Eureka Seven: AO is a sequel to the Eureka Seven anime series. The anime was produced by BONES and was directed by Tomoki Kyoda. The series aired on Japanese television from April 13-November 20, 2012. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American license for Eureka Seven: AO.
The series is set in 2025, and the main character is a boy named Ao. He lives on the island of Iwato Jima in Okinawa, along with his grandfather. His friend, Naru, had an encounter with a Scub Coral 10 years earlier on the island and has some of it within her. Scub Corals have been causing problems across the world for a while, and more people are becoming infected by them. But where a Scub Coral appears, entities known as Secrets also appear. Secrets look kind of like the Angels from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
During the incident 10 years earlier with the Scub Coral that infected Naru, Ao’s mother Eureka vanished without a trace. Fans of the original Eureka Seven can see that this is the same Eureka from the original series, but it doesn’t become clear for quite a bit of the series about how Eureka ended up almost 10,000 years in the past.
Ao’s adventure begins when he stumbles upon three smugglers (Gazelle, Pippo, and Han Juno) trying to smuggle some items to the Japanese Armed Forces. During an incident when a Scub Coral appears, a bracelet falls out of the briefcase… and the smugglers don’t notice. Ao picks it up, and later realizes it was once owned by his long-lost mother. This bracelet allows him to pilot the Nirvash (a mecha) that had belonged to his mother.
Ao joins a group called Generation Bleu in the hopes of finding his mother and learning more about his birth. Through a strange set of circumstances, the three smugglers also end up joining Generation Bleu. Ao becomes part of a team called The Piped Pipers, which includes Fleur Blanc and Elena Peoples. Fleur is the daughter of Generation Bleu’s CEO, and Elena is a mysterious girl with secrets. One of her secrets has a connection to Eureka.
During the series, Ao encounters a stranger named Truth, who has a deep hatred for Eureka because of what happened 10 years earlier and is determined to acquire Nirvash for his own. When he learns Ao is Eureka’s son, his hatred passes down to Ao. Truth also manipulates Ao’s friend Naru into siding with him.
There’s also a bit of political intrigue going on in the series. Okinawa wants to assert its independence from Japan. Meanwhile, Generation Bleu, Japan, and the United States are trying to acquire the quartz from the Scub Coral, which causes a problem when it’s revealed that Generation Bleu has been hoarding quartz in its space station.
During the series, the quartz that Generation Bleu has gathered from various Scub Corals become a weapon for the Nirvash. When it’s fired, though, it has the ability to rewrite events, which causes problems for Ao. To me, at least, this quartz weapon ended up feeling like a “deus ex machina.” Each time it was used, it felt like the writers had written themselves into a corner and came up with this idea so they could change what happened in order to get the characters and story onto the path they want them to go. This especially felt true with the final time that the weapon was used.
In case it wasn’t obvious, Eureka Seven: AO relies heavily on time travel and alternate universes in order to set up the story that’s presented in the series. While there were some interesting ideas being explored by utilizing these concepts, I wasn’t entirely convinced that the execution of those ideas was as strong as it could have been. Also, it felt like there was a lot going on and a lot to try to keep track of, between the time travel, Truth and his manipulation, and the various political intrigues taking place. Not to mention the teenage drama that characters like Ao, Fleur, and Elena go through. And then there’s the three smugglers and what they go through after joining Generation Bleu. As the series progressed, it felt like there was just so much I was trying to process and keep straight as a viewer. By the end of the series, the story felt kind of dense to me.
I also question the inclusion of Noa, the Iriomote three-toed sloth that Naru asks Ao to take care of during the series. While Noa did provide the occasional comic relief, the sloth felt more like it was just “there” and didn’t truly add anything to the series. With some scenes, it almost felt as if the writers remembered that Noa was around and were trying to find ways to force the sloth into scenes. To be honest, I don’t think that Noa was truly necessary and that the story could have been told without including the sloth at all.
When it comes to the animation in Eureka Seven: AO, the animators were aiming to capture the look and feel of the original Eureka Seven. However, I didn’t think the quality of the animation was quite as strong as the original. The animation style and quality weren’t bad, but at times, it looked and felt a little inferior to the original series.
When all is said and done, I think that Eureka Seven: AO isn’t as strong of a series as the original Eureka Seven. However, I can say I did enjoy it more than I did the Eureka Seven: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers anime film.
If you’re a fan of Eureka Seven and haven’t seen Eureka Seven: AO yet, I can only truly recommend it to fans who really want to know what happens after the end of the first series. If you’re a fan who’s satisfied with how the original series ended, then you may want to skip over Eureka Seven: AO, because you will likely come away feeling a little disappointed in this series. While it’s an enjoyable enough series to watch through once, it’s not one I’m likely to watch again in a repeat viewing.
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