Renton is the character that we follow throughout Eureka Seven serving as the main protagonist. Because of this, we see his growth in more detail as compared to other character such as Eureka. Alongside Eureka, Renton’s growth serves as the backbone of the Eureka Seven story and also adds to its quality.
With Eureka, we are shown a character that is discovering what it means to be human. Her growth stems from her experiences with powerful human emotions. By her nature, her role is define a human and become that very definition. Being a blank slate, the impression that she initially leaves is one of being raw and unrefined. With her changes, she slowly transforms from that raw state to being a gem of Eureka Seven. Because her huge growth and development is placed alongside that of Renton, the impression that Renton leaves may seem more lackluster in comparison. However, the value of his character is that he is more relatable.
The depiction of Renton did justice to him by making his attitude appropriate for his age of 14. He is initially shown to be immature and naive, lacking experience and exposure to the world. Earlier on, he complains quite a lot and seems dissatisfied with a number of petty things. He also struggled with his identity and role. Having just joined Gekkostate, his initial concerns aside from his fixation with Eureka involved his position among the group. A lot of times, he would wonder why he was being picked on and what his position was among the other members. He struggled to gain their respect and a sense of identity.
In that regard, Renton’s character is depicted accurately. In his adolescence, his struggle is focused on creating an identity for himself and discovering his role in society. With this, his growth is primarily rooted in his interactions with others. Through these experiences, he continuously gains insight on the world and begins to find strength in his connections to others. With the exception of Charles and Ray, Renton’s development is mostly rooted in his interactions with Holland Novak and with the titular character, Eureka.
With Holland, Renton repeatedly attempts to gain respect and recognition which Holland seemingly extends to all in Gekkostate save for Renton. This need for acknowledgment and respect is amplified by the fact that Renton idolized Holland growing up. The tension between the two is also exacerbated by the fact that Holland treats him as an inferior rather than an equal. With this form of treatment, it is only natural that Renton lashes out and complains seeing as Holland clearly refuses to give importance to Renton’s role as both Eureka’s partner and as a member of Gekkostate. Renton’s increasing maturity throughout the show is seen as his relationship with Holland begins to change. He eventually gets through to Holland proving to be a suitable partner to Eureka and a reliable member of Gekkostate. Coupled with this, Renton begins to show a more mature side when he admits his mistakes to Holland and learns to view the world from the perspective of others. As he gains a better understanding of Holland’s background and personality, he learns to deal with their tension in a more mature manner eventually gaining the respect that he had been yearning for.
With Eureka, Renton’s struggles mostly lie in establishing his position as her partner and romantic interest. At first his problems were shallow mostly revolving around his infatuation with her. Rather than being able to simply talk to Eureka, he repeatedly failed to establish a connection due to nerves. His attraction to her initially was more of puppy love. As the series progressed, Renton became more firm with regards to his love for Eureka. Previously, he would deny it or show embarrassment at the mention of his attraction to her. Later on in the series however, he begins to show more resolve going out of his way to take care of her. The transformation of Renton’s love for Eureka is slow, continuously evolving throughout the course of the 50-episode run of Eureka Seven. However, it is this pacing that makes his love believable and relatable. Renton is allowed to experience what love truly is leading to a more mature understanding of it. The result is a relationship that draws viewers in.
As stated, when put next to Eureka, Renton’s development may seem negligible and weak. However, I feel that because his issues and his reactions were apt for adolescence, a stage that everyone goes through, his character became much more relatable. What is most refreshing about Renton is how his change in character and world-view stems from experiences rooted in his desire to find his role in the world and among his peers. It is this struggle that truly sets him apart from the other characters of Eureka Seven.