On Eureka Seven’s Design
April 15, 2010
So, I finally caved in and completed the romantic journey of Eureka Seven. What can I say about it that hasn’t already been said since it started airing five years ago? Not much probably, but I’ll just ramble on anyway.
It may be a fairly obvious observation, but coral reefs seem to be the motif that gives round and flat form to the natural landscape of Eureka Seven. They never look anything near as lush or pretty like coral reefs though, since they’re painted more as dry, barren wasteland, perhaps that was the intention. Global warming caused by men can lead to coral bleaching, just as poor treatment of Scub Coral will not help in producing Trapar waves. Here is an interesting interview with Dai Sato (scriptwriter), who wanted younger audience to take the show’s environmental message to heart.
Another intriguing thing mentioned by Sato above is that the story of Eureka Seven is intended to be a subtle allegory of Tibet, where atrocities like ethnic cleansing and child recruitment takes place. The ravaged ruins of Ciudades del Cielo in episode 9 for example almost reminds you of warn-torn state of Tibet.
Speaking of Tibet, it’s interesting to see how many aspects of Vodarac culture, such as their clothings, interior decorations, external facades of built environment, have subtle influences of Tibetan culture. I say subtle influences, because although I see elements here and there (like straight rows of punctuated windows, earthly materials) that may have been borrowed from Tibetan architecture, I don’t find any attempt at imitation, perhaps only at emulation of that earthly setting to reflect the teachings of Vodarac.
According to the traditional customs, when guests visit a Tibetan’s home, men are always seated on the first seat on the right (guest seat) and women on the first seat on the left (kitchen range…although I don’t see any kitchen in that picture). You could say I got a little into Tibetan culture after watching Eureka Seven ^^
Moving onto character designs, I have to say I really love their look in general. I like how most Gekko-state members fashion themselves in casual surfwear garments, such as Hap’s wetsuit-like shirt with a bastardised O’neill logo, it adds to their cool and laid-back attitude. Then you have characters like Ken-Goh and Dr. Bear with ridiculous head to body proportions just for the laughs. And Che Stoner is simply gold. Gidget’s heavy make-up is interesting, because there are subtle hints throughout the show that hints towards her loneliness and desire for attention. What I loved the most however, was the design of Eureka’s rugged hair and skin after her first ‘transformation’.
It’s a scar from her once failed attempt to run away from it all by trying to emerge with Scub Coral, after feeling rejected from humans, or more specifically, Renton. But it is now the mark of everything that makes her truly beautiful. When asked by Sakyua if Eureka wanted to erase her scars, she declines and retains it as a proof of her struggle, but also of her courageous victory over it. And what could be more amazing, more awesome, and more spell-binding than episode 26, when Eureka leaves by herself to search for Renton, and when they are finally re-united inside Nirvash. Eureka’s lifting was also so enchanting and exciting, I wished that there was no mechas in this show just so I could keep watching Eureka lift her board instead of piloting that boring piece of junk they call Nirvash (*ducks rotten tomatoes). The climax of this episode may well be one of the most electrifying moments in anime ever.
A quick final thoughts on the series. I want to break Eureka Seven as a whole in half, the first half and the second half. There is no definite ‘turning point’ that separates these two, but I have been progressively less impressed by the show as it went on. It’s a shame because I really loved first half despite its childish sensibilities (it’s a show aimed primarily at younger audience after all). Mysteries that I was dying to find out just kept on coming, direction was consistently superb, relationships were being developed so well and thoroughly (especially renton-eureka, renton-holland, holland-talho) and I was even treated to pleasantly surprising acid trips involving Renton and Anemone. Unfortunately somewhere in the ‘second half’, I started losing interest and often frustrated and annoyed, which I won’t go further into. It is still a great series in my eyes with plenty of memorable moments, and all time favourite of many many fans, so hopefully I didn’t discourage those who haven’t watched it yet, and if you did watch it, hopefully you enjoyed going over some pictures provided here.