An alien invasion of Earth takes a strange and curious turn as the observers sent end up falling in love with those they get close to.
What They Say For almost half a century, mankind has been at war with a mysterious entity known as the EIZO. It is the year 2054 and human-kind is on the brink of destruction. A select few are evacuated to colonization spaceships and the government is about to fi re their doomsday device, the Hammer of God.
In the middle of this war are two teenagers, Renton and Eureka; two childhood friends who were separated when Eureka was kidnapped by government forces eight years ago. Renton is now a soldier, piloting the Nirvash, aboard the GEKKO led by Holland Novak but the crew of the GEKKO is actually rebels with their own mission.
Renton and Eureka are now reunited and fate will test the young lovers as they fi ght the EIZO, government forces and even Holland. Their love will be the key to mankind's future and fulfi lling their dreams.
Bandai’s theatrical features have been pretty good so far in the audio department and this one is no exception. The bilingual presentation has both the Japanese and English language tracks in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 with its variable bitrate and there are a lot of very solid immersive scenes throughout the movie. The action tends to be fast when it kicks into gear with the aerial fights as sounds whip around, but it’s never overpowering and it doesn’t feel gimmicky either. There is a good bit of impact with the bass level in several big action scenes as well which helps to give it some presence. Dialogue is well placed throughout, especially when there are numerous people on screen such as the bridge of the Gekkostate, and the depth is spot on as well in such scene. We listened to this almost entirely in Japanese having seen it in English theatrically but spot checking showed no issues with either language track.
Originally in theaters in early 2009, the transfer for this feature film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is in 1080p using the AVC codec. Eureka Seven hews closely to what we saw from the TV series with its designs and color palettes, which means lots of soft colors broken up by big vibrant moments here and there. The Nirvash, various laser beam trails across the sky and other similar areas are the standout moments that really shine in terms of clarity and vibrancy. The rest of the feature definitely has a film-like feel to it with the digital grain added to it which is compounded by the overall color choices. It has a very distinct look, one that is definitely a bit soft throughout in a lot of places, so it won’t look like an overly clean digital production. That works in favor of the film and it’s how many films look that are done in a more serious non-kiddy vein. The transfer here is spot on throughout with no noticeable issues of any merit, though it’s easy to see people throwing a fit over the grain.
Done up in a regular Blu-ray case, the cover artwork here is the kind that does blend well to the color of the cast and ties it together nicely. The central image is of Eureka and Renton together, hands held discreetly, as the craft they’re in floats above the Earth. The curvature of the planet and the blues against the black looks good as does the contrast with the white of the craft and the green band through it. The character artwork is essentially the same as in the TV show and it looks good here with distinct outfits that catch your eye but aren’t bad. The logo is kept simple, though it is overly long, as it’s a basic italicized white font along the top. The back cover has a few pieces from the show through the center while the top has a large close-up image of the Nirvash which doesn’t look as good as it should since it’s soft. The bottom half of the cover is given over to the summary and a breakdown of the discs features, production information and two technical grids. There’s a bit of redundancy here as the BD specific technical breakdown is mirrored in the smaller standard DVD style grid Bandai uses below it and even the runtimes get duplicated, giving those who pay attention to such things the feeling that it wasn’t thoroughly checked out or set up well. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu for Eureka Seven is fairly simple but effective as it uses things that at least feel a bit thematic for the feature. The main screen uses clips from within the feature, quiet ones and busy ones, with the instrumental part of the ending song looping throughout it which gives it a good sense of atmosphere and tension. The menu along the bottom has the logo along the left and then the basic four selections after that which load quickly and are easy to navigate. The menu bar there is also the same used for the pop-up menus during playback and it blends pretty well with a quick load time in-show. The disc, as expected, doesn’t deal with our player presets in the slightest and defaults to English language with no subtitles.
The extras here are really good overall and give this release a bit more meat to it. The basics are here in that we do get the theatrical trailer and a couple of the original commercials for it as well as trailers for other shows (which are not in HD unfortunately, nor are they ones Bandai has actively announced for Blu-ray). The big extra is the fifty minute making of featurette which delves into the movie quite a lot. This piece covers a hueg range of areas from the Japanese production perspective as it goes into the early production stages, voice acting, thoughts on it by the creators and the crowd that lines up for one of the first ticket purchasing events. A lot of fairly standard making of material is here but for fans of the film there’s a lot to enjoy and take in.
With the fifty episode anime series wrapping up in April of 2006, I have to admit that I had some surprise come 2008 when BONES announced they were doing a theatrical version of Eureka Seven. Everything felt like it had played out during that initial blitz, as we had a brief run of manga accompanying the series, a couple of light novels and even a few games to go along with it. Beyond trying to keep the franchise alive somehow, which felt kind of odd considering the ending to the series, I'm not quite sure what they were thinking when they decided to make the new movie. And with movies based off of a series, you can never be quite sure what you're going to get. Will it be a retelling in shorter form? A side story? Or something completely new?
Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers, originally known and literally translted as Eureka Seven: Pocket Full of Rainbows, takes the third approach of something completely new though with quite a lot of things familiar. Outside of a brief moment that I'm aware of that references the original, this feature stands alone in telling its story, though I can't imagine it would make all that much sense to the uninitiated. In the year 2009, an alien race known as the Eizo. Little is really known about them but they've transformed large chunks of the Earth and when they do attack, they feel like some sort of antibody given large scale form that swarms over the land, causing widespread destruction and death for humanity.
In the 2040's, an event was triggered at a research facility looking into ways to defeat the Eizos that caused the death of fifty thousand people, which included a professor named Dominic who was close to a pair of children, Renton and Eureka. With his death, the facility he used to work in where the kids lived became the subject of inspection and young Eureka was whisked away and labeled a top secret of the military. Renton vowed to find her when he was old enough and eventually joined the military when he was in his teenage years. Because of his exceptional skill and close connection to a larva creature that are bred to make living mecha, he progressed quickly and found himself as part of the liberation forces when he was fourteen.
Unfortunately for Renton, he didn't realize that the crew he was placed with wasn't the real crew but rather a group of kids who are experiencing rapid aging because of military experiments done on them. Led by a man named Holland, the group is trying to find the Top Secret person as well, though they don't know Renton's connection to her, or that the top secret is a her. By using this secret when they find it, they hope to create a path to a land called Nevermore where time stands still and they won't age like they are. There are a lot of ties to myths of the past and stories adapted from other elements and along the way there is a bookend story of sorts about who writes the myths and their importance in the scheme of things. Renton's rescue of Eureka from the military sets everything in motion and it becomes a series of events where everyone is struggling to figure out exactly where they fit into what's going on.
Visually, the feature is very reminiscent of the TV series with the character designs and general mecha designs. The Eureka Seven TV series was one that I felt was consistently very well done which makes a theatrical feature like this feel like they're not stepping up to the plate as much as they should. In a lot of ways it feels like they're making a TV movie instead because there aren't all that many really stellar moments here, and in fact you feel like there were so many more in the series itself. There's nothing wrong with the animation here, and many movies from a series do mirror what the series look like for consistencies sake, but this feature has the opportunity to do something better because it's an all new reality in a sense.
I did have one very strange and amusing moment with the film that stood out to me. Admittedly, the scene is likely found in many shows over the last twenty five years, but towards the end there is a moment where Renton and Eureka are standing next to each other and looking off into the distance. Right down to the angle of the shot, the placement of the characters and the expressions on their faces – and almost their hair! - it was like the scene out of Macross with Hikaru and Misa together after the destruction of the Macross. A beautiful little homage I thought, and quite appropriate as well.
I had left the theater feeling fairly lukewarm about the movie but wasn’t entirely sure as to whether it was the actual content itself or the voice performances. Since it was an all new setting, it was somewhat easy to make the break with the voices since I was familiar with the Japanese cast, but after watching it again in this form I’m more convinced that it’s just the story. I’m not a fan of re-imagined characters and settings when doing a TV series to move adaptation. My feelings are still essentially the same in that there are some nice moments to be had throughout and I loved seeing these characters on the big screen, but these aren't the characters that I was invested in for fifty episodes. There are similarities when it comes to Renton and Eureka, but everyone else is someone else but using the same body. And that provides for too much of a disconnect that’s simply not enjoyable, especially after all that the series threw at the viewers with these characters. I'm glad that this isn't a condensed retelling of the series, but I wish they had not warped the characters as far as they had and simply skewed the entire premise in a different direction. It's decent, but it's not going to be what a lot of Eureka Seven fans will be looking for.
Features Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital Language, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Language, English Subtitles, Theatrical Trailer, TV Commercials, Making-Of Featurette
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
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