「エウレカセブンAO -ユングフラウの花々たち-」 (Jungfrau no Hanabana-tachi)
“Eureka Seven AO: The Flowers of Jungfrau”
Any way you look at it the lead story in the Astral Ocean OVA is Ao in a dress, but there are actually a couple of semi-serious moments along the way.
Safe to say that Jungfrau no Hanabana-tachi falls squarely in the class of OVAS that place humor as the primary goal, and achieve it by reimagining the events of the series through a different lens, going places where the TV series never would. In that sense this one is definitely a success, primarily because it’s funny most of the time it tries to be, and that’s pretty much the point from which any comedy must jump off if anything else about it is even going to make a difference.
This episode is set early in the TV timeline (somewhere around episode 10 I would guess) which happily brings us the return of the first OP and ED, which I love (especially “Escape”). The premise is that the girls of Generation Bleu are to be part of a feature on “Universal Naturing TV” featuring Sophia C. Friday as the classic Japanese vision of the blonde Western TV reporter. Aside from a hilariously campy take on a Swiss festival (which Elena declares is also a cosplay party to rival Comiket – “That’s a lie”, indeed) the virgin maidens of Pied Piper are also to be featured. Ao expresses some disappointment at not being part of the story and photo shoot (“That would cause all sorts of problems” declares Rebecka) but be careful what you wish for is the moral of the story here, especially where Christophe Blanc and Elena are involved (though Fleur is suspiciously happy to play along as well).
Most of what follows isn’t remotely serious, as a mortified Ao flees looking like a cross between Eureka and Heidi, as Fleur and Elena give chase, and manage to edit the film to look as if he’s acting in a film for the Swiss Tourist Association. Meanwhile, Team Gazelle gives chase, acting as chaperones and watchdogs as the voracious TV reporter Ms. Friday tries to corral the young beauties for a photo shoot. As Elena uploads the pics to the Pied Pier website, Ao quickly rises to the top of the idol rankings despite the “M” quite clearly entered into the “gender” field on his profile page.
It was indeed pretty good fun to watch Ao squirm in his variety of pure-pure girl outfits and Eureka hairdo, but there were a couple of weightier moments. The first of these is when Fleur presents Ao with a camellia, telling him it “embodies the perfect charm”, and he reflects that on Iwato, it’s called a Tsubaki. Elena lightens the mood by blowing bubbles over the pair, but it’s clear from Elena’s reaction how she feels – and there’s something quite weird about an older girl presenting a flower to a younger boy the way they’re respectively dressed. The other comes when Pied Piper is drafted to do do battle – still in cosplay uniform – with a Secret that’s appeared on the Swiss-Italian border. Ivica catches a glimpse of Ao wearing both his game face and Eureka outfit and is stunned at just how much he looks like his mother – and indeed, it’s impossible not to see the eerie resemblance, and the moment is actually fairly poignant. On the whole the episode doesn’t amount to all that much in terms of the series canon, but it’s quite a fun diversion – and it’s nice that it can deliver a couple of moments that genuinely add to the character arcs.