On November 22, 2010, Japan was hit by missile strikes, a terrorist act that fortunately did not harm anyone, becoming known as "Careless Monday." Quickly forgotten, society goes on about their lives as normal.
During her graduation trip to America three months later, friendly college student Saki Morimi's life is forever changed when she finds herself saved from unexpected trouble by Akira Takizawa. Takizawa is cheerful, but odd in many ways—he is stark naked and suffers from amnesia, believing himself to be a terrorist. In addition, he possesses a strange cell phone loaded with 8.2 billion yen in digital cash.
Despite Takizawa's suspicious traits, Saki quickly befriends the enigmatic young man. However, unbeknownst to her, this is the beginning of a thrilling death game involving money, cell phones, and the salvation of the world. Higashi no Eden chronicles Saki's struggle to unravel the mysteries behind her savior, while Takizawa himself battles other individuals armed with similar cell phones and returning memories which reveal his possible connection to the event from months ago.
Higashi no Eden won the Animation Kobe Award in the Television category during the Animation Kobe festival in 2009 as well as the best television series of the year award at the ninth annual Tokyo International Anime Fair.
Higashi no Eden (or Eden of the East however you want to call it) is a new anime series produced by Production I.G, and it was one of the most anticipated series of the Spring 2009 season. After quite an impressive trailer before the anime aired, I just knew I had to watch this show which looked like it had a lot of promise. Did it live up to my expectation? Read ahead to find out.
+ This anime definitely brings a very interesting plot.
+ The level of mystery and suspense will leave the viewer wanting more every episode.
+ Definitely one of the most refreshing
stories in recent seasons.
- Its is only 11 episodes long, a very uncommon number for an anime.
- The ending leaves you with a cliffhanger that the movies are expected to resolve.
- Because of the # of episodes, plus the announcement of 2 movies. The anime ending does not feel like it brings any closure to the overall story.
+ Fantastic art in both characters and backgrounds throughout the anime.
+ Very artistic animations for both the Opening and Ending themes.
+ There is really nothing bad to say here, this anime brings some nice eye candy to the viewer.
+ Very good OP and ED songs. They are really cool to listen to.
+ The soundtrack is also really good, complimenting some scenes really nicely.
+ The voice acting is solid through the series, specially for Akira.
+ Takizawa Akira is main driving force in terms of character in this anime. He is pretty much the only one who constantly shines.
+ Other Selecao members are all unique and different in personalities, and are also very interesting people and have some good development (as short as some may be).
+ Akira is as mysterious as a character as he is likeable, he doesn't take things TOO seriously and also provides some good comedy.
- Saki, despite being likeable, just doesn't seem to contribute much to the overall plot despite being a main character.
Enjoyment: This anime was highly entertaining, despite ending in a cliffhanger it left me wanting more every episode and it would never feel boring. With the movies set to bring a conclusion to the anime, I can't wait to see them.
Overall Higashi no Eden proves to be a very enjoyable and entertaining anime which brings some rather unique and interesting plot that will be able to keep your interest from its unique 11 episode run. However because the series itself is not complete without the movies, the ending might feel a little underwhelming to some. Regardless, this anime surpassed my expectations and its a fantastic show to those looking a solid plot, likeable characters, beautiful visuals, and enjoyable music. I highly recommend people try this anime out, I dont think you will be disappointed.
**SPOILER FREE REVIEW OF THE SERIES AND THE TWO MOVIES**
After watching the first few episodes of Eden of the East (a.k.a Higashi no Eden), I was extremely impressed and very excited. I thought I had found a compelling mystery anime with lovable characters, a great storyline, and fluent animation. I couldn't wait to see what Eden had in store, so I sat through the entire series and both of the movies in a huge marathon. You want to know what it all amounted to? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The storyline of this anime goes absolutely, positively NOWHERE at any point in any of the movies or
episodes and gives the phrase "dragging it out" an entirely new definition. This is one of the most disappointing anime I've ever seen simply because it gets you so excited with it's engrossing beginning, and just plateaus for the remaining 90% of screen time.
Synopsis: A man wakes up outside the White House stark naked with a gun one hand, a cell phone charged with 8.2 billion yen in funds in the other hand, and no memory of who he is or how he got there what so ever. The man, who goes by Takizawa (even though It's not his real name), goes on to find out that he is involved in a game in which he and twelve other contestants were given 10 billion yen and told to "Fix the country". He meets a girl named Saki and together they go on an "adventure" (if you can even call it that…) to discover Takizawa's past.
For the first few episodes, this is a compelling concept. Additionally, Takizawa jumps off the screen as a charming character with tons of personality and Saki (Takizawa's love interest) seemed like she would develop into a likable character. I thought Eden couldn't go wrong with so many stellar pieces in place. Well, it did. Very wrong.
The #1 problem with Eden is that the plot never builds into anything significant or exciting, with the exception of the end of the series portion of Eden, which was entertaining, but certainly not worthy of being considered a true climax. After that moment, nothing happens. Literally nothing. There are a few new developments that never lead anywhere, the contestants of the game start to get narrowed down, but that doesn't lead anywhere, and worst of all, the promising relationship between Saki and Takizawa doesn't lead anywhere! In the first couple of episodes, I absolutely fell in love with these characters! They had personality, they had chemistry, and they were unique! You want to know what it all built up to? Absolutely ZILCH.
And that brings us to the ending of the anime, which I won't spoil, but to summarize my feelings on it; it sucks. There are happy endings, sad endings, and there are bad endings. Bad endings are the endings that just leave an unfilled void in your soul; the unmistakable feeling that everything you just watched has been for absolutely nothing. That is the kind of ending that Eden has.
Oh, and I haven't mentioned the plotholes yet. For instance; there is one scene where a character sprouts wings and flies away. Yep, just for no apparent reason. It is never explained, it is never mentioned again, and it is the only supernatural thing that takes place in Eden. Those are the kind of plot holes we are dealing with here. It's hinted at that this could have been a hallucination but that honestly just raises even more questions if you ask me.
In short, the story to Eden had huge potential and capitalized on next to none of it. Wildly disappointing.
The animation is probably the highlight of the anime. Everything is pleasant to look at and the animation is always fluent. I liked the animation style quite a bit. It never really has a chance to shine though, thanks to the general lack of action and climatic/exciting scenes, which a damn shame.
The soundtrack is unique and pleasant to listen to. Eden also has one of my favorite EDs ever. The voice acting is pretty good in both versions, but I'm not crazy about Saki's voice actor in the dub.
The only two characters worth talking about are Takizawa and Saki.
Takizawa, as I mentioned earlier, really stands out in the beginning of the anime as a charming character overflowing with personality. He is a great protagonist for the most part, and he receives a fair amount of character development, but he remains disappointingly static throughout the anime and his personality can only make up for so much. I liked Takizawa a lot, but he just feels like another wasted opportunity.
Saki, as I also mentioned earlier, is Takizawa's love interest. She seemed like she could develop into a great character with a distinct personality but guess what? It never happens! Are you sensing a theme yet? She ends up being a stereotypical female character who is just sort of... there. She seems to be gradually written out of the show, in fact. The relationship between these two is built up more then anything else in the show, and that makes it all the more disappointing when even that ends without giving the viewer an ounce of payoff or satisfaction what so ever.
The fact that these are the only two characters worth mentioning and both of them are disappointments is all the information you need to infer that Eden's characters fall flat in yet another, lets say it together this time, (ALL: Wasted Opportunity!)
To be fair ,there are a couple decent side characters, but none of them are relevant enough to the plot or entertaining enough to take the time to talk about.
Eden of the East left a disgusting taste in mouth. It builds you up and builds you up and builds you up only to have no payoff at the end (or any other point) what so ever. It is a colossal waste of potential and I really can't recommend watching anything past the 11 anime episodes, if even those. It may as well of ended there, because the true ending is about as satisfying as if it had just ended after the episodic portion of anime; no closure and no real climax.
For as long as I can remember, anime of the mystery genre have proven creatively stale. As a rule, trying to find a gratifying mystery is an ordeal much like rummaging for haute couture in a dark, creaky charity shop that smells faintly of mothballs. Foremost amongst the dust-caked offerings, Darker than Black collapses into a morbid mess; low-grade Fantastic Children keeps things cheap and cheerless; and the snail-paced Ghost Hound dulled my senses to such an extent that I never saw its middle episodes.
How delightfully reassuring, then, to discover Eden of the East; this, unlike the aforementioned failures, begins on a much higher bar
of quality. In fact, tapping into the hot topics of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, information technology, marginalized geek subculture, and subversive conspiracy theories, it accomplishes an astronomical level of relevancy to its early twenty-first century audience that’s both rare and difficult to pull off. Like Akira emerging from a background of Cold War paranoia, Eden of the East manages to capture the Zeitgeist of disenfranchised youth of the millennium and repackage it into a fascinating adventure that anyone can enjoy. Instead of loudmouthed biker brats trying to prevent the apocalypse, there are spotty middle-class misfits with too much HP trying to save Japan from itself.
The sequence of events may be ambiguous, with the script hardly pausing to explain how they connect with each other, but the pace remains satisfyingly steady. Strangely enough, like watching a master illusionist at work, the confusion contributes to the enjoyment. The series withholds tantalising facts until the last possible moment and glosses over its meandering mystery with generous handfuls of charisma.
In truth, the first half of the show elicits the kind of spine-tingling rapture that only comes along once a decade when viewers inadvertently stumble upon a confident masterpiece. I could see it already – breathless fans hailing Eden of the East as the second coming of Death Note, the easy five-star ratings flying from reviewers’ fingertips, and a live-action movie so popular it even makes it as far as British cinemas by 2015!
All I can say is enjoy the magic while it lasts. Inevitably, Eden of the East overreaches and certain contortions of the plot midway stretch viewers’ suspension of disbelief to untenable limits. At first there is a clever chase sequence highly reminiscent of Light and L’s interplay in Death Note, where the mysterious hero Akira tries to save the day with the help of Juiz (a voice on his phone which grants his every wish). For whatever reason, just at that key juncture, the show follows up with a scene of such crippling farce that, despite later rationalization, it spells a stunning loss of momentum. After that, there’s a long period of rushed explanations, sluggish suspense, and one or two twists desperately in need of more coherent setup.
Fans expecting easy-to-grasp developments and a neat conclusion will end up disappointed. However, for conspiracy theorists and generally anal fans who like to pore over minute details and debate exact wordings for weeks after a show is over, this will prove quite the feast.
Even in that age (2009) of knock-off CGI and dime-a-dozen action sequences, Eden of the East’s visuals warrant some respect. The style may not be up to much, but cityscapes, monorails, museums, cars, and streets have rarely looked this good. The quirkiest aspect is the combination of hamster-cheeked characters with hyper-realistic, superbly detailed backgrounds. Although this sounds intuitively incompatible, the quality of animation is consistently high and melds everything together nicely.
Apart from a catchy opening theme sung by the established Brit-rock band, Oasis, and some excellent American voice acting during the early episodes, Eden of the East’s soundtrack remains effective but wholly unremarkable.
Out of all the characters, only Akira Takigawa leaps off the screen with his incredible effervescence. Turning up at the White House naked with a gun in his first scene certainly makes him memorable, but his charm extends beyond mere gimmicks. Akira’s development reveals a fascinating duality in his personality, which ensures he is at once easy to like and teasingly difficult to grasp. His whimsical nature belies an underlying quick mind and a surprising level of gravity, the latter of which manifests itself in the messianic themes surrounding him (obvious statements that he’s Saki’s ‘prince’, his supposed massacre of 20,000 NEETs, the occasional deadpan expression etc). He’ll delight and entrance in turn, and he’ll do it seemingly without much effort.
Everyone else, unfortunately, gets caught in the whirlwind of his mystery without any opportunity to make their own mark. The good news is that the supporting cast, being ordinary people with ordinary problems, generally behave within the familiar boundaries of reason. Regrettably, this means that, when thrown into Eden of the East’s extraordinary circumstances, they become like headless chickens – alarmingly useless. At some point, I began to wonder how many more times I’d have to watch Saki mope after Akira, worrying about his terrible secrets without being able to help uncover them. Her behavior is always understandable, of course, but also off-putting for being redundant.
Apart from that, the gaggle of weak antagonists impedes any attempt at emotional investment. The most carelessly developed individual has to be that purple-haired femme fatale whose morbid behavior is as caricatured as her looks. Being the only female of note other than the mediocre Saki, I found her constant prancing in underwear and high heels a horribly patronizing and silly portrayal. Truly, does being psychologically disturbed always have to mean being half naked? Other antagonists introduced later simply look boring, are underdeveloped, or generally don’t do much of note. Viewers will keep watching simply to find out the answers to the questions set at the beginning, and not because they will care about the conflict of interest.
I find this a very difficult anime to recommend without caveats. Objectively, I recognize Eden of the East’s great achievements; brandishing an arsenal of treats, including an innovative mystery that doubles as social commentary and Akira’s magnetic characterization, it will exceed expectations on first impressions. On the other hand, I feel underwhelmed by the experience. Somehow, the show misses its mark, becoming a rambling setup for the anticipated movies with convoluted themes and tenuous explanations. Nonetheless, the fact remains – for a fresh and nail-biting reinterpretation of the mystery genre (even if short-lived), Eden of the East rivals the monumental favorites on the market of that date.
"The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power". Such is a quote from one of Shakespeare's plays, and it is found in the opening credits of the anime.
What would a person do, if they had a cellphone charged with ten billion yen, and the ability to call a strange person to do whatever you wished for, for a certain payment? What would a person do with that kind of money? The main character is in possession in such a cell phone, but he has no idea just why, as he has lost his memory.
Higashi no Eden is a very interesting anime.
It doesn't follow any previously-seen anime conventions, clichés or stereotypes. Indeed, it is more like watching a action/mystery movie or two put into a TV series format. Of note is that it is not adapted from any other media, which allows the animation company to unfold themselves freely, and it shows; original anime usually has more uncommon pacing, and they tend to bring about a fresh element or two to them. Higashi no Eden brings many.
The plot isn't all that easy to follow at times. It's not a bunch of it, but some points makes you want to stop and double-turn, just to make sure you got what they went on about, an example being how a group of characters suddenly went into talking about a concept we hadn't really heard of before, like we were supposed to do, or at least have some kind of background knowledge of it. Nothing the average viewer won't catch on to quickly, though. To repeat myself, apart from some few, smaller issues here.
Akira is a highly interesting male lead, and fortunately he does not grouse or whine too much about his amnesia; most characters who do that end up becoming bland angst-vessels with no real depth. Rather, he is cool and level-headed, heading into any situation and tackling any news with stoic ease. He cares for those around him, and while he now and then seems ambigous, especially when it comes to what he has done , in essence he's a good person with a kind heart.
On th sidelines is a cute young woman with the name of Saki. Morimi Saki. She accidentally ends up both meeting and befriending him during a trip to the US; and also tagging along with him back to Japan. They develop a quite interesting relationship, and as a couple have a lovely chemistry. Admittedly her character isn't as interesting as Akira's, but that might just be personal preference speaking.
Apart from the mains, you have two-or-so groups of people and a few other supporting characters, whom obviously suffer a bit from the lack of screen-time, being more role-fillers than anything. Still they prove to be quite interesting characters, and especially compelling is the so-called Selecao, the people who have received the special cell phones; to see and experience what these induvidials have done with the power they have been granted. A few of the episodes fall into the formula where an episode or two is used on their past, what they have done with their power and a small plot event leading to Akira getting to know some more about this game the Selecao are a part of.
One of the best parts of Higashi no Eden is its beauteous animation. It is clear-cut and detailed, with soft edges and gentle strokes. The backgrounds are all made in a gentle water-colored fashion, yet there is impressive effort put into lighting effects, the smaller details and reflective surfaces in particular. Be it a mirror in an elevator, the glassy floors of an airport, or any other such surface, they are all done with meticulous care. The character designs are a tad on the simple side however, but are still made with a flawless touch and are aesthetically pleasing. As a final touch, the ending credits are done with a rather unusual type of animation; paper animation.
Following the strong suit is the soundtrack and voice acting of the show. The background muysic, while not always apparent, has a lot of themes for any occasion; the more upbeat and jazzy themes, with some more thriller-esque, suspenseful lines rolling behind them, the outright creepy tunes, and of course the more laid-back music for those occasions. The opening theme Falling Down, performed by the well-known English rock band Oasis, is a peculiar song with an interesting, almost psychedelic feel over it and the lyrics. The ending theme is not very spectacular, bar perhaps some itneresting lyrics. Of course, on mustn't forget the spectacular insert song Reveal the World, which is always an experience to listen to (and which lyrics are found in the opening sequence of the anime.
In all one can say that Higashi no Eden is, for an anime, a rather interesting venture into something one ight not have experienced when watching an anime before. To quote myself, it is more like a movie or two put into a series format. It also piques the attention of some interesting themes, regarding what one would do given the money and means to accomplish pretty much anything if they really wanted. While nor a focal point of the series, it provides at least some appetizers for thought.
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