The ROSSMAN Seven
Remember Nadia? Oh wow, what a splendid show about some teenagers who join a rag-tag crew of ethnically diverse freedom fighters who travel the globe in a high-tech ship and do their best to stop the nefarious (a word which used here means "dickwaddy") plans of an evil organization determined to rule/destroy the world. Or how about Last Exile? Another fine animation about some teenagers who join a rag-tag crew in an advanced ship, fighting the schemes of a deranged planetary power that plans to rule/destroy the world. Guess what Eureka Seven is about.
Let me emphasize this right here and now: Eureka Seven is a fine, fine show. It just... borrows a bit from previous shows and uses themes and characters that have already been proven to work and rock. Yes, Eureka 7 is flawed and not as great as the formerly mentioned Nadia and Last Exile, but it's still fun to watch. In fact I breezed through all 50 episodes in less than a week (I cannot understand how anybody can endure only watching one episode every seven days of this thing -- at the end of each episode you're just DYING to know what happens next... Plus things get really complicated by the end and taking in only 4 episodes a month would really strain one's brain to remember every little bit of important information that was dropped 20+ episodes previous).
Eureka 7 goes a little something like this: It's 10,000 years in the future and mankind has settled on a new planet that doesn't have salty oceans and instead has Trapar waves in the sky -- which allows thrill-seekers to "surf the air," leaving a glowing green trail behind them, like rugged ninja turtles through the sewers. The global military is powerful, but soon falls under the command of a psychotic douchebag (if I had a nickel...) named Colonel Dewey who starts into motion his own agenda, which of course calls for the lives of millions of innocent civilians who have no idea what's really going on. Enter Gekkostate. Gekkostate (a crew of a handful of sky surfers [aka "reffers"] who fly around the world in a GIGANTIC, white and green, swan-shaped air-fortress called "Gekko-Go" [which looks veeeeery much like Lumière and Eclair's ship from Kiddy Grade], righting wrongs caused by the unfeeling guberment by hanging ten) is trying to get the word out about what the military is really up to, mostly by using their own popular, underground magazine called Ray=Out to spread their idealized word. Among the crew of the Gekko-Go is Holland, the leader and the man with the shady past; Talho, Holland's spunky bitch; Eureka, the token albino/mystery girl; Moondoggie and Gidget; and a few more strange, yet likeable, reffers and LFO pilots. Oh yes, there be robots here as well. LFOs (and whatever the hell the military calls its robots) are giant robots that ref the air too. Very strange, and it's never really clarified how a "surfing robot" is that much more able to fight than say a robot that simply has wings or a rocket pack to ref the Trapar with... I guess the answer is "they surf because it is teh r0x0r!!! Fuck yeahs!!!"... But that is a lie. It's just a gimmick. And kind of a lame one at that.
Anyway, the main character of the story is one 14 year-old boy named Renton Thurston, who's a mechanical genius in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, and a pretty decent reffer himself. Of course he dreams of joining the Gekkostate (because they be rebels, yo) and finding his missing older sister (who's been mysteriously unaccounted for for years at the start of the story) because absolutely nothing interesting would have happened had he just sat on his ass all day long and did as he was told -- eating his vegetables, studying hard in school, and not disrespecting his elders and such (let this be a lesson to you, kids: If you want to have a cool and fun life, run away with the first bunch of hippie-protestors that drives by your house). Also, of course, Renton soon meets up with some members of Gekkostate and proves himself to be a worthy and valuable ally to their cause. Then we fly around with them all for about 19 or so episodes before any real plot is presented to our pondering perception. Then slowly, eeeeever so slowly, the grand scheme of Dewey's strategery is brought to light. I want to make this clear here, even though the main plot isn't really discovered until later on in the show, LOTS of stuff happens to our Gekkostaters. Lots of enthralling, character-building, exciting shit occurs. This show is never boring. It's just that the MAIN plot isn't revealed until you're already well invested in the all the people involved. Along with Kurau and RahXephon, Studio Bones is becoming the new Gainax when it comes to character study and development (the current Studio Gainax lost that crown shortly after His and Her Circumstances and shortly before He Is My Master and Melody of Oblivion).
So Gekkostate runs around, fighting the asshole military, the military is run by a one-tracked-mind psycho, Holland has a personal vendetta to avenge, Talho's a hottie (just a fact there), Renton tries to move in on the strange and almost ethereal Eureka, Eureka's "children" make life difficult for both Renton and the whole fucking Gekko-Go crew, and lots of 'splosions happen, mostly around military robots. THEN we start to find out the secrets behind Holland, Eureka, the military, the Coralians (giant, spherical storm clouds that sometimes appear on the planet surface), some cultish religion that's been put under the heel of the military, and we get to meet the coolest goddamn married couple of all fucking time, Ray and Charles (yes, we get the reference). There's LOTS of secrets here, and a good number of them are answered in the end... But not all are.
Some of the questions left unanswered (and they had about 9 episodes to wrap this whole thing up... Inexcusable) are as follows: For example (SPOILERS OUT THE ASS), how did Charles' ring get imbedded in that amber? What the hell was the "Seven" part of the title, Eureka SEVEN, anyway? How did Dewey get that drive imbedded in him? Was Talho really preggers? If so, why didn't we get to see the child in the epilogue (instead of just an update about what those annoying turd kids were up to)?! Why did Dewey surround himself with stupid, unthinking, peppy, little girls as his military advisors? And most importantly, WHY THE FUCK were those three kids, whom Eureka had adopted, made main characters at the end of this goddamn thing (once they get to the inner crust of the planet)?! They added NOTHING to the story, except the urge for the viewers to bitch-slap the living shit out of them and bemoan their presence whenever they started whining and crying... which was every 1.56 seconds of their screen time. I fucking detest poorly written, annoying, kid characters!!! Check out Ergo Proxy to see how to write a kid character correctly (i.e. innocent, yet cute and funny and NOT piss-ass irritating). (SPOILERS COMPLETE)
Other than that, Eureka 7 wasn't bad at all. Quite addictive actually. Several of the episodes were genuine works of art as well. The one that comes to mind most clearly as the best of the best has to be episode 26. It is the equivalent of Cowboy Bebop's episode 5 -- it's gorgeous and heart wrenching, and really fucking cool. When it's over it's the kind of episode that makes you take a break and remember it all in a replay in your mind... Then look up some pr0n. Then maybe watch it again.
Normally I can get somewhat into these strange Japanese animated tales that the Rossman will sometimes talk me into watching... But this one... This one was pretty damn kooky.
It was like watching a retelling of Scooby Doo, but instead of a van, the mystery-solving kids fly around in a fucking jet... And instead of a talking dog you have bratty kids. Fred still wore a scarf, but Daphne was a brunette bimbo and Velma was a blue-haired freak of nature. Shaggy was... Wait, the guy playing Fred also seemed to be playing Shaggy, at least going by looks. See, kooky, just like I told you. And the mysteries that these new Scoobies went on were strange too. They had to find out if the planet was alive or something, and they had to try to solve the problem of me not giving a damn.
They never solved that last one, and I didn't stick around to see if the planet was really eating them or whatever. The Japanese should stay away from trying to remake Western classics (like Scooby Doo), and instead concentrate on making more animated pr0n.
The Hanging Ten CARL
Uh, yeah, sorry, but I just couldn't give a shit here. I pretty much gave up on this show when the opening credits showed people surfing in the air. I fucking HATE surfers, and I hate lame attempts to "invent" new, futuristic sports even more.