When you try to follow up one of the most innovative and ground breaking anime series of this century you will always struggle to replicate that kind of quality. Such is the case with Eureka Seven AO, a series tasked with following up the painfully underrated masterpiece that was Eureka Seven. In all honesty, Eureka Seven was never a series crying out for a sequel or follow up considering its truly conclusive finale, however that doesn’t seem to stop Eureka Seven AO disregarding that almost completely in favour of creating continuity contradictions and dispensing of the original’s environmentalism message and themes for schlocky action and a fluff filled plot lacking a modicum of the original’s creativity.
What an unfortunate mess this series is, it is a classic example of a cheap cash in sequel that really has no right or reason to really exist. Even as a stand alone piece Eureka Seven AO ties itself too firmly to the original series to ever escape comparison or connection. The series follows Ao, a young boy who pilots the Nirvash mecha as he sets out on a quest to find his missing mother Eureka. The very premise is rooted in the original series and it does itself no favours in that regard. Whereas Renton was a worthy protagonist, likable and filled with a sense of purpose, Ao feels like a watered down take on Renton and lacking anywhere near as much depth.
While the show does set out to be visually different to the original, an area it succeeds in, it can never seemingly separate itself story wise from its better written predecessor. Unfortunately many of the original series staff do not return for this sequel and it shows. Eureka Seven was interested in diving into is characters and exploring what drives them in this at times hopeless world. Eureka Seven AO on the other hand struggles to give its cast any dimension, instead with most characters serving as vehicles for fight scenes, never developing them beyond their aptitude in battle.
For fans of the original series what really will stick in their craw with Eureka Seven AO is the ways in which it sets out to retcon the original’s story. Not only does it contradict several key plot points, it frequently ignores the rules of its own universe, retroactively creating plot holes that never previously existed As a sequel it truly fails to live up to or continue successfully the original’s quality story. What makes matters worse is that this series is so tied to its predecessor that it can’t truly stand on its own.
Visually BONES have done a fantastic job on this series, it looks gorgeous in just about every sense of the term and remains consistent throughout its run. The tropical locations and scenery make for a nice setting for the series which is just about one of the only things that distinguish it from the original series. On top of that the series features some quality music with great themes and incidental music to boot.
Madman’s release of the series is quite impressive to say the least. It features a truck load of extra content as well as dual audio. Not only that but this release also includes the special OVA episode ‘The Flowers of Jungfaujoch’. All around this makes for a rather definitive collection of this series that delivers quite a lot of bang for your buck.
Eureka Seven AO is ultimately an unnecessary sequel to one of the greatest anime of the 21st century. It would have been better served to not tie itself so directly to the original and instead simply be another tale in the world of Eureka Seven, such is not the case however. Sometimes a series is simply so good that there is no way to top it and Eureka Seven AO in spite of itself does try to do just that but it never truly captures the same heart and soul that the 2005 classic had.
You can pick up a copy of Eureka Seven AO over at Madman’s Online Store.