven Stood For
General thoughts on the characters from Eureka Seven AO
It is not rare for anime to have shallow characterization, with characters not rationally or logically dealing with a certain situation. Often they also lack any kind of proper development or traits, only leaving a blank slate that acts in a certain way because the plot demands it. Sometimes the characters may also change personality from one episode to another without any good reason.
This may all work in silly harem, but in a series that believes that it is all about its characters it simply becomes a case of crashing and burning. Eureka Seven AO is such an example, using all the aforementioned and even more without feeling any shame. This seriously hurts an already plot-wise weak series since there is not a single character to care about or be interested in.
Are we supposed to care about the main character Ao, someone that barely has any personality? We never follow his train of thought and only see him trying to make everyone happy, something that is mind-boggling at times. What is even his motivation? Finding his mother? No, that was only important in the first couple of episodes.
What about the side-kicks? Except Elena and Naru who change personalities in basically every episode, there is nothing at all. No character-building. No growth. Nada. There is barely any interaction between the characters as well. Only in the wonderfully whacky OVA, Eureka Seven AO: The Flowers of Jungfrau, we actually see the characters truly talk to each other in a casual way. It is episodes like this that helps build the characters, but sadly Eureka Seven AO forgot about that. Instead it does not really know what kind of series it wants to be. Stand-alone or sequel? Episodic or not? It suffers from an identity crisis. However, this matter will fully be discussed in the next post.
Another problem is that the characters themselves feel inconsequential to the overall plot. Nothing they do affect the story in any way, something which becomes painfully obvious when a character outright screams about having killed people and no-one bats an eye. The characters only care when the plot needs to move forward, the writers decided and that is the law. It is lacklustre and frustrating. Nothing matters and I could care less.
Let me talk about the characters now.
Individual thoughts on the characters from Eureka Seven AO
(spoilers on Eureka Seven AO)
Ao is the main character of the series and also the son of Renton and Eureka from the original series. At first I liked Ao since he was a character that had a clear goal in mind (“I want to find my mother!”) and actively did things on his own. After the initial arc on Okinawa, however, this all vanishes and he becomes the typical “good boy” that is hesitant to basically everything. He also switches sides two times in a single episode for no apparent reason (among other weird things).
The viewers are never really introduced to Ao, despite being the main character and the one we should root for. Why does he not want to attack Truth? What does he feel about Naru? Why was he fine with sending his own parents and killing the Scub? Nobody knows.
Fleur, along with Elena, are two characters that could loosely be described as secondary main characters. They are always around Ao, but they never really amount to anything. In Fleur’s case she is the daughter of the president of Generation Bleu and that is it. Later on she even becomes the new president of the company, effectively removing her from the story completely.
She does care about Ao, but it is rather vague if she loves him due to it being portrayed as if she has a crush on Gazelle during the entire series. In the final episodes it seems like she does love Ao, which completely comes out of the blue since we rarely saw them talk to each other.
Elena is one of the worst characters in Eureka Seven AO and the purpose of her existence still makes me confused. At first she is a generic otaku character (yes, seriously) that spouts references at any given time which completely clashes with the serious mood. Not before long we are told she hates Eureka for whatever the reason and that she took another person’s identity and god knows what more.
Her character is a mess and becomes crazier by each episode, changing personality at a pace only rivaled by Naru. And not anyone cares about her cryptic lines or her even saying that she is not the person they think she is. Elena stands out like a sore thumb and only has the purpose of creating horrible drama about identity. Eureka saved her by transporting her to the future which, for some unexplained reason, is a big deal for her.
I cannot help but feel that her character was re-written as Eureka Seven AO went on, which I loosely base on her appearance. In the first series, Eureka Seven, the Humanoid Coralians shared two visual traits: distinct hair- and eye color. Eureka had turquoise hair and purple eyes, Sakuya had purple hair and pink eyes, while Anemone (a human modified to be a Humanoid Coralian) had pink hair and purple eyes. Not exactly common colors, are they? These traits are what made them stand out. In Eureka Seven AO this trend continues with Ao having turquoise hair and violet-red eyes.
Now, take a look at Elena again. She has pink hair and purple eyes, which clearly is not normal. One could argue that this is in fact just dyed hair and colored contact lenses to prevent revealing her real identity (or her only being an otaku), but doing so would be forgetting that she had these colors even as a little kid. The same applies to when she showers. In other words, something here is amiss. Did the writers of Eureka Seven AO completely forget such an important detail? While the writing honestly is pretty awfully, they did pay attention to this particular topic since Eureka and Ao were discriminated back on Okinawa.
Was Elena originally going to be Ao’s sister (or related to Anemone)? It would not surprise me, considering how much nonsense the final episode is in its current state.
He is the chief of Team Pied Piper and the one in charge of Ao, Fleur and Elena. He once fought in a way and his family was killed, but later joined Generation Bleu. Despite being the chief he barely plays a big role and is reduced to only worry about the children.
From left to right: Pippo, Gazelle, Han Juno.
In the first few episodes it looked like these three would play a similar role as Holland and Talho from Eureka Seven, meaning they would the semi-adult friends who introduced the world and the likes to the main character. But after Okinawa they completely disappeared, only to appear when the plot needed them. I kind of liked these guys.
From left to right: Maggie Kwan, Bruno Hans, Chloe McCaffrey, Maeve McCaffrey.
Also known as “Team Worthless”. They only screw up and barely got any screen-time, yet we are supposed to care about them. Bruno dies when we are introduced with him and it’s so, so sad. Except it is not. Oddly enough, Maggie gets screen-time in the “second reality” (after Ao used the Quartz Gun) despite having none before. Are we supposed to care?
From left to right: Member, Hannah “Mama” Bester, Member, Member.
Okay, so I do know the members’ names, but I have no idea who is who because Eureka Seven AO never even bothered trying to introduce these characters. The names are: Liu Ing, Lerato Hood, Rajkumar Nair. They have fancy IFOs and live in space. And Mama Hannah is a nice person. Somehow they are important so they switch sides to help Ao. Hell, why are the characters in Eureka Seven AO so shitty?
The Tech Crew
The middle three characters, from left to right: Ivica Tanović, Rebecka Hallström, Alexander Boyle. The rest are not even properly introduced.
Of course, Ivica and Revecka are not from the tech crew. These guys take care of the IFOs, but they are only shown a handful of times and even then only as background characters. Great development!
As for Georg, he is the AI that is used throughout Generation Bleu. He is later replaced by a Secret, though.
Naru is rather similar to Elena when it comes to execution. She changes personality all the time, from one second being friends with Ao and the next hating him. Suddenly supporting Truth, but also the Scub. She is inconsistent as heck and I cannot bring myself to rant over her. Just read what I wrote about Elena being weird and apply Naru instead. She is a horrible character that adds nothing to Eureka Seven AO. She does not do a thing except being annoying!
Truth is the worst character in Eureka Seven AO. Not even Elena and Naru combined can beat Truth in terms of awfulness. When first introduced I was already preparing for the worst outcome, but never would I have thought Truth would be so much worse. It is hard to comprehend, even!
Truth is a Secret that “lost his mission” and became a human, but also part-Scub. It is kinda confusing, but it is not that bad. The main idea is that Truth lacks identity, which is a running theme in Eureka Seven AO (see Elena, for example), and therefore goes crazy. He also wants to find the “truth”, which in his case is another world. This is where it all fails, because Truth is a single-minded character with no other purpose than to act as a villain.
He does not know he is a Secret even though he can use their powers and clearly is not human, yet he refuses to accept it which only makes him crazier. He kills some people, but spares some. Truth is (pun not intended); he is so overpowered that he could kill everyone in the series if he wanted to! Yet he does not, because that would be the end of the series. He can change appearance, create explosions and whatnot. He is an example of when writers create a too strong of a villain.
Truth must be a mere afterthought. He barely plays an important role for the overall plot of the series, but even so he somehow managed to become the final boss of the series. He pops up when action is needed, which is only a handful of episodes, and then disappears and is never cared for again.
I believe that when the writers of Eureka Seven AO had finished the script some smartass commented on how there was not a villain. The political stuff did not matter, the Secrets became allies and the Scub were not a visible threat. So they added Truth. Screw him.
Secrets are never fully explained, despite being pretty damn important for the series. They are Earth’s “immune system” and exterminate anything that does not belong there, which in this case is the Scub since they come from another dimension/time (it was never clarified whether Eureka Seven AO was time travel or dimension hopping). For some reason this also lead to them attacking humans. Another weird thing is how they come in different shapes and do not seem to co-operate with each other. And stuff.
Why were Secrets never explained anyway?
The Forgotten Characters
Top, from left to right: Christophe Blanc, Stanley Fry, Rebecka Hallström.
Bottom, rom left to right: Toshio Fukai, Niki Tanaka, Nakamura Yasumochi.
Here are some characters that acted as if they were important to the story, only to never make any sense or actually be important.
Christophe and Stanley, despite being the bosses of Generation Bleu, did nothing.
Rebecka was in Team Pied Piper and it seemed as she was a spy or something along those lines when introduced, but she never really had a part in the series except making the backgrounds of the series less empty.
Toshio is Ao’s guardian, but only appears at the start and end of the series. Also, he kept a secret from Ao and the viewers that is revealed at the end, just because. Gotta keep them secrets!
Niki is from the US army while Nakamura is from the Japanese Defence Force. They get screen-time for political babble, aka the stuff that never really matters.
Thoughts on recurring characters
(spoilers on Eureka Seven AO and Eureka Seven)
Truth be told, Eureka is probably the best character in Eureka Seven AO. She acts as you would expect her to do after all these years, which is a Good Thing™. Due to her being stuck in time for the most part, she does not get much screen-time, sadly. The only thing that baffles me is that she never told Ao, or anyone close-by, about the current situation despite knowing it. But as you all know… gotta keep them secrets!
The main character of Eureka Seven comes back at the end of Eureka Seven AO to save the series! Or so I thought. Instead, it was not really Renton after all. This character only magically shares the same name and a somewhat similar appearance, but that is it. Do not let people fool you, because this clearly is not Renton from Eureka Seven.
Whereas Eureka was as you would expect her to be, Renton is not. Gone is the clumsy and naïve young boy. No, here is the cool and badass adult! Not a single character trait is left. Renton is here to destroy the Scub despite him saving it in his own universe! And killing the Scub means killing Eureka too! What about his child, Ao? He does not matter in the slightest, might as well let him die too, because “only the original timeline matters” as he says.
Good grief, what the hell is wrong with you Bones? I can accept Renton having grown up, but this is just an insult to the fans of Eureka Seven. Not only does he act like a different character, he also looks very different. Yes, he has roughly the same hair (except that someone spilled white paint on it) and face, but he looks very old. He does not smile. He wears black. He is cool and badass, because that is what the plot demands.
To make it worse, he is not voiced by his original voice actor Yuuko Sanpei but Keiji Fujiwara instead. Yes, I am aware of the fact that Renton wanted to grow up and become like Holland in Eureka Seven, but to actually take his voice?! That is insane! If you got to change the voice actor, you do not use someone that voiced another character before.
This is not Renton. If you had said Holland, then maybe I would have accepted it.
Final thoughts (spoiler-free)
Seriously, why the hell are Eureka Seven AO’s characters so shallow/poor/shitty/you name it? I can accept that they all do not have any deep back-story, because that would take up too much time, but the least I could ask for was to make them consistent and actually play a part in the story. But they do not! Heck, they barely even talk to each other, which is a much greater insult. Why have characters if they will not interact with each other in the first place?
Did anyone here actually enjoy the characters?
Because I sure did not.