Friday, 20 April 2012

Eureka Seven AO - Episode 2

As a massive G-Monster (or Secret, depending who you ask) blasts away at the island of Okinawa, this doesn't exactly seem like the best time to argue over the ownership of a bracelet.  Regardless, our semi-titular protagonist Ao is determined to hang on to it no matter what, while political problems and shenanigans manifest themselves all around him as this second episode of Eureka Seven AO kicks into action.

Luckily for Ao, his pursuers who are also in need of the bracelet aren't willing to go to violent ends to obtain it, instead simply suggesting that Ao come with them to meet their Japanese "boss" as they explain that the bracelet could well be the component that saves the island for destruction.  Reaching said individual and the aircraft carrier on which he currently resides proves to be a rather more difficult proposition however, as the Secret in question suddenly takes more of an interest in said craft thanks to its cargo.

Needless to say, this cargo ties in rather closely to Ao's bracelet, and thanks to dumb luck he soon finds himself hanging onto a rather particular "FP" - the Mark I IFO taken out of service a decade previously, to which this bracelet is the key.  Once he realises this, and with little other choice as the aircraft carrier containing it is obliterated, it's time for Ao to take to the skies in his new toy - something which he determinedly does with a mind to seeing off the G-Monster currently laying waste to his island.  Although his tactical nous may be lacking, what appears to be his biggest error ultimately turns to his advantage, giving him the opportunity to defeat his opponent despite the IFO taking some hefty damage in the process.  With the day one, you might expect Ao to become a hero, but far from it, as every faction wrapped up in the current politics of the area seem to want to find the pilot of the Mark I, leaving Ao on the run - a matter made even more difficult by a rather striking change in his hair colour.

While it tends to lean a little too-hard on its in-universe jargon and terminology throughout, Eureka Seven AO continues to impress me for the most part - Ao himself knocks the original show's protagonist into a cocked hat (i.e. he actually has a backbone), and the tie-in between this series and the original is treading the line between adding an extra frisson for existing fans without alienating new viewers pretty damn well.  The show's action is also well realised this time around, with our first burst of mecha action revealing an IFO that feels weighty, hard work to pilot and oddly realistic given the rest of the show's content - exactly the kind of mecha that I like to see in anime, to be quite honest.  With the region's politics also clearly fractured, there seems to be plenty of room for both human and "alien" peril as the series moves forward, leaving me decidedly excited about what the series as a whole has up its sleeve.  There's till plenty of time for it to screw up, but as of right now Eureka Seven AO is up there as one of my favourite shows of the spring.

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