Eureka Seven Vol. #10 (of 12) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, November 12, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2007



What They Say
On their journey to the Great Wall the Gekko makes a pit stop in an outpost on the borders of the Vodarac holy site. Master Norb has prepared one last challenge for the crew in an attempt to prepare them for the task that lies ahead. What exactly does Norb expect the members of Gekkostate to learn about themselves in a grueling game of soccer?

The Gekkostate infiltrates the Vodarac shrine in an attempt to reunite Master Norb and Eureka's predecessor, Sakuya, so that they may guide Eureka and Renton into the Promised Land. A story of a Coralian girl, a young monk and their failed attempt to pass a barrier between worlds is revealed inside the heart of the temple.

Outside, the skies are set ablaze as Dewey summons torrents of Scub Coral upon the Vodarac to halt a young couples journey past the Great Wall. Anemone is dispatched as Holland and the Gekko try to buy the Nirvash desperately needed time so that the Great Wall may finally be breached. Once beyond, what will Eureka and Renton find in the Promised Land?

The Review!
The start of the arc that will close out the series begins in a way that only Eureka Seven can – with a game of soccer.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
The series has avoided too many character pieces for the covers but this one lets Eureka along with the three kids have their own piece. It's done sideways with the four of them walking along and their personalities worn through their expressions quite plainly. The back cover is designed with what looks to be the visual of sands that are being swept across the desert. 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 dark purple foil style box is similar in design to Eureka Seven special edition boxes 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 reaching away from the Nirvash in the midst of battle while the other has Renton and Eureka inside the Nirvash together. The box acts as a slipcover of sorts and a section slides all the way out which holds the disc, the first volume of the spin-off manga and the Eureka Project logo t-shirt in a size L. The box and its design overall looks good and unlike the earlier ones it wasn't anywhere near as tight, making it very easy to get everything out.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
The included extras for this volume are once more good and very Japanese centric. We get a new voice actor interview session with the English voice actors which runs about fourteen minutes and a second game trailer. The next Japanese commentary track is also included, done originally for episode thirty nine, and it brings in the voice actors for Renton, Eureka, Stoner and Hap.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Eureka Seven begins its shift to the final stage of the game as episode forty is where everything starts barreling forward. The final ten episodes of series done in this manner are usually ones that are big on action, revelations and emotional moments. All of that is very apparent during episodes forty through forty-two of this volume as it serves to get all of that underway and bring the series to a resolution.

But before any of that can happen, you've got some down time to play with. Often a show of this length will go for a recap episode, or a couple of them depending on how the budget is holding up. Eureka Seven instead decides that they're going to play a game of soccer. Requested by Norb and done because Holland will listen to him implicitly now, everyone is unsure of why this is happening and scared of the training regimen that Holland has come up with. Norb is his usual silent self as he lays about with his eyes closed and quietly observing how it's all going. The game does have some merit to it, though it's amusing to see people coming up with the reasons during it in an attempt to justify it, but what it really provides is that last moment of quiet fun before all the really dark times come flooding through.

The journey to Vodara is one that is filled with a lot of unknowns. Eureka and Renton simply know at this point that they must journey beyond the Great Wall to, in the words of the faithful, carry everyone's hopes and dreams forward in order to save the planet from destruction. Nothing like a little pressure on a couple of young kids, eh? The arrival of the group in Vodara is a welcome moment despite what's about to happen as it reunites Norb and many others for the first time in awhile. Eureka has grown and changed a lot since then as have others. Norb is still subject to the whims of the others however and his days of lounging around unwashed are coming to an end as forty years of dirt is being scrubbed off of him.

With the planned visit to see Lady Sakuya being something that nobody else wants to have happen, the group has to be crafty in their method for getting there. Naturally, it goes awry as the kids get in the way but it all works out in the long run as is expected. Over the course of two episodes we get a great deal of history between Norb and Lady Sakuya that goes a long way towards explaining not only who she is but also why Norb is the way he is. His rise from a simple attendant monk to one that served Lady Sukuya, only to have the two fall in love, reveals much about him. That the two were torn away from each other after failing in their own journey across the Great Wall and her own closure of her heart is enough material for a series of its own. Therein lies something that's really fascinating about the show in that the large back story really does merit its own tale.

The arrival of the Gekkostate in Vodara isn't something that goes unnoticed or even unexpected by someone like Dewey. Though he's intent on stopping Eureka and Renton, he knows that there are bigger things he can do by their being there. Once events start to progress there, if they even do, he'll be able to launch an attack with his missiles that cause the Coralian to come out. And in a place like Vodara where people worship the Coralian, having those disturbing creatures come to life won't cause a panic but rather have them down on their knees and ready to feel the rapture for lack of a better phrase. It's all disturbing on several levels yet it fits in very much with the way this set of beliefs have been adapted to and twisted over the years.

As these kinds of series get down to their last ten or so episodes, the money scenes start to show up more often as well. The last episode on this disc has a large battle going on across Vodara which is beautifully animated. Anytime you have the massive number of Coralian's floating about, even with little detail to their designs, it's filled with lots of colors and movement. Tying that into the ongoing battles in the air as Anemone and Holland duke it out along with several other ships from both sides and it just gets visually stunning. The fluidity of the series has always been good, especially when it comes to all of the lifting, but it starts to take on a new level here towards the end.

In Summary:
The opening chapter to the final part of the series gets underway exactly as I'd want it to. We get a bit of lightness that's tinged with hints of what's to come and then it launches full on into the hardcore story. Eureka Seven has been a fascinating series for quite some time and these episodes solidify it even more. While there is a good deal of action, the story elements and dialogue aren't tossed aside in favor of that. The battles are filled with emotions that are relevant to the story and it's all intense for a reason, not just because it's a big battle. Looking back at my thoughts on the show with the first volume, I'm not surprised that things are turning out this way. I am surprised at how much I'm into it and enjoying every aspect of it. BONES isn't always on top of their game but Eureka Seven may well be their crowning achievement for me.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Audio Commentary,Voice Actor Interview,Game Trailer

Review Equipment
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
MSRP: 24.98/49.98
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Eureka Seven