「ワールド・トゥ・ワールド/rising sun」 (Wārudo Tu Wārudo)
“World 2 World”

If I really thought this was the penultimate episode of Astral Ocean, I’d be very worried. As long as that’s not the case I think it served its purpose quite admirably.

AO has followed what’s actually a pretty common pattern for sci-fi anime, despite all the criticism it’s received. It story started small, then got very big – and if it follows the pattern to the end, it should get small again. And I hope it does, because in order for the ending to work all of the incredibly complex threads that Aikawa Shou has sewn over the first 21 episodes have to be tied together by Ao. The story needs to focus on he, Fleur, Elena – Naru is still an open question – and their personal situations, not just the geopolitics of the story. I can think of very few shows that have depicted global politics and diplomacy in such Byzantine detail as this one, but the power of the ending is going to have to come from the core characters. We saw evidence this week that things are headed in that direction, and if there really are three eps to go that should be enough time to bring things full circle, and tie Eureka and Renton into the picture as well.

There’s certainly plenty of politics in this episode, but more than in any other recent effort it’s seen mostly in terms of how it impacts the young characters at the heart of the show. Pied Piper is fully broken – as Fleur dons a suit and tries to play the part of teen CEO (and looks extremely uncomfortable in both) Ao is also somewhat adrift in his new role as a pilot in the Japanese Air Force, alongside fighter jets instead of LFOs. He’s taken under the “wing” of pilot Soga (Miyauchi Atsushi), who was the fellow we saw in the preview last week. His late wife was Okinawan and was killed along with their children by the great scub burst during her visit to her homeland, and he seems a kindly sort – he’s invited Ao into his home and showed him the wonders of Izakaya fare.

More than anything the episode focused on Elena, and seemed to more or less bring her arc to it’s logical conclusion – although there are bits and pieces that still don’t fit together yet. Of course she’s defected to the Allied side, and there seems to be no indication that she did so as a strategic move to help Pied Piper. She’s become completely obsessed with getting back to “her world”, and appears willing to do anything to make that happen. A visit from Astral Eureka seems to put aside any notion that she’s Ao’s sister, or even from Ao’s world – no, Astral Eureka tells her that she’s in the right world already – just the wrong time, as she’s from the past. It would be an understatement to say this displeases her – rather than gratitude to Eureka form saving her from a scub burst she’s fully entranced by the notion of that special world with the heart in the moon, and horrified at the notion of being “ordinary”.

That was a twist I hadn’t necessarily expected, and it casts her relationship with Ao in a new light – not just that she isn’t his sister or even from his timeline, but that she was likely jealous of his “specialness” and connection to Eureka all along. It seems likely now that she suspected the truth and had been denying it to herself, and once she’s spent her helpless rage against Eureka she turns it on Ao, who she encounters when both the JAF and Allies converge on a scub burst in Indonesia. What she’s really trying to do here it get Ao to use his big gun on her, despite the knowledge of what Eureka has told her – and poor helpless Ao only wants to know why she isn’t his friend anymore. As Nirvash acts under it’s own will to target Elena with the quartz gun, Maggie Kawn intervenes and buys time for Ao to win over Elena’s heart with the power of his still rather innocent affection – though whether she’ll be able to truly forgive him for being Eureka’s son and more special than she is remains to be seen. In any case I would assume that Tanaka and the Allies have let yet another Pied Piper cub slip away from their grasp.

A couple of other developments in the Allied camp seem flush with significance as well. First, Maggie seems to have retained some memories of the other universe – images of Team Goldilocks flash through her mind when she sees Elena in Kirie. And the existence of “Coral Carriers” is revealed – adults who are able to pilot IFOs because they’re infected with scub coral – something Stanley calls the “product of Big Blue World’s fruitful research”. This is also at the heart of Naru’s storyline, which gets a reboot as we see her at home for the first time in a while. Naru has emerged as a kind of activist in favor of co-existence with the Scub, and a sort of beacon for the infected “coral carriers” of the world – which has brought Naru to the attention of Mama Hannah, who’s trying to dig closer to the truth of the scub, and what Big Blue World was up to all along.

We certainly have larger issues still to settle, with the Secrets holding to their contract with Japan and attacking their brethren when they appear at scub bursts, and a worldwide growing movement seeming to rebel against the notion that the scub are enemies. So not only does Ao need to decide where he stands on that issue – with Naru or against her – but ultimately, perhaps, he’ll need to choose between his own world and this one, and in doing so between the mother he’s been chasing after and the friendship he declared to Elena was all-important to him (the 2nd ED certainly hints at this). Ao’s name is no coincidence, with “Generation Bleu” and “Big Blue World” references everywhere – it’s almost as if this world was created for his benefit. I’ve long believed that the finale would come down to Ao having to make a choice, and probably in doing so to find a third option when the two presented to him are unacceptable. Ao’s role is likely going to be to find the larger truth beyond choosing his parents or his friends, and beyond the Scub and the Secrets.

On the question of just when we’ll see all that happen, there was some good news this week in that Animax Asia for the first time showed scheduled airings of episodes 23 and 24 – let’s hope that means MBX has found a way to air them outside their normal timeslot and they’ll make their way into the world on schedule. As of now, we have no confirmation on MBX’ schedule, so I still treat this as circumstantial evidence, though it’s certainly more hopeful than what we’ve been dealing with up to now.

 

Preview

54 Comments

  1. TO EVERYONE I THINK THERE CAN BE A 2ND SEASON 8 TO 12 MONTH FROM NOW. MANBE I NOT SURE
    TO EVERYONE I THINK THERE CAN BE A 2ND SEASON 8 TO 12 MONTH FROM NOW. MANBE I NOT SURE
    TO EVERYONE I THINK THERE CAN BE A 2ND SEASON 8 TO 12 MONTH FROM NOW. MANBE I NOT SURE

    Lao Ivan
  2. I’m actually sort of disappointed that I got it (kind of) right. I’d been feeling that Elena had deluded herself into thinking that she was from Eureka’s world, so it was strange to have this more or less be the case… but I digress. I think this episode did a great job in terms of psychological development, and it’s really great stuff too. Elena, having been displaced in time, was probably terrified of suddenly being in a new time (world), and having lost her family and friends, she emotionally made a connection to that “pretty” world as the means of somehow getting her identity back. For her, it was probably better to have a goal to something fantastical rather than face the bleakness of her new life. She then identified with otaku culture because she wished to be the heroine who would ultimately find her way to that world. It’s amazing that all that development has been slowly building up, almost unnoticed, since the beginning.

    Genesis
    1. The fact that Elena’s character was written like a TV trope dictionary helps a lot…(her having seen Eureka’s world between the time displacements has a lot to do with the misconception.)

      …oh, any link to that comment of yours?

      info600
      1. https://randomc.net/2012/09/08/eureka-seven-ao-19/comment-page-1/#comment-869786

        It’s somewhere near the bottom of that paragraph; however I wrote on that more extensively elsewhere so here it’s just a passing idea. It doesn’t really matter if I were right or not, it just feels kind of weird to guess at something I thought I’d be completely off on.

        Actually Elena’s issues are something that psychology sees quite a bit of. It seems silly but stuff like that really does happen to people when they try to forget or cover up unpleasant experiences. Her obsession with being special is hardly something that only happens in anime.

        Genesis
  3. The Higurashi and Code Geass people should have a get together with Truth. Light can join too. Ah, I can imagine the Nightmare laughter and distorted faces now.
    Suzaku: Lelouch, pass the ketchup.
    Lelouch: I’m sorry, but I ate the last of the ketchup to make the world a better place for Nunnally
    Suzaku: *distorted face* WHAT?!!
    Rena: I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
    Light: *evil laugh* I’ll take a potato chip… AND EAT IT!!! *eats chip dramatically*
    Truth: @__@ HOW CAN YOU GUYS EAT WHEN I’M NOT EVEN HUMAN?!

    CTT
      1. It just seemed kinda random. I mean, what does Truth not being human add to the joke? And if the thing that relates the joke to the series doesn’t even make sense, what’s the point?

        Da5id
      2. The joke was simply the idea of having all these characters having their freak outs at the dinner table. It wasn’t even supposed to make fun of show. Mostly because I don’t watch this show. So maybe the joke was off the mark because I don’t know what I’m talking about. But, honestly? You guys are the toughest crowd I’ve ever come across on the internet. Please continue to thumb me down^^
        @Da5id Thanks for explaining to me why I was getting so many thumb downs
        @Deviluke Cool username

        CTT
  4. So if AO takes place in 2025, and Elena is 15, and its been 5 years since she was rescued/taken by Eureka, while she disappeared in 1981…Elena was born in 1971, and would be ~54 years old at this point.

    A curious point is does that mean other people that ‘die’ in a scub burst have a similar fate.

    Longhaul
    1. Ah that’s right. Well I don’t think that it happens to everyone; Elena was probably an anomaly where Eureka was able to get involved in the moment of the burst and get a hold of one child to save. I think it’s interesting that Eureka seems to be connecting to Ao’s world continuously, that is, for her it’s been the same conversation while for Ao and the others she seems to randomly appear on different days. As if she were on a bad radio frequency that causes her to miss parts of what’s going on.

      Genesis
      1. Your opinion’s already been established as just nostalgia-based, rose-colored glasses view of a series you haven’t seen in years because you’re scared it wasn’t as good as you thought it was.

        If you’re not going to be constructive, why are you even still watching?

        Da5id
      2. No am mad that this series was hyped as a sequel to the original story but it basically has nothing to do with the original, so much that you don’t have to see the original to actually understand what is happening on this train wreck.

        Deviluke
      3. Apparently not, if you’re saying Ao is the inferior to Renton and not noticing how whiny Renton was in most of the series. Believe it or not, that show was no masterpiece. This show has its flaws, of course, but these would be easier to swallow with a course run as long as the original. If E7 had been 24 episodes, it would have the exact same problems.

        If your comments are just “AO sucks” and “E7 is teh best animu evrar!1!!!”, you’re never going to come off as anything more than a fanboy troll.

        Da5id
      4. I just find AO to be a whiny kid. Hes not whiny that whiny anymore but still hes still pretty stupid. E7 is just my favorite anime of all time of course am going to think its a masterpiece and I have seen way too much anime and E7 is still my favorite its just personal preference. What if someone came saying your favorite anime sucks and that is not as good as you think it is you would be pretty mad. A anime doesn’t need a lot of episodes to be good and make sense I have seen animes that only have less than 12 episodes and still make a story that can make sense and be good. (also 12 episodes anime can have good stories that make sense too)The writer for this anime is just a bad writer he doesn’t know how to make a good story that makes sense to his viewer.

        Deviluke
    1. It is. Which is absolutely ridiculous when you think about it. Though I think the show has major issues even if it were a stand alone product.

      Just to throw my own thoughts in on this episode, the Elena mystery being resolved like this is such a let down.

      How many episodes have we been teased about there being something bigger behind her when in the end she’s just some random kid from the past and nothing more? It’s the same level as the theEND reveal being nothing more than 3 seconds of screen time before being blown up.

      If this is the kind of revelations left to give for the other numerous mysteries in the show then I think this whole show wasn’t worth the effort.

      MrZero
      1. I agree on the Elena subplot being a letdown. This seemed like something they would’ve been able to space out and resolve a lot more conclusively if they had been given the same amount of episodes to work with as the original series. Same with Naru’s subplot and Fleur’s bond with her father.

        Come to think of it, a lot of this series could have benefitted from more time to develop.

        Da5id
    1. I think that the most likely explanation is that Eureka probably lost the baby. There must have been a reason for why she was so worried about the child’s health, and worried about how the trapar in her world might affect it. Also, since Fukai seemed to know that Eureka at least had mentioned a daughter (when Ao asked if Fukai knew anything about his sister, Fukai didn’t say no, but instead said “you must have met Eureka”), then I don’t think it’s a case of getting the sex wrong.

      Genesis
  5. I’ll be really really really pissed if this show DOESN’T show Renton AT ALL. I hate it when “sequels” get rid of the main damn character from the first show. It’s clear from what Eureka says that Renton is trying to save her and that world and so on, so if he doesn’t show up at least in the final ep to “fix things” and stop the scub corral from going into that world then honestly i’ll rage.

    GP
    1. Renton is in the OP and he’s on the website (in profile) so it’s a lock he’s going to appear in some capacity.

      I would point out here that this is a show focused on an entirely new cast of characters and it was never sold as anything else – but that would be titling at windmills.

      1. Yeah, I mean, I don’t know who was expecting this to be a direct sequel to the events of the original, because it was never even implied to be that.

        That said, this show does have quite a few character and story pacing issues, but I then again it took me until the halfway point to really gain attachment to the original cast, so probably this show’s biggest mistake is stopping at 24 episodes. It’s obvious that a lot of these plot points are being forced to come to a screeching halt (as evidenced here by Eureka suddenly coming back to settle Elena’s issues and it all getting resolved in 15 minutes before we had time to get used to the major changes made last episode). I am really enjoying this show, but it’s clear they dropped the ball in some areas.

        But I don’t mind if Renton doesn’t come in till near the end, since this story is not about him. It’s about Ao.

        Da5id
      2. >I didn’t know who was expecting this to be a direct sequel it was never even implied to be that.
        Excuse me, what the hell are you saying.
        For one, this:
        http://img2.lln.crunchyroll.com/i/spire4/ffe1648f865fd74f8b7b9d11f9bff6091326033462_full.jpg
        For two, there was this quote from the show’s chief producer Minami Masahiko:
        http://otanew.jp/archives/5672358.html
        “If we take Eureka, a girl that can exist in any world, and by her side there’s always a boy named Renton, and with these two together it is ‘Eureka Seven’, so why don’t we create a new [television] picture out of this. That’s how the production began.”
        I’m sorry I got my hopes up out of this VERY TRANSPARENT STATEMENT.

        Frumix
      3. Oh yes because SEQUEL means something different. Don’t try to justify the anime its just not a sequel since it basically has nothing to do with the original aside from Eureka being in this anime.

        Deviluke
      4. Right, that’s the only similarity.

        Besides, of course:
        -Trapars and Mecha using Trapars
        -Scub Corals
        -Characters with mental links to the machines
        -Two Nirvashes (three if you count TheEnd’s cameo)
        -Strong Family Related Theming
        -A main protagonist who leaves his really remote home to get on a giant ship full of people he forms a familial bond with
        -An antagonist and protagonist who are a human form of an otherworldly type of life form and both trying to adapt, learn from, and be accepted as a human being

        BUT I’M SUUUUURE THOSE WEREN’T A BIG PART OF THE ORIGINAL

        And I’m not saying an anime needs to be long to be good, but a certain plot calls for a certain length. Angel Beats was way too rushed that it skipped over a ton of key characters and glossed over major plot changes, and this was because it should have been double the length. C: The Money of Possibility and Control introduced a huge concept with The Deals and their effect on the real world, yet went straight to ECONOMIC APOCALYPSE in just 8 episodes. That clearly called for a four-cour run, but it was rushed to the end in just one.

        That’s the problem here between E7 and AO. E7 was able to fully explore all possible character development and exploration into the mythos. If you crammed the Ray and Charles mini-arc at the halfway point in with the first clash with Anemone at the end of the first quarter, that shit would be way too cluttered to follow. Instead, they spaced it out so each incident got proper focus, which is what AO would have done if given the time.

        Was there ever chance this series could have pleased you at all? Because you’re making rather clear that you’re only watching it because it has the E7 title and that you would have given it this hard a time no matter what the material HAD been.

        Da5id
  6. Speculation ahead, spoiler tag just in case.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    UnknownVoid
    1. If anything, Maggie is more likely to be Holland’s and Talho’s kid. But that’s going into fanfic territory.

      Ao is the only person who could logically have come from E7’s world now that Elena’s been disproven.

  7. I think Elena’s mystery being resolve was a very big reveal. I think it confirms that we are not dealing with multiple dimensions but instead the same time line that keeps getting distorted. Such as team Goldilocks being erased from time. It raises the question of how many times has the time-line been altered?

    Wissenschaft
  8. Just saw the episode and, FUCK! No one anticipated THAT ship! I was like “WTF? He’s in love with…” then Ao keeps talking then I was like “Ah….”

    Elena seems to like Ao, but Ao’s the usual shounen hero who’s oblivious to love…. sigh.

    And out from nowhere Truth appeared. That guy has to straighten his issues…

    The Moondoggie

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