Eden of the EastAugust 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:)