What They Say:
In the year 2054, humanity is on the brink of destruction thanks to a half-century war with the strange beings known as the EIZO. In the middle of an important mission, mecha pilot Renton is reunited with his childhood friend Eureka, who was kidnapped by government forces years before. But their heartfelt reunion might not last for long: Eureka’s life will soon come to an end, and the crew that Renton serves alongside on the GEKKO have their own ideas about what to do with the blue-haired girl. As mankind prepares to fire a doomsday weapon that will end the war once and for all, the fate of the world rests in the hearts of two young lovers.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track and the previous English language adaptation, both of which are in 5.1, encoded using the lossless Dolby TrueHD codec. The mix here pretty much mirrors what we had in the previous Blu-ray edition and that’s a very good thing. 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. With some solid materials to work with, the overall presentation for this feature is definitely a positive one. 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.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case with a slipcover that mirrors the case artwork and design itself. The front cover gives us the standard image that has Renton and Eureka falling downward as the dark red sky dominates behind with its sampling of so many galaxies out there. There’s a little more character material in the lower corner, with a dose of cuteness to it, but overall it’s a pretty moody and kind of unusual cover because of its design and the lense flare that we get. The back cover goes for a simple black background that keeps it kind of classy but also easy to read as we get a clean summary of the premise with white text and a blend of green in a few places. The extras are clearly listed and we get a few decent shots from the feature along the right. The technical grid covers both formats cleanly and clearly with an accurate list of what its specs are. While we don’t get any inserts with the release, there is artwork on the reverse side where the left has a simple black and green bar striping pattern and the right has a very appealing image of Renton and Eureka together on the Gekkostate.
The menu design for this release goes for the same kind of simple approach as the TV series but with a bit less to the menu strip itself. That’s a simple line along the bottom where it has the standard selections across it that are quick and easy to access. It’s done with a soft blue/green that works nicely but doesn’t do a lot that really fits in thematically with everything. The majority of the menu is given over to clips from the feature as it has the logo along the top and provides a good mix of atmospheric shots and some action bits that are fun. Submenus are quick and easy to access and the layout works nicely both in standard or pop-up form.
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. The big extra is the fifty minute making of featurette which delves into the movie quite a lot. This piece covers a large 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.
After the fifty episode anime series wrapped up in April of 2006, I was surprised that BONES announced they were doing a theatrical version of Eureka Seven a couple of years later. Everything felt like it had played out during that initial blitz and 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 at the time 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 translated 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.
Having just finished the TV series before watching this whereas I had a few years between the two the first time around, I find myself still in the same boat. I was lucky enough to catch this movie theatrically originally during a one night event and it was definitely great to see play out on the big screen. I’m not a fan of re-imagined characters and settings when doing a TV series to movie adaptation and coming into it after rewatching the TV series – literally going right into it after finishing the series, just highlighted the disconnect all the more. 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 and now in high definition, 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.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Making Of, Theatrical Trailer, TV Commercials
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: April 22nd, 2014
Running Time: 117 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
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.