In the year 2054 mankind is at war with a mysterious organism from outer space called “EIZO.” Eight years earlier, Renton Thurston (voiced by Kaori Nazuka) grew up happily alongside his green-haired, humanoid EIZO girl sweetheart, Eureka (Yuko Sanpei), and their fungi-like alien sidekick Nirvash (Sakiko Tamagawa), under the watchful eye of the boyish Professor Dominic (Shigenori Yamazaki), who claims they share a special destiny. However, Eureka is kidnapped by government agents on suspicion of being an alien spy. Now, Renton pilots a Nirvash-powered giant robot, defending Earth as part of the 303rd Youth Regiment led by gutsy female captain Talho (Michiko Neya) and fellow robot pilot Holland (Keiji Fujiwara). While battling squid-like invaders in the skies above Michigan, Renton rediscovers Eureka. Her alien powers morph Nirvash into a new super-robot that wallops EIZO into the stratosphere.
Soon afterwards, Renton discovers he and Eureka are being used in a coup against the government, in revenge for a failed scientific experiment known only as the “Tragedy of Doho.” While government officials debate whether to use an apocalyptic satellite weapon called “The Hammer of God” against EIZO, Renton finds himself at odds with his onetime friends. Eventually an encounter with a pink-haired, all-knowing immortal EIZO called Number Six (Ami Koshimizu) - who in a poetic plot parallel was once Professor Dominic’s girlfriend - leads the youngsters to their cosmic destiny and one final battle with EIZO.
Eureka Seven: The Movie, or Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers as it is known in Japan is spin-off feature film from one of the finest anime shows in recent years. As with many classic science fiction sagas from anime’s golden age, the plot cannily evokes the psychological scars wrought by the Second World War. Ordinary folks find themselves caught between a totalitarian government and an alien foe they do not understand. There are hints throughout that the conflict is more complex than either we or the young heroes realise, but the depiction of a multiracial force banding together against the alien invaders is so beguiling it leaves viewers unprepared for the ingenious sucker-punch thrown mid-way. Using repeated allusions to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, writer-director Tomoki Kyoda draws an intriguing back-story involving war orphans, black holes and strange prophecies foretelling the coming of “Peter and Wendy” who will open the doorway to Neverland, where time stands still.
Koyoda’s script has its share of arcane sci-fi jargon and some of the supporting cast may prove vague for non-fans, but the core romance is beautifully drawn and the plot compels from start to finish, springing some startling twists. The amazing visuals have an epic sweep absent from many live action alien invasion films. Superb aerial action sequences feature robots flying on rocket surf boards while the surreally styled EIZO evoke the abstract designs iconic artist Tohl Narita employed in the tokusatsu classic Ultraman (1967). What’s more, the music is outstanding, including Naoki Sato’s orchestral themes and the closing song “Space Rock” performed by Ill. Keep an eye out for the amazing artwork featured in the closing credits.