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Episode 30 of Eureka Seven seems to be, after so much seriousness and trauma, a return to the endearing oddness and youthful exuberance of the now long-distant first arc. It begins – as, in fact, several such early episodes did – with Renton and other members of the Gekko’s crew on some unspecified mission, completing it in a charmingly amateurish way as they struggle with a large bag of some sort. Indeed, this quite now uncommon style of episode is highlighted as unusual by Renton himself, who talks about how life has returned to normal in a way that he has not seen for some time.
The drama of Eureka being revealed as a Coralian has had surprisingly little effect on Renton according to this introductory monologue; he still sees her as “just a girl,” remembering, of all things, a speech from Holland in the past. That this speech then glosses over a plan to escape the Gekko again – this time taking Eureka – as something he ultimately did not do is then interesting. Eureka Seven continually circles around, in narrative terms, Renton’s growing up – and in doing so raises questions of what maturity actually is, and how adults need to compromise yet also be decisive. That Renton has set aside impulsiveness – after an entire plot arc focused on the consequences of his prior disappearance – and finally set his heart on a duty of protecting and caring for Eureka as she needs him is used to depict a kind of compromise in his character between his memories of Ray and Charles and his relationship with Holland. As this scene concludes with him finally deciding to set the record straight with Holland and put an end to their conflict, it then moves onto more revelations – he meets Talho instead, and more truths of the past are revealed. She is revealing her insecurities; trying to reconcile her fallibility with her and Holland’s memories of Renton’s sister. Again it is a recurring theme in Eureka Seven that reconciliation and true honesty is associated always with the aftermath of a conflict; its setting seems reliant on a number of almost aphoristic associations. Firstly that parental intimacy is to be held under suspicion (Dewey’s perverse relationship with Dominic and Anemone, Ray and Charles’ use of Renton as a tool to attack Holland and Holland’s own cruelty mistakenly considered to be paternal discipline), and now that conflict and confrontation in time leads to true reconciliation.
The episode proceeds into a kind of combination of the past easygoing stuff with the later episodes’ drama. In order to get the Nirvash repaired, the Gekko is landing at a military facility where it was first activated, and its crew are gathering weapons and a plan to take hostages. Renton maintains there is no need for violence, and is reminded the weapons are only a precaution, but crucially here he is being informed about the plan and given a voice. Previously, his being kept ignorant has led to him acting childishly and irrationally and now – even though the others do not entirely agree with his views – he is being kept informed. With this setup section of the episode so redolent of past episodes – yet crucially now informed by the changes to all the characters in this time – the idea that Eureka Seven apparently reflects on its own narrative progress as the series progresses is strengthened. Similar situations recur for the Gekko’s crew as would seem logical when considering the strictly regulated and confined life they live, and so the joy of the series is in seeing how the characters change in approach to these situations.
Even when Holland assumes control of the mission (bringing out Talho’s protective side again – as has been emphasised throughout his period of recovery) Renton is kept in the loop about what is happening, a key part of the team not a hanger-on. His impulsiveness, in fact, becomes a part of the mission’s progress, and not a destructive one as previously. As the scientists hesitate to help the defector and thief Holland, Renton and Eureka appeal to their sense of scientific duty – and this wins out over their duty to Dewey. This in itself is the sort of slight worldbuilding detail that is so commonplace in the series; there have been hints throughout the series that the Federation’s grip on the Earth is not as strong as it seems (perhaps most clearly shown in the William Baxter episode, where an outsider looks in on a world he left) and the fact that military scientists can be so easily swayed to oppose their officers strengthens the idea that Dewey’s command is not universally liked. As things are now going to plan, there is a good-naturedness to events that is if anything reminiscent of the short period on the Gekko where Renton came into his own – in Holland’s absence.
This pause in the ongoing conflicts – both personal and military – allows for retrospection and reminiscence, beginning with the revelation that this installation was the one where Eureka was raised when she was much younger. Almost serving as a crystallisation in Renton’s mind of Eureka’s non-human nature, that it now happens away from the arguments that defined the previous episode’s fraught conclusion and surrounded by welcoming strangers (most notably Sonia, Eureka’s guardian from her time at the base) allows for it to be more acceptable. Although the first of the two thematic cores of Eureka Seven seems applicable here – that Sonia’s friendliness must be tempered by acceptance that she represents the “enemy” – this episode is one focused around openness in all forms and so there is much more of a sense of sincerity in every character’s interactions. As Renton, Eureka and Sonia are united, the action returns to Talho and Holland; her relationship with him now is a kind of compromise between genuine affection and duty to the ship as its acting captain which is quite endearing. She has been an unsympathetic character much as Holland has at times, but while his actions are motivated by selfishness and a general failure as a person, hers are dedicated almost solely to him – and recapturing their past relationship. Here the ship’s doctor weighs in, pointing out that she still dresses and acts immaturely and that this may be a barrier to what she wants to achieve.
While Talho reflects in this way, and the Gekko’s junior crew muse over the nature of the scientists whose job it is to design the war machines that keep the Federation in power, the viewer is given more information about the setting’s progression; Dewey has the engineers designing new and ever-deadlier weapons for some unknown mission and the clues given to its nature – a bomb designed to penetrate the earth’s surface and detonate an immensely powerful warhead deep within formations of the scub coral that plagues the earth – suggest decisive and indiscriminate war. This episode is thus proceeding to carry on mirroring past plot developments – again the Gekko is isolated in a confined space while vital work is carried out, and its crew encounter strange new people and old adversaries. Yet while the Gekko’s repairs following the battle at the Coralian were in a period of confinement that contributed to breaking the crew apart, this installation – and the history Holland and Eureka have with it – seems to be a place for respite and coming closer together. Rather than refusing to co-operate, the characters are accepting their failings and working to resolve them – and the first half of the episode ends with Talho making the first physical change by cutting her hair.
The next sign that this is an arc focused around change comes when Sonia, Misha, Renton and Eureka survey the repairs in progress on the Nirvash, and notice how the machine itself is changing form to suggest potential upgrades. Sonia explains – confirming the viewer’s suspicions if any still remained – that the Nirvash is undeniably designed for two pilots and has been so through all its mutations. What follows is an expositional interlude about the history of the Nirvash, a film made by the scientists who originally worked on it presented in-universe to inform Renton but diegetically to inform the viewer of worldbuilding detail. All of the pieces of the narrative, kept discrete for thirty episodes, finally begin to come together; Eureka was found alongside the Nirvash and was integral to its development – Renton’s grandfather Axel helped build its equipment – and it was the model for all subsequent LFOs.
Yet not all the change in this episode is presented so positively. Maurice, the eldest of Eureka’s three adopted children, has become distant and is now associating more with the older crew members, while Talho’s metamorphosis has become complete and signified by her throwing away her old clothes and finally opening up to Eureka about her past. A third central theme is thus being suggested – that not only does conflict inherently breed openness, the decision to change and take greater control also does. Renton goes on to sort out his own uncertainties by asking for more information about his grandfather’s role in the Nirvash’s creation, and finds out that Axel Thurston used to be a military scientist but resigned after a disagreement. Yet before this can be reflected on for too long, the episode returns to its easygoing strangeness as the chief scientist throws a party for his staff apropos of apparently nothing. Thus, in this strange isolated world where the action is now confined, the characters all in various ways begin to change, cementing their development that has been plain to see so far.