Shining Seven [First Impressions]
And we’re almost at the end of these first impressions. Hyouka and that shameless idol promotion anime with a really good staff air next week, and I’m going to try to get impressions for Dusk Maiden of Amnesia and Mysterious Girlfriend X, but I think we’re nearly done. In this post? Eureka Seven AO and Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan. I’ve been trying to group anime into these impressions post by some kind of commonality: Lupin III and Zetman share an animation studio and a length, Tsuritama and Apollon share a timeslot and a plot, and Medaka Box and Jormungand both have badass girls as their female lead.
Here? Well, Eureka Seven AO and Shining Hearts share an airdate. Also, both are animated by blockbuster studios known for their high quality animation. And both promise a story that should be big in scope. So, how do they compare quality-wise?
You know the drill. Hit it!
Eureka Seven AO
I loved the original Eureka Seven. The plot got too busy and pretentious and the pacing was bizarre, but the show boasts one of anime’s most nuanced casts and some of the best animation a fifty-episode series can offer. When BONES announced a sequel, I was happy, but uneasy. The promo art featured a bunch of cute moe girls, the manga sort of sucked, and the writer of the original, Dai Satou, wasn’t coming back. Plus, Eureka Seven AO came fresh off the heels of Fam, The Silver Wing, the much-criticized sequel to another beloved franchise, Last Exile. And while I liked Fam, I wanted better for the new Eureka Seven.
If we’re going by first episodes, well, I got the better that I wanted. Eureka Seven AO is good–better than the first episode of Fam, and, more importantly, better than the first episode of Eureka Seven. Does this mean AO will be better than its predecessor? Too early to tell–Eureka Seven had an okay start, a spectacular middle, and a really weird ending.
But this episode had almost everything that I loved about the original. It had beautiful, hand-drawn animation. It hinted at a plot epic-in-scope with corrupt political mechanisms spinning in the background. It had a sci-fi setting with a meticulous, ingrained culture. And, most importantly, it had characters who were flawed, obnoxious, but felt very real. Ao and his female friend Naru aren’t the most winsome twosome, but their interactions had nuance. There’s a real history and real affection there that could only have been more evident if BONES didn’t shove in so much exposition. The only thing this episode didn’t have was the mecha, and there’ll be plenty of that in the coming weeks.
The biggest problem I have right now is that this show won’t be fifty episodes like the original; instead, it’s scheduled for twenty-four episodes and an OVA. The fifty episode format can tell a truly grand-scale adventure, and it’s a shame that the only kind of mecha anime that can land one nowadays is Gundam. These are tight times. That said, if that’s my biggest complaint, this show is off to a great start.
Should you try this? Jormungand is good, but Eureka Seven AO is the only anime that can compete with Fate/Zero in the big-budget action show sweepstakes this season. It’s tough to judge a big mecha series just when it kicks off, but it’s a good sign there are no warning signs.
Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan
Can I go home now?
Oh fine. The show advertised happy bread, and we got happy bread. But the show also advertised fantasy, and we didn’t get fantasy, unless you count elf cosplay and the same blob mascot we get in every moe show as fantasy. The show also advertised a harem, but we didn’t even get a harem, since protagonist Rick is oblivious to girls, and clearly gay for the wannabe elf Alvin, but wait–this bland, tired-ass show will never go there. The show also advertised Tony Taka’s impressive designs, but we didn’t get hot character designs. Instead we got botched-up animation from Production IG who just blew their budget on Guilty Crown. And finally, the show advertised an anime. This wasn’t an anime. This was a lousy game with no narrative structure. And you couldn’t even play it.
Should you try this? Sure, if you want to kill twenty-five minutes of your life.
So, yeah. What a change in quality two shows can bring, eh? Anyway, we’re almost done, so I need to ask: are there any shows you wanted us to cover that we didn’t? I’m going to try to get to Dusk Maiden and Mysterious Girlfriend X, but everything else has gone unclaimed. Let your voice be heard, and we’ll try to get them up before the weekend is up.
Also, what did you think of shows? Will you be watching them?
Thanks for reading!