Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Eden of the East Review

Eden of the East is licensed by Funimation Entertainment.

When I was in grade school, we were told that we had to learn how to do mathematic problems in our heads because "We wouldn't always have calculators with us."

This statement is funny now due to the fact that everyone with a cell phone can calculate the surface area of an object quite easily.

While our phones are advanced enough to create and upload videos onto the Internet, we're not quite at the level seen in Eden of the East.

Eden of the East is an anime series that revolves around a college graduate Saki Morimi and an amnesia victim Akira Takizawa.

Akira wakes up outside the White House naked, holding a gun and a cell phone. However, his phone isn't like others as a voice on the other end tells him he has billions of dollars to use, as he likes at his command.

He then meets Saki and the two go back to Japan quickly becoming friends. As the series goes on Akira learns about his past and his phone that seemingly gives him the ability to do whatever he wants all while trying to hide it from Saki.

Our protagonists

What appears to be a simple romance title quickly turns into something larger as the back-story of not only the main characters but world are brought up. As it turns out this isn't the real world Tokyo that we're seeing.

A series of missile attacks leave the citizens questioning the direction of the country and it's government.

Over the course of the series Akira meets others with similar phones and he discovers that this is all done in order to "save the world."

The show isn't afraid to show the darker side of what this power would do to a person, or what an evil person would do with a fortune at their fingertips.

The series was produced by Production I.G. and looks good. The show mixes 2D and 3D backgrounds well, although it still stands out a bit. While it's noticeable it's done much better than other shows to try this.

Writer Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell, Medabots) creates not only an interesting take on modern day Japan but gives his characters some depth making them fairly likeable.

Despite this, the motivation of Akira is not all together clear. While the motivations of a guy suffering from a memory lose aren't always crystal clear, he just seems to hang out with Saki because she was the first person to smile at him.

They use the word Johnny a lot wonder why?

The supporting characters have their own attributes and seem to fit in with the story. Although some of them are well strange. Without going to deep into the story, the inclusion of a character that losses his only pair of pants is bordering on stupid.

Another down side comes from the series soundtrack.

While series composer Kenji Kawai may be famous for working on titles such as Ghost in the Shell, Ip Man and the original Ring films the score isn't that noticeable. In fact it crosses the line between not being intrusive to being almost ignored.

In addition the shows opening and closing themes feel like they could have been ripped from hundreds of other modern anime titles. They don't really match the shows themes or tone, which is sadly something that happens a lot in modern anime titles.

Eden's strength comes from its storytelling and voice acting. Many familiar names are featured in the dub and they help make each character different from one another.

Despite this, it still feels like we're not getting the full story.

The show only has eleven episodes and it doesn't really allow the story to finish up. While I am aware that there are a number of films that were released after the series, the show just ends leaving the viewer questioning what the final phone message meant.

Maybe it's just me but this really bothered me. I got the feeling that there was so much more that the show could have shown.

While the show doesn't give us all the answers and features a forgettable soundtrack the show is solid. Eden is one of the few example of good sci fi that I've watched in a while, bringing up what it really means to be powerful in our world.

The show is highly recommended and will be entertaining to otaku and gamers waiting to the upcoming Watch Dogs game.

Eden of the East was written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama and produced by Production I.G. The series and its films are all licensed by Funimation Entertainment in North America. A novelization of series is also available written by Kamiyama.
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