Oh, Bones.

Dec. 2nd, 2012 06:54 pm
nenena: (Soul Eater - Have a nice dream!)
A month after the fact, I finally got around to watching the conclusion of Eureka Seven AO.

And... wow.

There are two types of bad sequels: Sequels that are just bad (for any reason - bad writing, nonsensical plot, just plain not living up to the original), and then there are the bad sequels that aren't just bad but that take that badness a step farther by actively shitting all over the spirit of the original. To wit: Alien 3. Aquarion EVOL. The Star Wars prequels. And now you can add both the Eureka Seven theatrical film and the AO TV series to that list.

And of course I'm sitting here full of bitter fangirl disappointment that Eureka Seven spawned not just one but two completely awful sequels, because, well, I fucking LOVE the original.

Eureka Seven is Bones at their creative and artistic peak. It takes the high-minded science fiction concept of Solaris and blends it seamlessly with a story of two immature teenagers growing up and growing together, and honestly, when you really think about it, has their ever been a more perfect metaphor for contact with an incomprehensible alien intelligence than the exhilarating yet horrifying awkwardness of two teenagers falling in love for the first time? Eureka Seven takes three basic storylines and mixes them in nearly perfect harmony: One, humanity's continued failure to communicate with the deadly Scub Coral; two, Eureka and Renton growing the fuck up and realizing that life is not at all what either of them understood it to be; and three, Eureka and Renton coming to trust, understand, and eventually love each other. It's a story about communicating and understanding on every possible level, whether it's between two awkward teenagers, two cynical adults, two estranged brothers, two former enemies, or between two alien races that are literally destroying each other with their inability to communicate and their increasingly desperate attempts to do so. It's a story about overcoming loss, about found families and unlikely friends, about children who don't understand war and about adults who don't understand children, about standing by your morals, about rejecting what you know is wrong even when you still don't know what should be right, and about how the human ability to listen to each other can literally move mountains, save an entire species, and save an entire planet. Plus, you know, this is an anime with fucking awesome giant robots and fucking terrifying alien monsters and gorgeous character and scenery designs and awesome music and amazing characters and just aaaaaaaah! it's SO GOOD. There are very, very few stories in any media that can successfully pull off BOTH the "it was Earth all along!" plot twist and the "twu wuv saves the human race!" ending without descending into total ridiculousness and stupidity. But Eureka Seven successfully pulls off both of these tropes, and does it BRILLIANTLY.

I'm not even going to waste space writing about how the Eureka Seven film and then AO managed to completely fuck up all of the above on every level. I'd rather sit here enjoying my memories of how great the original series is, thank you very much.

Here, have an awesome ten-minute AMV tribute to the original series, courtesy of Studio Bones themselves:

nenena: (Default)
Psalm of Planets Eureka Seven is brilliant. I can't believe that I missed this series the first time around. (Well, "the first time around" was when I was still in college and had no life outside of research and occassional bouts of eating and sleeping, so I guess I can believe that I missed it.) A lovely person in Iida lent me his DVDs and I've been marathoning it for the past week.

For those of you unfamiliar... Eureka Seven is basically Solaris. Yes, that's pretty much it. It's Solaris right down to the last ethical what-if, only instead of a bleak ending Eureka Seven ends in a burst of beautiful hopefulness. Unlike Solaris, however, there are very dark parts wherein the alien entity in question defends itself from human intrusion in violent and quite frankly absolutely horrifying ways. Oh yes, and there are also surfboarding giant robots. And there are references to Dostoevsky and Sir James George Frazer (Golden Bough FTW) that I am ashamed to admit I did NOT understand, and that I had to resort to fansubs and Google and Wikipedia before I "got" them. Yes, I am a failure as a college-educated upper-middle-class white person. I am not literate enough to appreciate the depth of this anime series about surfboarding giant robots! Woe.

Also, the fourth opening song is the best use of "Amazing Grace" in Japanese dance-pop EVER.

Eureka Seven is interesting to watch because it's told through the eyes of its young hero, Renton. Renton is, of course, an immature and wanky teenage boy. At the beginning of the series he thinks that he's setting off on some big happy adventure with a bunch of lovable counter-culture rogues who are only interested in having fun. (This is so, so wrong.) Renton thinks that when he and Eureka defeat the "bad robots" this is a cause for happy swelling music and sparkly uplifting fun-ness. (And indeed, it is, at the beginning of the series, where the narrative voice of the series itself is basically Renton's point of view.) Only later does Renton realize that fighting the "bad robots" and sticking it to the man means, you know, killing people. Nobody ever hid this fact from Renton, he was just too much of, well, a dumb kid to realize it. Eureka Seven is essentially a coming-of-age story about both Renton and Eureka, but unlike so many other anime that attempt to be heartfelt coming-of-age stories involving kids and giant robots, Eureka Seven doesn't suck. It's painful to watch at times, especially when Eureka and Renton are thrust into ugly situations in which there is no clear or good answer. Overall, though, the characterization and the writing of these two characters is just so damn good. Really, truly beautiful. The supporting cast is great too, and the villains (particularly Dewey and Anemone) are truly memorable. This is a fantastic series.

Speaking of giant robots... I don't care if Code Geass is a rip-off of everything under the sun, it's simply more fun and entertaining than half of the things that it's ripped off. Most of its entertainment value comes from its badness, however. Which is always fun. The premise and half of the character designs are play-by-play Gundam Seed. There's also shades of Death Note (dissatistified genius boy suddenly granted god-like powers and doing horribly unspeakable things in the name of "justice") and even Suzumiya Haruhi (particularly the pervy fangirl student council president who thinks it's a good idea to have everyone come to school in swimsuits). The character designs are vintage CLAMP, right down to the girl who is blind and thus is always drawn with her eyes closed. Because, you know, blind people always keep their eyes closed. Lloyd looks so much like Yukito from Cardcaptor Sakura that I keep thinking I'm watching an AU version of Yukito who is an insane evil genius that cackles a lot and refers to human pilots as "parts" for his giant robots. Oh yeah, and the hilarious SUBTLE OVERTONES OF JAPANESE JINGOISIM which are totally SUBTLE. You know, the way that the political message in Marvel's Civil War is totally two-sided and SUBTLE.

Karen should be an interesting lead female character. Unfortunately, for some reason, I find her as boring as toast.

One thing I will praise Code Geass for, however: I believe that this is the first anime series I have ever seen that suceeds in making a beautiful play on words in English. (The play on words in question would be "Knightmare.") The linguist within me squees with delight. And I know that this is cheesy and manipulative, but I actually like how every episode ends with a DUN DUN DUN! cliffhanger. At least it makes me actually want to see the next episode.
nenena: (Default)
Well, it turns out that amazon.co.jp will indeed import that Disgaea 1997 calendar. I've already got mine on preorder. ^_^ (Honestly, I should have thought to check amazon.co.jp before complaining in my previous post. They are awesome in that they import nearly everything that's published in English. Including English translations of Japanese novels and manga, which I think is pretty awesome.)

Also, I went ahead and bought the six Disgaea novels. Haven't touched the Disgaea 2 novels yet as I expect it will take me a while to get through the first six. But I mostly went ahead and bought them because if my understanding of the reviews on amazon are correct, then Flonne/Laharl is officially canon in the novels. Which makes me a very happy little fangirl.

I finally finished Solaris and am still... digesting it. It was definitely one of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read, but it's taking me a while to process all of said thoughts that have been provoked. It probably doesn't help that I'm simultaneously 1/3 of the way through Haunted, and reading Palanhuik tends to overstimulate and then shut down my brain by turns. Plus I'm supposed to be forcing myself to read the Ah! My Goddess novel, but right now I don't care about Freya and there's only so much of Skuld acting spoiled that I can take.

And now, some Goddess humor. )