Note: This article is also available at Ideas Without End HERE
With the second half of episode 31 of Eureka Seven, the real nature of the series’ apparent antagonist is shown. Dewey – who has previously only been seen as a perversely parental equivalent to Holland – and Koda are speaking about the nature of the world and it is framed in similar language to that of William Baxter. The implication is that the planet on which the story is set was colonised by some space-fleet and populated in accordance to a grand plan, but now an indiginous entity – represented by the Coralians as Egan has alluded to in the first half – is fighting back. The identity of the Ageha unit is revealed as well – child soldiers similar to Anemone but apparently without the addiction to drugs and insecurities that she shows. They are consummate soldiers, obedient and amoral.
Dewey simply speaks of the destruction of the Coralians as a matter of course. Here, then, is a change in focus for Eureka Seven – it is moving from being a series set in an unidentified future world about life within an alien society to a fully-fledged science-fiction story about alien contact. Dewey suggests that this kind of aggressive course is vital to humanity’s survival, since otherwise the Coralian armies – called “antibodies” – will destroy it. His rhetoric in calling for a pre-emptive genocide is interesting; in one breath he calls this a war, and in another he talks about attacking the Coralians before they act. In this scene the clues being built up throughout the series – of there being some truth in the strange spirituality, of Eureka’s non-human origins, and of Dewey’s machinations and secret weapons – are all brought together. Yet Koda seems unconvinced; she calls him powerless and suggests his actions are desperate acts. This closing exchange – where Dewey’s response is subdued and threatening rather than the violence he has proven he can deploy – cements his position as an antagonist who is shrewd and very much in control. Whether or not his plan will succeed is a different matter entirely.
Thus what has been established is the “real” story of the series and the plot which will define the remaining episodes; the ideological and ethical conflict around the Coralians. The viewer currently knows very little solid about them, only that Eureka represents them (and seems to not be an agent of a malign planetary intelligence bent on the destruction of humanity) while Dewey is convinced they are planning to kill everyone. Egan thus fits into a well-defined niche in the science-fiction plot, that of the idealistic yet radical scientist who proposes a peaceful solution in the face of a militaristic humanity. Renton and Eureka – apparently the only example of direct contact between Coralian and human, and a blossoming romance at that, goes entirely against Dewey’s portents of doom and indeed the Nirvash – which becomes more powerful as their understanding of each other increases – is apparently a tool of reconciliation between the species. Generally in such first-contact stories, the “correct” (both ethically and practically) course of action is compromise and co-existence, with militarism and hubris duly punished – the Nirvash has, it is now revealed, been being the instrument of this in its reacting to co-operation between human and Coralian in the face of a universal threat – the militaristic humans who oppose this. This idea of the Nirvash as an instrument of co-operation continues, for as a part of its upgrade a new flight board is required for it and Renton’s grandfather Axel has been called in to design it. There is the suggestion – both in Dominic’s meeting with Axel and his working on the Nirvash – that there is finally the chance for reconciliation within the Thurston family and it is the Nirvash that facilitates it.
The return to the story of Anemone – a contrast to Dewey’s professional and cold-blooded Ageha squadron – provides an alternate look at the core conflict. She knows about Dewey’s meetings with Koda, and his new plans, and is presented as an outsider now, out of favour. Yet she has softened – now she seems to be friends with Dominic who is also no longer needed in this new order. The Ageha children are, in their more professional fashion, replacing the flawed and yet relatable Dominic and Anemone within Dewey’s schemes. Previously, without the threat of the Coralians (when the antagonists of the series seemed purely focused on recapturing or destroying the Gekko and settling the score with the renegade Holland), the antagonists were human, presented as mirrors of the protagonists. Now it is being made clear how the pace of operations is being accelerated and Dewey is replacing the inefficiences of relatable people with his strange army of children. A lot of what made Dewey uncanny as a masterminding antagonist previously was his perverse paternality – how his affection for Anemone seemed unsettling and artificial in its nature – and now the Ageha children have been introduced even that facade of personability is gone. The scenes of children – presented almost as parallels to Eureka’s charges as Anemone was the parallel to Eureka and Dominic to Renton – co-ordinating military operations and outranking the captains of ships who have in the past been incidental foes – are a very standard form of image of unsettling villainy, but presented in this context they serve as the real conclusion of the easygoing first part of the series. That they still act as children – with mischievious innocence rather than Anemone’s teenage petulance – in how they celebrate a successful mission heightens the tension and uncanniness.
Yet the consequences of what they have done is uncertain; they have fired the experimental ground-penetrating missiles that were referenced earlier in the series as a first strike against the Coralians and this has brought out a sympathetic reaction from apparently both Anemone and Eureka. It is becoming clearer that Anemone may also be a Coralian. With a first strike, it is shown, comes retaliation; the missiles may have killed “several thousand” Coralian soldiers but their reprisal attack is immense in scale, and thus the foe is finally revealed. The Coralians are a species of grotesque amorphous shapes of eyes and tentacles which fall upon a city simply dissolving its buildings and people alike. Extreme violence in Eureka Seven is rarely deployed – it was evident when Ray Beams died, and when Renton laid brutally into a unit of LFOs – and now it returns as the Coralians are shown dismembering and eating humans. The whole scene is an entirely unprecendented level of brutality, as a sequence of a mother killing a crying baby to futilely try and stop her hiding-place being discovered ultimately epitomises. This on its own would mark a turning-point in the story’s tone – yet it is but one part of Dewey’s plan and the part which cements him as more than just a sinister threat. He ordered the Ageha squadron to strike at the Coralians knowing a city would be destroyed in return, in order that his armies could play hero. Here he calls again on Dominic and Anemone to lead the counter-attack, which is itself a likely-staged massacre – the Coralians effortlessly destroy the fleet and then disappear, leaving the city in ruins. All the Gekko’s crew can do is rush the upgrades to the Nirvash and retreat, as the war with the Coralians has begun.
If the first half of this episode was heavily based around exposition and presenting the idea that the Coralians are a sentient race, the second cements it while also establishing Dewey as a villain far more contemptible than he previously seemed. His plan to annihilate the Coralians – a hubristic attitude in its initial presentation – is in fact launched in the knowledge it will have a horrendous human cost which he aims to use to make his cause seem more just. It is in this development, in which new ethical questions about the setting and its depiction of its central conflicts are raised, that Eureka Seven ultimately becomes a true science-fiction story; previously it was a story about Renton’s life and issues of rebellion and religion in the future. Now that a credible alien threat has been established, its motives ultimately vague (for the Coralian attack is a provoked one, not the unprovoked annihilation that Dewey prophecied), the only hope seems to be for a resolution via compromise or co-existence.