Review: Eureka Seven: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers (2009)

Directed by:
Cast: , ,

Distributed in Australia by:

There is a history in anime of the adaptation of TV series to movies. Often these films are new stories in the same world, like the Cowboy Bebop movie. Other films closely adapt the plot of the original, taking out a lot of the filler that sometimes creeps in during a series like the Evangelion movies. And then there is Eureka Seven.

Renton is the pilot of a mecha called Nirvash, named after a childhood pet, aboard the futuristic craft the GEKKO with other pilots and crew. They are fighting a losing battle against an alien force, known as the Eizo, who have invaded Earth and are hell-bent on bringing about humanity’s imminent doom. While fighting a battle in a South Dakota town that they know they will lose, the crew of the GEKKO have orders to find and retrieve a significant military asset that they don’t want to fall into the hands of the Eizo. The asset? A girl from Renton’s past called Eureka. It’s quickly established that there is a connection between Eureka and the approaching Eizo that may or may not be a good thing.

Then it gets convoluted: everybody and their mum has a hidden agenda and plan for Eureka and Renton, with the crew of the GEKKO turning against the government forces and the government forces in pursuit of them all. It’s in all of this that the film presents some interesting ideas and one major problem. By splintering out and giving us a few different people to consider as enemies for our heroes Renton and Eureka we get more interesting motivations for the rebel crew of the GEKKO and the government forces — but we lose sight of the alien threat of the Eizo, making it almost irrelevant.

But… wait a minute? What does this have to do with the TV series? Well truthfully, very little. Eureka Seven the movie is a reimagining of the series using designs and characters from the original series in a new way, which is good for fans and newcomers alike. People new to the series get to come in without needing to know fifty episodes of story and character development and old fans don’t have to worry about double-dipping on a story that they have already seen before.

For the majority of my time with Eureka Seven the movie I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I think this was for a number of reasons; one being that Renton shares the name of the a character from the film Trainspotting, which was not a film I wanted to be thinking about while watching this, but it’s hard not to. Another reason is the lack of satisfying action. Studio Bones did a good job with the animation of the film, but they have done better dogfighting combat in the Cowboy Bebop movie: the latter had only one sequence of like this, but easy beat ES despite the latter’s greater focus on aerial combat. This would have been okay if there was a better a story in the mix, but in the end it just felt like a retread of ‘believe and you can change the world’ philosophizing.

There are worse ways to spend two hours of your time, but there are definitely better ways as well. Try renting before buying.

6 dreams to change reality out of 10.
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