The Hunt for November

blogging anime and life

Eureka Seven: A Look Back

After finishing my epic marathon (well sorta, fifty eps over 3 days or so is nothing to sneeze at!), I was struck by a few things in this anime that will stay with me for quite a while. Would I like to share them with you? Of course! Of course, there will be spoilers, so if you haven’t watched, but are planning to, do not click. This will be the first part of a (probably) two part retrospective. (EDIT: realized the original image was too spoilery, so replaced it with a SS from ED4)

I first got the idea to watch Eureka Seven after looking up Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch on anidb.net and using their link to “similar anime” at AnimePlanet. Eureka Seven was the sixth in the list, behind animes like Death Note, Black Cat, and Full Metal Panic! (which I still have yet to watch). What caught my eye about the Eureka Seven were the tags:

  • Mystery,
  • Mecha,
  • Sci Fi,
  • Romance,
  • Military

Now, I had just come off of re-watching Code Geass (both seasons) and a healthy dose of Macross Frontier ahead of that, so a mecha-romance with a light coating of miltary sounded like fun. After asking around in IRC, people told me to watch it, so I proceeded to download the torrent.

A few things caught my eye immediately, the first being how young the character was. Renton was only a 14 year old kid, a bit younger than most of the protagonists in the anime that I have watched recently. He came off as a really naive and impressionable guy who had never seen much of the world and was still full of hopes and dreams. Living in the shadow of a “heroic” father and apparently stuck in a dead-end town, I saw a few things that I could relate to.

The anime soon shifted gears as Eureka was introduced, and instantly I knew I’d enjoy this anime. Renton was obviously smitten with her, and she seemed like an incredibly likeable character. Add in Nirvash and the few mecha combat scenes, and I was good to go.

Fast forward to last night, when I finished off Eureka Seven, and I was struck by a few ideas.

The first message that the anime sent that really resonated with me used the Vodarac as a vehicle. The Vodarac were reviled by the general public in the anime, and were generally regarded to be terrorists. Obviously, this parallels the problems that Muslims face today, as the actions of a few extremists have caused the public to fear and hate all Muslims.

I’m a tremendously judgmental person–this is a fact that I have never tried to hide, as I feel like it’s an integral part of my value system. I don’t follow a religion; rather I have my own code of ethics, where I carefully pick and choose my actions based on one simple question. That question is: “Can you look yourself in the mirror tomorrow?” I’m ignorant of many things, the intricacies of Islam being one of them. Yes, I have feared Muslims inside after the events of 9/11 and as an effect of pop culture devices like Call of Duty 4.

However, after seeing the horrible things done to innocent Vodarac who had nothing to do with any kind of terrorist acts, I think I now better understand the troubles of Muslims in the United States, and my fears are replaced with compassion, something that I believe has made me a better person.

The second thing I took away from this was the harsh realities of warfare. Renton joins Gekkostate as a wide-eyed adolescent, ignorant of the horrors of war or the consequences of Gekkostate’s actions. Gekkostate is an independent paramilitary organization that wages a private war with the state military, in the name of their ideals. Renton sees this, yet he does not realize that there are real human casualties in battles until he learns of Eureka’s past career in the military and when he goes berserk while saving Holland.

Eureka Seven is clever when depicting warfare, because it shows many aspects of it. The first is from Gekkostate’s point of view, which sees its actions as necessary to protect “the future of the world.” The LFO pilots of Gekkostate feel no guilt when killing soldiers of the military, seeing them as nothing more than obstacles in their path.

The second would be from Renton’s point of view, which evolves over the course of the series. Renton first sees the battles as nothing more than wonderful displays of mecha and ingenuity, much as we ourselves see. However, he realizes the toll that war takes on the human soul, when he sees Eureka still scarred from her past, when she was a remorseless killer for the military, and when he sees how pathetic the Vodarac are.

The third would be from Dewey’s view, who saw warfare as nothing more than a tool to further his own goals. Dewey coldly orders his “Orange” attacks, knowing how many civilian casualties would be inflicted. To him, the death toll was meaningless and the numbers were only significant in that it would capture the imagination of the public. Dewey was the embodiment of the sentiment that “the ends justify the means”.

The last would be from the eyes of the public. Through media manipulation, Dewey is able to cleverly hide the truth from the public and instead incenses them to support his coup and the resulting government, with him at the head. Despite this, ray=out is able to publish the real “truth” of the events, and a portion of the public is able to shake off the mass media story and see the truth version of the events.

I have long believed that war was a good thing. Not because of the glory or the destruction, but because it has historically driven innovation for humanity. Huge leaps in the fields of medicine, electronics, and warfare of course are achieved through human ingenuity driven by the needs of war. However, I can no longer wholeheartedly support any war, as I have realized, just as Renton did, that the cost to the psyche is tremendous. I know that warfare is necessary in many situations, but if it can be avoided, it should be. No capital gains are worth the losses and damage inflicted on the soul.

I hate to end this first part on a low note, but I promise that I’ll make a rosier post on romance next time. Thanks for reading!

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April 16, 2009 - Posted by | anime | , ,

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