I don’t watch anime films very often, but once in a while something will catch my attention. This time it’s Eureka Seven: Pocket Full of Rainbows, which is of course the film adaptation to Bones’ much beloved anime series about sky-surfing mecha and teenage romance. I was looking forward to this movie given how enjoyable the Eureka Seven anime series was, but unfortunately Pocket Full of Rainbows turned out to be a disappointment.
Pocket Full of Rainbows features most of the Eureka Seven characters we know and love, but the events take place in a parallel universe and the story is entirely different. In this world, humans and aliens known as IMAGES are fighting for control of Earth. Eureka is an IMAGE in human form and she was raised together with Renton by the researchers who are trying to discover her secrets, but one day the military raided the research facility and took her away. Years later, Renton has joined the military and is serving as a LFO pilot on the Gekko. Renton and the Gecko successfully rescue Eureka from the compound she was held at in a mission to stop the IMAGES from taking Eureka. Unbeknownst to Renton and Eureka, the crew of the Gecko has an ulterior motive and wants the protagonists to bring them to Neverland, a world where people don’t age.
… Or at least that was what I think the story was, since I had no clue what was going on half the time. The story of Pocket Full of Rainbows was a meandering mess, filled mostly with long-winded and poor explanations of certain events interspersed with brief bursts of action and emotional moments. The connection between Eureka, IMAGES, and Neverland was never fully explained, and therefore it wasn’t clear what Holland and his gang really had in mind. The roles of Koda and Anemone are also puzzling, as both character received plenty of screen time while accomplishing little. Pocket Full of Rainbows went out of its way to tie in various details from the anime series, but none of the details amounted to anything. There was a lot of information being thrown around, but the film failed to bring them together into a satisfying conclusion, and thereby leaving the audience (or at least me) more confused than ever at the end.
Pocket Full of Rainbows brought back plenty of familiar faces from the anime series, but it didn’t bring back their personalities. Granted, it’s harder to develop a large cast of characters in a two-hour movie than a 50 episode anime series, but the film didn’t develop any of the characters. Forget the fact that Holland and his crew are portrayed as nothing more than a bunch of selfish bastards, Pocket Full of Rainbows’ most glaring fault is its portrayal of our protagonists. The Eureka Seven anime series, at its core, is a coming-of-age love story between Renton and Eureka, but this film version does not deliver on this central element. Part of the problem is with the story; the film starts with Renton and Eureka already knowing each other very well, so there is no bonding process between the two as in the anime series. The other part of the problem is the dialogue; the lines just seem so clichéd, with most of them being emotional outbursts or tearful realizations. The feeling of romance and teenage love was lacking throughout the whole film, and this is perhaps the most unforgivable failure among all of the other questionable aspects.
Needless to say, Pocket Full of Rainbows pales in comparison to the anime series that inspired it. One of the few things that didn’t go wrong in this film are the action sequences, which while entertaining, were in line with all the other missile and homing laser spam scenes from the anime series. And also little Renton and Eureka were pretty cute, but that’s about all the pros I could think of. Perhaps it was unrealistic to expect that Pocket Full of Rainbows would be as excellent as the anime series, but Pocket Full of Rainbows wasn’t even decent; it was mediocre at best. The story was confusing; the pacing was off; the characters were poorly developed, and they even messed up the Renton-Eureka romance. Basically, the film was a big letdown for me. Two thumbs down.