Getting Into the BONES of a Drawn Out Finale: Eureka SeveN

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[Spoilers, obviously]

There are finales that really get me so pumped up and then leave me emotionally exhausted in a great way. These shows share the same trait of having this long, drawn-out battle and/or multiple set of missions cum alternate reality exposition dump plus one or many god-tier fights and emotional peaks that to me represent some of the best things ever about anime as a whole.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann did this and was amazing in that it’s just a 2-cour show. Mobile Fighter G Gundam robbed itself of some gravitas by having way too many dumbass episodes (note I didn’t say filler, I said DUMBASS). Mobile Suit Z Gundam almost pulled something like this off, but instead had a series-threatening arc of trainwreck just before the glorious, glorious end. Legend of the Galactic Heroes had a good one but kind of marred with having too many beloved heroes not there anymore (it’s best parts were solidly in the middle). FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood did it so, so good, unbelievably good, and perhaps better than any show in this whole damn list.

Part of why I think this is so, is because Eureka SeveN did it similarly and similarly well. It’s as if the FMA: BRO team was “put on notice” within Studio BONES and they had a standard to live up to. BRO is a manga adaptation, so it had a lot of help, which makes E7 stand out in my mind. What this post isn’t about is establishing studio and genre standards of what’s awesome, but instead is more about how the final episodes of Eureka SeveN provided amazing things that made it one of my favorite anime.

The music I listened to while making this post.

 

Now, Renton finally activating the Amita Drive, the Nirvash Type Zero revealing its final form, and Renton and Eureka finally getting it on and pulling out a Moonlight Butterfly attack of pure love is very awesome. However, this isn’t as interesting to me as the following, which I’ve ranked in the order of how much I favor them:

5. Holland jumps into the 909 to fight their way out of the blockade around the Great Wall.

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This is the first of THREE appearances of Holland Novak in this list. Just as Misato Katsuragi is the other lead protagonist in Neon Genesis Evangelion, Holland is the other lead protagonist in Eureka SeveN. No I don’t think it’s Eureka. She’s more a character that things happen to, and less a character who does things.

In any case, Holland jumps from one LFO to another in mid-air, with neither a parachute nor a ref board, while hostiles are all around. It’s like Hikaru catching Minmay all over again, although this time Minmay is a giant mecha, and Hikaru gets to ride her and cause carnage.

4. Jurgens & the Super Izumo joins the Gekko-go

Jurgens rejoins the main force only to be ordered to act as an escort for Dominic, who’s ordered to collect 3 new ‘bodies’ for what would be the project involving Anemone. It wasn’t revealed then (that Anemone and Eureka are to become artificial ‘control clusters’ that allow Dewey to annihilate pretty much everything before the end), but what Jurgens and Dominic witness are the deaths of three specimens, all pre-pubescent children.

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This is part of the tradition Mobile Suit Z Gundam started with artificial or cyber Newtypes, popularized to a great degree by Neon Genesis Evangelion: that of the lab-formed/manipulated child soldier (robot pilot). The horror here is the exposure of the costs involved – that of the death of the 3 specimens. This doesn’t only trigger a new resolve in Dominic towards Anemone, but also for Jurgens – who sees the military as the protector of the citizenry and not the tool of the likes of Dewey.

He seeks out the truth by going onboard the Gekko-go, and once satisfied he broadcasts his findings to the rest of the military. The handling of this sequence evokes that of SDF Macross when Exsedol (played here by Dominic LOL) boarded the Macross to parley. Jurgens plays Britai, and the Super Izumo is perhaps proportionally disadvantaged as Britai’s Aldoclass fleet was against Bodolle Zer’s main fleet in SDFM.

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The mech pilots later on beat up on Holland, as Eureka SeveN isn’t the kind of show that’ll gloss over the fact that Holland and the Gekkostate killed so many military pilots. Now these guys are ordered to support Holland and the Gekkostate, and it’s no smooth walk to get them to do that, especially since these aren’t Zentraedi charmed by culture and Minmay.

3. Holland in the TB-303 Devilfish takes on a capital ship, and demonstrates the vulnerability of such ships vs. Mecha and re-establishes the Gundam conceit.

Holland’s final run with the Devilfish invokes two awesome things: First, the vulnerability of large capital ships against fighter craft. In naval warfare, when a fighter plane (with anti-ship ordnance) penetrates a given distance threshold from a naval vessel, that ship is pretty much sunk. It cannot evade any of the fighter’s attacks due to the difference in speed, and generally the fighter is too fast for most of its short-range weaponry. As we can see, Dewey’s capital ship basically deployed most of its resources (including all kinds of Gundam Funnels!) to fend off the Devilfish and the Gekko-go, but mostly the Devilfish which is the bigger threat.

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This is also the very conceit of the Mobile Suit in Mobile Suit Gundam, albeit it conveniently hand-waved the irrelevance of non-humanoid fighter craft. The age of ship-to-ship naval style combat in space was violently usurped by the emergence of the Mobile Suit, specifically in the Battle of Loum where Char Aznable sunk 6 ships with a painted Zaku II.

Then, it also goes Macross Plus on us, particularly Guld Goa Bowman and his YF-21 wherein the pilot directly interfaces with the mecha and can result in physical (and perhaps psychological) damage. The Devilfish makes the physical damage intrinsic to the piloting experience, but the love is really remembered when just like the Macross Plus: Movie Edition Holland smashes his Devilfish onto the enemy capital ship in a physically taxing speed run just like Guld. Unlike Guld however, more awesomeness will follow; specifically…

2. Holland vs. Dewey and The Real Folk Blues.

This is an incredible showdown. Dewey, he of the sibling envy, the father-killer, faces Holland at last. At first we are shown a teasing reference to one of the great anime duels: Spike Spiegel vs. Vicious in Cowboy Bebop’s finale. It’s a tease because Dewey’s sword proves to be ceremonial and breaks after striking Holland’s submachine gun.

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Even better, Dewey bested Holland. He got what he wanted, and more – he got to execute the culmination of his plan: his own death which triggers the apocalypse he’s wanted all along. Dewey revealed his character in an incredible dance sequence with Anemone a few episodes prior, in itself a reference to Turn A Gundam wherein a white-haired ‘enemy’ danced with a mech pilot in a ball. Both shows used the scene as set-pieces, albeit Eureka SeveN used it as an anchor for revelation and exposition. This gave context to Dewey’s suicide, and his ‘victory’ over Holland.

I feel that a lesser show would have Holland win, but this show is confident in how it presented Holland as a great character and that would be enough. It let Renton and the Nirvash do the next great thing, then Renton and Eureka perform the act that saves the world.

1. The End vs. Type Zero and The Rapture of Anemone

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Episode 26’s big moment may be more memorable and iconic, but this whole scene to me is the more emotionally affecting. It starts with the duel between the two prototypes: The Type Zero vs. The End. Renton and Eureka are defending, surviving. Anemone isn’t even in the fight. She’s disintegrating with regret and self-remorse. It’s her thoughts to herself that kill me.

If they tell me I can live on after this battle…

I’ll buy a small mirror and practice smiling.

I’ll practice over and over.

So I can see him again…

If they tell me I can live on without hurting anyone else…

I’ll tie up my hair swaying in the wind,

Take one giant leap onto the earth,

And then hold my head up high and go see him.

I want to live, to say my thanks.

I want to live… to give so many feelings to people.

I want to live!

I wish I didn’t realize I had feelings like these!

[Eureka says something]

It hurts so much! He isn’t with me anymore!

[Eureka makes her appeals]

BASCUUDO…

God damn.

It’s so heartbreaking, to witness someone so young, supposedly having all her life ahead of her, think it’s all over and rightfully so. It’s a far more sympathetic portrayal, compared to say, Asuka Langley Soryu in Neon Genesis Evangelion when her turn to break down came. It’s because Asuka was a victim of childhood trauma, and Anemone is dealing with sins of her making, albeit fully a victim herself. And what of her sins? She regrets most of all, is her being unkind to someone who loved her, and now she’s acknowledging as if for the first time, to be someone she truly loves. And then, out of the sky!

Dominic falls to save her with nothing but love.

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The End releases her to catch him. Gulliver(!) brings them together. And oh god Eureka SeveN succeeds as a romantic fantasy of the highest order with this scene. There’s no need to talk about what they said to each other, it’s enough that the show allowed us to play voyeur, but now let us leave that between them.

These events play out over a stretch of 6 or so episodes, albeit it feels like it could go up to 10. It’s not always big and heavy, it scales down to the slower, quieter, but perhaps heavier character drama involving the strengthening of Renton, Eureka, and the children as a family. It gets all weird and hippie as well, with all those colors and concepts about life and coexistence. These are things that long-running action anime tend to indulge themselves with: from Alchemy (complex) to Spiral Energy (non-complex), anime action shows like their magic. It works best when the things that surround it are outstanding action scenes, and incredibly affecting emotional scenes.

The things I take away from this rewatch are the following:

  • The longer format makes awesomeness possible: 3 cours Revolutionary Girl Utena had its incredible “End of the World” arc; 4 cours Eureka SeveN has this drawn out finale of win; 5 cours FullMetal Alechemist: Brotherhood had a superbly made set-piece finale over almost the entire final cour.
  • Star Driver, a recent Studio BONES show also with roots in Revolutionary Girl Utena would’ve benefited perhaps from another cour so as to avoid the mediocre finale it presented, relative to the immediately preceding examples.
  • This makes Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann so remarkable in that it provided nothing less than what Eureka SeveN and FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood did in their respective finale arcs despite being only a 2-cour show just like Star Driver.

I haven’t seen that much anime, so do tell me if you know of shows that accomplish similar things with their final arcs, but of course let us talk about the things we love about Eureka SeveN by all means!

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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31 Responses to Getting Into the BONES of a Drawn Out Finale: Eureka SeveN

  1. JoeQ says:

    Great write-up. I really look forward to re-watching Eureka 7 with the perspective gained over the last few years. It was a good show the first time I watched it, but I have a feeling it will be even more rewarding the second time around.

    As for fuckmazing finales? Two shows immediately come to my mind (omitting CB and TTGL, of course): Planetes and Texhnolyze.

    Planetes has it all: idealogical, emotional and personal conflicts that all get resolved in a but very satisfying manner and unlike so many other anime, enough time to effectively deal with the aftermaths of these conflicts. Instead of the usual two minutes we get nearly two full episodes and not one moment is wasted.

    On Texhnolyze, all I’ll say without spoilerz is that over the last episodes the dark prophecy is fulfilled in the most heartbreaking manner imaginable and it is one of the only three anime shows that actually managed to reduce me to tears.

    • Thank you.

      I agree with Planetes, only that it didn’t have the prolonged 6+ episode treatment that E7 and FMA:BRO did. Among 2-cour shows, only TTGL comes to mind. CB had 2 episodes to do it. Code Geass R2 tried, but it’s not successful the same way these BONES shows are. 2-cour BONES shows like the aforementioned Star Driver, RahXephon and Bounen no Xam’d don’t have the same kinds of drawn out finale arcs either. Darker than Black actually lost steam near the end (I dropped it).

  2. foshizzel says:

    First time seeing this episode it was amazing! Just to see everything come together, I don’t think I liked the talking mecha to much but It still was a great final episode. And of course some great action scenes, the End vs.Type Zero Hell ya man! That was so much fun to watch xD

    Yep lots of romance! Really great! By the way have you seen the movie? What did you think of that? Or rather have the anime version? I know the movie is extremely different than the series for most.

    • I don’t remember any talking mecha. Are you sure you were watching Eureka SeveN and not SD Gundam?

      The movie was awful. I don’t have much to say about it except it looked pretty good. Everything else about it went away from what I loved about the show.

      • sadakups says:

        He was probably referring to the scene in the final episode when Nirvash started talking. But that doesn’t even count.

        Oh yes, movie was really awful.

        • Funny how I’ve completely missed that. Not sure if want to check it out. I do think that Nirvash and The End are very similar to the Dix-Neuf buster machine from Diebuster.

          • foshizzel says:

            Ohhh I blame the english dub, I watched it the first time they had a sqeeky kid sounding voice for the Nirvash. Yeah The designs are really similar to the buster machines now that you mention that, as for the movie yeah it wasn’t the best but cool idea to take the popular characters and flip them like that.

  3. draggle says:

    That scene with Dominic and Anemone is simply spectacular, one of my favorites of all time. Eureka Seven was one of the first anime series I watched, and that scene convinced me that the effort required to watch the fifty-some odd episodes was all worth it.

    One other show which comes to mind as having a great ending is Kannazuki no Miko. The ending in Kannazuki no Miko stands out even more for me than Eureka Seven’s because the rest of the show is so godawful.

  4. Curuniel says:

    Agreed on the Dominic and Anemone moment, it really struck me as extremely powerful the first time I watched it. The first time I watched Eureka Seven I was hiring dvds from the video store, a couple a week (increasingly often as it drew to a close, heh). I had the last couple of discs and watched them more or less in one sitting, edge of my seat all the way.

    I guess a show needs to build a sense of scale and drama in whatever time they’ve got in order for such an extended finale to maintain its energy (TTGL has its massive scale set up pretty early, and runs with it). Otherwise, it runs the risk of feeling artificially drawn out rather than complex and action-packed. You remind me I have yet to watch the end of FMA:Brotherhood – I was so blown away by the manga ending I never got around to catching up on the anime at the time, but I’ve heard only good things. That story built itself an epic scale.

    Also, after all the ‘tsuzuku’-ing at the ends of episodes, complete with changes of tone and urgency where plot-relevant, that last ‘oshimai’ at the close of Eureka Seven just warmed my heart somehow!

    • I really, really love the Renton and Eureka moment in ep 26. That was so good, and Storywriter was playing as well. But yeah, Dominic and Anemone had the momentum and mass of the whole show falling with them such that when Gulliver finally brought them together in the sky it’s like a goddamn dam broke in my skull. So many tears every single time.

      FMA:BRO will not disappoint. It’s not my kind of show, but I’ve no problems at all thinking of it as a masterpiece.

  5. sadakups says:

    I was listening to Niji while reading this.

  6. schneider says:

    #3: What’s better than blowing up something big? Blowing it up from THE INSIDE, that is! Daedalus Attack all the way. We need more stuff bloating from interior explosions.

    (as an aside, I watched a clip of Dewey’s vessel and realized that the homing laser batteries look very similar to the Exellion’s in Gunbuster, with the optical lens look)

    GaoGaiGar TV had a lot of room to work its magic. Its last 10 or so episodes go up a spiral staircase of awesome, culminating into Jupiter… and then a shocking surprise!

    Tekkaman Blade kicked into high gear when D-Boy gets his upgrade near the late 30s. I can’t remember much of the show, having seen it 3 years ago, but the actual finale almost reaches Zeta Gundam ending levels.

    This is really the reason why I can’t get enough of 4-cour shows. Assuming they are likeable, my rapport with characters is directly proportional to the number of episodes a show has. And with more episodes, there’s more room for character development–Tekkaman Blade and G Gundam were great in the sense that they introduced you a dickish protagonist, and made him grow.

    • That’s brilliant. I didn’t think of the Devilfish’s kamikaze attack as a variation of the Daedalus Maneuver. Yes I also see the resemblance with the Excelion.

      As for the 50 cour shows you’ve mentioned I’ve only seen G Gundam. I didn’t mind Domon being an asshole because I don’t mind Basara being a prick. I can’t say either of their shows belong in this discussion though LOL.

      • Matt Wells says:

        The problem with G Gundam is that it shot its dramatic load about 4 episodes before the actual end. The stuff with the Devil Colony may be great, but the heart of the show ends with Master Asia’s death. Imagawa himself said he had to plow through those last few episodes when it felt like the series had already reached a conclusion.

        GGG’s TV ending I would rank among the great, drawn out finales you listed here. Epic action, dizzying emotions, and a satisfying climax. Though Final achieved the same feeling in a scant 8 episodes, so there you go. Tekkaman Blade and Eureka Seven I need to watch BADLY. So many shows, so little time…

        • Watch Eureka SeveN as soon as you can. I will add GGG to the backlog.

          Master Asia’s passing was indeed the highlight of the whole show, but something has to give re Rain. Domon can’t end the show being a total dick to her.

  7. Chan says:

    Wow, I’m late to the party, yes I also agree with that the Dominic Anemone scene was the best part of the finale. The build up of their relationship and finally the delivery of it was just so emotional, I cried (in happiness) when I first watched. Forget Gundam, forget Macross this series is my all time favorite Mecha anime, and part of the reason is because of how well thought out and utterly satisfying ending was.

    • Chan says:

      by the way I was listening to I’ve Got it (Eureka New School Acid Remix) while reading this entry.

    • I dunno about well thought-out, but the finale was indeed a triumph at the emotional level. Mainly I have difficulty thinking through all the hippie Coralian stuff, but I’m not complaining because the whole thing just feels right.

      The show actually cheated quite a bit with Anemone, since she hardly ever got any characterization except for being an abusive victim who worshipped Dewey. Anemone the lover girl was made possible, and believable by some meta/para material.

      This is one of my most favorite EDs ever, if not my ultimate fave. Anemone here acting spoiled, bored, and ultimately insecure points towards the inauthenticity that she shed while leading The End in that final showdown with the Nirvash. It made her confessional thoughts poignant and believable. And yes it’s sexy as hell.

      • Chan says:

        when I say well thought out I mean within the context of the show itself. As I’ve come across endings that try to be big and fail horribly.

        Though I disagree on the bit of Anemone, we did see a lot of her go through a change granted the change was gradual, and something that you wouldn’t realize until you finish the series, because Anemone was drugged most of the time. It was only when the drugs weren’t doing their job did her real personality shine through, which came around the same time those kids, who worked directly under Dewey appeared.

        Though my favorite ending for Eureka Seven was the second ending

        because we got to see the creation of an issue of Ray=Out.

  8. rennbiber says:

    A little late, but I have to comment. xD Sorry for the tl;dr in advance.

    Really great write-up! Love the description for moment 2. My favorite moment in the E7 finale was when Renton put on his new clothes, followed closely by Dominic and Eureka’s embrace in the sky. I’m not a mecha guy, so I didn’t appreciate your 5 and 3 when I watched them, but it’s nice to get some insight from someone who did.

    I’ve seen less anime than you, and you’ve already mentioned most of the anime I can think of with long finales (FMA:B, E7, TTGL, and RGU). Soul Eater (another 4-cour BONES production) also dedicated 6+ episodes to its finale, but it’s not the same caliber of the aforementioned shows.

    With 2-cour anime, the best I expect lengthwise is 3-5 episodes for direct build-up. They aren’t as epic as 6+ finales, but they’re appropriate. I’ve got high hopes for Tiger & Bunny to deliver at least a four-episode finale as its mid-way climax took four episodes as well.

    Again, sorry for tl;dr. I really loved this post–it was a great way to revisit the Eureka finale and think about the finales of some of my favorite anime. 😀

    • Thank you and no need to apologize. If you take a trip through the archives you’ll find that this blog welcomes long comments. I certainly enjoy discussing anime and I appreciate your contribution.

      You will find much robot love here so it’s a good place to discover something to fall in love with.

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  10. black hand says:

    dude, i’m going to be honest. i have no idea why you prefer the episode 26 thing more. anemone’s monolouge made me cry like a bitch

    • I don’t know if I prefer it more. I know it’s easier to talk to people about because it’s not so big a spoiler… and it’s really picking between two of the most awesome things ever and yes both moments make me cry like a bitch… so I guess it’s pointless for me to choose and if I did, it wouldn’t mean that much.

  11. ViolentLucius says:

    What a post, ghostlightning! It was like an entire analysis of Eureka Seven. Yes, I’d really like to appreciate the work done by all of the staff as well as BONES. Dai Sato for his Direction, Shoji Kawamori for the Mechanical design and truely I got the nostalgia. It certainly came to know that the fights and interactions certainly met the Gundam aspects. That feeling from episode 26 as well as the ending with The End vs. TypeZERO was marvelously done. I’m looking forward to your other posts as well, do keep them coming and once again brilliant writing as always.

    • Thank you very much. Very glad to know that you got what you did out of the post.

      Have a look at the other Eureka SeveN posts on the archives, the category name is Eureka SeveN.

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