Eureka Seven Vol. #06 (also w/special edition) - Mania.com



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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: 29.98/44.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Eureka Seven

Eureka Seven Vol. #06 (also w/special edition)

By Chris Beveridge     March 08, 2007
Release Date: March 20, 2007


Eureka Seven Vol. #06 (also w/special edition)
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
Away from the Gekko, Renton has found a new home with a pair of enigmatic mercenaries: Charles and Ray Beam. And though the duo has opened both their ship and their hearts to Renton, their true agenda will force Renton once again to decide to chose between his new life or his old one.

Meanwhile on board the Gekko, Eureka and Holland must come to terms and deal with their contrasting emotions towards Renton. Eureka with her blossoming love, and Holland with his growing hate. Will Eureka's emotions be enough to bring spur search to Renton back to the Gekko? Or will a mysterious pair of mercenaries and a vast military fleet be enough to prevent Renton from discovering where his true home lies?

The Review!
Renton's life with Charles and Ray turns much closer but the secrets under the surface begin to rise.

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 covers for this series continue to not have any real theme to them which isn't a bad thing. This installment is another good looking one which has Holland either running or jumping with a pillarboxed image of a beautiful sunset against the clouds. The foreground and background don't exactly mesh, particularly in how the background was drawn, but from a couple of feet it looks pretty eye-catching. 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.

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 forest green foil style box is similar in design to what the My-Hime box was 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 Eureka on top of the Nirvash while the other has Holland in his LFO in an action sequence. The box acts as a slipcover of sorts and a section slides all the way out which holds the disc, the fourth volume of the manga and the grey shirt which has some show specific symbol artwork on it in black lines. 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 second game trailer and a clean ending sequence for episode twenty six. The next Japanese commentary track is also included, done originally for episode twenty six, and it brings in the voice actors for Renton as well as the character design and storyboard artist. 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)
In a lot of ways it feels like the "slow build" of the series was so long ago. So many episodes recently have been so strong and engaging that they're just flowing well and overlapping now. The previous volume brought in a lot of changes and this set just continues the growth. Unlike shorter series though it doesn't feel rushed which in turn gives everything much greater impact.

There are several storylines running through these four episodes that culminate in some truly beautiful sequences that have both action and emotional impact. The main storyline of course is that of Renton as he is now living with Charles and Ray. I continue to find their naming unfortunate from a western point of view since I can only think of them as Ray Charles on a regular basis and it takes me out of the show. Renton's new life with them is completely unlike his time on the Gekkostate and he's getting more and more comfortable with it. He works just as hard but finds himself getting the appreciation and words that he craves. With his previous life before the Gekkostate and how useless he felt, getting these simple words are huge for his self esteem.

While Charles and Ray pick up some small odd jobs here and there while actually working on their bigger job of acquiring Eureka, Renton starts to work with them a bit more. His time with them has them fostering a family feeling that he's not truly had since his sister left. Though hesitant about it, there is such a need and draw to it for him that he's having a hard time resisting. Along the way though, Charles and Ray end up developing some strong bonds to him as well because Renton is so innocent and honest about himself. Renton's innocence does get him into trouble though, such as when he tries to help a dying Vodarac by taking her to the wrong place to get treatment. The measure of racism that's brought in is interesting if blunt though since it's another underlying current in this world.

The Gekkostate side of the storyline is a bit more mixed though as that focuses on two of the characters. For Eureka's side, it's the better of the two as we watch her having to recover from the previous incident and then learning that Renton is no longer on the ship. She and Renton haven't had a conventional relationship as each of them are abnormal in different ways when it comes to interpersonal relationships but they have been making progress towards understanding their own emotions. Renton has been much of the focus on this and continues to be in these episodes but Eureka gets much more time to work this through now that she's awake and aware of his absence. What really works for her in contrast to her personality for much of the series to date is that she's now becoming proactive about what she wants for herself and doing what it takes. When she takes flight on a board and heads out into the skies, not only is it artistically beautiful but it's a powerful moment for Eureka as a character.

The character that I think may be the most complex of all is the one that I have the hardest time figuring out. Holland's emotional reactions to Renton's leaving and how he's dealt with searching for him is something that hits him hard. His inability to form what he's feeling into words has set him to odds with others on the ship since most of them can see things a bit more simply. He's not even able to really explain it to Talho which just sets her off. Renton is pretty strongly on his mind though as he's spending a good deal of time trying to find him which is what blinds him to the larger trap that Charles is actually plotting. We do get to see a bit more of what has these two at odds with each other but what we need with Holland is an episode or two that deals explicitly with his past and reveals what really makes him who he is. Small snippets throughout have helped but he needs that larger push.

In Summary:
Eureka Seven was a show that had intrigued me from when I first heard about it but took some time upon viewing to really connect with. As it moved into the twenties with its episodes, it's become a rare show that I want to marathon the whole thing at once. With the larger storyline and the time to tell it, the cast is becoming more and more realized with each new episode. The animation continues to be beautiful, the designs highly appealing and the action sequences highly engaging. The last episode here is yet another of the big highlight moments as it caps off this arc wonderfully. Yet at the end, it's frustrating once more because there is such a need to see more. Eureka Seven is a show that takes time to really and truly hook the viewer but once it does it's a winner. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Voice Actor Interviews,Audio Commentary,Textless Ending

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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