DVD Review: Eureka Seven AO – Part 2

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The climatic conclusion to Eureka Seven: AO has finally arrived into the UK, but what can we expect from the DVD Release by Manga Entertainment UK? Find out in our DVD Review of Eureka Seven: AO – Part 2.

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 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:

The first instalment of Eureka Seven AO set the tone quite nicely, with each episode having a constant theme of Ao trying to discover his origins and working with Generation Blu in protecting the world. This ‘theme’ was abruptly altered when the Gekko (a ship from the original Eureka Seven TV Series) crash landed onto earth with a younger, but pregnant, Eureka inside it. It was a spectacular way to end a half-season set and fortunately this type of ‘intensive’ pace keeps up throughout the second half, but in a more complicated fashion.

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Items that I highly enjoyed from the first half of Eureka Seven AO, such as the fast paced mecha fight scenes, evolving storyline and amazing surround sound effects (English Dub) are all present in this second half; however it’s the storyline that takes a drastic change for the worse as it becomes rather complex and ends rather abruptly.  Unlike the first half of the series the storyline alters direction and changes perspective quite quickly, for instance members of Pied Piper decide to join the Alliance but then after an encounter with friends they quickly return to Generation Blu, while in the long-run Secrets are now the ‘good guys’ while Generation Blu are the ‘bad guys’, but even then this gets quickly altered so that the Scubs are infact the enemies of the world.

It’s not just the main characters either, as support characters, such as Naru and the members of the Generation Blu space station, also switch sides and choose their own paths of justice. Naru, who we previously thought had been kidnapped by Truth, ends up standing up and fighting her own battles as a voice for the scubs, including fighting against Ao in her own Nirvash. Surprises are in-store and It provides some great entertainment, but there is a lot to keep up with even more so when the entire storyline changes due to alterations in time. Time travel plays an important factor into this second half of Eureka Seven AO and while it has appeared throughout the series it only becomes notice during the second half.

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I won’t spoil the surprise too much but during a mission Ao obtains the Quartz Gun, a gun formed by Quartz and uses Quartz obtained from Scub Corals. Once the gun is fired the entire history of earth is rewritten, with Ao (or the person firing the gun) being the only person noticing the differences. Because of this power it must not be used, but other nations, including truth, want to use it for their own selfish desires. The matter becomes even more complex when Renton, who appears out of a Scub Burst from the future, wants to use the Quartz Gun in order to rid the Scubs from history.

Secrets, Humans, Scubs, Coralians – everyone has a clash at some point in Eureka Seven AO and it provides one hell of a ride for the viewer, but the constantly evolving storyline and change in history to the ‘entire’ Eureka Seven timeline does make it slightly confusing. Luckily those who have not seen the original Eureka Seven storyline are catered for, as enough backstory is provided to give you a brief idea of whats taking place, but watching the original series does help. Of course those who find the series a little “too complex” can always watch the bonus OVA Episode, The Flowers of Jungfrau, which is also presented fully dubbed in this instalment.

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This particular episode sees Pied Piper take a mini vacation in hopes of escaping press attention, but it also sees Ao dressing up as a girl and looking like Eureka from the original Eureka Seven TV Series. It’s a nice addition on the disc, as it provides more comedy and a look at “general life” as opposed to seriousness that is taking place throughout the remainder of the series. In my eyes Eureka Seven AO – Part 2 is great, but it’s not as good as the first half as it feels slightly rushed with its overall presentation, that being said its highly entertaining and sounds fantastic in surround sound.

Extras:

Interestingly Eureka Seven AO – Part 2 has a lot of additional content, so much so that it provides an additional hour worth of viewing experience even after the initial series has been watched.

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As always the additional content is on the second DVD disc, however the first disc does contain an Audio Commentary for Episode 13.

Disc 1:

  • Episode 13 English Cast Commentary

Disc 2:

  • Episode 21 English Cast Video Commentary
  • Episode 24 English Cast Commentary
  • Promotional Videos
  • Textless Songs
  • English Trailer

The additional hour worth of content mostly comes in the form of English Cast Commentaries, three of which (each spanning 22 minutes) is provided across the entire release. Don’t celebrate too much though as they aren’t actually that interesting.

Each commentary has around five minutes of interesting discussion that revolve around the production of the series, such as English Dubbing experience and how they provided a voice for the character, while the rest of it is rather pointless dribble. The highlight of the Cast Commentaries is that the voice actors for Eureka (Stephanie Sheh) and Renton (Johnny Young Bosch) share stories and experience of how they provided the voice-over work for the original Eureka Seven TV Series and the differences between the two series.

To round out the additional features is the inclusion of original Japanese promotional materials, the English trailer and a variety of textless songs, however disappointingly the quality of these extras is slightly worse than the episodes themselves as they look slightly pixelated. I assumed the textless songs was quality ‘compressed’ so that everything could be fit onto the DVD disc, but this is a small price to pay for a variety of extra content, something which we know is a rarity on anime releases.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x2
Region: 2
Running Time:  2:44:14 (Disc 1), 2:26:49 (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:

Eureka Seven: AO – Part 2 concludes the storyline of ‘Ao Fukai’ storyline of the Eureka Seven franchise, a series which focuses more on “Ao origins” rather than relationships with close friends and crushes. Ao has always been looking for where he truly belongs and at the end of the series he is given that answer, of course that’s not only story being told. Characters from the original Eureka Seven franchise make a ‘welcome’ return to briefly explain what happened since the end of the original series/film and how Ao truly came to be, all the while the ultimate fate of the Secrets and Scub corals are brought to attention, but at the cost of a huge sacrifice.

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A mix of surprise, action and a complex storyline is in-store for the viewer and that’s just the TV Series as also included in this release is the bonus OVA Episode “The Flowers of Jungfrau”, an episode which brings a lot of laughs – especially for a series that is usually acts so serious.

Praises aside the DVD release does have a few issues, notable the adjustable picture quality. The episode quality is fantastic and is just what you’d expect from a DVD, yet when the extras are selected there is noticeable pixilation and distortion. It’s nothing major but if you are used to watching anime in HD you may easily notice it. Other than that the DVD Menu, Presentation and Audio quality all remain consistent with the previous part 1 instalment, though watching in surround sound is advised.

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The inclusion of 12 Episodes, an OVA episode and a variety of extras makes this instalment a worthwhile release, but more importantly if you have never experienced Eureka Seven then don’t worry as enough backstory is provided to give you an understanding of whats going off without feeling completely lost.  Overall Eureka Seven AO is a series worth watching, and while this Part 2 instalment may have a few quality issues, along with a complex evolving story, it does provide a constrant stream of immersive entertainment.

Score: review-stars-4

Eureka Seven AO – Part 2 will be available on DVD from the 10th March 2014.

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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.

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