「ハロー・グッドバイ」 (Harou Guddobai)
Oh boy. Where do I even start. Disclaimer – Listeners wasn’t a catastrophe per se. And I think it was a victim of the twelve episode limitation. But my oh my it was pretty awful – with MAPPA exonerated from fault because the animations were pretty much the saving grace of this show. It failed to realise the potential it hinted at in the first two episodes in a classic case of interesting premise subpar execution.
Two words. Dai Satou. I loved Eureka Seven and would consider it one of my Top 5 shows. So I really wanted to give Listeners a chance when I heard this guy was going to be in charge. But it’s painfully clear that the man doesn’t really have any more unique ideas to spare – rehashing the scub coral conflict of E7 into the Player/Earless conflict we see here. And ends said conflict with what I’d dub the ‘Third Summer of Love’ – because the scene where Echo and Mu overcome the difference between Player/Earless was an exact replica of the ‘Second Summer of Love’. Only there’s a major difference. I cared about the characters in E7, and I can’t bring myself to care about the characters here. To be fair, Renton had 52 episodes to undergo some of the most transformative character development – which is not a luxury they had here. However, even at the beginning, I became endeared to Renton in that iconic first episode when he jumped off the cliff because of love and shouted ‘I can fly!’. There was never that defining moment, or any kind of spark for me. And an apt comparison would be the Starwars Sequels. They tried to copy the Original Trilogy way too much. But where the Original Trilogy had charm, wit and soul – there’s absolutely none of that here.
In my opinion, the characters they met along the way were pretty meaningless too. Their attempts to help achieved nothing. The amp linking hundreds of mecha didn’t do anything. Echo literally could have taken a stroll to the junction, returned and it would have achieved the same result. Jimi Stonefree and the people they met along the way were pretty much inconsequential. And that brings me onto the cardinal sin of using a mystery as a hook – not making true on the mystery and failing to meet the expectation of the hype you try to create behind it. And the cardinal sin of reviving Lyde and Richie. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see they aren’t actually dead. But it strips away the singular moment in this series that you could have described as genuinely impactful. The ending in general was so corny – with the keen young Echo fanboy clearly being a throwback to Echo at the start. And what the heck – Echo lost his plug socket and any recollection of the events that made him a hero? *sigh*
You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself becoming a villain. Sadly this line becomes ever more applicable in a modern world where creators feel the need to do an inferior copycat of historical greats, or strip down the legacy of giants because they do not want their follow up work to be eclipsed and overshadowed by the greatness that came before them. And it’s just really sad – seeing the sequels tear down what I knew to be Starwars and witnessing Dai Satou failing miserably to recreate his magic from E7. So do I recommend Listeners? If it wasn’t already obvious – the answer is no. It won’t be getting any calls for an encore from me. Don’t waste your time on this dross. Go watch Honzuki no Gekokujou or Great Pretender. Those will actually be worth your while. And on that note, I would like to conclude this session. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you next time when the summer season comes rolling in!