Eden of the East

August 8, 2009 at 3:24 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 12 Comments

I don’t really know what I was expecting out of Eden of the East (Higashi no Eden). At any rate, I don’t remember any pertinent preconceptions I might have had regarding it. Perhaps I was worried that it wouldn’t be able to cover much ground, given it’s short run, a mere 11 episodes- too long for an original video animation (OVA), too short for an animated drama with such a wealth of directions to explore.

The first episode introduces the two main characters of the series, Morimi Saki, a young girl on a post-graduation trip to America, who does something so unbelievably foolish on her last day there; and our mystery man, Takizawa Akira, who arrives on the scene butt-naked, with nothing but a cellphone and a handgun, and oh, he’s an amnesiac too.

Suffice to say, things happen, and the two end up returning to Japan together. Interesting things have been going on there- such as the mysterious disapperance of 20,000 NEETs (Not in education, employment, or training), and an incident known as ‘Careless Monday’, whereby ten Tomahawk missiles bombed a few major Japanese cities, yet not a single life was lost.

Akira, while unknowingly charming the pants/skirt of Saki, is trying to find out who he really is, his identity and past are, surprise, surprise, integral to the story. Not to worry, though- he didn’t have to go through electroshock therapy to do so- not with that funky cellphone of his, which is charged with 8.2 billion yen in digital currency, money which he may use to ‘order’ whatever he so desires through a ‘concierge’ known only as Juiz.

Akira is one of twelve persons known as Selecao, who have been roped into a game to ‘save Japan’. Not knowing what else to do, he decides go after each Selecao to dig up information on himself and the truth behind Careless Monday.

Alright, enough of the mini summary. Now for a brief overview of some of the characters, beginning with Akira. Come to think of it, he looks a little like an L (From Death Note) who has the amazing ability to stand up straight, etc. In other words, a normal L, with tidier hair, no odd affections, and a regular Joe’s IQ.

As for Saki- she’s just too cute, haha. It’s worth noting that the production team didn’t go all out in making the girls of the series into sex bombs, which actually increased their appeal. Saki’s just a normal, charming girl, with normal worries such as love, work, and the like.

Saki finds time to delve into the philosophical nature of things too- I found myself liking her more and more for this unexpected trait. Take this: They say that we youngsters are the future of this country, but when I heard that all I could think of was ‘we just want to use you, that’s all’. Nice one that I’ve repeated many times in the past.

I used to think that such thoughts were unique to me and no one else, but I’ve grown cynical enough to realize that most philosophical ideas have already been dreamed up by a group of ancient bearded men with too much free time, or druggies high on crack, debating life, the universe, and everything with a flock of wheezing angels.

One of Saki’s aforementioned troubles is Ōsugi Satoshi, a former classmate of hers, who is hopelessly in love with her. She just doesn’t notice his advances, due to a mix of her own natural denseness concerning Satoshi, as well as being preoccupied with billionaire cum paragon of niceness Akira.

A truly miserable guy, it’s easy to pity him. He’s the only one amongst Saki’s friends who’s earnestly suspicious of Akira, and goes all-out to investigate- well, dig up dirt, more like, to ‘protect’ Saki. Normally I wouldn’t mind such proactivity, but everything he did just stank of ridiculous male hormonally-induced jealousy. Burn on a stake for all I care, kiddo.

I wonder why I dedicated two paragraphs to a character I don’t like. Oh well, back to the review. Some reviewers have compared it to the Bourne movies, a comparison which isn’t totally unfair. After all, Akira does lose his memory, and goes on a quest to recover it. Ignore this. Eden is excellent enough to escape such comparisons. Besides, there’s a further twist to the amnesia line which pretty much severs Eden from further comparison to Bourne.

11 episodes, but Production I.G carried it without a hitch. Each episode kept me wanting to know what would happen next, what bit of information Akira would drag up about his past, whether anything would happen between Akira and Saki. And whether Satoshi would fall into a ditch and never wake up. The animation was lovely- I particularly enjoyed watching Satoshi’s heart get smashed into a million pieces time and again- and the opening theme ‘Falling Down’ by, surprise, surprise, Brit band Oasis, has some wonderful lyrics to it.

The final episode ended with a blast (Numerous blasts, actually), and although I didn’t really understand that last moment until I read a wiki on it, I was satisfied. Now all that’s left is to wait for the two Eden movies that will pick up from where the series left off. I’m not the kind of person who wishes for enlightenment or a guaranteed entrance pass to Paradise, but this Eden is one worth stepping into, and one worth waiting for.

Finally, something to lighten up your day. Normal, everyday worries, no? Click to enlarge:)

12 Comments »

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  1. It was rather interesting to see that the first episode already reveals the ending in its first few seconds.I noticed that after I did a rewatch of the first episode.
    Personally I thought that the Ending was kinda lame but on the otherhand maybe I missed some integral part…Care to share that wiki link?

    Im really looking forward to those movies since it was an really excellent series that broke free from the industries moe-moe and sex sells shackles thats (sadly) dominating the market.

    • See the summary for episode 11, it says what Akira did to himself. I had no idea what happened until I read it- when I was watching it it was like ‘eh? ah? that’s it? what just happened?’

      Haha, amen to the ‘moe-moe and sex sells shackles‘. Wish that there would be more shows like this. However I’m not too comfy with the growing trend of ‘after the series there’s gonna be a movie, so you’ll just have to wait for the true ending’.

  2. So, you’d say it’s good, but it’s too short? Like, it’s not given enough time to explore all that it should?

    It sounds interesting. I actually got a bit of a “The World Ends With You” vibe from your review, which is good enough for me.

    And you know, I think Oasis has done songs for a couple of shows (or at least their songs have been licensed to them). Because I’ve seen them pop up elsewhere…though I can’t remember for which show.

    It looks like FUNimation has the license for it here, so maybe it’ll be out here early next year. Definitely going to keep my eyes open for it. I’m a little surprised this wasn’t something I d/led…though for some reason I do have the final episode on my HDD.

    • Hmm, not really. More like it’s short, and could have explored more ends if it was longer, which is what I wanted- basically, I was starving for more. Now I’ll just have to wait for the two movies. The World Ends With You? I’ve tried to play the DS game, but it kept crashing on me.

      Oasis, eh. I’m not a big fan, but the song used for Eden was nice. I think one of their songs was used for the TV series Lost. I’m not too sure, but this is probably the first time their music has been used in anime. It’s quite rare to find Western music being used in anime- the only other example I can recall is Franz Ferdinand in Paradise Kiss.

      Good to hear that you’ll be getting it, it’s definitely worth the wait. I wonder if they will buy the rights to the two movies as well, or if they’re included in the license to the series…

  3. I’d say The World Ends With You is one of the best DS games out there, if not THE best. It’s certainly in the top 5. Try and find a working copy if you can.

    Ah, looking back at my music, the Oasis song I was thinking of was actually for Eden of the East, lol. My bad.
    Oh, and technically BECCA, who did the first ending theme for Kuroshitsuji, is an American artist, even though she’s signed with Sony Music Japan. She’s American, and she lives in America, but she’s being published more in Japan, I guess. Still, technically American! :)

    I didn’t look to see if the films were included in the licensing. If they were preplanned along with the series, it’s likely. If they’re entirely separate, then they’ll have to license those separately, and I’m not sure if they have

    • Will do, although I won’t set my hopes to high, having tried two versions so far with no luck. Top 5, eh? Tempting, tempting. What would the other four be? I haven’t played many DS games but I do like FFTA2:GotR and the Castlevania games.

      Honest mistake with the Oasis song… say wait, doesn’t that mean that you’ve already watched the finale before the rest of the series? That’s no fun at all><; BECCA. Never heard of her. Haha, if you want to argue over technicalities, there's quite a few examples: Utada Hikaru and Ito Yuna, born in America; Origa, technically Russian, etc…… wonder what the purists would think. If they still exist, that is.

      Hopefully they will be included. Unless they plan on first screening Eden to 'test the waters' before buying the rights to the movies… I'm sure they'll bring it over, though. Can't leave a show hanging on half a conclusion anyway.

  4. To fill the other 4? Hmmm…. At least one of the Phoenix Wright games (or the series as a whole). Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Advance Wars: Dual Strike. And Professor Layton, I guess. That or Trauma Center, or maybe Elite Beat Agents.

    No, no, I haven’t seen any Eden of the East. I just have the song.

    • Ah, Phoenix Wright. That’s a good one. Prefer the original Japanese games, though, if only for their names: for example, Phoenix’s name is actually ‘Naruhodo’. Almost everyone had weird names, it really cracked me up as I went through it:p

  5. Well, the English version plays games with the names. Like: Wendy Oldbag (the old lady security guard), Will Powers (Steel Samurai), Lotta Hart (the photographer), Maggey Byrde (police woman), Redd White (works for Blue Corp.), etc.

    I assume the Japanese names are plays on words as well, but due to the nature of Japanese (with the same (or extremely similar) words and symbols having different meanings) it’s probably very different.

    • Had quite a hard time deciphering the names at first- I’m guessing Oldbag refers to ‘old hag’, will power to the Samurai’s um, willpower… no clue as to Byrde and Redd. Guess I’ll just have to play the game in English to find out.
      Yup, the same goes for the Japanese version. The langauage does make it easier, what with all the homonyms available to it…

  6. Ah, let me see if I can explain. It’s a play on words, of course.

    Red White of Blue Corp. It’s Red, White and Blue, like the American flag.
    Wendy Oldbag = Windy Oldbag. Or like, a windy old hag.

    Will Powers – Will Power, I’m pretty sure.
    I’m not sure about Maggey’s name, but it’s pronounced like “bird.” A wiki I found says her first name comes from “magpie,” which is a bird.
    There’s a guy named Jean Armstrong who is this enormous effeminate French chef with HUGE biceps.
    Lotta Hart – A lot of heart
    Luke Atmey – Look at me
    There’s a prosecutor named Godot, which is from the play, Waiting for Godot where a couple of guys sit around waiting for a mysterious person to show up who never arrives.
    So some of them are meant to be…what’s the word…cognates? Some are palindromes (Glen Elg). And others are meant as a sort of pop culture reference, I guess.

    • Ah, thanks for deciphering them. I think I like ‘Luke Atmey’ best, haha. Godot, Godot. Hey, that’s done by the same guy who did Endgame, Samuel Beckett. I did it for my Eng. Lit. A-Levels final- it was quite fun. Freakish, but fun.


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