NOTE: This article is also available at Ideas Without End HERE
The plot arc following the first major confrontation in Eureka Seven can broadly be seen as focusing on a breakdown of communication and an inability to be understood between Renton, Eureka and Holland. With the crew of the Gekko trapped, and Renton falling in with an ultimately greedy and deluded old man who ends up exploiting him to try and steal the Nirvash, tensions are running high.
What is more, there is little chance of mediation as each character, for whatever reason, is unable to understand or be understood; Eureka is gradually declining in health, Holland remains intractable and Renton is really too naïve and immature to properly fight his corner. Episode 19 begins with him hiding in his room, unwilling to face the others partly out of an inability to properly know how to reconcile with Eureka and partly out of resentment at Holland for what he sees as unfair treatment. What is more, fate is continuing to work against the Gekko’s crew as there are no trapar-waves in the area – it is becalmed, with the enemy closing in. The episode thus has two plots running in parallel; Eureka’s continued decline, and the tense last stand of the Gekko against an overwhelming force. It is when these two stories collide that the viewer finally gains some insight into Holland’s motivations and priorities; he values Eureka most highly of anyone on the ship, explaining his concern about Renton’s appropriation of the Nirvash.
This sub-plot, played almost entirely straight as a stock daring last-minute escape from the enemy, is given much stronger impact by the ignorance of Holland and Talho of events outside the ship; initially, all they know initially is that the Nirvash is missing, and Talho is able to use her apparent concern for Renton as a bargaining chip. That Holland values Eureka more than Renton is to be expected; that he sees the Nirvash as only a machine to be recovered in time is fitting with his overly practical, militaristic persona. That Talho cares for Renton enough to try and convince Holland to wait for him to return suggests that she at least wishes for some kind of reconciliation. The viewer, possessed of more information than the characters (a device the series repeatedly uses both to explain its mysteries and also to compound them) knows the opposite is true and thus can use the assumptions of the others to gauge more about their characters.
When it is revealed to the crew that the Nirvash is gone, Holland immediately assumes it is Renton who has stolen it and Eureka has remained on the ship; this is because the children, now finally accepting of Renton’s position, have turned to him for help as they approve of Renton’s piloting skill and affection for Eureka. At first it was the bond between Renton and Eureka that softened Holland’s feelings. Now it is this bond – or rather the way in which the bond has transformed into a changing relationship with the Nirvash – that has driven the two apart again. In this light the conversation in a previous episode where Hilda assumes Renton is a potential “rival” for Eureka takes on a new significance; while in the past the machine has required both pilots to “awaken” and act independently, it is now reaffirming its bond with its original owner. Tellingly, this happens after Eureka removes the power source that was reponsible for its initial awakening; the gulf between each character has grown so much that only by resetting everything to its initial state can any progress be made.
What happens, however, is inexplicable and sets up an entirely new mystery. While the Nirvash’s initial awakening led to the “Seventh Swell,” a massive explosion that ultimately saved both its pilots, this activation brings Eureka to a cave deep within the mine where she is consumed by some kind of plant. When Renton finds her, all she can do is apologise for transgressing – the attempt to start afresh has failed and the status quo from this story arc has been restored. Indeed, that the Nirvash brought Eureka to her apparent near-death (for the plant material completely mutates her and sends her into a coma) almost proves Hilda’s theory that it is getting possessive – for when Renton gets back in, and again admits his love for Eureka, a second Seventh Swell occurs. It is this which provides the trapars that allow the Gekko to escape, but this has happened at an unimaginable cost. The episode concludes with Holland still refusing to reconcile with Renton, who he now sees as in some way responsible for the events which have occurred. The implication that has been built up over the previous episodes in this story are that this is the case; the Nirvash is sentient, and has been changed in some way by Renton’s piloting it.
Another point of note is that when the plant consumes her, Eureka has a series of visions similar to those Renton underwent when under attack by The End. The difference between the two hallucination sequences is interesting. Renton’s focused on his ignorance of the big picture – his uncertainty about Anemone and The End, his fears of being ostracised and so on. Eureka’s visions inside the plantlike creature focus on how little the audience knows about her; she consistently talks about how little time there is left for her, how her life is a blank book and how adrift she is. It has been clear from the start of the series that Eureka is in some way a cipher or intentionally blank-slate character, and indeed her character design (evocative of the iconic Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion) is packed with such connotations. As a result, it may be expected that a dream-sequence involving a trip into her subconscious may reveal some of the mysteries about her; previous hallucinations have implied a kind of telepathic bond between Eureka and Renton, hinting that there is some significance in their relationship, yet this sequence offers no answers. Instead it suggests that if Eureka is to become immensely important in time, she does not know how or why yet.
Thus, episode 19 of Eureka Seven can be seen as the climax of the sub-plot of misunderstanding and the failure of communication that has defined the preceding arc. However, instead of neatly resolving the misunderstanding through communication and explanations, it instead has one of the parties completely removed from the equation via Eureka’s mutation, and as a result the others driven even further apart; Holland, unable to accept that something has occurred that no-one can explain and seeking to place blame as has become his only method of coping, bans Renton from piloting the Nirvash. It now has no pilots, and any semblance of reconciliation that may have come from Renton’s inadvertant saving of the Gekko has been dashed. Furthermore, there is little hope of any explanation for the viewer of what has happened – since for once every character is stumped. While the confusion surrounding the Coralian was used in part for comedy and to highlight Renton’s outsider status, this incident has ended unsatisfyingly for all – and it is this, in part, that further drives the wedges between the Gekko’s crew.