Now that the Olympics are over, we can return in its stead to the scheduled insanity which is Eureka Seven AO - thankfully, it didn't take me long at all to remember what a tantalising cliffhanger we'd been left upon previously.
In short, the previous episode of the series left us in chaos, with Scub Bursts occurring all over the place and Secrets emerging from every corner to the point where even the resources of Generation Bleu couldn't possibly hope to handle them all. With the odds of fighting off these Secrets looking more minuscule by the moment, it's going to take a hugely risky and arguably irresponsible plan to turn the tables - in this case, a plan involving jettisoning the Quartz collected by Generation Bleu from space and sending it on a slow descent to the Earth, attracting the Secrets before wiping them out in a massive explosion at the North Pole.
Despite suffering from a lack of sleep and decidedly odd dreams when he does doze off, Ao joins his Pied Piper team-mates in escorting the descending Quartz capsule and keeping the growing number of secrets in check - something which inevitably proves to be difficult, particularly once Truth decides to shake things up a little to make them even trickier. Once Truth's efforts succeed in knocking the capsule off course and sending it crashing towards Northern Europe, only Pied Piper can rescue the situation, but it quickly looks as though it'll be beyond even them.... enter Ao, whose suicidal intent to save casualties on the ground somehow manages to shift in his favour, giving him just the weapon he needs to save the planet and wipe out the massed Secrets... but is there more to his success than meets the eye?
If I thought that maybe I'd lost interest somewhat in Eureka Seven AO after a break of a couple of weeks, I was quickly proved wrong - after jolting my memory of the current scenario into life, this week's episode offered up a solid instalment which cruised along more than successfully simply on the strength and relative tension of its story coupled with a dose of the surreal within Ao's mind, before taking us into a mood of more outright surprise with a dash of action as we reached the episode's climax, leading into another intriguing and unexpected cliffhanger. We might have seen better anime series arrive on TV this year, but Eureka Seven AO continues to be polished, proficient and confident enough to prove itself to be consistently fascinating, and its return from a brief hiatus is hugely welcome as we get back into the thick of whatever it's trying to do.