Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean – 19

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Whenever and however the last two episodes of this series arrive, they’re going to have their hands full wrapping up this story.

After a string of character and intrigue-driven episodes, we were due for one that just ratcheted the action up to eleven and blew the doors off, and that’s exactly what we got.  We also got what appears to be, at least superficially, a whole lot of tragedy – a shocking number of regular and semi-regular characters bit the dust this week.  Though there’s a continuum of likelihood that their deaths are for real starting with Christophe (probably) through Team Harlequin and down to Truth (probably not) the shock value was certainly undeniable.  The ground seems to be laid for what could be a very dark and painful ending – but then there’s Ao’s quartz gun, which still looms as a literal reset button waiting to be pressed.

The three characters who dominated the episode this week were Truthie, Elena and Christophe – and it was Fleur who linked all their storylines.  We learned something about each of these characters – some revealed truths that were already suspected, and some sides to characters that we haven’t really seen so far.  My initial guess that Truth was a Secret – based on the visual evidence of the flashback to his first appearance – appear to have been correct after all, despite the seemingly contrary nature of his actions since.  But there’s a reason for that – Truth didn’t know the “truth” about himself, and refused to believe it even when confronted with it.

There’s an irony to that, a character named Truth living a lie – but in the final analysis, his being Secret was the only explanation that made sense.  Naru seems fully committed to a notion that’s very much a throwback to the first season, humanity becoming one with the Scub Corals – perhaps she’s directly responsible for the “infections” plaguing people around the world.  She sees Ao’s cannon as the means to making that happen, and has been using Truthie to that end – when all along, he thought he’d been using her, and Ao.  Apparently Truth appeared at the time of the giant scub burst in Okinawa 10 years earlier, and “lost his purpose” when the quartz was removed – and so, took human form and was taken in by Johansson.  But he refuses to believe it, and immediately takes off into orbit, where he destroys a string of telecommunications satellites and, in the process, The Poseidon and Team Harlequin (apparently).

There was something very chilling in watching Mama and Rajkumar up there, in the moments before the end.  I had a strong feeling of foreboding as soon as I saw Truth go into “Firecracker” mode, and quickly, almost too quickly, Harlequin was apparently destroyed.  The possibility exists, of course, that another reality could be created where they were never killed, or perhaps were never pilots at all – but what really struck me was watching Ivica’s reaction.  The Allies assumed it was GenBleu that had destroyed the satellites, and sent IFOs to attack their HQ – and GenBleu assumed it was the Allies that destroyed The Poseidon.  But Ivica’s furious pledge to “avenge” them struck me as especially hollow, even if it was sincere.  Ivica is the ultimate hypocrite, really – he professes his desire to keep the children safe at all costs, yet he’s a willing participant in a pseudo-military organization that places their life in danger.  He may feel he’s trying to do the best he can for them, to be an advocate from within – but ultimately, he’s an accessory to their murder.  I can’t honestly say I’ll mourn Generation Bleu if they really are doomed, as it appears.

Speaking of which, much of the rest of the episode chronicles what appears to be the last hours of GenBleu, through the eyes of Elena, Fleur and Christophe, with Ao largely secondary.  Big Blue World abandons GenBleu, and the first thing that happens is that their power gets cut off.  Everyone is more or less in survival mode here – Rebecka is system-restoring the Secret-infected Georg, and being pressed by Gazelle to decide where her loyalties lie.  Stanley is gone, back to the boardroom.  Christophe seems basically to be preparing for the end, and trying to make contingency plans for his daughter.

And then there’s Elena.  Elena is becoming more and more open about her identity.  For the first time she tells Ao and Fleur that she’s “from another world” – and that she expects Ao to use his big gun to take her back there.  In her mind, at least, Elena came from Eureka’s world – it was certainly Eureka who brought her – but I’m not 100% sold that she’s the daughter the Eureka who visited and spent time with Ao was supposedly carrying.  She might be Ao’s sister – but I’m skeptical.  The hair certainly looks more like Anenome’s, and there’s the matter of typeTheEnd that was supposedly in GenBleu’s basement (along with Lillith, if Elena’s Eva reference is to be believed).  Elena sums up her fascination with otaku interests this way: “When your life is like a manga, you can only believe in the fantastic.”  It’s as good an explanation as any I’ve heard for why she is the way she is, and I think there are still more secrets about her we haven’t uncovered yet.

As the walls close in, Allied forces surrounding the HQ and the Pied Piper IFOs unable to fly because of Georg’s incomplete software downgrade, Christophe tells Fleur to be prepared to run, because “Generation Bleu is finished”.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I definitely jumped when Fleur shot him repeatedly – she was right in her guess that it was Truthie impersonating her father, but that took some brass just the same.  Both members of the Blanc family showed spines of steel this week in their own way, as did Ao, and no one abandoned ship – but the real Christophe didn’t disagree with his impersonator’s notion that GenBleu was finished, he was merely executing his final solution.  Christophe has figured out Truth’s Secret nature (Truthie still refuses to believe it) and apparently, when Secrets come in contact with quartz there’s a massive fusion explosion – something like matter coming into contact with anti-matter (hmmm) and he’s stashed some spare quartz for this eventuality.  Whether his sacrifice will have been in vain is hard to say – I suspect that Truth won’t die that easily, or perhaps it’s in the very nature of Secrets that this explosion doesn’t destroy them, but transform or transport them.

The threads of the plot are really starting to untangle now, and it’s happening in a way that’s thematically consistent both with the first cour of this series and with the original E7 itself.  Ultimately both series are generational in nature, and Blanc acknowledges this explicitly in his final words to his daughter and Ao – it’s up to them to “correct our mistakes” because adults aren’t very good at correcting their own.  Nirvash, as Blanc says, doesn’t require Georg to fly, so flight is definitely an option for Ao and Fleur – but would they leave their friends to face destruction alone?  I think not.  And I think what’s going to be required in the end for Astral Ocean is both literally and figuratively a paradigm shift.   No one – not Blanc, not Ao, not Truth – seems to know the true nature of who the good guys and bad guys are when it comes to the Scub and the Secret.  But it’s going to be up to Ao to fundamentally reset the world in a way that fixes the mistakes his elders have made, to find a way to bring all these forces into balance .  Whether that means reuniting with his mother or not – or perhaps even sacrificing himself in the process – I’m not sure, but I have a growing conviction BONES has something dark and troubling planned for the final act (whenever we get to see it).

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  1. A

    i called it…i knew someone was gonna die when we got dat silent preview

  2. A

    I have a feeling that Maggie is a young adult instead of a teenager based on her conversation with Tanaka.

  3. Good point – I noticed that too, but forgot. How would you explain her ability to pilot an IFO in that case?

  4. i

    maybe Maggie's almost 18 (and out of high school)? Because I cannot see any other way how she's in the military otherwise (especially in the US Navy).

  5. S

    When you change a time-line, it's very possible for someone to be born later or earlier than they would have previously. Yeah for hand-waving.

  6. S

    Mindblowing, simple mindblowing! My gut's telling me Team Harlequin survived, most likely thanks to souped-up Gekko. Can't say the same for Christophe though and damn you Truthie, just die already!!! I wonder how much Elena's actually knows about her past and Eureka for that matter, it seems very likely that she is indeed Ao's elder sister, but I guess the jury is still out. Naru's conversation with Truthie was fascinating and I was right all along, Naru is indeed still rooting for Ao. While the romantic element hasn't been as prominent in E7 AO, I'm not done shipping those two yet and I do hope we'll get a 'happily ever after' ending with Ao x Naru.

  7. T

    I loved the Eva reference Elena makes in this ep. Of course my first thought was of that white typeThe_End sitting below GenBlu. One I might add that wouldn't require Georg to pilot.

    On a different note. I must say that many people originally compared E7 Psalms of Planets to Evangelion. Personally I never saw it. I always thought of Renton as being more like Rick Hunter from Robotech. The personality and eventual evolution of the character parallels much more than with Shinji Icari. There was also the similarities between the TypeR606 and the Veritech fighter. My point, E7:AO seems to be continuing that feeling as it is a second storyline that takes off from the first just like the Master series. We get that same sense that there are important things going on "somewhere else" and that ultimately we will look back on this story as ground work for something still to come.

    AO, Elena, Naru, and the Cannon. I see these things being the most important characters and story components that will come from the story. I wish I could include Fleur in that list but I do not really believe she will survive.

  8. I think Fleur will – it's Ao I'm worried about.

    I actually agree about E7 – I don't see any Eva in that show at all apart from very superficial stuff (Rahxephon, OTOH…). There's more of Eva in AO than E7 I think, though largely because AO is a deconstruction of the genre as a whole.

  9. T

    If Ao decides to use the cannon on the Scub then I see one path. I don't think it will happen. All the scub ceases to have ever existed in their world. The destruction of this much "Life" re balances the limit of life problem from the end of the first series and Ao and Elena can return to there "parents". Hell maybe Wozz will come collect them or even Renton himself.

    Destroying the world in order to save the world. Wouldn't that fit in perfectly with the genre? LOL With all the scub gone it would return to a state more closely resembling our world and Renton and Eureka's would be more balanced.

    There's no way Naru is going to let that happen though.

  10. A

    I wonder how they are going to solve every question AND give the link with E7… Renton might be appearing soon, I guess many things will be explained by him.

    Anyway, there can be an ending both sad and nice for Ao. Maybe he'll change the past, and disappear from the world with none of his friends remembering him (sad part) while in fact he managed to get back to Eureka's world (nice part).

    So, we're left with 5 episodes at most ? I wish a second season could be announced. If everything is wrapped up by episode 24 it will be OK, but I would also like to see Ao interact with the world of the original E7. As if AO was an interquel between E7 and a direct sequel.

    By the way, I'm still wondering what "Astral Ocean" refers to…

  11. p

    After marathoning the last several episodes, this one isn't bad compared to the ones that aired right after the Olympics. Things finally get exciting, and I can see the end coming, albeit the end I'm picturing is messy and badly constructed, kind of like E7's. I worry that Bones might have bit off more than they could chew with AO.

    What's right? What's wrong? Is there ever a "correct" reality, and who should be the judge of that? These're great questions that are being thrown around, but they should have come earlier. The pacing is flawed, and the way AO reveals things–winding up the excitement for half the series, screwing with us for a quarter, and revealing things in the last portion–is an annoying and despicable method to the audience. You're supposed to bait the audience, hiding a lot things but also giving something out in return. (I suppose that's why the episode when Ao meets Eureka is regarded well, because it finally relieves some tension–but none of the mystery, unfortunately.) And the worst part of it is, you get anxious as you wonder whether or not the revelations live up to the expectations.

    I know AO had a lot to live up to, but it also had a lot of potential. I feel like Bones could have made something that wasn't as disappointing as what I'm watching right now. Hopefully it picks up at the end.

    (I do like how AO loops back to the beginning, with an adult once again hoping the new generation will fix the mistakes of the old. In a way, would this also apply to Eureka?)

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