「スティル・ファイティング/secret operation」 (Sutiru Faitingu)
“Still Fighting”

It’s completely natural for a very good show to have a letdown after an episode as flawless as last week’s edition of AO. The fact that this show suffered no such letdown is an awfully good omen for its future.

I never expected last week’s episode – quite possibly my overall favorite in an outstanding season of anime – to be a fluke. Hell, the premiere was damn good in its own right. But I wondered if everything the team had went into that episode, to make it just perfect, and if the series would level down and settle into a groove a notch or two below. Well, not so far. This week E7 delivered another knockout – a more thoughtful, less blisteringly paced effort to be sure, but a knockout nonetheless. This was a week for the writing and the cast to shine, and so they did, delivering again and again with believable scenes that had me totally wrapped up in the story from start to finish.

I’ll repeat what I said last week – I don’t know who credited head writer Takeyoshi Kakuto is (there was some buzz on Twitter as Aikawa Shou and Koyoda Tomoki shot down a couple of rumors, but confirmed it is a pen name) but they’re damn good. That, or Shou-san is leading the effort himself, as he’s clearly capable of work this good. So far, AO is more coherent and logical than the original E7 ever was, and just as much fun. The story is easier to follow, and the main character is both more sympathetic and more decisive (and this coming from someone who liked Renton as a male lead). We have a complex and interesting political story playing out, with Okinawa wanting independence but mired in corruption and incompetence at the highest levels, and Japan and America each wanting to ensure their interests aren’t compromised (not to different from the way things are now, the be honest). And everyone wants to use Ao for their own purposes, even the ones who hate him.

What’s impressing me most of all about the premise is that no one is being set up as entirely good or entirely evil, and no punches are being pulled in the way these issues are being discussed. Example: Pippo’s comment when told that the Americans and French had helped “build” the Nirvash, “It’s fat, wants to surrender and has bad teeth.” It’s admittedly a hilarious (and audacious) line of dialogue, but in one fell swoop it manages to poke fun at every nation involved – including the Okinawans for their parochialism and bigotry. And while the story is set in Okinawa and clearly has its share of sympathy for the culture and cause, it also depicts the generation of Okinawans in power as small-minded, vengeful, cruel and incompetent – blaming all their problems on a small boy they persecute, the Governor doing karaoke with a member of Generation Bleu in his office. No one gets a free pass here, and everything is assigned their share of criticism for the state of affairs that exists.

Given the many poles of interest in the story, it follows that affairs are as complicated on a personal level as a political one. Turns out Gazelle’s name is Jiro and his father Kinjo Kazuyuki (Kusumi Naomi) is a leader in the local community and well-known musician, and Pippo’s father Niigaki Teruhiko (Tetsuo Komura) is in the SDF high command. Naru’s father helps Gazelle’s father kidnap Ao with the intent of using him as a bargaining chip, and he’s taken to the man’s studio. As the old man sits playing his Sanshin, he offers Ao a despicable and cowardly non-apology for the way he’s been treated – not only is he a coward and a bigot, but he doesn’t even have the balls to admit he’s one openly. Just as Tanovic shows up to take Ao into GenBleu’s custody, so does Gazelle, with Pippo and Han in tow – and they take Ao away. Gazelle’s resolve to try and right the wrongs of his parents’ generation is clumsy, but at least it’s honest – and when Ao refuses to pilot the Nirvash again and asks to be dropped at Fukai-sensei’s house, they do what he asks.

As last week, it’s Ao who really shines brightest among this cast. He finds Toshio’s house on fire and the old man trying to save as much as he can, including a picture of Eureka and baby Ao. It’s the work of hate, frightened and suspicious locals who blame Ao for everything that’s happening – yet Ao resolves in the face of that to once more pilot Nirvash and save the island from the enormous G-monster that looms over it. He has very valid reasons not to want to do so – sure he’s scared, but even more he doesn’t want to continue to be seen as an alien, and to be hated and feared. In spite of everything Ao wants to be accepted by the very people who hate him, and even Gazelle is surprised when he sees that rather than hardening Ao’s opposition, seeing his house in flames has cemented Ao’s will to fight. The boy says simply, “I don’t want to pilot it. But if I don’t, I’ll regret it later.” This sort of scene could have been rousing in a fairly routine, GAR-wannabe sort of way, but what makes Ao especially likable is that he has all the same worries and doubts a normal person would – but he does what has to be done anyway, without making a fuss about it. And that’s what makes Ao, taking to the sky in The Nirvash, “WELCOME AO” on its control panel, much more GAR than a run-of-the mill action hero.

Still largely a mystery in this story is GenBleu. We see the girls in their relaxed moments – updating a blog, downloading music – and we have it more or less confirmed that only children can pilot an IFO. The girls clearly have their status as idols as well as a sort of independent rescue squad/paramilitary Secret-fighting brigade, but it’s Tanovic who’s most intriguing at this point, admitting to Ao that he knew (or knows) Eureka – who was apparently taken away by the Americans after a scrub burst ten years earlier. It’s still impossible to piece together how this fits with the original E7 chronology (if indeed it does, and this isn’t some sort of alternate timeline) but it’s clear that Tanovic is a key link, as speculated here last week. Ao and GenBleu are certainly going to end up working together, and possibly Team Gazelle too, maybe as soon as the current G-monster is dealt with.

Judging by the legions of BONES giants in the credits for next week’s episode, I think we can look forward to a blockbuster – lots of big set pieces, glorious non-CGI mecha combat and another script by Aikawa Shou. Is it possible this series – and this season – could actually get better? I don’t think that’s a realistic expectation, but I know that on every scene change this week I kept thinking “It can’t be over yet, can it?” I wanted this ep to keep going and going but it felt as if it flew by, and that’s a sure sign that everything is clicking. With a setup this interesting, a MC this good and a beloved franchise that’s still being held mostly in reserve, the potential for Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean seems almost unlimited.


Author’s Note: I want to take a moment and be selfish here, and let my RC readers know that Lost in America is participating in this year’s Aniblog Tourney.  It’s my first time competing, and LiA’s first-round matchup is Saturday, April 28.  If you happen to be a visitor to LiA and feel it’s worth supporting in the tourney, I’d certainly be grateful if you cast a vote on my behalf.




  1. Good. Night. Nurse. If Langrange /AND/ Ao are fighting for my attention next season, with how FREAKING awesome, both have been and are turning out to be.. I’m just going to die happy and be done with it ~v~


    You can tell all the characters mentioned have significance. And while not all of them will probably get a seasons worth of fleshing, what little they’ve done in 3 episodes gives them all an incredible amount of backstory. Keep it comin’! The music has me on the edge of my seat I want more >D!.

    1. As mentioned above, LiA’s match is 4/28 (the first-round matches are spread over two weeks). Thanks for your support!

      Yes, Nirvash does look different, but there are enough possible reasons for why that is that anything right now would be no better than a guess.

  2. I loved Eureka Seven so it’s great that they brought back the franchise once again with this fantastic sequel.
    The overall feeling,characters,and music have gotten me hooked..And to think that it’s all just getting started! I can’t wait to see this episode..^^ I also have to agree on Ao,he’s awesome in every aspect.
    Finally,I want to thank you Enzo. It’s great to have you covering this series,keep up the good work~

  3. I had my doubts about an E7 sequel before, but after this and last week’s episodes, I can’t imagine anyone griping about this. I hope this keeps up. My only real worry is that E7 AO may get caught up in fillertopia like the original.

  4. Well can’t say I have much sympathy for the Okinawan people. They’re just too stupid to recognize the dangers of the Secret all in the name of “independence” while they endanger their own people. And what they’ve done to Ao’s family is just cruel, bigoted and mean-spirited. Especially torching Ao’s house, that was a level of unnecessary douchebaggery.

    Amidst all that though it does cement how likable character Ao is. Despite all the crap he’s gone through before and now, he’s still resolved to protect the island without any ounce of spite to the people who hurt him. This kid maybe be thirteen years old but he’s manlier than most protagonists who are older than he is.

  5. While the last two already did it, this episode proves that E7 AO is a worthy successor of E7.

    Anyway, I stand by my opinion that the turquoise hair doesn’t really fit Ao, it just doesn’t look that good. But the picture of Eureka makes me think that maybe Eureka just looked so pretty with it and that’s why Ao just can’t match it.
    She even looks great with the dark hair, but you can’t beat the turquoise.

    And Fluer is officially my fav now. I like her.

    Now where the hell is Renton?

    1. I expect she tried to hide it, as it probably became a stigma. The turquoise seems to be a harbinger of the Scub, which the islanders view with a certain amount of fear.

  6. The current world building leaves little room for anything from E7 imo.

    Alternate universe or time travel to the past seem like big contenders, especially with the flash of original Nirvash colors in Ep2.

    Probably like the hive mind of the scub extends past time/space etc.

    The original E7 case is so big, such that, it would be difficult to include what happens to even a few of them in the E7:AO run. We may not even learn what happened to Renton!

    1. As I commented in the previous post, all the inconsistencies with this world and the world in the previous series is explained in the FINALE of the first series.

      The Scub Coral, having finally gained an “understanding” of humans(and of what their own existence on Earth is doing to these humans) left Earth and formed an planetary circle around Earth(like planetary circle Saturn).

      In the anime ending, Eureka was supposed to go back with all the scub coral, but Nirvash gave Eureka and Renton a chance and let Eureka go with Renton back to Earth, becoming the command center for the scub coral instead of Eureka herself.

      The manga ending is a lot sadder, since Eureka really left Earth together with all Scub Coral, but it seems its only temporary, since she (seemingly) came back after a period of time.

      I’m surprised I actually remember all this. Whew

      1. Excellent summary!

        However, though the inconsistency is explained, the world building for E7:AO leaves little room IMO for any of those endings to be part of the new premise of this series.

        A few things are contradictory/unusual as of Ep3 (I am sure will be explained), as Eureka appears without Nirvash, and is already pregnant! That would mean that Nirvash(AO) is not the same as Nirvash(OG). But why would Fukai remember the original color scheme, and the implication that Eureka is the original pilot? I think this, combined with the state of the current world, makes for a difficult transition if we hold either the original manga/anime as canon.

        Having recently rewatched the second half of E7, I am very anxious to see where they are going with AO, I am willing to accept the widely held theories of alternate world/time travel.

      2. I think it’s pretty obvious that, whatever it happened in E7 end, this time we’re in our near future Earth. I mean, maybe it’s another univerese different from the original to E7, but It’s in our future, somehow. Tecnology is pretty much the same as ours, but a few seconds into the future and with FP-trapar tecnology first stages developed: it can run a “car” but not a commercial jumbo airplane. And we know photographs weren’t an usual thing in 1940 thanks to a 2nd episode comment. And on top of that, the military clothes look like actual current ones, same goes for military weapons and so on. The different style is associated with trapar tecnology and iFO.

      3. I agree with you vlm, and for those interested, (actually I’m wondering if this will be covered here lol, but even if it isn’t, its okay) I think recently? or sometime ago I’m not completely sure Bones released an Eureka 7 AO Prologue, or episode 0/episode 51 of Eureka 7 that perhaps ties these inconsistencies together. It is voiced mainly from the perspective of Eureka, but also including Renton, a bit from Dominic/Anemone, Talho and Holland. I find that its a good refresher for those who’ve watched E7 a while ago (like me haha).

        Again, whether it ties in with the original we’ll have to wait and see. 🙂 but I think its totally Ao’s story now. (not that I would complain if we see some old characters from E7).

  7. Best line – I don’t want to say sorry to the kids like your dad (did to me).

    I love the theme- that it’s the old guard who have screwed everything up because they are so hardened in their views. It is a theme that holds so true in real life.

    We live in a screwed up world where greed, avarice, selfishness and bigotry have taken control. You hear leaders talk about not leaving a screwed up world for their kids and their grand kids. Well- the sad thing is that we’re here right now- and things are messed up.

    Just once- just once I’d like to see げんじつ (reality) align with what happens in stories like this- Where the older generations realize that what they are doing is wrong. We should all be working for the betterment of all of us- not just for a few. The younger generations get this- the idea that we’re all in this together. Maybe it’s time for all of us to take the reigns.

  8. Man I want to see eureka!!
    Who knows maybe she will appear on the 2nd half!!

    And yeah what happen to renton :C
    Maybe this one is an alternate world? Gahhh I want to see the next episode already :C

  9. I have never hated an ending song as vehemently as I do E7:AO >={

    Damn it, the next episode is gonna be a painful wait!

    I hope we’ll be seeing more of Eureka; I wonder what she’s been doing for the past 10 years…

  10. Animation/Art took a slight nosedive this week. Naru’s face in the opening scene was weird.

    One thing that has a chance to ruin this show is that whole idol thing (the 2 Blue Generation girls). I hope there’s no stupid cheesy Macross-like J-pop scenes. Seriously, which idiot thought it a good idea to have idols (or whatever they’re called) singing and doing PR work while war/battle rages? Boost morale? You must be joking!!

      1. Those were entertainment for the soldiers, am I right? Pretty sure none of the performers went into battle and sang to the enemies, trying to convert their “hearts” and all that.

    1. Most mecha anime? Hell try most anime lately. I’ve watched Deadman Wonderland,Guilty Crown, and Mirai Nikki most recently as heavy hitter animes. All the main characters start out as wimpy crybabies then evolve into more structured and composed figures. Ao is starting off that way which means his character evolution will be even more epic.

      1. Well since Gundam, more and more mecha protagonists have become wimpyish in the beginning to reflect that war isn’t something you dive hotblooded into. If you dislike having wimpy protagonists yet still enjoy something like Gundam, watch Super Robot Wars. Ryuusei Date starts off as hotblooded, but then becomes depressed and slightly emo, but then because awesome.

        Suppa Tenko
      2. If it helps, there are still some non-wimpy mecha protagonists around. Last season gave as Kyouno Madoka, though the fact that she was a girl was unusual.

        So that essentially makes the GAR-est mecha protagonists this year a high-school girl and a 13-year old boy barely out of puberty. Makes you think doesn’t it?

  11. knockout series so far. it lives up and exceeds any expectations that i had of the series! definitely a worthy successor of the original but i’m scared that this series will only go downhill after such an amazing opening =(

  12. So far it seems like Eureka got pregnant and somehow appeared into this shows world and then had AO there. Show is pretty much fantastic thus far, and I’m glad they updated the opening to include Ao’s new hair color.

  13. I so cant wait till they introduce the rest of the members of Pied piper. Elena(omg dat pose) and Fleur were pretty likable and the chief is certainly intriguing me as well.

  14. Speculation:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    1. I’m gonna agree with your theory there and i hope that’s the case. I’m worried though because in the original series somethings are never fully explained or made completely clear. My hope is that this show doesn’t conveniently connect everything at the end, and that we’ll get to piece a bunch of things together before the cats out of the bag. So far so good though

    2. Works for me!

      But I can’t get past why Fukai remembers OG Nirvash color scheme. As of this ep, we know Eureka fell out of the sky. Pregnant. Up to the point where she was taken by the Americans, we don’t know when she could have piloted Nirvash.

      As for Nirvash, either manga ending or anime ending, it would not make much sense for her to be piloting it.

      1. Maybe not necessarily pregnant. It wouldn’t surprise me that much if Ao, instead of being Eureka’s and Renton’s son, were actually just another Coralian born from a scub coral and then adopted by Eureka. Or is that not possible? I don’t remember the first series that well.

    1. All i see there is a very deceiving editing project. Every sentence is from the original, and every cut and scene is also from the original. It get’s sloppy at times. Bones in no way made this as a bridge. Like I said, clever editing project.

      1. Or, — its a montage of the original by bones, all the blank screens with Japanese are legit. Someone, however reconned the ending with subtitles assuming most Americans dont know japanese. Its real “Heres e7, remember. heres 30 seconds of e7ao, looks cool right.” And then someone turned it into a prank.

  15. Ao is such a great protagonist, so refreshing. I really love his determination <3

    Arghh it will be a painful wait for all to be explained. It doesn't feel right to see Eureka without Renton at her side so I'm eager to get some answers. Of course, patience is a key so I'll just enjoy the ride until then.

    I wonder if Anemone and Dominic will make an appearance or even Holland and co. Well, we need to confirm if it is the same timeline first XD but it would be nice. I can't be the only one who misses those characters too, right?

      1. You’re very welcome!

        Looks blurry because of the gaussian blur I applied to make it ‘look animated’ or from a screenshot, not crisp. Tell me guys if you want a separated version and a crisp one.

  16. The ending of the ep where Ao blasted out of the cave gave me goosebumps. I haven’t been this excited about an anime in a long time.

    The OST is pretty looking solid too, that violin music was fantastic.

  17. Wow, I’m really liking it so far. I admit it, it was somewhat beyond my expectations but I hope it will build up some more. Eureka’s grown to be a fine woman ;P

    The Story You Don't Know
  18. I really can’t have any respect for those poeple that treated Ao an Eureka so bad. They just wanted to have someone who they can blame for everything bad that happened. It’s just extremely pathetic and despicable.

  19. Good episode. It really felt like this episode was the lull before the storm. I expect in the upcoming episodes for a real maelstrom before the setting moves on to bigger things. On another note, as much as I loved E7, this sequel feels more streamlined. I guess it’s a little to early to come to that conclusion, but that is just the feeling I get when watching the first few episodes of this show. Granted, E7 was not initially intended for 50 episodes, and considering how this series will do sales-wise, it isn’t inconceivable for the sequel to get upgraded. Still, if that ever happened here, I don’t think I’d be complaining about more E7.

  20. Ugh. As a 40-year-old who’s seen plenty of great movies, dramas and anime, I recognize outstanding animation and storytelling when I see it. This episode was a let-down, and the only reason I’m mentioning it here is that most everyone seems totally smitten with the series so far. A dissenting voice, a differing opinion, that’s what I’m bringing to the discussion. I will give up on this show if things don’t improve; at least, I won’t bother watching it with such zeal. Would YOU stand talking to gramps while your house burned right behind you both? (Hope gramps got out all the important scientific logbooks first.) Would the independence-hungry youngsters blindly crash their flying car through the wall of the house where the only kid in the world who could pilot the Nirvash was being held captive? (Lucky he wasn’t killed, huh.) And if a HUMONGOUS alien ship was hovering right above your battleship, would you really be prepping to open fire on it with all your guns? (Nobody is worried about being hopelessly outgunned or of fallout from massive explosions overhead?) I can’t be the only guy who found this episode silly as hell. But I’m probably the only guy who will bother posting his opinion in this forum. Fingers crossed that next week’s episode will (begin to) restore my faith in Eureka AO.

  21. I didn’t even like E7, not very much anyway, but everything about this show has me hooked. Its my favorite show of the season by far, and I like how its not too reliant on E7 because quite frankly that would turn this into a quagmire. The characters, multi-threaded plot, fantastic detailed animation and background, music, and overall atmosphere and amazing in this show.

  22. I think, since they made an Eureka Seven episode 00 just before the E7-AO series, Renton and Eureka have to shown somehow.

    Also, i think that the old guy from PiedPipper may be MoonDoggie. That can explain why he remembers both the Nirvash and Eureka 14 years ago. But who knows. Damn this series is making me want to build a time machine or a machine which can take me to E7 world.

    Did anyone else’s heart was beating fast when you saw Eureka fully in this episode. I know i was. I honestly don’t care much for AO at this point as I do for Eureka and Renton. But, many anime sequels have shown me that they are not that great at connecting the whole story or that they would a complete reversal on the story. This i don’t like.

    In addition, i fell like the opening and ending songs aren’t up to par with the originals. I really was, correction as hooked on those songs. I still listen to them avidly.

    1. I don’t know…I just don’t see the resemblance. For one, his face isn’t a Selecao symbol of a picture of GC.

      Moondoggie, what do you say to these claims? Does that old guy look like you?

  23. I just think this story is related through concept like final fantasy games or legend of zelda. Totally different universe. I don’t think stories need a linking connection. However I guess we’ll know soon enough. 2025 doesn’t quite fit the range of the first Eureka Seven time line. Anyways the story looks fun to watch.

  24. Loved this week once again. Ao is a great character and I can’t believe how interested I am in him and all the other characters. So much of the story is different from Eureka Seven, and yet it really feels like a continuation. Except, what happened to the moon?? Just realized that that hasn’t been used at all.
    Would like to see more of Naru though as she is being set up as the main heroine of sorts. I loved how equally the story became about Renton and Eureka in the original and I hope we get another power couple here with Ao and Naru.

  25. Somehow the “It’s fat, wants to surrender and has bad teeth.” line sound like it has a different meaning from the subs to me.

    Well, if its somehow metaphorical then there nothing I can say as my level is not that high 😛


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