One question that has not been frequently raised in all of Eureka Seven‘s discussion of religion and godlike planetary intelligences is the matter of an afterlife; it is by now proven as fact that a planetary intelligence exists, and that its intention towards humanity is, in a way, peaceful. It has reached out with a messianic figure twice now and found a proper counterpart for Eureka in Renton. It is faced with humans led by Dewey who believe themselves superior to the divine, who would seek to enforce mastery over it. At the end of episode 47, Dewey claims that mankind will not bow down to, or live in fear of, an “unknown creature.” If God is supposed to be inscrutable, incomprehensible and omnipotent, then the line between faith and fear is – from this perspective – blurred.
The complication comes if one considers that the Scub Coral is not a God in the biblical sense, or the mythological sense, but simply a very powerful embodiment of nature and a key part of Earth’s (for the planet Eureka Seven takes place on is a very much mutated Earth) ecosystem. Declaring war on the Coralians and the Scub Coral is like declaring war on the very concept, for example, of plants. It is proven in episode 47 that the destruction of the Corals would destroy the Earth and likely much of space. One does not – outside of anti-ecological fever dreams – live “in fear” of nature and its preservation is not some act of anti-human sentiment but common sense in that without a flourishing natural world human life would be unsustainable.
A construct I keep referring to in writing about science-fiction and fantasy is the mythical “good king,” some model monarch who is so just and right-headed that it proves monarchy, an inherently unfair system of government, “works” and we have simply been unlucky throughout history. So much fantasy is about a good and noble king who will sire good and noble sons until the end of time being given his throne. The implication is that one hero will beget more good heroic princes who will bring about endless prosperity (until a sequel is needed.) This does not work – as Yang Wenli observes in ostensibly anti-monarchist science-fiction OVA The Legend of the Galactic Heroes. A single “good king” may as well be an anomaly, for if succession passes down the family line one cannot avoid a bad successor in the way an election allows.
By this logic the Scub Coral is a “good God.” It is an entity that serves the role of a divinity in its world, but its intentions are benevolent (if misguided at times) and faith in which is absolutely necessary to prevent the apocalypse. It is the combination of a number of science-fiction happenstances to create a divinity that really does require worship for the continued existence of life, really is omnipotent and omniscient, and which really does love its subjects. The Scub Coral fulfils all the things actual religions promise their deities offer – which creates a situation where Dewey’s atheist rantings about not living in fear of an invisible entity simply are not applicable. One may be atheist in a world where the existence of God cannot be proven. One may, indeed, campaign against the use of religion and the fear of divine retribution as social control. Provided there is no provable God, no scientifically inevitable act of impending apocalypse.
What episode 47 of Eureka Seven does is show how mindsets like Dewey’s can come about, by being critical of the Scub Coral. It explains that the world as it is now used to be the Earth of the current day – untl the Scub Corals arrived. Scub Corals, as a planetary intelligence, communicate and learn by assimilation (shown in the episode as a kind of transhuman existence as a creature of energy and consciousness, within a Control Cluster). All the efforts of humanity to control and fight off what was perceived as an invasive creature simply spurred its more rapid growth, as it sought to learn more about this hostile species by assimilating it. If this is how God acts, then opposition to his will is inevitable. Millennia passed, mankind left Earth and subsequently recolonised it. This time, the Corals attempted coexistence, using figures like Eureka and Sakuya to assimilate knowledge by human contact – trying to normalise mankind to their existence and create a more equitable process of uplift. The reason for the uplift being necessary is the impending Limit of Questions, the “death” of the Scub Coral that would destroy the Earth and likely much more. Only by uplifting all of humanity into the Control Clusters can the Limit of Questions be avoided, and first and foremost this requires the stopping of Dewey’s imminent destruction of the Control Cluster with a satellite laser.
The Control Cluster is, thus, the “afterlife” if one holds the Corals to be pseudo-divinities. The act of uplift to avoid the Limit of Questions is the Rapture, the time when all souls on Earth are taken to become one with God in Heaven, given a transhuman spin. Renton’s sister Diane, who is now living in this communion within the Control Cluster, says that it would be an existence as an energy being, no longer fearing death and living in an infinite library of Earth’s collected knowledge. Eureka has been sent to prime Renton, and by extension humanity, for this communion – and Renton reacts by saying he will go, stop Dewey and show the world the benevolent – if misplaced – intentions of the Corals.
The religiosity of Eureka Seven is complicated by this story. The actions of the Corals – total assimilation of human life – are easy to read as evil. Yet they seem to bring benefits – life within the Control Cluster is portrayed as tranquil and peaceful, an immortality with endless knowledge. Furthermore, it is not an act of judgment, there will be no heathens or sinners left behind. The Corals really are, if Diane and Adroc are to be believe, a compassionate entity that will uplift everyone equally. And the alternative – unbelief, war against heaven – will destroy both mankind and Coral alike.
Perhaps the thing which makes this such a wonderful buildup to Eureka Seven‘s finale is the fact is poses questions for the viewer. Knowing that the Corals are not giving mankind a choice in their fate, would you take the offer?