「イン・ザ・ダーク・ウィー・リヴ/enemy below」 (In Za Dāku Wī Rivu)
“In the Dark We Live”

The classic introduction of an anime villain is surely, “Hey – you’re that guy from the toilet!”

If there were any doubt that this world is not the one we live in 13 years in the future, it was pretty much dispelled this week beyond any reasonable doubt. There have been ample clues that things were different, even before our present, but the clinchers came this week – the first of them the description of Nagoya as the “Japanese Capital”. And in the event you were considering that something had changed between 2012 and 2025 to cause that change, descriptions of the great Japanese scub burst of “70 years ago” – i.e. 1955 – put an end to that notion. No, this is some sort of different – a different timeline, a different universe, however you want to describe it – but it’s not Earth as we know it.

Of course that opens us up to an endless range of possibilities, and this wouldn’t be BONES – or Eureka Seven – if it were easy to figure out what’s really happening. Rather then sheer confusion from mass of plot, which is more typical of BONES, I think we’re looking more at deliberate obfuscation here. The Truth is definitely dropping many hints that the world we’re seeing in fundamentally “incorrect” in some way, and that this can be seen by those who know how to look for it. And Ao seems to be one of those people – perhaps it’s his “superpower”, as otaku Elena calls it, or perhaps he’s just very much his mother’s son. In practical terms this Japan is a very different country from “our” Japan in many ways, seemingly never having elevated itself above the level of second-rate economic power. Nakamura (Endo Kouichi) who we’ve met before, has his role clarified to a great extent here – he dreams of a greater Japan, one out from under the thumb of the allies, and he means to harness the power of The Secret to make it happen. Yeah, good luck with that.

Alternate universe or no, we’re seeing a couple of very classic themes addressing the malaise of modern Japan here – Nakamura’s notion of “destroying the country in order to remake it” for one. He literally sees the seeds of rebirth in the rubble of tragedy, wanting to use the damaged quartz from the 1955 scub burst to lure The Secret in. As Nakamura plots an end run around the higher authorities, who’re content to settle for peace at any cost and not rock the boat, he’s actually being used as a tool – there’s a mole inside his organization reporting directly to GenBlue what’s happening. But GenBleu is being used as well, because the mole is The Truth, playing both sides against the middle – though as usual, what his ultimate goals are is not information we’re made privy to.

In terms of the politics here, I think Aikawa Shou is taking the same view he normally tends to espouse: “a pox on both your houses”. Nakamura is a fool and a dangerous war-monger, and those he opposes are corrupt and timid. As in the larger global geopolitic, the theme is not “Us vs. Them” in the sense of which powers are in the right, but in the sense that the generation in power is spoiling the world for the young – which is another classic anime theme, especially in Aikawa’s works. Ao himself is a victim of this, though he doesn’t play the role of victim easily. The most important line of dialogue in the episode was his “I don’t care if they’re Japanese or Okinawan – people are dying!” This is striking both as insight into Ao as a boy, and the larger conflict of the series. No one has more reason to hate both Okinawans and Japanese than he does – but he hates neither. And the generation in power – through the voice of Rebecka in this instance but consistently for the last six eps – is trying to exploit the hatred they expect to see to manipulate Ao towards their own ends. The fact that he refuses to play along just cements him further as a strong and admirable main character.

I find it striking just how overt the cynicism is within Pied Piper, Generation Bleu’s “ace team”. It speaks loudest through Ao, but Fleur and Elena openly question and mock their superiors on open com channels without a second thought – and are rarely rebuked for it by Rebecka or Ivica. The difference is, they go along with it, and Ao still rebels – whether solely through a difference in his nature or also because he hasn’t been immersed in GenBlue for as long as they have is hard to say. This trio has become much more cohesive in the last couple of eps, and the reason is clear – it’s generational, Us vs. Them. They come off as sullen kids sometimes, but they share a wariness and suspicion of their elders, and they know more than the adults think they do.

It’s no coincidence that GenBleu has “Generation” in their name, because generational politics is the heart of Astral Ocean. And it’s no coincidence that the title of next week’s ep is “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” (Release Yourself) – it’s a not-so-subtle reminder of where the team name comes from. The original “Pied Piper of Hamelin” is a fairy tale of a piper who lured Hamelin’s boys and girls away from town, never to be seen again. Historically this might have been a reference to the Children’s Crusade, where thousands of children supposedly marched off to expel heathens from the Holy Land, only to be sold into slavery or killed. The symbolism as it relates to the story is clear enough, and should certainly color your views on just who the good guys and villains are in this series.

In addition to all that heavy politics and plot, I enjoyed the time-wasting opening sequence too – not quite a full-on swimsuit episode, but a moment to shed a little insight into the dynamic of Pied Piper. Ao remains more serious than his teammates, but he has good reason – as Fleur mockingly says, he “wants to get his girlfriend back.” Is there a hint of jealousy in her mockery, perhaps? Maybe – but as much as I like Fleur and as much as I think her relationship with Ao has progressed naturally and believably, I see no evidence his devotion to Naru has wavered at all. Indeed, he’s presented with more than his fair share of scenery, but in pure-pure Kotora fashion, refuses to be distracted (much) from his commitment to Naru.


Lost in America’s Summer Preview and Poll is posted. I hope you’ll stop by, vote, and join the discussion.




  1. Im curios to see where they are going with this. I really wasnt expecting a non-mecha antagonist for this series, although whether the word “antagonist” actually applies to them we arent sure of yet. At least this series isnt predictable.

  2. This was a decent episode, but I wouldn’t say that it stands out among the rest. I’m a bit bored of Truth. I just don’t think his personality is very interesting or appealing. I’ve got the same problems with Gazelle, who’s gags sort of teeter between hit and miss, although Gazelle still manages to stay pretty likable. So far, I haven’t found anyone worth hating or disliking yet, but boredom is still a negative. On the plus side, the character interaction between Pied Piper is still pretty entertaining.

    Fleur mockingly says, he “wants to get his girlfriend back.” Is there a hint of jealousy in her mockery, perhaps?

    Please, please, yes, lol.

    1. I pretty much agree. As much as I love this show, the villain is the least interesting part about it. His shapeshifting powers are pretty cool, but he really needs to do something more interesting than just spouting gibberish and inciting monsters to attack people. His personality doesn’t stand out and his goals are vague at best (seriously, give me some context on this guy).

      The plot needs to get moving to begin with, really (though maybe the next episode will give us that) because it kinda falls into monster of the week now. Still, I love the interaction between the characters and the growing bond between Ao and the two girls is very fun to watch. And yes, I’d ship Ao and Fleur together too, even though that’ll never happen.

      1. I’m seeing this MotW charge a lot, but I think all of these so-called MotW eps are serving a larger purpose, setting up the politics which drive the story. Every one of these episodes has revealed something about the politics of this alternative world and established the trap that Ao has been caught in. The problem may be that some folks just don’t care about the politics.

      2. @Stilts:
        Well, the politics behind it all I like (though I am of the opinion that I liked the more indepth approach of Un-go better, but whatever, different shows and all). It’s just that I’m worried the show is falling into a routine. The previous series had 50-something eps to faff about in, but this show only runs for two cours. Just worried about pacing, is all.

  3. Great episode this week for plot and story for some of the side characters and of course Truth is having a fun time messing around with the humans, but we all know he is really after the Nirvosh! And it looks like he might team up with Nakamura for a bit or kill him off and just copy his looks to make things easier lol

    Elena and Fleur swimsuit service was great even though it was only around for the first ten minutes and bravo to Ao! Those girls seemed to enjoy teasing him…err I mean Fleur enjoyed that part the most.

    Fleur mockingly says, he “wants to get his girlfriend back.” Is there a hint of jealousy in her mockery, perhaps?

    ^^^^^THIS^^^^ OHHHH YES

  4. I didn’t really care for the secret part of the episode…I’m getting a bit sick of them. Really feels monster of the week ish portion to me.

    I did however like the rest of the episode. Looks like Truth is trying to incite conflict by saving Nakamura who seems like he might be one to start a war with other countries around the world in the name of making a “greater” Japan. Maybe Truth is trying to make the world destroy itself in a gigantic war to rid the world of the corruption Truth sees in the world? I dunno.

    The Piper book and symbolism could lead to a very interesting twist. If Generation Bleu really is gathering up children for a darker purpose or does not intend to let them return home, I can see this getting very, very interesting. Could the secrets possibly be the “rats”, and when they’re taken away the world as a whole refuse to recgonize Bleu and they take the children away? Or could Bleu be trying to take certain children to the world on the other side of the scub bursts? Guess we’ll just have to see.

  5. I enjoy you post very must. I truly enjoy it. I made simular point out from the episode some I miss some I hit. You know you anime. Also I want to point something out I think you may find plausible “Pied Piper of Hamelin” symbolic reference could be use on Truth and Generation Bleu. Truth may want or need followers through forcible mean “His Might” and Generation may seek a more convention mean of fighting the Secret thought more steamline method, one word captitialism and Fleur and Elena later become a nuisance to newer and more expendable pilot. Keep posted them I keep reading them.

    Lao Ivan
  6. I have a feeling we’re like the kids in “Pied Piper of Hamelin”, being led around by the piper (BONES) around in the story now, cause there is no way we can predict what’s to come anymore.

  7. Eureka Seven AO………sucks. the follow up to my favorite anime of all time its so bad that it has nothing to do with the original series aside from Eureka (which they cleverly eliminated). its like an anime that has the Eureka Seven name plastered on it. I am very disappointed to the point that I struggle to watch it sometimes i even stop the episode and go do something else and finish it later. the bad guy name is Truth and the monsters are called secrets , its like a five year old came up with the story itself. There is nothing that tells you that the world in the original existed except we have real world stuff like the United States and Japan it just makes no sense, since in the original series it was never mentioned. BONES are horrible in making second seasons same thing happened with Darker Than Black Season 2 it was a huge disappointment where Season 1 was amazing. I will still watch this show for the sake of me being a fan of the series but this was more made for new people than the fans themselves since they dont mention anything from the original.

  8. “As in the larger global geopolitic, the theme is not “Us vs. Them” in the sense of which powers are in the right, but in the sense that the generation in power is spoiling the world for the young – which is another classic anime theme, especially in Aikawa’s works.”

    Classic theme but more true than ever. Whether it be Japan, the United States, the European countries or wherever- the baby boomer generation is driving us off a cliff.

    Ao is the character type who gets it- one who looks a the entire picture instead of localized geopolitical conflicts over power.

    Banana Furikake
  9. I’m still unsure why people feel like E7:AO is a betrayal to the original. Some people are saying that it is completely unrelated to the first, but we get references everywhere from the Gekko State Insignia being shown at the ‘Okinawan Independence’ concert, to the hint that Renton is Ao’s father, and so on. The economy at which E7: AO is running is preferable to the entertaining but ultimately ‘filler’ episodes which plagued the first Eureka Seven.

    I’m particularly fascinated with ‘Truth’ and his involvement in the geo-politics of the E7 world. We are getting a particularly complicated example of political world-building at work here and it seems that nobody appreciates it. While it may seem that Truth’s intentions are simple and that he is overpowered, why exactly is he going through the complicated process of intervening in political affairs? Rather then annihilating everyone as we know he is capable of doing, why is it that he exploits the tensions in geo-political affairs so that these nations end up shooting themselves in the foot? What is the relation between the 1955 Scrub Burst and the one that the Japan of AO is trying to reactivate and how does that relate to the legacy of the atom bomb and its relationship to atomic energy, especially in the aftermath of 3/11?

    While I can admit that E7 could be better, I think it uses the world it builds for some great parallactic readings between E7: AO and ours. While it is no ‘Man in the High Castle’ of Philip K. Dick, I feel that its ambition is the same.

  10. I’ve been tossing around the idea that this is indeed the world the Coralians created after the events of Eureka seveN. Truth’s comments can be interpreted a number of ways, but his cryptic comments and that strange sequence with the three-seated Nirvash is kind of giving me the vibe that the world their in is somehow false.

    1. Just a heads up, the three seat Nirvash was shown to be one of Gen Bleu’s FP’s, which seem come in the three seat format.

      If you rewatch the scene you’ll see the FP morph to the Nirvash as it flys behind a building. Still very strange but not directly linked to the Nirvash as first suspected.

  11. As much as I like watching Eureka Seven AO, my biggest problem is that in the latest episodes, it feels like Naru has essentially been written out of the plot and has been put on the backburner. While there were one or two references to her disappearance, it’s almost like she’s been forgotten. Personally, I feel that the writers should have had one major arc regarding this from the start, whether this would be early on or possibly later in the series. That way, it would have had much more of an impact. Right now, it felt like it started off with a bang and then went nowhere with it… It sort of feels like a waste to not use all that momentum that had been built up.

    Rather, they are focusing more and more about political commentary. I can somewhat appreciate this approach, but that does not necessarily mean that I will enjoy it. I wouldn’t exactly call this a knock on the show; rather, it’s more about what I’m looking for in a show. There are times where I will look for such political intrigue in an anime, but it was not the case for this series. What drew me into this show in the first couple of episodes were the characters, so I’m slightly disappointed about the turn it has taken. Sure, there is still some character development, but lately, it feels minor and secondary compared to that of earlier episodes. Granted, it’s still way too early to make a final judgement, but I’m just airing my thoughts about recent episodes.

    After rereading what I wrote, I didn’t mean to sound like I hate the show. I still look forward to each new episode. I just want to be honest about my opinions and not gloss over them.

    1. Yeah had it been renton in this situation and it was eureka that was kidnapped you know he would have chased after her to the ends of the earth and kicked that guys ass. Much like how he saved her at the end of the 1st season. Ao may have tried to go after her once and he was stopped since he didnt know where she was. BUT FOR 2 EPISODES TO GO BY AND HE ACTS LIKE HE DOESN’T EVEN GIVE A SHIT ANYMORE! He could at least act like he’s pissed or something and want her back but his emotions are just flat on he doesn’t give a shit(until somebody says something like fluer for example). Renton would have been crying, angry and acting emo as hell all of these episodes until he got her back.

    1. Thanks, love Elena.

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