DVD Review: Eureka Seven AO – Part 1

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It has been a long time coming but the continuation to the Eureka Seven timeline has finally arrived, but what exactly do we think of Manga Entertainment’s DVD release? Find out in our DVD Review of Eureka Seven AO – Part 1.

Synopsis:

The year is 2025. Earth is engulfed in the crossfire between massive warring alien life forms that leave annihilation in their wake. While searching for clues about his past, Ao is caught in an attack and forced to fly a giant humanoid fighter craft to save himself and his island. Fragments of the teenager’s origin come to light when a hostile shape-shifter seeking revenge on Ao’s missing mother – who vanished two years after his birth – targets him instead.

Consumed with learning how his machine of war is connected to his mother and the monster that now pursues him, the young pilot will fly full throttle into combat zones without hesitation.

Our View:

Eureka Seven AO acts as the sequel to the 2005 Anime series Eureka Seven, however unlike most sequels, which tend to continue the story directly, Eureka Seven AO follows a different set of characters within a different time line, but don’t let that fool you as Eureka Seven AO does indeed progress the story but in its own unique way, which means that fans of the franchise are in-store for some surprising treats and shocking revelations.  Eureka Seven AO will offer everything you loved about the original series, except this time the focus is on the mech battles rather than the relationship, which for me is a lot more entertaining.

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The main protagonist of Eureka Seven AO is Ao Fukai, a young boy currently living with Dr. Toshio Fukai on the Okinawan island of Iwadojima, however despite being born and raised on the island many consider him an outsider as his mother, a green haired woman known only as Eureka, arrived onto the island by falling out of the sky. Because of this Ao has been treated differently all of his life and now at 13 years of age finds himself uncovering the truth about his mother and what it has in-store for his future. You see Eureka disappeared from the island when Ao was only 3 years old and after a variety of unexplained events, which see’s Ao pilot the Nirvish – a giant mecha once piloted by Eureka, Ao decides to venture out in search of his mother. After operating the Nirvish Ao’s life takes a unique turn as not only is he recruited by Generation Bleu, a global organization contempt with defeating aliens known as Secrets, but his hair turns green which makes him even more of an outsider, especially to the people living within the village who still hold grudges against his mother, Eureka.

After being recruited by Generation Blue and joining the famous “Piped Piper” team Ao’s life has become a complex life or death struggle, as Ao, along with his team mates Fleur Blanc and Elena Peoples,  are tasked with piloting their IFO’s in attempt to defeat the entity’s known as Secrets, these secrets – which look more like Neuroi from Strike Witches – are attracted to Scub Coral’s that pop-up around the world. If a Secret interacts with a Scub Coral it could spell destruction for that area, and so Piped Piper is always on high alert to stop that from happening. This is where the true focus of the series lies, especially in this first half of the series, with Team Piped Piper travelling the world in an attempt to combat each of the Secrets that appear – while in the background a more darker sinister enemy is approaching, someone known only as Truth and provides destructive consequences for our main cast, especially Ao Fukai.

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Eureka Seven AO follows foundations laid out by the previous series, a story that focuses on bonds laid out by relationships, such as friendship, family and love, however unlike the original series its main focus is action with plenty of mecha battles, gunfights and explosions, all of which sound amazing in Surround Sound. The series also provides some “comical” relief in some great one liners, including a cameo reference to One Piece when Ao refuses to go swimming.  For me Eureka Seven AO – Part 1 takes what Eureka Seven had to offer, a relationship and coming of age story, and progresses it with more entertainment in the form of explosive battles and comical antics and that’s exactly what you get within Eureka Seven AO. Some fans of the franchise may dislike the change in direction but it provides a more faster paced experience that will appeal to a wider fan base.

Extras:

For a DVD release Eureka Seven AO – Part 1 includes some of the best extra feautres I have ever seen, with my personal favourite being the “Inside the Booth” segment which takes a closer look at the daily activities within FUNimation’s recording studios.

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As with most anime releases the “usual suspects” are also included, such as English Cast Commentaries for two episodes and text less songs for the opening and closing animation. Even more unique to this release is the original Japanese Commericals and an English Language Trailer, yet again showing that Eureka Seven AO – Part 1 has a strong line-up of extra features that will see owners putting their DVD Discs back into their player time and time again.

Disc 1:

  • Episode 5 English Cast Commentary

Disc 2:

  • Episode 10 English Cast Commentary
  • Inside the booth: Eureka Seven AO (14 Minutes)
  • Original Commericals (3 Minutes)
  • Textless Opening Song “Escape”
  • Text less Closing Song “Stand By Me”
  • English Language Trailer

As mentioned before the “Inside the Booth” is an interesting insight into how a series is dubbed into English, as it not only shows what the voice actors have to do but it also shows how Sound Mixers and Engineers incorporate their vocal work into the show. It’s a complex process and if you are a fan of “behind the scenes” styled documentary then it’s well worth watching.

Another interesting extra feature is the Episode 5 English Cast Commentary, which contains  Chuck Huber (Voice of Blanc), Jad Saxton (Elena) and Sainty Reid (Fleur) as they give their impression of the show, it’s characters and it’s also explained how Sainty Reid received her first anime role. Finally to round out the Extra features, all of which are located on the second DVD disc, is the traditional trailers and text less songs – with the opening song “Escape” providing multiple openings due to the ‘small’ alterations in the opening.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x2
Region: 2
Running Time:  2:45:41 (Disc 1), 1:57:19 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 448kbps (English), Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Some consider Eureka Seven AO a flop over the initial success of the original series, however while Eureka Seven focused on love and relationships, Eureka Seven AO – Part 1 focuses on mecha battles and the ties that bond people together. Because of this I find Eureka Seven AO much more bearable to watch and a worthy successor to the original anime series. Eureka Seven AO has a lot to offer, but unfortunately only some of it is shown within this first half of the series, as just when the series gets ‘addictively’ interesting it ends on a cliff-hanger, and an extremely important one at that.

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In terms of this DVD release by Manga Entertainment, with the disc itself being authored by Madman Entertainment, everything is as you’d expect it to be, with easy to navigate menus and detailed picture quality. It’s a shame that a Blu-ray release will not be available in the UK as the HD Visuals do really make a difference, especially in the mecha battles and fast moving segments as sometimes pixilation is noticeable in the DVD version – but this can only be noticeable if you are sat relatively close to the screen, which at most times you won’t be.

Audio wise the DVDs are presented in 5.1 Surround Sound (for the English audio track) and 2.0 Stereo (for the Japanese audio track) and both are presented realistically and clearly. Some may find the Japanese audio track, which has optional English Subtitles, much more enjoyable to listen to due to the voice actors better presentation of emotion through their voice, however the English 5.1 Audio track has its own benefits due to its cinematic style approach to battle scenes.  Noises from battles, such as explosions and its awesome soundtrack, appear from the surround speakers and offer a much more immersive experience than the Japanese Audio track. Basically each audio track has its own pros and cons, but overall I found the English Audio track much more enjoyable as not only do the English voice actors seem a perfect fit for their on-screen counterparts but the overall audio display is much more enjoyable due to its 5.1 experience.

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Overall Eureka Seven AO – Part 1 is a highly entertaining series and offers an alternate experience to what I was expecting, as it offers a no holds barred adrenaline fuelled joyride with mecha robots at its core with a developing relationship at its side, something which is uniquely different to the original Eureka Seven anime series. Each episode offers something new and different and with each passing episode the series leaves the viewer wanting more and luckily Eureka Seven AO delivers it. If you are looking for a mecha-filled anime with unique characters, a developing story and an awesome soundtrack then Eureka Seven AO – Part 1 delivers.

Score: review-stars-5

Eureka Seven AO – Part 1 will be available on DVD from the 6th January 2014.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

One Response to DVD Review: Eureka Seven AO – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Eureka Seven AO part 1 review roundup

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