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 story etc. 2. Spoilers on Eureka Seven AO. 3. Spoilers on Eureka Seven. Each section is clearly marked.
This time I talk about how horrible the story and the likes 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 story etc. in Eureka Seven AO (relatively spoiler-free)
When you watch a story-driven anime, the least you could ask for is for the story itself to actually make sense. It should have a clear goal in mind that it sets out to accomplish, be coherent and naturally be understandable. These are some very simple basics when it comes to storytelling overall and the main idea is that the story should, simply put, make sense.
What we have in Eureka Seven AO is a series that bites off more than it can chew, so much it is actually choking and throwing it all up. We are introduced to a plethora of ideas, but only a handful is actually used and even then not to a satisfying degree. Not much happening in the series actually makes sense in the overarching story, with subplots often being dropped as soon as they are introduced.
Sometimes this also happens to subplots that have several episodes of build-ups, such as the strained political climate in the world of AO or the simple thing that our main character Ao is searching for his mother. Two ideas, many episodes, nothing gained. Ao’s search for his mother is ignored after the initial arc of four episodes, only to be replaced by “Secret of the Week” battles, and the political issues are completely out of the picture in the second half of the series with the exception of a single episode (which introduced even more political subplots out of the blue, to never be touched upon again).
To be honest with you readers, it is basically impossible for me to remember every little subplot that were introduced since they were so goddamn many. I will try and list as many as I can further down in a list, but it is far from everything.
Completely dropping all the introduced ideas is not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Eureka Seven AO, sadly. Another big problem is how it suffers from an identity crisis, a rather severe one in fact.
Eureka Seven AO labels itself as the sequel to the seven-year-old Eureka Seven, something which in itself is a problem. Eureka Seven spanned through a whopping 50 episodes before it had a perfect ending that essentially rendered any sequel impossible, or rather unnecessary. There was nothing more to build upon, unless they wanted to create a series that showed the same events but from another perspective.
But somehow the writers behind Eureka Seven AO took the ending of Eureka Seven literally and out of it managed to force the sequel I am currently bashing writing about. This in itself is a problem, since everything we see in Eureka Seven AO completely contradicts the first series. For new viewers that are new to the franchise, however, it will not be as odd.
Anyhow, this is supposed to be a sequel, yet it tries to be completely original in the beginning. The first half the series completely disregards the idea of it being a sequel, instead focusing on trying to, extremely poorly, flesh out its world and characters. Only every now and then we see small hints that this is indeed a sequel, but nothing proper seems to come out of it.
For some bizarre reason Eureka Seven AO enters the boring formula that is known as “Monster of the Week”, in this case being “Secret of the Week”. This goes on for the entire first half of the series and achieves absolutely nothing. The characters are not developed and the same goes for the story, setting and basically everything.
Are we supposed to fear Secrets? But they look so ridiculous at times! They do not attack everything in their path! They are easily killed and show no reaction to anything. They are static being!
The whole first half of the series is wasted on this formula for no good reason. But, this is important, it at least tries to be original and not live on the success of the first series!
But halfway through the identity crisis of Eureka Seven starts for real. Now it connects to the first series and stays connected throughout the entire second half. New viewers are shallowly introduced to the concepts of the first series, while older viewers are frustrated by how poorly Eureka Seven AO handles the connection between the two. Is this a sequel or not? Is it a “fake sequel” that takes its own spin on the first series? Are new viewers even supposed to understand it all?
Questions like these are troublesome, because Eureka Seven AO never really caters to either audience. Exactly what is it trying to achieve? It does not develop anything of the “new” it introduced in its first half and relies too hard on the older series during its second half (while only doing so halfheartedly).
It is a series made for no-one. Eureka Seven AO only lives on its predecessor’s name, hoping to gain some money. Or at least so I hope, because it would be a much better option than the writers honestly believing that they created something good.
At the end of the day, I still have no clue what the heck Eureka Seven AO was about.
Deeper thoughts on the story etc. in Eureka Seven AO (spoilers on Eureka Seven AO)
It should be noted that when I started writing down my thoughts, I noticed how I did not remember that many dropped subplots or plot holes. I am deeply sorry for this. When I re-watch the series, you will have lots! I actually had to cut down on a lot of other things because I did not want to make this post too long (and I could not remember certain details).
How could Eureka, who was stuck in time, save Elena from a Scub Burst and transport her through time? Eureka could not physically touch anything else.
This is the most obvious mistake, which is sad, considering Elena goes crazy over this for some reason. It is an important scene ruined by horrible writing.
If Secrets only appear when something alien in that universe comes in contact with Earth, why the heck did they appear long before the Scub?
Take the picture above, for example. A Secret appeared in 1752 in Philadelphia, America. Was it just checking the current status of Earth? Then how come they did not appear in Eureka Seven?
The only cool thing that happened in 1752 was the kite experiment by Benjamin Franklin. Did it somehow attract Secrets? Maybe Benjamin Franklin comes from another universe?!
In the very final scene of the last episode, why is there trapar?
This is a rather big miss. In the last episode, Ao had used the Quartz Gun to remove the Scub from existence (in at least the universes besides the one from the first series). This means that the universe Ao arrives at in the final scene should not have any Scub and therefore not any trapar. But we see a short trail of trapar when Ao gets on his liftboard! This is a fatal plot hole.
If there is Scub, then what about Ao using the Quartz Gun earlier? And if there are no Scub, does that not mean Ao is falling to his death in the final scene?
Who was Elena anyway?
As I wrote in the last post about the characters: who was Elena anyway? And why did she kill someone to take said person’s identity? The one she killed was a spy, but why did she continue to spy herself? Why does not anyone care about her outright saying that she has killed people or that she is the only one who understands Ao? And why does no-one wonder why she seems to know Eureka? And so on. Everything around Elena is just bad.
So, about Naru… what was her plan? Why could she fly in the first episode? How could she see the world from Eureka Seven inside the Scub?
Good questions! It seems as if she wanted to protect the Scub, but why was she friendly with a Secret (Truth) and fight Ao one second and be friendly the other? She basically did nothing in the series. Also, her weird “ears” served no other purpose than making viewers guess. Fantastic.
She saw the memories from when the Scub first arrived on Earth. How? Beats me.
Who was Johansson?
This is the person who adopted Truth. He claimed to come from another world and wrote a book about the world he came from. He is a vital character for the story, for example being the one to make Truth search for the truth, but we never really know anything about him.
Also, did he come from another universe or timeline? It is probably the former, since the new world was different from his own. Does that mean there are parallel universes in play without using the Quartz Gun? If so, what makes the universe in Eureka Seven the original one anyway?
What was Truth’s plan? Why did he not use the Quartz Gun on himself? Why did he not kill everyone? Etc.
The writers had written such an overpowered villain they had to make him weaker when he met our main characters in order to make them survive. Truth wanted to find “the real world” (in this case, the one we viewers live in), but for some reason he never used the Quartz Gun on himself. Speaking of which, what is the Quartz Gun?
Bonus question: what was that weird “shadow” he used? Just a Secret-power?
What is the Quartz Gun?
For some magical reason, the Quartz transformed into a weapon when Ao was near it and it was never explained why. You see, quartz comes from the Scub when they travel through dimensions/time (a concept that does not exist in Eureka Seven). Why would it become a weapon? And why does it seem to have a will of its own (see episode 17 (it did not seem as if it was Truth who took it from Ao))?
But let us talk about how it works, or rather, how it was never explained. When Ao first fired the gun it removed a Scub Coral Plant and altered the reality from that basis. Since the plant had never existed, the people who had their lives altered by it changed. Team Goldilocks no longer existed, for example. The second time Ao fires it Truth becomes an archetype for some unknown reason (besides acting as a power-up for Ao). The third and final time removes the Scub from his and most likely all the other universes, while sending his parents back in time.
There is no logic behind the Quartz Gun. It should be re-named Deus Ex Machina Gun, because that is how it works. Do I have to mention it makes the entire series pointless since the final episode rendered everything pointless? It is as if Bones decided to make Eureka Seven AO a series that never happened.
Why did “stuck in time”-Eureka never explain the situation?
… As if an overpowered villain and deus ex machine were not bad enough, we have the fact that Eureka Seven AO deliberately avoids to answer any question when possible. It keeps information from the viewers to keep us guessing all the way to the end. It is horrible storytelling.
– Why are there North Pole Lights in Eureka’s own world? They only come from the Quartz Gun.
– Where does Seven Swell come from if it is not from Nirvash and the Amita Drive?
The series never bothered explaining this. I could almost label this as a plot hole. If I had to take a guess, a Seven Swell appears in another universe when the Quartz Gun is used. And when you go through the Seven Swell, you come out via a North Pole Light in another universe. This is based on what happened with Renton during the final three episodes. Is it a one-way trip? Why are there North Pole Lights in Eureka and Renton’s world? I bet nobody knows.
Bonus: Renton calls it “Seven Swell”, but it clearly looks different from the original series. Just because it is called “Seven Swell” does not mean it got seven separate pillars. Compare for yourself:
When Ao entered Mark-1, also known as RA272 Nirvash, his hair- and eye color changed to Humanoid Coralian colors. Why?
Never explained. If Mark-1 had an archetype I maybe could accept it, but as it is, it is completely mechanical.
Why are the IFOs pilots mostly kids?
I believe this issue was touched upon in one of the later episodes regarding the Scub taking over human bodies, but it was never really explained more than “kids grow up in trapar-dense areas”. Correct me if I am wrong.
Were the final two episodes originally going to be a longer arc?
Let us face it: the final two episodes are rushed. They are crammed with information and things happen without much thought at all, not even giving the characters any kind of resolution. Renton shows up, there some drama, the end. Ao even uses the Quartz Gun and alters reality a second time!
The length of Eureka Seven AO was confirmed rather early, so this makes me believe the series was re-written as it went on. I probably am completely wrong, but I cannot help but feel these two episodes originally were supposed to have at least the double amount.
The Scub could heal and transport people. Naru could also see the universe from Eureka Seven inside it. What is this all about?
Magic *snort* *snort*.
Where did Secrets come from, really?
It is explained that Secrets acts as Earth’s immune system, like antibodies protecting it from things that do not belong there. This is all information we get.
What the hell?
This is silly. You introduce something completely new to the franchise, yet we never receive an explanation for it. I can accept that in the Scub in Eureka Seven simply came from space. The universe is a big place and other life forms existing are not something weird. Somehow they came to Earth and the story for Eureka Seven kicks in. But introducing an immune system for Earth?! What?! This needs some serious explanation.
Why did they change the design of the clothes Renton wears?
I actually found this by accident and just want to point it out. See the picture. Before Renton’s appearance in episode 22 his clothes had a slightly brighter design. But he had to become dark and edgy instead, Bones decided.
What happened with all the political talk we had in the first few episodes?
It is far too complicated to remember the details, but basically the world was somewhat in conflict. Okinawa wanted to become independent and Japan wanted to become a superpower and so on. We spend a lot of time on these subplots but they are all completely dropped halfway through in favor of connecting to the first series. It does pop up again in in episode 18, in which Ao joins the US army (and leaves it in the same episode). All this time wasted for nothing!
Was Ao not searching for his mother?
When Eureka Seven AO starts it is all about Ao searching after Eureka. After the fourth episode, however, it is completely replaced by “Secret of the Week”. Then he meets his mother halfway through the series, but when she leaves he once again stops searching for her. What drives Ao anyway?!
What was the deal with the “Third Engine”?
This is a big concept that went absolutely nowhere and was dropped as soon as it was introduced. It is hard to describe what this is, but it does seem something that “powers up” the IFOs. Normally the pilots are not able to use this, but we are shown two times when it does at least seem to work, both moments related to strong feelings. But that is it. What was it anyway and how can a fully mechanical robot recognize feelings?
What is Fleur’s scar in episode 18?
Actually, much to my surprise, I think I found an answer to this matter. Her mother transplanted her organs to make Fleur survive. The problem is that this is never explicitly stated in the series, only making it confusing when you see it. Poor storytelling.
How could Maggie have memories from another universe?
After Ao fired the Quartz Gun for the first time, Maggie was no longer a pilot of Team Goldilocks. Instead she was a pilot in the Allied Forces. When she touches her old IFO from Team Goldilocks she does somehow “see” her life in the other universe. How does this even work? Are the universes somehow related to each other? God knows and this is never brought up again.
Is the Scub good or bad for mankind?
In a subplot via Naru, we see discussions whether or not the Scub are good for humans. This never evolved much further than being introduced, despite relating to the events of the series.
Further thoughts on the story etc. in Eureka Seven AO (spoilers on Eureka Seven AO and Eureka Seven)
Where did The End come from?
Okay, so we are told that you can travel between universes via the Scub which is how Eureka, Nirvash Spec-2 and the Gekko-Go arrived on the AO universe. But where the heck did The End come from and why does it look so weird? At the end of Eureka Seven it shed its black color and became white/silver, which is how it looks like in Eureka Seven AO. But the design is slightly closer to the black one (if you look at the claws on the arms) for some reason.
Also, in Eureka Seven The End was destroyed when it turned white/silver. How it ended up in another universe? Hah, I know the answer to that. It was only a lame trick to fool the viewers, something Eureka Seven AO has plenty of. I mean, the only purpose of The End was build hype, because it was destroyed the one second it was fully revealed.
Where did the LFO Kanon come from?
Beneath The End was another LFO called “Kanon” that is magnificent in combat and can control trapar. The problem is that this kind of LFO never existed in Eureka Seven, or at least we were never introduced to it. So suddenly we have to accept some magic LFO came from the first universe and wrought havoc in AO’s.
Why did the Nirvash Spec-2 Eureka came in have a mind of its own?
In the final episode of Eureka Seven Nirvash evolved into Spec-3 and left Earth. But in Eureka Seven AO Nirvash is back and now in Spec-2! Considering how many damn Nirvash there were in Eureka Seven AO it is not impossible that this is another one created by Renton, but it does not make sense.
The thing is that the Nirvash Spec-2 we see in Eureka Seven AO has a mind of its own, which was seen when it dropped in the air Eureka to fight Truth on its own. This should not work, because only the real Nirvash, featured in Eureka Seven, and The End are able to have their own mind. It is explained that those are special LFOs.
Did Renton somehow find another special archetype? Furthermore, why did this Nirvash stop having a mind of its own when Truth repaired it? And why does it have the red laser attack, which is only featured in the movie Eureka Seven: Pocket Full of Rainbows? Did Renton add new weapons to it? In fact, why does all the new Nirvash he built have tons of weapons? I thought the world was in peace in Eureka Seven?
Why were Eureka and Renton allowed to use the Gekko-Go while they experimented the Scub’s ability to jump between universes?
Nothing makes sense. Yes, the Gekko-Go was broken at the end of Eureka Seven, but why would the crew completely leave it?!
How come Renton gives his liftboard to Ao without hesitating and why does it not have the Gekkostate logo anymore?
Why does Renton give away the board he has been using for ages?! Why does it not have the Gekkostate logo anymore?! Did the animators forget or is Gekkostate officially disbanded or something similar? But even so, why would you remove a memento like that?
Why is there a Gekkostate logo in Eureka Seven AO?
And finally… the Gekkostate logo (slightly different, as you can see) appears early in Eureka Seven AO and is never mentioned again. Why does the series bother with trying to hook fans of the first series like this? Is this good storytelling?
Why did the Scub attack mankind in Eureka Seven AO?
I will make this short here, since this is a focus in the next and final post. At the end of Eureka Seven the Scub were friendly (in fact, they always were until they were attacked by humans) and it was peace between them and humans. But in Eureka Seven AO they attack and infect people for no reason!
Why did the Scub never explain their situation to Eureka (or Naru)?
Eureka is a Humanoid Coralian, why would the Scub not try to contact her?! And what about Naru, who protected the Scub? Nope, nothing. In this series they are evil beings. Ironically, this means Eureka Seven was a big lie all along.
Why would a child between a human and a Humanoid Coralian die from trapar?
As the previous question, this will be short. Trapar comes from the Scub’s metabolism and is therefore completely natural to a Humanoid Coralian. Never did trapar hurt humans either, so why the hell would it kill the child between Eureka and Renton? It is an ass-pull from the writers to make it a sad and engaging story. Pure shit.
And if it really was a problem, there were tons of areas in Eureka Seven which were low on trapar. It makes no sense.
Why does Renton have partly white hair?
No, seriously. Why?
Final thoughts (spoiler-free)
What I am trying to convey is that Eureka Seven AO never really knows what kind of series it wants to be. It introduces a lot of ideas, but only the handful ideas that are actually used are poorly executed. Does it want to be a sequel or completely original and does it want to be episodic or not? From one episode to another the direction of the series may have completely changed for no reason, which comes off as really bad storytelling.
It feels stressed and is a big letdown, because if Eureka Seven AO had only focused on some of these ideas, and done it well, it could have been pretty good. But as it is right now it lacks its own identity.