Eureka Seven Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Beez
  • MSRP: Ā£19.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Eureka Seven

Eureka Seven Vol. #02

By Dani Moure     January 15, 2007
Release Date: October 23, 2006



What They Say
Renton has joined his idols as a member of the Gekkostate, but he's finding that life on board this 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. He's also subject to harsh lectures from Talho for no apparent reason, and of course, Renton is still trying to find a way to get closer to Eureka and tell her how he feels.


The Review!
Renton gets used to life aboard the Gekkostate in the latest volume of Eureka Seven.

Audio:
I listened to the Japanese language track for my main review, and I noticed no dropouts, distortions or other technical problems with the track, which is a pretty standard anime stereo mix with some decent directionality. I also listened to one episode in English again, and the dub continues to be good so far, with Stephanie Sheh doing a good job as Eureka and Crispin Freeman his usual charismatic self as Holland. Johnny Yong Bosch has really started to settle as Renton as well, which is a good thing.

Video:
Presented in full screen, the video looks extremely crisp and sharp, showing off a really good transfer on the part of Beez. The colour palette the show uses is generally very bright, and that comes across with great vibrancy on screen. Alas, I only wish a show like this was in widescreen. I didn't notice any aliasing, cross-colouration or other artefacts during regular playback.

The English subtitles are white, in a clearly readable font, and I didn't notice any glaring errors.

Packaging:
The front cover has quite a striking layout, with an image of Eureka with her hand on a wall in the top right. A small strip down the left contains the volume number with an amusing piece of text describing Eureka. The logo is below the image of Eureka, along with a few select credits from the show. Four screenshots are also in a strip right at the bottom. The back cover includes a description of the show as well as an episode listing with brief summaries of each. There's no technical grid that usually appears on a Beez release, but technical specs are clearly listed, as are the extras. The cover, while busy, generally looks really nice and I just really like the different design and feel of it.

Menu:
The main menu starts with a fairly lengthy opening animation, before cutting to the menu proper. The opening theme plays, while an image of Eureka appears to the left hand side. On the right is the show's logo, a video segment playing clips from the show, and the selections underneath. There's also line art in the background, moving about. Sub-menus all have different music playing over them, and have different images but fit the same theme. There's a small transition as each menu fades to the next as well. They don't try to be too fancy, but are really stylised and in tone with the show and again, look really good. This is just a high quality release in general.

Extras:
There are a couple of really good extras again on this volume. First is another audio commentary on episode 7 with the Japanese cast. It's not wildly revealing or anything, but much like many English voice actor commentaries, it's a lot of fun to listen to (and they sure have a lot of energy!). The second main extra is the first part of an interview with the dub cast, which features Stephanie Sheh (Eureka), in which she answers fourteen questions about her work on the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having really enjoyed the first volume of Eureka Seven and all the different characters and situations it introduced, I was curious how the second volume might fare. In many series, especially longer ones like this, after a strong opening batch of episodes they often hit a lull until the late teens/early twenties, where the plot hits its stride. While I simply haven't seen enough of the show to know whether that will happen here, certainly the second volume didn't leave quite as good an impression on me as the first.

In the first volume we saw that Eureka's children didn't exactly take too well to Renton and the attention he received from their mother, so naturally they start to try and force him away, throwing all they can in terms of pranks and jokes at him. Unfortunately one goes a bit wrong, and with the entire ship in danger Renton takes the kids out in the Nirvash to help sort things out. Then it really goes wrong when the Federation shows up, and everyone else has to rescue them.

Although it's all a bit silly at times, the real moment comes at the end of the episode when Renton accepts responsibility for the whole thing and has to spend time confined in the brig. Even though they know it was the kids, Holland decides to let him accept punishment as a man, much like you might expect a father-figure to, and in a sweet scene the kids all come and apologise and, along with Eureka, accompany him in the brig.

The next episode was one I found a bit disappointing, as Renton is forced to go on an "important" mission to deliver a package. He is being filmed the whole time though by Moondoggie, who he even has some interesting heart to hearts with but the filming is never revealed. Aside from some hints at the bigger picture involving the Federation and the Sage Council though, there wasn't a great deal to take away from this episode.

Things do get better when Renton goes shopping with Eureka and the kids and meets a woman called Tiptory. While they think she's nothing more than a nice old woman who invites them into her house for tea, she is actually an important figure in an organisation working against the government, and Holland wants her. It's a bit more complicated than a simple capture for money that it at first seems, because the Gekkostate crew actually want to go to the holy land of the Vodarac. It all gets a bit messy when Holland ends up punching Renton, who then flies off on his own. Eureka goes after him and as it turns out, this place holds some bad memories for Eureka, as she reveals that a few years ago she was part of some military bombings along with the rest of the crew, and this is where she found the children.

History is certainly the theme of these latter episodes, with the final one on the disc seeing the crew return to a military base which, in turn, holds some bad memories for Holland. Of course, it's also where he and Talho got together so it's not all bad, but he finds it hard to be reminded of a part of his past he'd rather forget.

While it's obvious that these episodes are all about character building, I couldn't help but feel they were a little bit too fluffy for their own good. The first two episodes in particular, while they highlight Renton's relationship with the kids and how he tries to win their trust and affection (and eventually succeeds with flying colours), felt like a bit of a chore to get through as it didn't feel like there was enough of a backbone there. It was especially noticeable since it was two episodes in a row.

Because of that, even when things picked up for the other three episodes, I think all my enthusiasm for the show was gone and it took time to build it back up. Again I can't help but feel the show suffers a little from the structure at this stage (something many members of this creative team are usually good at), as we get the two episodes involving Tiptory, which reveal a lot about Eureka's past and her involvement with the kids, immediately followed by an episode dealing with Holland's past. Sure, the episodes were quite enjoyable, and had some good tension between Holland and Renton (especially the punch!) and Talho and Holland, and they developed the relationships between several characters, but it all felt a bit much having episodes so similar so close together.

On the plus side, the show continues to have great production values with some really solid animation for such a long show. Granted, this was probably to be expected coming from BONES, but it's a nice to have a long show stay consistent.

In Summary:
There is still a long way to go with Eureka Seven, but this volume did dent my enthusiasm for the series slightly. It's not that it was bad in and of itself " in fact at times it was quite enjoyable " it just showed a bit of sloppiness in terms of pacing and structure. Hopefully this will prove only a slight bump and the series will continue to develop into something much more, and given the creative team behind the show I'm still hopeful that will happen.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (2.0),English Subtitles,Audio Commentary with Japanese Staff (Episode 7),Interview with American Cast (Part 1),Textless Opening and Closing

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP 5100 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, Pioneer HTP-GS1 5.1 Surround Sound System.

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