ANIME & MANGA - Review
13:03 - 29th April 2013, by Rob Burman

Eureka Seven Vol. 2

Renton has joined his idols as a member of the Gekkostate, but he's finding that life on board the legendary ship isn't what he thought it would be. He struggles to fit in among his new teammates, and has to come to grips with the fact that Holland isn't exactly the perfect hero Renton thought he was.

With series like Fullmetal Alchemist and Wolf's Rain already under its belt, BONES is production studio with a lofty status. Eureka Seven may certainly be one of its more low key titles in the west at the moment but we can see big things for the show in the future. With a perfect mix between action and emotion, Eureka Seven follows in the footsteps of its fellow BONES productions to offer something that appeals to a broad spectrum of anime fans. As a result it feels like a gust of fresh air sweeping the cobwebs from the mecha scene.

Considering this is a series most likely to be described as "mecha" by most people, it's interesting to see in these five episodes, the 'bots take a bit of a backseat. Although there some action scenes featuring Shoji Kawamori's wonderful robotic designs, they are greatly outnumbered by the sequences that start to explore the characters aboard the Gekkostate. When the mecha battles do kick in they're beautifully crafted fight scenes that are quick to the punch and even quicker to the finish. But, as a result, they never feel stale in a market that's been flooded by predictable robotic rumbles.

So... what do you get for your cash? Well instead of bang, bang action, this volumes opts for a more tactical and emotional approach that looks at the motives of the crew. Lead character Renton is starting to get to grips with life on-board the ship and has become the victim of the older crew members' merciless pranks. There are some genuinely funny scenes as Renton is instructed to deliver a bowl of ramen, which he thinks is a lethal weapon, to some yakuza members in a sauna. It's hard to hold back the sniggers.

But then in the next episode we're taken behind the masks of the 'happy go lucky' team to find out why they're aboard the Gekkostate. Unlike in many mecha animes, no one's reasons are ever straightforward. We're not going to spoil anything for you here but some characters' pasts are extremely surprising. It's layers like this that you often tend to miss in some "action" animes and we're pleased that Eureka Seven handles them in a mature style that doesn't just attempt to force them like a melon through a letterbox.

It's certainly true that these five episodes could be considered "fillers" due to their lack of action, but that would really be missing the point. Instead these insights into the workings of the protagonists, interspersed with the odd scene of surf boarding robots, ensures everyone isn't just a copy and paste anime character that you could see everywhere else. Part of BONES' success has been its ability to create interesting and believable characters in a seemingly unbelievable world and Eureka Seven does that perfectly.

Things are clearly helped along by the series' excellent art style. Kenichi Yoshida's character design is brilliant and it's partly thanks to that, that you can believe they have these complicated lives behind the "wave" loving exterior. We reckon things are just going to keep getting better and better for Renton and the gang.

A mecha series that is more intelligent than the computerised brains of its robotic stars - which makes a change.
SCORE: 4.5/5
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