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Something definitely for fans. A bit jagged 'round the edges.
First off, I'd like to say that the original series was by far my favorite anime, second to none. The series as a whole surpassed so many that had come before it, and few come as close to the range of emotions, lifestyles, issues, political and environmental commentary presented. I'm afraid to say that the movie gets rid of a bit of this, but it is still present in veins and traces amongst the action and romance.
The premise of the movie is entirely hypothetical, but actually can be considered canon because it takes place in an alternate universe (not explicitly stated, but extremely heavily implied). The time is actually not that far from modern day, compared to the 10,000 years in the future shown in the series. The setting ambiguous as to whether they are on the Scub Coral (now called the Image in the movie) or on the surface of the earth, but it can be inferred from maps and the topography that the Scub did in fact cover the entire earth, but not as a shell; the Command Cluster is visible from the surface, shown later in the movie.
The plot was insane. Extremely insane. Most of the mythos had been turned entirely upside down. The previously benign Scub Coral are now violent and purposely destructive. The human-coralians like Eureka are "spies" rather than emissaries. At one point, all LFO's (other than the mystical Nirvash, of course) are rendered useless as the underlying skeletons free themselves of the systems humans attached to them. Various things are reversed, twisted, created, and destroyed, and a lot of it is just excessive.
I have a few complaints that stop this movie short of the masterpiece it could have been. The extensiveness of the plot-redirection was far too much to be contained in a movie, and the constant infodumps were a bit of a nuisance, but nothing to truly complain about. A few shots were stolen from the show to save time, not that bad, but I think the context of those shots were something worthy of re-drawing for. The romance of Renton and Eureka is believable, but obviously rushed (compressed into 100 minutes, so...) and a lot more cliché than how it was handled in the series. The only character fleshed out at all was Renton, Eureka follows closely after but since their role was reversed in the relationship, she is a bit stereotypical and kind of boring. In the series, she sort of led the dominance (with the exception of the last few episodes) with piloting Nirvash and having a bit of a leash (albeit not knowingly) over Renton's outpouring emotions. In the movie she is just a damsel in distress waiting to be saved. At one point, she even blatantly calls out for Renton to save her.
But the movie has so many saving qualities that the complaints are pretty much overwritten. First of all, the animation of every shot was handled carefully and with much detail, and the last fight scene between Renton and Holland was honestly the most breathtaking animation I had seen since Akira. The voice acting was, of course, perfect, and the plot pacing was perfect despite all the overwhelming amount of information needed to follow. The soundtrack was generic action/romance movie, but was not gaudy, overstated, or entirely cliché and was generally tasteful; it has nothing on the original series' techno/acid/rave soundtrack, the greatest since Samurai Champloo's instrumental, primordial breakdowns. But the bulk of my score comes simply from the fact that is Eureka Seven, despite all of the plot changes, and a lot of the series' heart and soul is retained. If I had seen this before I had seen the series, I'd be a bit disheartened and probably not as forgiving as I am now, and my score would be around a six.
But the great animation, great sound, amazing presentation, and decent hypothetical handling warrants this anime adventure an 8.5 out of ten, rounded to nine. Great for any fan of the series, and average for any fan of anime in general, but newcomers to either beware, it's a lot to take in.
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