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Before I start talking about the Eureka Seven manga adaptation, I’d like to explain what Eureka Seven is as a franchise. Eureka Seven was designed by Studio BONES and Bandai to be a sort of multimedia franchise that reaches out and expands beyond the normal frame of any single anime or manga series. You have the flagship anime, video games which retell the story of the anime, video games which act as prequels to the anime (which I’ve never played, but if I do get my hands on them some day I may review them too), a manga that is a prequel to the prequel video games, as well as a recent movie which is an alternate setting using the same characters. The Eureka Seven manga I’m about to review is somewhat similar to the movie in that it takes the characters and settings of the anime and adds a few twists to them here and there, but unlike the movie it sticks a little more closely to the plot of the TV series.
Unlike a lot of anime or manga, the Eureka Seven manga was not really made to be an “adaptation” of some source material that already exists in public entertainment, despite me using the word adaptation numerous times. Instead, the manga and anime were released almost simultaneously, so one does not rely on the other to be an initial source. Instead, the “source” for both of them is the director, Sato Dai. The result then is that as a manga, Eureka Seven is something quite unique, both relative to other manga in general, as well as to the anime TV series.
Premise-wise, the manga is pretty much the same as the anime. You have an impetuous youth named Renton Thurston, an enigmatic girl named Eureka, an anti-government group called Gekkostate, and there’s sky surfing and trappar and all sorts of familiar sights. Many of the plot points between the anime and manga are similar, too. However, many plot points are also quite different, and these changes to the story also change the basic feel of Eureka Seven.
The Eureka Seven manga is a little more action-based, a little more violent than the TV series. There’s not superfluous amounts of blood flying about, but people get hurt in the manga pretty badly. In other words, it reads less like the crescendo that is the anime and more like a sforzando. Now, if you’re like me and only knew the word crescendo (gradual buildup), and had to look for another musical term to continue the analogy, sforzando basically means “sudden changes.” The manga comes at you fast and hard, and at times it can leave you asking, “Wait, when did that happen?” Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, of course.
There’s also more fanservice in the manga, such as panty flashes. And by panty flashes, I mean a character literally lifting Eureka’s skirt in Renton’s presence in order to get a rise out of him, both emotional and physical. Anemone in particular is given some choice sitations, as well as an ever-so-slightly different personality, where her cheerful side and her not-so-cheerful side are just a bit more extreme on either end.
I personally feel that the manga is not nearly as good as the anime, lacking much of the subtlety and grandeur of the anime, but that doesn’t mean I think the manga is bad or mediocre. I know some people prefer the manga because it doesn’t dawdle as much, and it really does get to the point more often, although it tends to be at the expense of building up the characters more. Still, I think it’s worth reading whether you’re an Eureka Seven fan or not. In fact, you don’t even need to have seen the anime in order to enjoy the manga, and it’s even possible you might enjoy the manga more if you don’t have the anime for a comparison.
The creators of the Eureka Seven manga, Kataoka Jinsei and Kondou Kazuma, are currently working on their own original manga called Deadman Wonderland. Check it out if you want to see them working in a setting that isn’t tied to a greater franchise beast.