Episode 36 of Eureka Seven is arguably archetypal in its structure – a slow-paced chapter of the ongoing story that clarifies, in a fashion, both past and current mysteries. It follows the formula of many episodes in this way – presenting a series of character portraits that modify the viewer’s preconceptions and opinions both via dialogue and unspoken action. Its first half offers, in sequence, insights into Dewey, Norb, Eureka and Holland – all of which are focused on cutting through mystique or mystery to explore a unified theme for the episode of identity and honesty. In some ways Eureka Seven uses character development as its “enemy of the week” – a series like Rahxephon uses each physical enemy, in the form of the alien rock-monster Dolems – to explore a character flaw or interaction. Eureka Seven, by contrast, presents the characters’ crises and failings as its conflict points, eschewing the actual robot conflict that might be used by other mecha animé to hash out disagreements for physical, in-person, confrontation or action.
ZZ Gundam is the third part of the trilogy of Gundam television series that form the core of the Universal Century timeline – each follows chronologically on from the next and, through different pervading dramatic tones used in each entry, the trilogy has a strong sense of character progression among those characters which recur. ZZ is sometimes criticised for being too light-hearted and inconsistent with previous works – it marks a significant departure from the often cynical seriousness of Zeta Gundam and at the same time is a very different kind of light-hearted story to the surreal, resolutely 1970s animé, Mobile Suit Gundam. It is at first far more reliant on simple physical humour – clumsiness, visual jokes and general slapstick scenes – than most Gundam animé, far more visually a cartoon in its use of the animation medium to go from exaggerated visuals to detailed sci-fi stills.
Note: The subsequent article will contain some plot details for Zeta Gundam
The central plot conceit of much of Turn-A Gundam is that two central characters – the victim of war Kihel Heim and the leader of the invading Moonrace Dianna Soriel – switch places, taking advantage of their similarity of appearance to experience life from another perspective. The lonely queen of the moon initially sees this as a joke stemming from an emerging friendship with a confidante of the leader of earth forces, but as the events of the war develop – and Moonrace and Earth Militia forces both escalate the conflict ignorant of attempts at peace – the switch becomes a much more significant thing as Kihel, a civilian, ends up having to do more than look like her counterpart but also fulfil Dianna’s role as a military leader.
Considered as an entire series, Overman King Gainer works to an extent as a distillation of the coming-of-age story into its basest form; its protagonist begins his journey the epitome of apathy and unwillingness to engage with the world around him and has to be forcibly dragged into action. What follows is his awakening into not a warrior, as would be expected of many series in King Gainer‘s vein, but simply a better person.