Eureka Seven Vol. #07 (also w/special edition) (of 12) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, June 01, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, June 05, 2007
What They Say
The stench of gunpowder fills the halls as Charles and Ray infiltrate the Gekko to capture Eureka. Locked away in the brig, Eureka and Renton are all but helpless as their crewmates desperately attempt to fend off the assault of the skilled mercenaries. Though the defenders will experience the taste of triumph, they will find it very bitter.
Holland's life solely rests in the hands of Renton and Talho must reveal the truth about Eureka and Holland's past in order to convince him to save Holland. Meanwhile, in Renton's hometown of Bell Forest, Dominic continues his covert mission to collect intelligence on the pilot of the Type Zero LFO, and encounters a very familiar face...
Between solid action sequences with great impact and revelations about the past, Eureka Seven provides another strong set of episodes.
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.
Ray and Charles get to take the cover this time around and it's one of the better ones in recent memory even though it's just a basic character in action shot. The designs for both are solid and the colors work well to accentuate them. The back cover is designed with a goodshot of a sea of gray clouds which 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.
Similar to the first box in the series, this one features the pull-off top in which all the goodies reside. The bottom part of the box has the series logo in silver against the black background that stands out well. The top half provides a mixture of artwork around all of its panels; The spine panels have distinctive shots of Talho and Holland while the main panels have different images of Eureka and Anemone that show the parallels in fairly slick ways. Inside the box we get some rather good bonus goodies this time. The fifth volume of the manga is here which has a gorgeous illustration of Anemone and we also get the second original soundtrack release " in a standard jewel case no less. A new t-shirt is also included which has Japanese text on the front and one of the symbols from the show on the back.
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 a second game trailer and a clean version of the third opening sequence. The next Japanese commentary track is also included, done originally for episode twenty seven, and it brings in the voice actors for Renton, Eureka, Ray and Charles.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The second half of the series gets underway in a rather strong way as it dives right into the action and adventure. Not only does it perform solidly there but it also wants to start laying out more of the back story and connections that ties everyone together. The show has had more than its share of serious moments but from these episodes forward it moves in that direction even more.
After the events of the previous volume, Ray and Charles are now committed to getting over to the Gekkostate and finishing things off once and for all. The premise is straightforward in that they intend to board the ship while in flight and get down to business so that Charles and Holland can clean the slate. It's surprisingly tense as everyone prepares for what they know is inevitable but it's far more tense as the action gets underway. Holland, a character that has been hard to read from the start, becomes even more so now that he's showing a new side of himself as he goes against Charles. We've seen both Ray and Charles work on an operation together and know how far they'll go, but Holland manages to expand on what we know of him through this encounter.
The most painful moments that are visible come from Renton during this. With the affection he has for the two of them and the uneasy relationship he has with Holland, seeing them all go at each other like this is just tearing him apart. Since he's always worn his emotions on his sleeve, there isn't anything going on with him this time that is out of place, right down to the numbness of it all as the battle progresses. Renton is able to verbalize what a lot of the crew of the Gekkostate is thinking but can't bring themselves to say. He's still fairly innocent in a lot of ways and the changes he went through on the Swan have put him in a really awkward position for this. With Eureka by his side though he knows exactly what he needs to do even if he has to make a terrible choice.
The aftermath of this encounter has put the ship and its crew in a delicate state where not only are certain key supplies low but the Nirvash is completely out of shape. With it continue to evolve on its own and in reaction to emotions from Renton and Eureka, it's begun acting in rather unusual ways that will require some serious work on it. That gives the crew a place to head to in order to get it done but the repairs an issues surrounding it are more background moments than anything else just yet. The main focus continues to be on the relationships between the characters. Since early on we've had moments where Eureka has tried to bring herself to tell Renton something about her but she hasn't been able to. The situation has turned rather badly now and her last chance to tell him is missed as Talho breaks out the revelation.
That revelation is certainly intriguing to be sure. While there's always been something obviously different about Eureka and her origins weren't really discussed much, putting her into this context does alter the perception of her. While some of the crew knew about it, the impact of it on those who didn't is fairly mixed. Most interesting is of course Renton who just continues to view her as a normal girl. Owing to his youth and fairly easygoing mental attitude, Renton doesn't even seem to grasp at times what she really is. Amusingly though, one of Eureka's children, Maurice, seems to understand better than Renton but can't handle it too well so he starts to avoid her and look forward to his own path.
Frantic, reflective and oh so frustrating, Eureka Seven really takes all that's happened over the course of the series and sets things up nicely for the second half. Throwaway lines or characters in earlier episodes now become more relevant, subplots start to pick up the pace more and the large scale of the storyline is all the more exposed. It's hard to call someone a secondary character since it's really just a large ensemble cast, but those that don't get as much time as others really shine at moments here. In particular, with everyone going through changes it's Talho that I was the most pleased to see finally realize who she is and to see that the path she's on is the wrong one. Though we've become pretty comfortable with the cast as it stands, they're becoming far more interesting with all the changes and growth. This is another solid and highly enjoyable volume in a series that has me captivated.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Voice Actor Interview,Commentary Track,Textless Opening #3,LE: T-Shirt,LE: Manga,LE: CD Soundtrack
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: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
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