Friday, 13 April 2012

Eureka Seven AO - Episode 1

It's 2025 and we see a city in ruins, while the few exploring within it seem to be waiting for an angel of some kind - a far cry from the relative paradise that is Iwato Island.

It's here that we meet our protagonist and this sequel's titular (sort of) character, Ao as he goes about his business, whether it's helping out someone else on the island or looking after his sickly friend Naru, who seems to have an impressive sideline in the ability to see the future to some extent despite her sickly body.  Not that Ao seems particularly worried about her foreboding premonitions that something bad is about to happen, mind you.

However, this particular premonition seems to be unerringly accurate, as Ao finds himself nearly literally running into a group of less than friendly types who are themselves carrying important cargo at the behest of the Japanese government.  With one of their vehicles crashing, subsequent events cause, quite simply, an utter disaster - the appearance of a "Scub burst", bringing with it the possibility of a much-feared "G-Monster" from appearing.  While this particular burst passes without major incident, the same can't be said about a second outbreak the following morning, which looks set to to leave the island wrecked - however, Ao might be about to have something more important laid upon his plate, as part of the cargo carried by those aforementioned hoodlums seems to tie into his childhood, and beyond that into some far more important events from the past...

It has to be said that, beyond throwing out a little too much in-world jargon for my liking (and it's been a long time since I watched the original Eureka Seven), this opening instalment did pretty much everything right - with a great soundtrack, good animation for the most part, plenty of strong characters and well-judged pacing, this was a rollercoaster that dragged us kicking and screaming into Ao's world without room for hesitation or pause.  As introductions go, you can't get much more compelling, but now the real work starts and it's perhaps the hardest task of all - trying to surpass the original Eureka Seven without falling into the pitfalls exhibited by its dull reboot movie.  Does AO have what it takes to do this?  It's a big ask, but this is certainly an excellent start.

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