Eureka Seven Vol. #05 (also w/limited edition) (of 12) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, December 05, 2006
What They Say
The time has come to fight or die. With Federation forces converging upon the Gekko's hiding place, the crew must scramble to finish repairs and prepare themselves for the inevitable. However, in the midst of the coming tide of violence, a very ill Eureka vanishes into depths of the surrounding caves - taking the Nirvash with her.
Morale is at an all time low. With Eureka's condition worsening, Holland's anger is directed at Renton. Without his closest friend, and under Holland's constant abuse Renton decides that it's finally time to grow up, and to leave the Gekko forever...
This limited edition includes the third volume of the Eureka Seven Manga and an exclusive Nirvash T-Shirt!
As Eureka continues to spiral down, Renton and Holland are trying to help her in their own ways which means they clash continually.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series sports a solid stereo mix that has a good deal of directionality across the forward soundstage both for dialogue and action effects. The action effects are the ones that are much more noticeable though as the LFO's and ships are flitting about the screen but some of the dialogue is very well placed as well. We spot checked some of the English track as well and that came across essentially the same. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions on either language track during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The materials for this show look to be in pristine shape as expected and it really shines through here. The series has a lot of vibrant colors to it at the start, from the massive amount of green in the backgrounds that looks fantastic to the kinds of colors you see on the LFO's such as Navish with the sharp whites and vibrant pinks. A lot of sky is used throughout the show and the blues, an area that typically shows some movement or break-up, is very solid here. The transfer is free of aliasing and cross coloration and what little issue we had with de-interlacing in the first volume has disappeared in the shift over to the Blu-ray player.
The covers for this series continue to not have any real theme to them which isn't a bad thing. This installment is really good looking, particularly for LFO fans, as it has one set against a beautiful dark blue sky with a few strands of clouds around it. The back cover is designed with an attractive shot of the sea blending into the sky and it has a good summary of the premise and lists all the discs episodes, features and extras clearly. The bottom portion is filled out with the typical things such as the staff and the basic bit of technical information. No insert is included with this release.
The special edition release of this is decent but you almost feel that they could do it cheaper and better. It's got a box with it but it isn't meant to be an art box to hold the first half of the show but rather just the extra items inside. The green foil style box is similar in design to what the My-Hime box was so it's not a chipboard type but a bit softer and can be unfolded. While the spine has the series logo going down, one panel has a full color shot of Renton and Eureka on top of the Nirvash while the other has the pair in action with their LFOs. The box acts as a slipcover of sorts and a section slides all the way out which holds the disc, the third volume of the manga and the grey shirt which has some show specific symbol artwork on it in white lines. The box and its design overall looks good and unlike the previous one it wasn't anywhere near as tight, making it very easy to get everything out.
The menu layout is nicely done and straightforward with a series of clips playing behind a cut up display with a bit of music playing along to it. The bottom of the menu has the navigation strip which is kept minimal and works well. The clips that play are mostly of action sequences from the first few episodes and it works well with the opening song music that keeps it flowing nicely. Access times are nice and fast but unfortunately the disc did not read our players' language presets and played English language with sign/song subtitles.
The included extras for this volume are once more good and very Japanese centric. We get the second textless opening and closing sequences as well as getting a brief trailer for the video game that's being ported over here. The next Japanese commentary track is also included, done originally for episode twenty, and it brings in the voice actors for Renton, Eureka and Holland. For English language fans, a new voice actor interview video section is included as the Q&A continues with them.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The fifth volume of the series brings us up through the twenty-second episode and it brings me to one conclusion; this show needs to come out faster and with more episodes. While it was somewhat slow and winding in its early episodes with plenty of the world left unexplained, the further it gets in the more that it starts to build to crescendos. There have been a couple of rather solid key episodes so far and this volume just messes with all of it a fair bit more.
As others have plainly noted and speak openly about in this volume, Eureka has not been the same since Renton came into their lives. His presence on board the Gekkostate has been a mixed event as he's brought some good and some bad to all of it. Eureka is the one that's taking the brunt of the bad though as physically she's almost complete lost to something resembling utter despair. This has come after the Nirvash has seemingly given her up and taken more to Renton, but part of it comes from her misunderstanding of what the relationship is supposed to be like among the three of them. Her condition gets even worse during all of this as she becomes subjected to a disturbing level of scub while underneath the mountain that the Gekkostate is hiding in.
Naturally, Renton and Holland both want to save her but the two of them are so alike that they constantly rub against each other. Renton, in his basic understanding of the world for someone his age, insists that they go to a big city hospital for her to be treated. He still doesn't quite understand that those aboard the Gekkostate are essentially criminals at this point and they wouldn't last long doing something like that. Where the real problem lays is that Holland knows what needs to be done, but his level of stubbornness won't let him actually tell Renton what it is. Instead he's just focused on getting it done, a job that involves rescuing a priest that can deal with the scub from a prison. Renton only sees this as another job since he doesn't understand what the priest can do. The others on board the Gekkostate end up being a bit guilty of this as well since they don't actually tell him either.
Renton's realization eventually that he is just a kid with little knowledge of the world ends up setting him off in a surprisingly strong way. With Holland in trouble, he takes the Nirvash to try and help out but his Riders High ends up becoming something far more than that and he goes beyond by entering almost a primal state. The brutality of it feels a bit out of place at first for the series, but the intent of all of it I believe has to be to show that they truly are at war with the government. So much of what's happened so far with Renton and his battles hasn't really let the reality of it all settle in with him, but once he goes over the edge and sees it in such stark terms it's highly unsettling. Renton's being forced to grow up considerably here but much like Holland, his first instinct is to cut and run, to hide from what the reality of it all is and pretend he has no part in it.
What really got me interested even more so with this set of episodes is the introduction of Charles and Ray, a pair that are brought in to hunt down Holland by the government. Charles apparently has little interest in returning to the military but when the potential of getting even with Holland comes about he's completely into it. Though the background between the two isn't given, there's obviously some strong bad blood there and Charles will go to lengths to find him. The duo are completely unlike what the Gekkostate is like which isn't a surprise but there's a really interesting edge to them in how they present themselves. From the clean look of their ship to their very different styled LFOs, they lack the kind of neo-hippie style that Gekkostate has while still being a very cool pair of characters. Well, outside of the 70's pimp style outfit that Charles seems to favor that shows off his chest hair.
Eureka Seven in this installment manages to please on a lot of levels. The characters are getting richer along the way and the action sequences are some of the best so far. The plot itself may still be in its slow and winding stage, but there is forward progress on all fronts. In a way it's hard to pin down exactly what's drawing me more and more to this show with each new volume, but between the animation quality, the designs and the way it is all playing out it has become quite addictive. This set of episodes is something of a turning point in a few ways, with Eureka being confronted on her feelings and Renton understanding the reality of his situation, and future episodes will build heavily on all of this.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 LAnguage,English Subtitles,Audio Commentary,Voice Actor Interview,Clean Opening,Clean Closing,Video Game Trailer
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Eureka Seven