The face of the future is uncertain as darkness looms large over the world.
What They Say:
Renton’s adventure continues as the burgeoning hero struggles to balance the rush of young love against an onslaught of riveting revelations. Eureka’s shocking origins come to light, the truth about Norb surfaces, and secrets emerge that force everyone to question their allegiances. As Eureka and Renton finally reach Earth, a mysterious facility hiding tragic experimentation is discovered. The fate of the world is at stake as Eureka beings her harrowing transformation. Only Renton has the power to save her, but at what cost?
Contains episodes 27-50.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track as well as the previously created English language track, both of which are in stereo using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The series is one that makes out pretty well with the whole lossless upgrade as everything comes across a bit bigger here, clearer and better placed. There’s a good bit of action to be had throughout it to be sure, especially in this half of the series, but it also works through a lot of dialogue in a number of different situations. That allows it to play well across the forward soundstage as characters are spread across the screen as they engage in conversation and the action has a very good flow across it as well with the way the various mecha and ships move about. It definitely hits some big moments but it’s also a product of its time where it goes only so far with it overall. But it’s definitely an improvement in both tracks over the original and we didn’t have any issues with dropouts, distortions or other problems during regular playback.
Originally broadcast in 2005 and 2006, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio in 1080i using the AVC codec. The series is one that works off of the standard definition masters from Japan that are all that’s available but it got a remaster in high definition here. The result is one that will definitely vary a bit depending on your setup and how well your hardware deals with the show. In general, this is a pretty good upgrade compared to the previous DVD editions, especially in terms of the removal of all the compression artifacts that plagued a lot of Bandai DVDs. This remaster is one that we see some differences between the Japanese Blu-ray release as well in that this one comes across a bit brighter, which can bring out the flaws a bit more. We’ve seen this with a couple of other releases over the years. Because of how the show is animated, there’s definitely some banding to be seen as well, but what I noted is that it’s not as bad as what some of the screen captures I saw looked like, which is why we tend to talk more about how it looks in motion than in stills. The series definitely gets an improvement here in quality overall but it’s limited by the source materials. Overall, there’s some aliasing to be had and how well your setup handles an interlaced release factors in, but it looks to be mostly on par with the Japanese release but at a fraction of the price.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case with a slipcover over it that uses the same artwork and design for both. The release contains only the Blu-ray discs which has the show spread across three discs with a hinge here. The front cover is decent overall with a bit of character material as we get a split down the middle with Anemone on the left reaching out to Eureka on the right where it also does a red and blue split that gives it a bit more weight. I’d prefer something with more of an ensemble feeling that covers more of what this set is about but this piece wasn’t exactly a surprise. The back cover goes with a red background with no artwork underneath it and that makes it easy to read the premise that covers a nice chunk of space and a breakdown of the extras. A few shots from the show are decent but doesn’t really highlight the unique aspects of the series with anything that stands out. Production information is kept simple and we get a solid and less cluttered technical grid since it only has one format to work with here. The case has artwork on the reverse side where the left breaks down the episodes by title and number along the left while the right gives us an orbital version of the Nirvash looking over the planet that’s pretty nice.
The menu design for this release goes kind of simplistic with a couple of minor touches of connective design to the cover and the show itself with the line work for it. The bottom third has the menu itself which goes for the overall disc numbering in the two collections so you know where you are and we get the standard menu navigation breakdown with a submenu for episodes. Languages are easy to select without any locks on it and submenus load quickly which works well, though once again you can’t get to the extras as they use a different pop-up menu overall during regular playback. The rest of the screen is given over to clips from the show itself after a brief loadup of the logo across the sun filled cloud scene and it has a decent look to it but is pretty unmemorable overall
This release brings over a good chunk of the extras that were on the previous editions on DVD from Bandai. This edition has more of the original Japanese language commentaries by cast and staff that are definitely worth checking out if you haven’t seen them before since they both have a good bit of a fun with it. We also get the collection of the English voice actor interviews that we saw previously that has them going into the series as well. Add in the clean opening and closing sequences and you’ve got a good mix of extras that has a good balance between the casts. Sadly, we don’t get the fourth and final closing sequence here.
Going into this second half of the Eureka Seven series was definitely an interesting experience. I hadn’t gotten in the first half of it, but I figured I’d just jump in and see how that worked since I did see the series when it first came out. What this ended up doing was revealing to me once more the overall structure of the series. The first half of the show is what sets all the introductions and foundations, giving us the simple life in a way for Renton as he tries to understand the world with all the injustices that have been aligned against him due to family. We got his introduction to the Gekkostate and its crew, his initial infatuation with Eureka and becoming a member of the crew. But we also saw him getting involved with Charles and Ray by going over with them for awhile since he didn’t quite understand what was going on, again owing to that young child phase of his life where he doesn’t really need to understand it as he tries to find his path in the world.
With the second half of the series, it’s all about putting aside childish things and stepping up. And not just for him, but for the rest of the crew and many others across the world. It’s made the most plain in the first couple of episodes as Renton, now back on the Gekkostate, finds it under attack by Charles and Ray as they’re seeking out their objective. It’s a harsh attack since the kids are all kept corralled up in a relatively safe area and the whole thing has the kind of elegant brutality that both Charles and Ray bring to their plans. It’s really engaging watching them within the Gekkostate and the reactions of others who know them as they try and push back, but also because it ends so horribly for the couple. For Renton, who had essentially been adopted by them for awhile, it’s a moment where he has to see the brutality of what life can be like with the decisions that are made and having to handle the loss of it. It’s hard to say Charles and Ray were bad people, since they were living their lives and doing what they were contracted for, but Renton is still seeing things in a bit of a black and white world. It’s this that starts to add more gray to it because it hits home so personally for him.
This sets Renton on the right path to growing up and it comes along at a time when a few other things are going on as well. On the Gekkostate, most of the adults are in a plateau at the moment, which is a given for most of the supporting cast. Eureka is starting to change a bit as she’s becoming more interested in Renton through a few comedy of error moments, largely a misread by others as they think Renton’s about to pounce on her when he really just wants her to tell him more about his father. But that series of mishaps – including a comical piece with makeup – is what gets the two of them to realize that there is something more there, but they have to overcome their own personal issues first before they can really deal with it. Talho and Holland have their own long term issues going on as well, especially as we get a bit more on his first love with Renton’s sister Diane and his own time in the military. Which ties in nicely to seeing a bit more of his own upbringing with Dewey. But mostly, what starts changing the world is what Dewey is up to when it comes to the scub coral and the antibodies that are spreading out more and more into the world.
Dewey obviously has his plans and admittedly part of his personality is one that because of family and childhood he feels completely broken, but there’s also that sense that he really does want to see the world burn. For a purpose, but burn nonetheless. With the formation of his group that’s now going out and fighting back against the antibodies, with a lot of chaos mixed into it, it’s impressive the way he’s operating. But he has a ruthless level about him as well in that while you know casualties will come in any war, he has no problem with it and just accepts it as part of it without any remorse or attempts to find another way. We see this with how he has no problem in sacrificing a couple of cities to get his main objectives and he’s got a crew working for him that are just as ruthless. When he meets with one of the council leaders with his team, they discover a traitor in their midst and one of them simply guns her down on the spot with no question or hesitation. That’s all Dewey’s style.
With this amount of episodes, the size of the cast and the layers of complexity to it, there is a lot going on and it’s easy to gloss over some important stuff as it progresses before it hits the final run of episodes where everything changes. There’s some good time spent at Tresor laboratories and bringing Dr. Bear is just priceless with the kinds of things he does to the dynamic. There’s a lot of little interesting bits about how Nirvash works that comes from this and and exploration of the scub coral history as well. We also get a good run of material involving Norb once he gets picked up by the crew and hangs with them as he starts to nudge them towards what their goals are at Vodara in order to see Sakuya and find what their path should be. This starts to explore more of the Vodarac and the religion that exists, but it comes from a very distant Norb and the way he views so many of its adherents as fools who don’t truly understand what it is they were supposed to do and how they misread so many things.
As it races towards the finale, it does go pretty big as it runs a couple of tracks for the story. The less interesting one for me unfortunately involves Renton, Eureka and the kids end up going going past the wall from Sakuya’s place and we see them understanding the truth of the Coralians as the past is explored. It’s like they were marooned on a beach for a chunk of it and we see Eureka going through changes as her true nature comes out more. It’s got its interesting moments as it gets a bit more philosophical with what’s going on, but for the most part this side of it just drags throughout. I like that it does finally reinforce what’s going on between Renton and Eureka and the family unit that exists with the kids is nice, but it’s a long, long way to go to get to this point for them and to make something of it. Those moments definitely work and have appeal as it ties into the big finale itself.
Thankfully, this all gets balanced out by the action and scale of events on the other side of the wall as Holland and the Gekkostate crew do what they can to stop Dewey. There’s a bit of politics that plays into it and a touch of the religious side as well, but the majority of it is all about the large scale battle that unfolds between the antibodies and the rest of the world. Holland does his best to protect what Renton is doing on the other side and he gets some great assistance from an old friend that resurfaces a bit in this half of the season. The whole thing plays out in that big kind of way that you want and expect from a series of this nature as we get the payoff that we wanted after going through so many story arcs. It’s big and grand but it also keeps it personal as we see the confrontation between Dewey and Holland, Talho’s fears throughout it and some of the supporting cast doing their moments of wrapup throughout it as it comes to a close.
I hadn’t seen Eureka Seven since the original single volume releases but the show has been held in pretty good regard by me ever since. Revisiting it in this marathon form definitely helps to improve the overall view of the property and the story it wants to tell, making so many things come together in a clearer and more enjoyable way. The tapestry of the story feels far more complete and whole in this form and it’s one that’s definitely told well. While there are always things you could do to tighten it up and cut down the episode count, there’s little that I’d actually want to do that with. I really liked the material involving Norb and the Tresor lab group and the characters that populate it, though I can see it as being an easy area to cut. In the end, we get a rich and engaging series here that plays with a large cast really well even if some of them are a bit superficial. The end result is a show that definitely holds up very well and this presentation gives it to us in what’s pretty much the best it’s looked in North America at a fantastic price with almost everything that we had before.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Episode Commentary, Interview with Japanese Voice Actors Keiji Fujiwara (Holland) & Michiko Neya (Talho) Parts 2 & 3, Interview with English Voice Actor Crispin Freeman (Holland) Parts 2 & 3, Interview with English Voice Actor Kate Higgins (Talho).
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: A
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: April 22nd, 2014
Running Time: 575 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 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.