Eureka Seven Vol. #04 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • 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
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Eureka Seven

Eureka Seven Vol. #04

By Chris Beveridge     November 02, 2006
Release Date: October 24, 2006


Eureka Seven Vol. #04
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
Renton and the others visit a town where he spent a lot of time when he was younger. But his welcome home by the locals is thrown into chaos when the Federation realizes that Gekkostate is in the area. After some fast thinking and a close call, the Gekko escapes and sets down inside an old mine to make necessary repairs.

While inside the mine, the crew discovers that the ship's damage is more serious than they originally thought. But more troubling is Eureka's condition, which is getting steadily worse. Renton, frustrated that he can't help her, lashes out and makes the situation worse. And now, with the Gekko still in bad shape and Eureka very ill, the Federation military seems to be heading right for them!

The Review!
With the big storyline in the previous volume, this set of episodes spends some time dealing with the repercussions of it and giving the characters some serious introspection time.

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:
Even though her presence in this volume is very small, Anemone provides the central image for the cover with a intriguing looking visual of her as a butterfly of sorts but one with a real hint of violence and blood thirst to her. It's quite a different look than the previous covers and really stands out against them and other titles on the shelf. 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.

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 the latest textless opening sequence which started showing up during episode fifteen 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 fifteen, and it brings in the voice actors for Renton, Eureka, Matthiew and Hilda. 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)
With the previous volume having such a solid set of episodes that introduced some very interesting concepts with the Coralian and then delved nicely into some of the characters backgrounds and origins, it's little surprise that these episodes are more mellow and less intense. Though the opening episode is a bit more on the light side in order to relax things after the previous "week's" episode, the remaining three episodes are geared more towards the characters trying to figure out where they really stand now.

The opening episode is definitely a good little piece in that it's able to take a light and fun concept yet wrap some really good nuggets inside of it. Due to the way the cycle of life goes on board a ship like the Gekkostate, the junk food lifestyle has fallen out of grace and everyone has gradually taken to the healthy route. This has led to Renton, Matthiew and Eureka to stop off in one of the cities that they're near to help stock up on some of the fruits and vegetables that they need. Being as poor as they are though, they sneak into one of the farms to swipe a couple of pieces of a very potent fruit but they're caught by the local military. Where the twist comes is that the guy that catches them is actually Renton's uncle and the city he lives in is the one where Renton's parents first met. There's a real dark edge to it as it plays out but the good stuff is in getting a view of how some of the regular folk deal with their lives and their views.

The bulk of this volumes focus is set elsewhere though and kicks off quickly with the second episode. With their finances paper thin and a lot of repairs required on the Gekkostate, the crew has brought everything to an abandoned city. The city itself is fascinating to look at since while it looks desolate and barren, it has such great architecture to it and an odd look of preservation. The ship and its crew hole up inside the entrance area to an excavation site and mine that was closed down long ago. As we've learned in the past, LFO's were found through excavation and during these episodes we see one of the areas where a lot of them still are, but with no trapar's available in the area, they're dying and dying quickly.

The Gekkostate requires some serious work that requires a controlled substance to be fixed and this leads Renton and a small group of others to head out to a place where they know someone who just might be able to help them get what they need. While the military controls just about everyone involved in making of these materials, some do slip through the cracks. This trip is ideal for Renton since he and Eureka are starting to drift apart. Their time together during the Coralian adventure and his bonding with the Nirvash has seriously unsettled her with a form of jealousy she had not expected. Renton himself is concerned by it since they had started to get close and as we've seen before there are times when his mind seems to make strange connections with Eureka and Anemone that lead to some twisted visuals and pseudo-dreams. The visuals and imagery is fantastic and highly engaging to watch but I'll admit that the significance of much of it is lost on me at this point, but will hopefully be enjoyable the second time around once the series is over.

In Summary:
Though nowhere near as intense or action heavy as the previous volume, this set of episodes gives everyone a chance to cope with what's been going on and to spend a bit of time apart. Renton gets a good deal of time that helps to expand his family's past while he also becomes more and more a real member of the group. Some of the scenes with him you can see that he's growing up more and more and becoming more of a man. But he's still at the early stages of that crossroad and his emotions are all over the map at times. The world these characters inhabit is nicely built up here and the view is now more detailed and expansive, making the show in general far more fascinating to watch. Similar to other shows of this length, it's still taking its time to tell its tale, the hook is working more and more effectively with each new volume.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Episode 15 Commentary,Voice Actor Interviews

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.

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