In a future where a massive disaster has devastated Earth, most of humanity has abandoned their physical bodies and relocated in digital form to DEVA, an advanced space station orbiting the ravaged planet. Free from the limitations of traditional existence, such as death and hunger, the inhabitants of this virtual reality reside in relative peace until Frontier Setter, a skilled hacker, infiltrates the system and spreads subversive messages to the populace.
Labeled a threat to security by authorities, Frontier Setter is pursued by Angela Balzac, a dedicated member of DEVA's law enforcement. When the hacker's signal is traced to Earth, Angela takes on physical form, transferring her consciousness to a clone body and traveling to the world below in order to deal with the menace. On Earth, she is assisted by Dingo, a charismatic agent, and during her journey to uncover the mystery behind Frontier Setter, she gradually discovers startling realities about the wasteland some of humanity still refers to as home, as well as the paradise above.
Rakuen Tsuihou was a joint project between Toei Animation and Nitroplus, which won the Best Animation of the Year Award at the 24th Japan Movie Critics Awards. It was first shown at ConFusion in Sweden in December 2014. The movie was imported to the United States two days later by Aniplex USA and shown in fifteen theaters nationwide.
Rakuen Tsuihou: Expelled From Paradise, is Gen Urobuctcher's (sorry, couldn't resist the bad jokes) new original animated film that explores the meaning of humanity and personal reality. The movie offers a few interesting twists and introduces some extremely intriguing ideas about sci-fi and humanity itself.
This movie is about our cute female protagonist, Balzac Angela (voiced by Kugimiya Rie so end of review, 10/10 :P ) sent from Deva, a new world created based on data after a certain apocalypse in earth that turned the whole world into a never-ending desert (portrayed as the wild west), to stop a certain someone or something who was
recently hacking into the Deva system to convey a certain message that contradict's Deva's values. Angela, along with our male protagonist "dandyman" Zarik Kajiwara, sets on a mission that will redefine the many things that She was taught on the Deva.
Story : 7/10 As explained earlier, the story tries to explore many different themes and tries to convey them in many different ways; however, the story is not extremely smooth and well told mainly because nothing in the movie was explored well enough.
Character ： 7/10 Much like the story, simply underdeveloped. There was pretty much only 3 in the movie characters and none of them were extremely well developed, but being underdeveloped does not mean they are boring characters. All of these characters have a very lovable personality and these personalities are well portrayed through their actions. Regarding the 3DCG, I actually think it contributes to the storytelling extremely well mostly due to the story partially being the exploration of the difference between a digital reality and a traditional human being.
Sound : 9/10 The Soundtracks are very well developed, playful, and fits the situation very well. The voice actor/actresses fit the roles extremely well and the ending song is also great.
PS: don't skip the ending. Enjoy the song a little and wait for a tiny cute and heartwarming treat at the end :)
Art : 9/10 The whole film is made in “3D" modeled animation. Like a refined version of (RWBY) It was well made so it was not too distracting most of the times. Some of the scenes had awesome cinematography and some other scenes are extremely well drawn. Also, the fighting scenes are extremely entertaining and contains some great CGI
Enjoyment ：8/10 The way this story is told could get boring at times, but some of the really lovable characters and original ideas from the anime can really bring the audiences back. Again, great cinematography and mech fight scenes.
Overall : 8/10 Only if the story and characters were more developed. Everything else could be better, but they were already quite nice. I would definitely suggest this movie to anyone who is looking for something a bit different and doesn't hate the 3D animation.
Final words： I really like this animated film a lot, and it has a 10/10 on my personal ratings because some parts of it really does deserve that score. Sadly, there are too many things in the anime that prevents me from doing so in a formal review.
I thoroughly enjoyed Rakuen Tsuihou, as well as Gen Urobuchi's other works, namely Psycho-Pass, Madoka, and Gargantia.
As an introductory aside, I want to start by strongly disagreeing with people who highlight Urobuchi's tendency to kill off character ("the Urobutcher") or his aptitude for plot twists as his main appeal. They are not. What draws me -- and I believe many other viewers -- to Urobuchi's works is their philosophical undercurrents; everything in his films and shows touch upon some aspect of society, humanity, or morality, and the story is often a sidekick (although an exciting one). For example, Psycho-Pass is focused on the impact on
having a benevolent, all-knowing, but tyrannical autocracy on society; while Gargantia revolves around reflections of a soldier faced with peace and prosperity, and learning to throw away his inculcated beliefs.
With that said, I think Rakuen Tsuihou's main appeal is along the same lines. There are no real plot twists in this movie, besides perhaps the identity of Frontier Settler itself (for the longest time I expected this nefarious hacker to be some evil genius or something). Everything generally works out the way you expect, and I think it's fair to say that most of us know, going in, that Angela won't stay with Deva for long.
But this movie is not about some futuristic sci-fi world of people living in virtual reality; sure, that's the backdrop, but that's not what it's really about. It's main focus is on the dichotomy of Angela and Dingo, and the two societies they represent. This is a dichotomy that exists in today's world just as much as it does in the world of the movie. These two societies might not be spatially segregated as in the movie, but we still have it: the increasing disparity of the haves and have-nots.
Every commentary on this issue in today's society talks about it as if it's a problem to be solved, as if there are only negatives. We live in the world where ambition and the drive to succeed are unconditionally praised, even when that drive leaves us with no time for relaxing or pleasure or trying to truly learn what we are meant to do. I see Rakuen Tsuihou as a commentary on this, and while Angela doesn't exactly do the best job of defending her "high-society" ambitions, I think the movie as a whole does a great job illustrating how this sort of all-consuming career ambition can leave us blind to the true pleasures of life.
This was a travesty. An absolute insult to any mecha fan or Urobutcher fan. It's hard to believe great talent, be it writing or VA or w/e, were all roped in for this mess. All at a high budget too.
Lets begin with our main heroine, Balzac, whose name is hilarious, has no redeeming features beyond her stupid funny name. She is the embodiment of every cliched terrible tsundere character rolled in and condensed into one terrible package of fanservice. She is unlikeable, she makes poor and questionable decisions, and she barely contributes to the plot, of which there is very little of. She whines so
much in this I wished that somehow, in Butcher tradition, shed be silenced in one way or another (It didn't happen). She's nothing but a useless fanservice girl. Alongside Balzac is generic bounty hunter secondary protagonist guy, who've you've also seen a thousand times before. He's the epitome of genericness, he knows what's right, and serves as one of the competent members of the group who does stuff properly at least. And lastly is Claptrap, who's there to prove his existence to the world or something. Claptrap is easily one of the less horrible characters in this (alongside that dealer person I like somehow). Heck, that one exposition scene with him is one of the only ones I liked.
Plot wise this whole farce is barebones to its core. In the beginning, with the help or closeups of Balzac's tits and arse, the film seems to hint at something more than just a typical Hur-Dur authority is evil Hur-Dur kind of movie. It isn't. It is as generic as generic can get. If anything the biggest plot twist in this is how obvious the plot twist is as that authoritarian totalitarian entity turns out to be , surprise, not as benevolent as previously thought! And for a mecha anime, there really isn't much in mecha action, hell, less than 30 minutes in and the mecha is sold for christ sakes.
I used the term "anime" throughout very lightly. Most of the film's character models are terrible 3D cell-shaded models that greatly resemble MMD stuff. They greatly feel out of place amongst the (I must admit) very well done backgrounds, and amongst the 2D extras. Animation wise, the 3D character models also seem to operate at a different framerate from the rest of the backgrounds. I dunno a good way to describe it, but it feels out of place. If anything it feels like a video game at times. A pretty video game I give it that.
The fight scenes, few as they are , are terribly done. While on paper they seem pretty decent, a high budget mecha on mecha action kinda thing, most of the action scenes are messily edited, with unnecessary closeups that detract from the main fight. Also every few minutes, the fight deviates to give us a closeup of Balzac's tits and arse and her screaming. The fights aren't particularly clever either, most of them are just your standard fare, no planning or strategy here, just brute force mostly.
Overall, a better way of spending your time in a similar manner would be to load up MMD and mess around with it for an hour or so. Because hey, you'd get more enjoyment out of that than this. (Speaking of MMD, all the female character models feel like they're lifted from vocaloid).
Fun fact : this film can't even be used to play butcher bingo properly. It only has like 4 out of 25 squares.
Gen Urobuchi is a writer I like, but even with that thrown out there he’s very repetitive in his writing. At times, he creates fascinating worlds, and characters, but then make them speak by info dumping, and reiterating the same topics as if viewers missed them the first time. They speak like plot devices instead of like people. So Gen Urobuchi opted to create a world that was formerly filled with humans, and now are just data. Here is story written in that kind of world. A world without consistency, nor intelligent life forms. Just a strings of badly written events.
The opening sequence of the
film is confusing. We’re shown a beach, our main character in a swimsuit relaxing, someone hacks the beach, our protagonist throws her drink, and stops this hacking by being naked. Don’t worry, the event turns out to be pointless. I eventually found out by the end of the film that it lead up to nothing. Absolutely nothing. A conflictless story that forces in conflict in its final act just because. No logical reasons behind it besides the fact it wasted more than half of its duration on nothing related to the main story, and might as well try to end things with some action no matter how nonsensical it seems.
Minutes after failing to stop the hack it is established that Deva, this spaceship where 98% of humans resides, has been hacked by this same hacker, Frontier Setter, 184 times. So Deva has push aside the notion of improving their security, but it took them approximately 184 times of being hacked to finally decide to send one of their own agent to Earth to capture the hacker. So we got an advance system/civilization run entirely by super advance computers whom all take the appearances of Gods contradicting the notion this is an advance, smart, intelligence system when it reacts this slow. At this point (seven minutes in), you begin to question if the system got hacked that many times by a single entity how come a large amount of people are still living in Deva?
Not only that, but instead of assigning one of Deva best agents for the job Deva assigns 3rd class agent Angela Balzsac. There’s obviously much better agents that can accomplish the task. They (the computers Gods of Deva) established Deva already has an S ranking Deva agent on Earth. It would speed up the process by giving this assignment to Zarik Kajiwara, the S rank agent on Earth, who's familiar with Earth, and despite being told he has a bad reputation is clearly reliable due to the fact he is an S rank Deva agent. Why Deva uses numbers, and letters to determine an agent ranking is beyond me. Seriously, is the number 1 or 0 much higher in ranking than S rank agents?
Our main character is named Angela Balzac, which is the most respectable thing about her. She’s a stupid character who for some inexplicable reason knows to hack which would require understanding of simple terms like Script Kiddies, Black Hats, and words like Daemon for simple function. Yet, this same character does not understand people don’t eat sand which is the first thing she does when landing on Earth. These two things don’t belong to the same character. Ballsack (as I am referring to her out of the lack respect I, and writer Gen Urobuchi do not share for her) is introduce in a beach scene in a bikini saying it’s because of work? Wouldn’t it make more sense to be in a place that can overlook CPU, servers, hotspots, you know any area that’ll actively help you better spot when there’s a hacker in the system. I would wouldn’t be questioning this if the film itself provided decent world building. With that absent, there’s no understanding on the status quo of this world at all.
Ballsack goes from one scene to another completely inept in her abilities. Her human partner, Zarik Kajiwara, has to explain to her how using her mecha from Deva would expose her spot to Frontier Setter. Why Ballsack didn’t think of this is inconsistent with the claim she’s a 3rd class rank agent close to being promoted to a high ranking position. If that’s a high position in this world it further question her abilities to do this job, and Deva security too. She needed to be told by S rank agent Zarik Kajiwara to get rid of her mecha instead of Ballsack doing it on her own. After being told using this mecha would reveal her position to this intelligent hacker the next logical step would be for Ballsack to put on some different pieces of clothing to blend into Earth crowd, and not stick out. However, she wears a leotard, garter, elbow-length gloves, and knee boots for the entire film. Everyone else on Earth else wear normal pieces of clothing, but this doesn’t matter in the long run either since this does not catch the attention of Frontier Setter at any point.
I’m meant to believe Frontier Setter singlehandedly hacked into this super advance ship called Deva, which apparently has high security, yet the fact Frontier Setter is unable to detect Ballsack who is looking for him in this city without changing her appearance goes against what's established. Frontier Setter has other robots he could control, and taking into account he hacked into Deva 184 times this is also inconsistent with said intelligent of the character. As far as characterization goes Frontier Setter received nothing substantial besides questioning if human traits can be found in machines. This often used plot point in sci-fi would have been fine if the film actually explored it.
Another annoying trait of Ballsack character is her bragging how life is better on Deva, and how life on Earth pales in comparison. Ballsack mentions that old rock music wasn’t considered worth keeping by Deva. Meaning Deva intentionally didn’t keep information on simple stuff like sand does not taste good, but kept the information that made Ballsack be naked when stopping a hacker in cyberspace? The same information that does not tell her human body can get tired, and sick. If Deva was a such a great place to live at than it should have preserve as much information as possible not just be selective about it. Say, if somebody on Deva like rock muaic, and Deva didn’t have it that person is out of like. However, on Earth you can find rock music if you like. If not, simply ignore it not discard it like Deva does. As I mentioned earlier, due to poor world building Anglea claims of Deva being better than Earth don’t add much to the film when the bare minimal about the world is not established.
Zarik Kajiwara is the most likable character, but even he has inconsistency in his character. He says himself in the movie he’s afraid of heights, yet there is a scene where he’s on top of an abandon building stringing his guitar. Unlike tsundere Ballsack, Kajiwara is competent at his job to the point he should have been the protagonist of the film. For starter, he blends into the crowd unlike Ballsack who sticks out. Another thing is he knows the area, can collect information on Frontier Setter location, all while being off Frontier Setter radar. This guy, is basically babysitting this deadweight agent named Ballsack to make sure she doesn’t kill herself. This allows me to sympathize with Kajiwara because not only does he have to do most of Ballsack job for her, but also make sure Ballsack doesn’t end up killing herself. Sadly, there’s not much to his character either besides he likes rock music, and living on Earth. This about as close as the film gets to producing anything resembling good quality.
Our final character is Frontier Setter himself. The film sets him up as this intelligent hacker which does make you wonder why is he attacking Deva. Unfortunately the answer essentially amounts to “you want to go on this road trip bro?” for his motivation. It’s a letdown when this is reveal because the hour building up to this were spent on characters talking about nothing related to the plot. It was either debating where it’s better to live rendered into a pointless argument because of terrible world building, or being all philosophical with subjects on eating till you're full, liking a specific brand of rock music, and being sick like a human. Frontier Setter is falsely presented as the antagonist in this story, and when there’s no ill attention from it then there should have been something the characters learned from their journey. Ballsack does eventually learn the value of being human, and having a human body just because. There’s not a single good experience Ballsack had on her journey before finally finding Frontier Setter. She has her mecha destroyed, and sold for parts, was nearly raped, got sick while on Earth, became very tired, hungry, and talked to Zarik Kajiwara discussing the current affair of their job. Somehow all of this made Ballsack change over a new perception of human living.
It’s explained later on in the film that human consciousness was transferred into data. How exactly that happened, when it happened, and how long it’s been going on for is up to anyone imagination. They (Deva) could have used “Bipolar Magnetic Reversal Theory” to accomplish that as far as anyone is concerned. These simple questions needed to understand the setting are never answered. After the opening credits, Angela Ballsack crashes on Earth, and fights giant Centipede like aliens with a giant robot. These bugs appear in this one, and only scene throughout the film. Are these bugs a common issue on Earth? Is there any other species on Earth that make people fearful to live on Earth? If so, then the idea of 98% of Earth population living in a computer would make sense. Except, there is no world building on Earth either!
While seeing the film I assumed it was created by A1-Pictures because of various ass shots, but nope I was wrong. This film was brought to us by Toei Animation, and Nitroplus who really wanted to outdo them with ass shots. All the budget for the film clearly didn’t go into the animation. Whenever characters speak it’s only up, and down motion which looks unnatural. I’m guessing the budget likely went into developing bouncing boob technology for Ballsack character before abandoning the idea when realizing Toei, nor Nitroplus had the technology to make it happen. So they opted for ass shots just in case the audience forgets Ballsack has an ass. When the characters are still the models don’t look bad, but the low-framerate in motion makes everything look disjointed, and delayed. Possibly making you wonder if whatever device you’re watching it on is laggy. The only time the animation looks natural is when the framerate is bumped up in the action scenes. In these action scenes the motion is fast, and whatever moving looks somewhat natural. These moments don’t last long, nor are they very flashy in their presentation. Most of the film best moments of competent animation is in the climax, but given how pointless the climax is it undermines what happening on-screen, and ultimately would have been pointless if the writing wasn’t so awful. The only thing about the animation I wouldn’t complain about are the backgrounds are decent looking since they don’t move. That would be it as far praises go.
Voice acting in both Japanese, and English languages are competent while virtually sharing the same traits. For starter, both Rie Kugimiya in Japanese, and Wendee Lee in the English voiced Angela Balzac are equally annoying. Wendee Lee is higher pitched in her portrayal which makes her more grating when listening to her brag about how better life is on Deva. She doesn’t change her tone regardless what her character is meant to feel in any scene either. Rie Kugimiya doesn’t fare any better in the leading role. Instead of being grating her portrayal ends up being bland. At least Wendee Lee portrayal made me feel something about the character. Sure it is mostly hatred, but it’s certainly better than Rie Kugimiya who leaves no impression when having played other tsunderes. Nothing about Rie Kugimiya performance stands out besides she sounds no different from a bland tsundere character.
Zarik Kajiwara is played by Shinichiro Miki in Japanese, and Steve Blum in the English dub. On both audio tracks these two actors are easily the film best performances. Steve Blum especially operating on autopilot with his cool, laid back voice. Blum voice goes hand in hand with Zarik Kajiwara personality for an easy cool portrayal. Miki also does the same so not of a much difference in performances. Frontier Setter is voice by Hiroshi Kamiya in Japanese, and Johnny Yong Bosch in the English dub. None of them end up being better than the other voice actor. Johnny Yong Bosch is simply wasted in the role that demand nothing of him. The character has no complex emotions, or personality so it’s more disappointing seeing Johnny Yong Bosch in the role than it is a bad performance. He doesn’t sound robotic at all in the role. Whereas Hiroshi Kamiya does sound robotic in his portrayal. Fitting the role, but nothing demanding about portraying a robot who gained emotions.
The script is different in both languages. I wouldn’t advise seeing the film in any language given how bad it is. Reading the subs draws more issues to its writing while the English dub has some bad audio mixture with dialogue, and sound effects. In English, some wording are changed to make the story appears less idiotic than it already is, but also end changing the meaning of the film in general. Hearing 98% of humans have “cyber personality” doesn’t seem like a big deal compare in Japanese where it says 98% of humans are “artificial intelligence”. Creating different problems for itself in the English dub. At best, it’s most tolerable to mute the film, and read subtitles. Not the even soundtrack composed by Narasaki is noticeable in the film. It’s heavy on electronics, techno, and rock, but all equally forgettable.
Rakuen Tsuihou: Expelled From Paradise will leave you with many philosophical questions. The most important one being “What did I just watch?”. Don't let Gen Urobuchi, and Seiji Mizushima (director of the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime) names trick you into seeing this film. If this is the standard Japan wants to set for every 3D animated film that come out of their country they’re in serious trouble. The general low-framerate in animation, lack of any thought into the writing, and nothing substantial to remember is inexcusable in an era where the likes of Pixar, and Dreamworks Animation have made better 3D animated movies. If the animation isn’t flashy enough to make it entertaining to watch than it should at least contain good writing to keep viewers engaged. When you got neither, this film here stands as an example of that.
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