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Eureka Seven Hi-Evolution 1 Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read

This seems… familiar.

What They Say:
Ride the trapars and take to the skies once more! The revolutionary mecha anime returns with the story that was left untold—the earth-shattering incident where Renton’s father disappeared. With Eureka by his side, only Adroc Thurston could undo his own mistake. Now, ten years later, Renton finds himself in the care of his father’s old friends and facing a decision that will change everything.

The Review:
Audio:
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 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.

Video:
Originally in theaters in 2017, 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. Animated by Bones, the first act of the film is pretty much what you’d expect from a modern anime film with all the bells and whistles thrown at it. It’s a delight from top to bottom in showing off the action, the aerial fighting, the color vibrancy and design, and everything in between. It’s easy to be caught up in the whole thing as a kind of fireworks show even, just enjoying the spectacle of it all – since there’s little in the way of discernible plot for any new viewer. Once past that, we get the TV material cleaned up here with a windowboxed presentation so that nothing is cut off from any of the sides. It looks good but obviously doesn’t hold up to what we start with considering its age. But it’s a clean look that retains the right kind of feel to it even while the color definition just can’t keep up tot he new..

Packaging:
The packaging design for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the two discs against the interior walls with no hinges. The set comes with an o-card slipcover that replicates the case artwork that utilizes the key visual/theatrical poster for this film with Renton looking as serious as he can at this stage while his life is in ruins all around him. It’s a good looking visual with the color deign and I like that the case went for a green stripe along the top for the format material. The back cover goes for an all-white background where we get a headshot of Eureka at the top and some nice shots from the film along the right. The summary of the premise is clean and simple and we get a good breakdown of the extras as well. Production information is straightforward in its super tiny legalese size while the technical grid breaks out both formats in a very clean and clear to read format. The first pressing sets come with a card inside that holds a filmstrip from the film while the reverse side cover artwork lets the two leads have their own panel with them set against a white background.

Menu:
The menu design for this release is one that adds a little flair to it as it’s made up of clips from the film, showcasing some really nicely designed locations and character material with colors that really stand out in a great way. This is in contrast to the slim navigation strip near the bottom that’s done in a garish green, tying into the cover nicely, which definitely stands out here. The selections are simple and easy to make and navigating for language or scene selection is a breeze as are the extras. Everything loads quickly and easy for it whether as the main menu or pop-up menu during playback and without issue. It may not be a big standout menu design but it’s effective in setting the mood.

Extras:
This release has some good extras with it that’ll delight fans of the property. We get the familiar here with the teaser and trailers but we also get about half a dozen music videos as well that are fun to watch. The big piece is the nearly thirty-minute long interview with the folks behind it where they talk about the experience and what they’re trying to achieve with it. It’s definitely a fun piece behind the scenes with the creative side of it all.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The arrival of Eureka Seven back in 2005 was a big event since it got a lot of broadcast love around the world while also spawning several manga, a light novel series, and a feature film four years later. A spinoff series landed in 2012 which also brought new manga but the AO work didn’t click quite as well for folks, making most figure that would be the end of it. But in late 2017 we got the start of a three-film project under the Hi-Evolution banner with much of the team come back to tell more of this tale. With this one seemingly going back to the core it was something that I was definitely interested in seeing what they’d do with, but after finishing off this first film I’m in that place where I’m just not sure what they were thinking. What we get here is a work that is very much for fans only.

What we get here is an opening thirty minutes or so where it’s all new animation and then the remaining hour focuses on material from the TV series – but reworked in terms of presentation so that it’s nonsensical. Well, not exactly nonsensical but it plays out in such a haphazard way that it’s incomprehensible. The opening act is a great way as it takes place with it dealing with Adroc as he’s realized that the plan he’s been working toward isn’t the right one and he’s intent on getting Eureka out before the light show really begins that changes the world. This whole sequence is just a thing of beauty as it plays out with the color, the fluidity of the animation, and all the designs involved. It touches on the events of ten years prior to the series start itself and we get some nods towards those at this time that we know from the Gekko. But it’s mostly focused on Eureka and Adroc and it’s simply one long action-filled sequence of beauty.

Once we get past that… well, the film pretty much bored me. It doesn’t just take up from the series at the early stages, though we get some of that with Renton in his little town before he met everyone, but it’s far more interested in spending its time with Charles and Ray with Renton’s time there. It’s all leading toward that fight with the Gekko that was coming and Renton’s decision to stop hiding away and trying to avoid everything by living with these two, and the silliness of calling them mama and papa. What the film does though is to keep moving backward and forward over and over to showcase this larger sequence of events, and a few side movements, and it just becomes such a continuity disaster that it’s impossible to really invest in it. Mind you, there’s little in the way of actual character introductions from the TV side and all, so what you end up with is a huge disconnect between that fantastic opening act and the rest of the film.

In Summary:
With as much new footage as there is at the start here it’s impossible to really call this a compilation film. A third of it is new material that looks great, sounds great, and really excites even as it’s just one massive set piece of action. Once you get past that, where the film would dig into the story, it’s a reworking of the TV material cut in new ways with lots of backward and forward movement. I’m almost feeling like they would have been better off just releasing the new material as its own OVA, light on story and connection, and just running with that. Perhaps the next two films will be different in some way, though. Once we get to the TV side of the film it just left me disinterested, especially after rewatching the show itself a few years ago, and it doesn’t present itself in a way that I think works for completely viewers either. So while I do give the content a B-grade, it’s solely for the fact that the opening act is just gorgeous and highly engaging visually with what it does. There’s great potential here but it’s so squandered that I’m hard pressed to imagine the production team being proud of it, though that stems from me not understanding the real intent here.

Features:
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Hiroya Ozaki x Tomoki Kyoda x Dai Sato Crosstalk, Music Videos, Teaser, Theatrical Trailers, Commercials, Trailers

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade:B+

Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: August 14th, 2018
MSRP: $34.98
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
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.


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