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.
After seeing a score of 8.22 and skimping through reviews lauding Higashi no Eden for its intricate and unique plot, I decided to give it a try. I was also looking for more anime with a theme similar to Zankyou no Terror and one of the recommendations was HnE.
So, an anime with tags like "Drama, Romance, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Mystery" and a "whopping" score of 8.22 for only 11 episodes? I was so excited at the prospect of watching a real gem of an anime, and thought I couldn't possibly not like this series. I would surely be in for one hell of a ride!
was I wrong... Though it was one hell of a ride, I rode straight into a big pile of disappointment and feelings of betrayal. No doubt the first episode looked promising; the story looked like it could develop in so many interesting ways, but then it almost felt like the show's shot callers did a complete 180 and decided to ruin HnE in the utmost cruelest way. I had to check multiple times if I was indeed watching the right anime. Was I losing my sanity? How could that many people think so highly of this show and I can't even bring myself to watch the 3rd episode? Was I missing something? For sure I'm missing something! I'll just keep watching; the story is bound to get better soon, that's why it got so many rave reviews. I forced myself to watch the other episodes, but when I reached episode 8, I could no longer bear it. I felt like if I watched any longer, no amount of watching reruns of my favourite animes could ever erase the memory of having watched HnE.
The story (3/10) could have been amazing. But after episode 1, the show kept adding so many other elements to the story, that in the end I was still not sure what the central theme was. There were also some real head scratching scenes which made me doubt if this show shouldn't add the genre "magic" to it. As for comedy? Besides Akira's public display of nudity in episode 1 (which would catch anyone off guard imo), I couldn't even muster a meek smile for the supposedly "funny" scenes.
1. A complete stranger comes up to you and asks for your pants? Sure, just hand them over. The police asking people to see their wieners in order to identify them? Sure, just drop your pants.
2. So 10 missiles strike Japan and not one single victim was killed? Uh, sure... I guess that... could've, might've happened?
3. A magic phone that grants your every request? ... I think I might've missed the "Magic" tag for this show somewhere.
4. White zombie like creatures that come out of broken electronic equipment and start hugging the MC? I guess I might've missed the "horror" tag somewhere as well.
5. A character who gets off by kidnapping rapists/sex-offenders and then cutting off their Johnnies? And she's almost killed over 20.000 men? Oh, and she was chosen as one of the 12 people who were supposed to lead the nation in the right path? But then the male MC decides that he could save this psychopath by having sex with her? Uh... I think I lost it. *****
However, besides the story being a complete disaster, the animation and sound of HnE weren't bad. The animation and most of the soundtrack (6/10) in my opinion, were more suited to a romance/slice of life themed story than the Sci-Fi heavy themed HnE. I believe that the relationship between story and art is dynamic: if a story is great, even if the accompanying art is not up to par, the story will find a way to shine. And vice versa: if the art is great, even a mediocre story will get praise. But in HnE's case, the disconnection between the art and story was too obvious.
And the animation for the OP was well-done: it really gave me this "anarchy, democracy" kind of feel. Traitor!!!! Biggest misleading OP animation I've ever encountered...
The VA's delivered solid performances; none of them sounded off and voiced their characters well.
As for the characters (3/10), of the main duo, Akira is the more interesting one. Who wouldn't think that after he made such a grand entrance? I thought he'd turn out to be the "always smiling and charismatic but actually a real dark personality"-type of character; boy was I disappointed. In the end, he was all charm and nothing else: no fighting skills (damn you for baiting me with the Jason Bourne reference), no amazing analytical skills, nope, none, nada.
Saki, our main female lead, only has one selling point: cuteness. But being cute can never be the only trait of a character when she's supposed to be the heroine of the story. I kept hoping she would do something, anything to contribute to the story (as awful as it was) other than gawk and blush at Akira. If you like heroines like her, than be my guest and enjoy HnE.
Oh, I forgot. There was one thing I really enjoyed from HnE though, and that was Akira's dog. If it wasn't for the dog, the score for enjoyment (3/10) would have definitely gone down.
To put it bluntly, HnE in the beginning was like a mouth watering steak; then someone decided that all elements of the food pyramid need to be included in the dish and they added bread, lettuce, bananas, strawberries etc and served it up. In the end, it gave me a bout of diarrhoea I won't forget so easily. Well, at least I enjoyed the OP (and to a lesser extent the ED) while I was relieving myself.
"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.
This is a perfect example of the all to familure anime falterings of having a good concept but failing completely to execute it. While the story it self is good enough to keep you interested it never really seems to go anywhere. Hopefully the movies to come will shed some more light on this but judging this as a complete series it is majorly lacking. The story starts off with a series of interesting questions and circumstances that are begging for an absolution, but few answers are ever provided and the few they do offer up just lead to more unanswered questions. You might as
well stop watching after episode 1 because the story line isn't going to get all too much clearer to you, and you'll be left asking yourself the same questions at the end of the series that you did at the end of the first episode.
Art 8- Character design is rather poor and childish but the texturing and animation is outstanding. This is a great example of CG blending with traditional animation that looks great. Some of the most interesting art in the series can be found in the ed, really original concept they used there.
Sound 9 The main girls voice is a bit on the annoying side but other than that no real complaints, this is one of the best intro songs I've heard and it really does well in summing up the themes of the anime.
Characters 6- You never really grow to care for any of the characters in this. With the exception of the male lead most characters are typical and bland, and the main intrigue of the male lead is the fact that he has no memories. The main girl comes across as whiny and pathetic with out any strengths of her own aside from her looks. Undeveloped love story angles, which would have been fine not to develop if they hadn't started on that path and then just seemed to forget about it by the next episode. There repeated use of the term 'Johnny' to refer to a penis comes off as childish and silly, in some instances it's made to be taken this way, but in other, more serious parts of the show, such as threatening to rip off ones 'Johnny' and a character that has never been treated right by any ones 'Johnny' and needs to be loved by a good 'Johnny' just comes across as bad and makes it almost impossible to take the scenes seriously.
Enjoyment 7 For the most part I sat through this waiting impatiently for the next episode to find out the answerers to the questions raised previously, but since those answerers never came apparently it was all in vein. So while it did keep my interest for awhile, it wasn't much more than a disappointing let down in the end.
Overall 6- I had some enjoyment while watching it but I can't particularly recommend this to anyone. Hopefully the movies (or perhaps second season?) will help to actually finish the story that they did a good job in creating. If taking this as a complete series, it fails, but as an opening to a series it could have alot of potential.
Eden of the East is an anime in which I have never seen the likes of before. The plot is strange, the characters are strange, and the humour is strange - but somehow it all works. Brilliantly. But first of all, I should say this: if you're a really big fan of fan service, harems, hardcore romance, hardcore action, and/or gore, then this is not the series for you. If you like plot, character development, catchy music and brilliant animation/art then read on.
For one thing, although the plot has a bit of a fantastical element to it, it reflects what is going on in
the world today. It shows the dark and corrupt side of society, but at the same time shows it with a kind of hope for the future. It's a sad, yet warm series.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I should explain just what is going on first. One thing about this series is that you don't know what is really going on; you can speculate, but innately, there's this sense that something bigger and more amazing is happening. It's this intrigue that first drew me.
----begin plot summary----
So, as you already know, this guy wakes up in Washington, in front of the white house, naked and carrying a pistol and a phone. A phone loaded with 8.2 billion yen in electronic cash. But...he has no memory of who he is. There he meets a girl about to go back to Japan after visiting as a grad trip, and decides to go back with her if only because he doesn't know what else to do.
What you don't know (if you haven't watched the series yet). When he turns his phone on, a mysterious woman named 'Juiz' calls him and says that she is his concierge, that he is the ninth Selecao (forgive the spelling if it's wrong). We'll fast forward here, but eventually he finds out that there are twelve people picked by a Mr. Outside to be 'messiahs'. They are each given 10 billion yen and the simple instruction to "save Japan"; added to that, apparently it was his idea to erase his memories in the first place and bet on a whole new persona.
If you run out of money and Japan still isn't 'saved', then one of the twelve, named the Supporter, will kill you. Likewise, if you keep spending the money uselessly or for selfish reasons the same will happen. Only Mr. Outside knows whom of the twelve is the Supporter. Basically, you can get away with anything - just ask Juiz and she'll do it for you somehow, anytime you want (as long as you tell her). Bribes, murder, you name it. Added to that, there are some crazy Selecao out there; they truly encompass the entire spectrum.
So far we've met Akira who doesn't know who he is but is involved with several bombings in Japan and who wants to win the game, a murderer, a doctor, a detective, another one who is also directly involved with the bombings, a businessman and one who hasn't touched his money and only wants the game to end. The last three believe that they have found out who Mr.Outside is and are working together. I won't give away anymore, but that's the gist of it. I've heard that this plot is similar to the Bourne series.
----end plot summary----
*Important Note* However, if you think this is a purely a political story from how it sounds so far (reminiscent of those famous Gundam series), think again. The atmosphere is distinctly different; not as callous and involves the audience, the common people, much more.
It's difficult to classify this series. It's mystery, romance, horror maybe, and a bit of slice-of-life. Maybe not so much with the horror; as I said earlier, this series has its serious moments but on the whole it looks on the bright side of things. Both moments blend together very well with the pacing to make you feel like you're there along with the characters, even if it is confusing at times. Suffice to say, the plot is great and keeps you guessing, unlike lots of other anime where you can just predict from the start what's going to happen for the rest of the show.
So, to sum it up, the plot makes you think, and it's definitely not self-absorbed because it deals with issues in the world today. Although the series has ended, it kind of seems incomplete (which disappointed me) because there's a movie on the way which likely concludes the entire thing more completely, so we have to wait for that now too.
CHARACTERS - 9/10
The characters. Hm. I will talk in depth about the two main characters. For me, I think Akira (the main character - the naked guy) is the one who has truly drawn me. He is very unique, but he's kind of dazzling - his personality is so vibrant and even though he's in a tough situation where anyone else would have completely broken down, he still makes jokes and just acts like himself. He does have a minor freak out, but it's more funny than anything else.
Saki, the girl, is the other main character. She's rather shy, but I think she and Akira work well together. She kind of stabilizes him I think and is the one who always seems to believe in him even when her friends start thinking he's a terrorist. It is really a compliment when I'm not annoyed with an anime girl - she seems realistic as in not too shy to the point of being ridiculous, not too naive to the point where I want to bash her head, and not too tough that she's difficult to approach.
Most anime portray girls as being on these opposite extremities, and thankfully Saki is in the middle, which is where most people are.
The characters themselves do seem very real and compelling. That and their interactions are one of the stronger elements in Eden of the East, and if you're all for character development, then go for it.
As for the art or animation style, if you liked the character designs in Honey and Clover, they are very similar. I think the same person made them. There's one word I would use to describe it: sweet. Not sweet as in 'sick', but sweet in that it's very gentle and pretty. The only thing I dislike about it is the nose; there's just something weird about it, especially the shadow at the bridge of the nose which looks like a bandaid in some scenes (in the picture provided by this website for Akira, you can see it).
The animation quality itself is very smooth and consistent, with beautiful bright colours and wonderful scenery. Some backgrounds look like they're painted, and in particular the water is drawn beautifully. The most outstanding moments are at dusk or when it's just become night. Overall the animation is excellent and you can definitely tell it's a recent series. Of course, this is expected from Production I.G (one of my fav studios).
MUSIC/SOUND - 8/10
The music score is very unique - I would say it suits the anime because it's kind of funky, a lot of it has an English/Americanish feel which contributes to the whole wordly feeling to the anime because the series also retains many Japanese elements.
The opening is English and rock/jazz (band is called Oasis, if you like them), and the ending is similar but in Japanese. During the show it replays these songs sometimes, but there's a lot of classical music as well, of course. Admittedly, the ending song has grown on me because I think it suits the series well. Personally the rest of the music is not really my thing, but even I have to admit that it suits the moods and the scenes, lending a great backdrop to everything and fleshing out the feelings invoked by different scenes.
ENJOYMENT - 10/10
Overall, I enjoyed this series immensely despite the somewhat anti-climatic ending (which leads up to the movie). Definitely one of the best in 2009 so far. It's a breath of fresh air if you're tired of harems and cliches, but once again if you're really into action then this isn't the series for you. This is plot and character driven, and is thought-provoking. It's also very easy to follow, because the subs come out really fast after the raws come out (either the day of or the day after), and it can be found basically on any anime website and even youtube. I recommend because they update new episodes right away and it's easy to navigate, with only a few popups here and there. is also good.
One day, in 2011, a Japanese university student by the name of Saki Morimi is visiting America. When she throws something into the Whitehouse courtyard, the security guards quickly start questioning her... but she is quickly granted a distraction by our protagonist, Akira Takizawa, who has appeared outside the Whitehouse completely naked, with a phone in one hand and a gun in the other, and absolutely no recollection of who he is or how he got there.
Saki lends him her coat, but quickly comes to realise that she left her passport in there, causing her to chase after him. Meanwhile, Akira finds a large amount
of weapons at his apartment, along with several fake IDs. As the series progresses, Akira finds out that he is part of a group called the Selecao, who have each been granted an enormous sum of money, and a phone connected to somebody called Juiz who will use this money to carry out any command they are given. Their cause is to use this money to save Japan.
As you've probably noticed by this point, the premise of this series is absolutely bonkers, and in the best way possible. It comes across as anime's take on American spy thrillers, and pulls it off with ease. For example, a notable part of this series is their aversion to Engrish, not counting that spoken by the Japanese characters when in America. Instead, they hire actual American voice actors to play the American roles. This is, of course, only one facet of the genius put into this show's production. Watching it, it's very obvious that Production I.G. absolutely spared no expenses in making this series. The animation is absolutely top-notch, along with a distinctive art style that will be familiar to fans of Honey And Clover, whom it shared a character designer with. It's also worth noting that the opening and ending themes are both extremely impressive. For the opening theme, they use Falling Down by Oasis, which not only flaunts the massive budget they had on this, but also adds heavily to the multicultural chic the show uses. This is set over an animated sequence with a visual style that would make Steve Jobs cream his shorts if he saw it. The ending theme, while less notable music-wise, uses a very distinct style, using a stop-motion sequence made using papercraft.
And all of this makes Eden of the East all the more disappointing.
The first problem that appears comes up about halfway through the series, and that would be that Juiz is ridiculously overpowered. You can basically ask Juiz to perform pretty much any command, and it will magically happen. Now, in of itself, this isn't the problem. The issue isn't what she can do so much as how she does it. The ways in which the commands are executed are simply ridiculous. For one example, upon command, a truck is to be brought down to block the path. Rather than, say, a sniper shooting out the wheels, the truck falls apart. No explanation as to how this is done is ever given. It falls apart of it's own accord because somebody paid out a large sum of money for it to happen. And sadly, this isn't even the most nonsensical use of Juiz's abilities, though to name any worse uses would be to give out enormous spoilers. The ending, for example, features a mind-breakingly stupid use of it that provides a completely asinine plot twist that had no foreshadowing whatsoever, and doesn't make the slightest bit of sense. The Juiz concept does get put to good use on numerous occasions, mind you. One sequence, for example, is reminiscent of the back-and-forth mind games presented in Death Note, and is used just as well as they were there, which makes it a shame that it isn't put to such good use more often.
Another problem is that the "Save Japan" concept is underused. On a few occasions we see the other Selecao and their ideas for how to save Japan, and these are actually very good, but overall we just don't see enough of them. These ideas, and the stories behind them, are one of the more interesting parts of the series, but we only really see it happen on two occasions, most likely due to the painfully short 11-episode runtime.
The characters are another disappointing part of the series. Most of the cast are just completely uninteresting, especially Saki. The only truly interesting character in the series is Akira, but he isn't exactly great either. While he's far from a bad character, he's anything but impressive. Part of his problem is that he is permanently happy. The only side we ever see to him is an all-smiles personality with absolutely no depth of emotion. Of course, being constantly happy isn't exactly a bad thing, but it's hard to get attached to a character who seems completely one-dimensional.
If anything, I think this entire series would have been better in almost every way if it had just been longer. 11 episodes simply isn't enough time for a series this ambitious, which is probably why two movies have been produced to follow it up. I have yet to see the movies, but nonetheless it seems nigh impossible for them to properly fix the series' faults. At best, they may give some development to the characters, but as late as that it seems like a poor idea. Really, it would have been better if there had simply been about 4 more episodes in the middle of the series. This would have given them time to make the characters more interesting and fleshed-out, shown the ideas behind the remaining Selecao, and come up with more interesting ways to use the abilities of Juiz, then Eden of the East could have been truly fantastic. Instead, it comes across more as a collection of great ideas that weren't properly realised.
Final Words: I weep for the lost potential this series has. If we're lucky then the movies will pick up some slack for it, but there's no way it'll fix everything.
Eden of the East, or Higashi no Eden, is one of the newest ventures of Production I.G, most notably accredited for producing such masterpiece series’ as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Just like the majority of Production I.G’s other series’, Eden of the East does not disappoint, and its intriguing and unique blend of a gripping storyline and well built suspense which leaves the viewer clamouring for more at the end of every episode, cements its place as a well needed forerunner in the modern mystery/suspense genre.
The plotline is very interesting and is revealed at a well managed pace, and this pacing
creates the many moments at the end of each episode which leave the viewer wanting more and more from the series. However, the ending is somewhat abrupt, and does not really provide any full closure to the series itself – but when it is factored in that the series’ ending is actually presented in two extra movies, this ‘ending’ can be forgiven for its somewhat sudden stopping point. The intricacies of the story and the unfolding of the plot are very complex and rewarding to the viewer when uncovered, most of the time giving new questions to the viewers with each revelation. The character development is also handled well – Akira Takizawa, being the main character, of course has the most detailed development of the characters, but it is arguable that his actions practically push the plot entirely throughout the series, and his endearing personality and the hook of the mysterious events surrounding his past make him into an incredible main protagonist. Being a source of many different film references that he mentions frequently throughout the series also gives him a sense of realism that not many other protagonists can match, allowing the viewer to further understand his character.
Compared to Akira Takizawa’s well developed personality, the female protagonist, Saki Morimi, does not match up as well. Granted, she does provide a plethora of interesting character interactions between her and Akira, along with her interactions with other characters. However, due to the progression of the plot, Saki, despite being a character that is likable due to her sudden involvement in Akira’s world, she doesn’t seem to do much at all to the plot itself, and it almost seems as if her entire characterisation results in her simply running around after Akira, rendering her character somewhat useless. Saki’s friends are also not particularly developed, but this is not required, as they only serve as another viewpoint to Akira’s and the other Selecao’s actions throughout the series, occasionally providing their own support and launching their own investigations into the actions of Akira, giving them a surprising amount of depth for side characters. The Selecao members themselves are almost as interesting as Akira himself as far as character development goes – it is clear that each Selecao is radically different from each other, and have their own motives for their participation, be them benign or malicious. In fact, even though several of the Selecao members do not appear for more than one or two episodes each, they are developed quite well, and provide a great contrast to the actions of Akira, serving as a good selection of what could loosely be referred to as ‘antagonists’, but the reality of the each Selecao member’s individual motives are much more complex.
The art direction of this series is extremely well done, with both the character designs and the backgrounds handled efficiently, creating a real sense of detail and distinctiveness throughout, applying especially to the characters – their designs fit their character personalities excellently overall. The animation for both the opening and ending sequences is also very unique and stylish, with special commendation going to the creation of the ending sequence, which must have used a lot of paper to produce. Even the segments in which there are CG, it tends to blend in with the backgrounds and the other elements of the environment so well that it is difficult to notice – a very commendable feat.
Audio in this series is also another element in which this series shines – the OP and ED themes are very fun to listen to, and also contribute well to the theme and progression of the series. The lyrics of the OP and ED themes, notably, are very relevant to the events of the series as well, specifically ‘Falling Down’ by Oasis. Even the background score is very well designed and fit very well to the situations in which the individual tracks are presented in. Voice acting is generally very well done, and the performances bring out the personalities of the characters, from the civilians to the Selecao, extremely well.
The series is very enjoyable to watch, and the ending begs for the viewer to watch the movies to close the curtains on the storyline once and for all, and that is something I almost certainly will be doing. My final rating of 9/10 sums up very well the incredible combination of fantastic, well paced and gripping storytelling, the detailed and unique artwork, the amazing soundtrack and the well developed characters throughout the series. The one point deducted can only be attributed to a perhaps weak offering in Saki’s characterisation and a fairly inconclusive ending, although the presence of the movies as a follow-up production practically invalidates the latter point. Anyone who is looking for the next great modern mystery and suspense series, you will do well to find better than this gem of an anime.
2 episodes have shown and yet this anime has yet to fail me, for 2 episodes I'm quite impressed that Kamiyama Kenji has left us wanting for more, For an anime that actually runs on plot, This is quite an impressive feat, Only a few have achieved this, On the other hand, It's by Production I.G., A studio that has yet to fail the most of us.
Story-wise, Eden of the East relies on it's plot more than anything else, Unlike most anime that relies on moe(like K-ON, Lucky Star etc.),fanservice(Queen's Blade) or Manliness(Sengoku Basara, Gurren Lagann), Eden of the East attracts viewers through it's story,
It actually leaves you to speculate about the recent episodes you've seen, Which is(or very) rare for anime these days.
I'm also amazed that the show doesn't even try to force itself to the viewers, While we see K-On forcing moe on our thoughts to like it(Lol Mio), EotE thrives on simplicity, Saki may be bland, but she's not as retarded as most moe characters we see in anime these days, Also, The show's protagonist(Akira, Aka IX) is quite commendable himself, Although The show has left us to wonder what power lies in his Johnny, He actually has a great personality for a protagonist, Not to mention a good knowledge about classics to boot(Taxi Driver Ftw).
I'm also impressed with the shows awesome soundtrack, If the OP song fails you, I doubt the OP animation will, You may not be a fan of Oasis, But that doesn't mean you have to disregard a great opening just because you hate the song, The ED doesn't fail to deliver as well, An awesome song from a great band and not to mention the creative approach they did to make it look good, What's not to like?
Overall, Eden of the East is a promising series, I've yet to be disappointed and i believe that you will probably experience the same thing as well, All i can say is, Enjoy the show.
Eden of the East came out of nowhere in the Spring 2009 season - with no works preceding it, not many people knew exactly what to expect, and with only 11 episodes, there were questions as to how one could possibly explore such an ambitious plot successfully.
Luckily for all of us, however, Eden of the East, even with its brevity, managed to set itself apart, providing a winning combination of engaging characters, unique plot, and surprising depth to present itself as one of the best shows of the season, perhaps of the year so far.
With only 11 episodes, the show pulled off a rather
amazing feat - not once did the story ever feel rushed, and not once did it feel like there was too much information packed into too small of a package. Starting off with the "amnesiac hero" vibe that gave The Bourne Identity series its teeth and plot hook, things unfold at a rapid pace, wasting no time diving into the conspiracies of "Careless Monday" and the overlying game of the Selecao as the 12 competing individuals employ their own methods to "save" Japan.
Much of the meat of the story is presented quite well, explaining things at a level that gives you what you need to understand at the time and nothing more, yet still leaving enough dangling that you're actually anxious to watch the next episode, just waiting to see where the next puzzle piece fits. There were a few places where I would have liked to see a bit more explanation, but with the series not actually over yet I'll reserve judgement, as there's still plenty of opportunity for them to be answered when the two movies come out.
The characters in Eden of the East were admittedly a bit of hit and miss. The main male protagonist, Takizawa, was a hit from the minute you saw him in the buff - his charisma and quirky nature made him instantly likable. Many of the Selecao and side characters, for their brief screen time, were also engaging and personable. The female protagonist Saki, however, was a rather generic character - her only purpose in the show seemed to be as a vehicle for romantic tension between her and Takizawa, and after the plot abandoned most of that tension in the first few episodes in favor of the overlying plot, she was quickly pushed to the background, her role quickly overshadowed and outshined by almost every other person on the cast. In short, she was rather forgettable, and not much important to anything, at least in my opinion - I can't really think of many places in the story after about episode 3 where she couldn't have been removed without any ill effect.
Nothing bad to say about this - the animation was very clean and well detailed, especially in terms of scenery - some of the shots of the city, especially at night, were downright gorgeous. The characters themselves were done by Chika Umino of Honey and Clover fame, so the similarities were instantly identifiable - my only complaint about this style would be some of the emotion representations, such as the "angry swirl" above the head (if there's a name for this style, I'm unaware of it D: ) - these seem better reserved for more comedic moments than were existent in Eden, and thus oftentimes felt out of place. There were also some times where the character designs seemed slightly inconsistent, but definitely nothing deal-breaking.
The OP and ED for Eden were great - I'm not a huge fan of Oasis, but I found myself digging "Falling Down". In terms of background music, I really didn't find myself noticing much, being too engrossed with the story, but there were definitely no moments where I was like "wow, that's ridiculously pretty/awesome" or "wow, that's ridiculously inappropriate/bad", so the whole thing sort of washes neutral.
Eden of The East was a pleasant surprise, and with two movies coming out over the course of the next year, I'm already impatient about finding out what's going to happen next. At 11 episodes, it won't waste much of your time, and you won't regret the ride at all.
“ Noblesse Oblige, Please continue being a messiah.”
Even though it was one of the shortest anime to air recently, Production I.G. produced another excellent and satisfying anime again!
The story of Eden of the East is very creative. It reflects the current political and economical situations we are in today. Terrorists, NEETS, missile attacks and 9/11 shows that Eden of the East wants us to relate its story to what is happening in the real world. Aside from the realism that it presents, it also has its own share of mystery and suspense that adds up to the twists and turns of the story. Even though
it is a political-type of anime, there’s also a dash of humor so as not to make the atmosphere heavy and also to balance the complex plot.
Comprising of 11 episodes, the series was able to present an excellent pacing, revealing the puzzle pieces neither too quickly nor too slowly. At first we don’t know what’s going on, soon we learn about the Selecao game, and Mr. Outside. Later, the origin of the missile attacks is revealed, and finally Takizawa’s identity. It manages to present the pieces smoothly without confusing the viewers. It also didn’t bombard viewers with too much information in a single episode.
When it comes to art and animation, Eden of the East excels. The character designs are simple and stands out. Backgrounds are very detailed. Computer graphics used in the series for the missiles, phones etc… blended well with the regular animation. High budgeted animation was definitely given for this series. As for the sound, the OP song is very modernized, and its meaning suits the theme/message of the anime. The ED song is cool to listen, it slightly resembles the OP of Honey and Clover (in terms of visuals). The voice acting is solid and matches the attitude of the characters well.
The characters are very interesting. Takizawa, being a mysterious protagonist, is not your usual, angsty or “dark” bishounen. On the contrary, he is very likable because he is cheerful and emotionally stable despite having no recollection of his past. Saki is likable as well, although she’s just your ordinary shoujo who usually gets into abnormal situations and doesn’t seem to contribute much to the anime. The other casts are unique especially the Selecao. They are very interesting, each having his/her own stand in changing the world. The casts as a whole are more realistic than animeish and tend to stay away from expected anime archetypes. Most of them were given short but good character developments.
Despite ending in a cliffhanger, it’s still very entertaining that left me wanting for more episode after another. Because the movie isn’t up yet, the ending might be a bit unusual or unsatisfying for some. Nonetheless, it brings us a very unique and interesting plot, and a message that reflects our society today. I highly recommend this series to those who are looking for a different view of politically and realistic themed anime plus well-rounded characters coupled with superb animation and music.
After reading rave reviews on today's title, Eden of the East, I decided to take a few days to see what all the fuss was about. The first episode opens as Saki stands in front of the White House, launching stones from outside the fence onto the open greens. The police promptly accost Saki, but she is saved by an unknown man, running around naked while waving a gun. The story then follows their adventure back to Japan and into his history which has been erased from his memory. To complicate matters, he has been gifted a cellphone that connects to a woman who can
grant any wish a human could dream of, requiring only that the wisher uses his funds to become the "savior of the world."
While I can certainly understand the initial appeal of this series--a title full of average-looking, everyday folks caught in a mysterious battle usually signals a story saturated with magic realism that depends less on sensationalism and more on depth and criticism to wow its audience--I have to say that Eden of the East quickly fell into the usual traps. Much like Speed Grapher(2005), which promised to offer a more mature take on corruption and government, Eden of the East sets up a strong, interesting plotline but was both too short and too slow-paced to follow through on its promise. One strand of the story looks at a cruel serial killer who seems somehow connected to the mysterious cellphone and stumbles with what I can only describe as mediocre and stereotypically shallow execution. The ending, which was clearly meant to ensue in utterly epic proportions, fell flat, both plot-wise and visually. Meanwhile, a story like Eden of the East that struggles fiercely to become a masterpiece, typically warrants dynamic and creative directing; needless to say neither was present as far as I can see.
But for all its shortcomings, Eden of the East still ranks above average in its enjoyability and execution. The ED and OP were quite enjoyable, and I can clearly tell that production hired very interesting creative directors for both sequences. The voice acting, while unspectacular, demands little criticism. The animation was purposefully "just decent" though I would have enjoyed better camera angles and choreography. Furthermore, with just 13 episodes, it's worth the time to watch if you are interested in a series that doesn't fall as close to the stereotypical drivel that we are used to by now. Many viewers may even attribute more depth and better execution to this series than I have.
A timeless masterpiece this is not, but Eden of the East can still be very enjoyable. It's brevity, though damaging to the overall execution, certainly still makes it worth watching on a Saturday afternoon. If you are looking for a better series from Kenji Kawayama though, this one is DEFINITELY not representative of his talents (see Seirei no Moribito or Ghost in the Shell).
First of all, Eden is an anime geared towards a more mature audience who pays attention to details.
You must not expect a typical shonen/shojo/moe based anime.
This anime is one of the most well made series I have seen in a long time.
First off, the summary of the show may be a turn off and doesnt tell you much about the show. Here is my attempt at a summary without too many spoilers.
Takizawa Akira is a Selacao, a player in a game, where the goal is to save Japan using 10 billion yen and a cell phone with "magic powers". Having erased his memory, he
meets Saki and as thier relationship grows, he tries to find out his past and what his purpose is as a Selacao.
Story: the plot is so well planned out. You are led from episode to episode, where you learn new plot developments every time. It is complex, and requires thought. In the end, it is so satisfying and you want to see more. It is hard to describe the story without giving any of it away.
Art: beautiful art and animation, especially during the ending scenes. Not your typical pretty boys/moe girls either. There are a lot of scribbled out body parts in the show, it can get a bit annoying sometimes.
Sound: the OP and ED are wonderful songs. Although the background music is subtle throughout the series, the music in the last episode was EPIC.
Character: the characters made the show for me. over the series, you see the characters grow and develop, love and hate, show remorse, and you feel so close to the characters. One theme touched on over the show is the current state of youths in Japan..... it is depicted so well, and you feel connection.
Enjoyment: 20/10. I coudlnt wait to see the next episode every time and you learn to LOVE the characters. The show is confusing at times, but thats what makes it so good. If you want some brainless anime, dont watch this show. It wouldnt be worth it at all.
Returning to Eden of the East was a little scary, as it always is to return to old favourites you’re not sure will still hold up. A year or two later after the TV series proved to be favourites amongst critics and fans, two sequel movies came out. They were originally intended to be part of the original airing run but had to be cut out to fit into the TV airing. Those movies were not so well received. They’re not actively bad per se. In fact I’d call the second one actually quite good. But almost everyone was so lukewarm on the movies that
Eden of the East, so highly regarded a year previously, suddenly dropped off everyone’s radars and I barely see it talked about today. So much of Eden is its potential. With the knowledge that it doesn’t deliver, I was not sure whether it would hold up at all.
Turns out it totally does hold up. The story of a man randomly showing up in front of the White House naked with nothing but a gun and a phone with 8 billion yen on it is still as brilliant an opening gambit as ever. That whole opening scene is still right up there as one of my all time favourites. A frustrated college graduate travels to the White House to throw pennies at it, trying to get into the fountain but can’t reach, while also feeling a little unimpressed now that she’s there and it seems much smaller. An underlying frustration on the part of the youths of Japan and trying to find the centre of where that all comes from leads to her throwing pennies at the White House. It’s clever, it’s funny, and it says a lot about what the show is trying to do right there (also random other note: I just visited the White House last week so of course I threw a penny at it. Surreptitiously of course so I didn’t need a random naked dude to rescue me).
Eden of the East is centrally about frustrated college graduates stuck without a job and wondering who to blame or what they can do. How the baby boomers fucked up the country but young adults today are not sure whether there’s more they should be doing. It’s fitting then that the main character is some vintage jeans, overcoat wearing hipster. What’s more remarkable is how well they pull him off as a genuine human being while also being something close to a saviour. I didn’t remember how much the show leaned on Takizawa Akira being modern day hipster Moses, saving the NEETs by transporting them all naked on giant freighters to Dubai. If done badly Takizawa could have come off like Tatsuya from Mahouka: A smug, self-important godlike character the writers spend the whole show sucking his dick. Takizawa instead feels like a human who had the messiah label thrown upon him unwillingly. He’s incredibly angry at the whole Noblisse Oblige shtick he’s been given and wants nothing more than to punch the person who gave him that role in the face.
I don’t think there’s an area Eden of the East is weak on. The animation and directing is fantastic. Despite its very heavy, deep themes, it never loses its sense of humour. It’s an actively very witty show with fun characters. It never stops being a cartoon with its goofy reactions. The humour doesn’t detract from its messages and story, which shows the general strength of the writing. The characters all feel suitably human and unique. No Yuji Everylead the Bland in sight and they all serve their own purpose in the story. The music is great, OP ED and insert music. It’s also generally cool with Takizawa sporting a black turtleneck sweater with trenchcoat and actually making it work. With its random references to Taxi Driver and Jason Bourne, it’s something you could quite happily show to a Normal and say “look at this hot cool anime stuff” without having to explain away anime bullshit.
Not everything works as well as it wants. The whole Johnny snipper arc is a little haphazard. But it attempts much more than 99% of anime that I can forgive the small problem for a much more fascinating broader picture. And as I said earlier, there’s no one area that keeps cropping up as a problem in a directing/animation/overall production point. The only real issue is it doesn’t end completely with the TV series and you’re left with the movies. But upon finishing my rewatch of the TV series, I came totally to terms with that. I don’t need the movies. I don’t need to see the end. The first Matrix movie isn’t ruined as a spectacle by itself because the sequels exist. You don’t feel angry because it didn’t finish its story. That’s how I feel about Eden of the East.
With any open-ended question, there are various approaches that can be taken to reach an answer. The thing is, there isn’t always a “correct” answer. People have different perspectives, beliefs, and personalities that may all contribute to the answer that feels most correct for each of them. “Higashi no Eden” explores this idea by asking its characters the vague and overbroad question: “Given the resources, how would you improve a nation for the better?” Eleven people that are chosen by the mysterious Mr. Outside are each given ten billion yens to carry out their plans to improve Japan. Each of them, with different beliefs, backgrounds,
and occupations, attempts to “save” Japan from all its lies and corruption in his or her own way. Although some players end up shifting their focus to achieving their own personal goals, other players, including the protagonist Takizawa Akira, actively try to find the “correct” answer to improve Japan.
Curious to find out what kind of philosophical clashes would occur between the characters, I got onboard the “Higashi no Eden” train with high hopes and anticipations. Unfortunately, this anime eventually became a train wreck piled up with plot holes, unanswered questions, and undeveloped characters (even with its two sequel movies). Above all, however, the most frustrating thing about this show was that the core question was never explored too well.
This is not to say that I disliked the anime. On the contrary, it is one of the more memorable ones that I have seen thus far. From the start, the anime immediately catches the viewers’ attention with its distinct art style resembling that of Studio Ghibli films. Then the opening song, “Falling Down” by Oasis, captivates the viewers in a state of complete trance. Not only the opening song, but also the whole soundtrack is phenomenal in general, especially the insert song, “Reveal the World,” with its soulful vocals and jazzy feel. Overall, the aesthetic and auditory components of the show blew me away at first glance and those alone were enough to keep me watching.
As I mentioned, however, I was more so interested in the different philosophies and ideas that characters had towards fixing a nation. Unfortunately, “Higashi no Eden” is the classic case of an overambitious story that fails to follow through after making a grand entrance. The following paragraphs explore the issues of “Higashi no Eden” as a whole:
(Some of the following paragraphs might contain minor spoilers, so please skip if you don’t want to spoil the show for yourself. The following paragraphs will cover mostly the first season, but also mention the two movies)
1) An overambitious story with unambitious characters:
The stage is set with 11 different people all trying to improve Japan in their own ways, but the story ends up narrowing the stage to essentially two people, the “politician” and the “dreamer.” All the other players more or less become irrelevant to this “game” because they had little to no interest in improving Japan. That set off the first alarm to me – I would have expected all 11 people to be well developed and thoroughly explored in terms of their personalities and personal beliefs. However, the first season ends with introducing about seven players, only four of whom received the most spotlight. In addition, once I learned that some players have no ambitions to improve Japan, they became so irrelevant that I thought it would have been better if the show had not introduced them in the first place. I would rather have had the anime place more focus on its two main players, instead of trying to forcibly insert other players into the plot and end up muddling it even more.
2) Little to no character development:
Because of the scale of the story, the anime neglects the development of its core characters. The female protagonist, Morisami Saki, seems like a promising character in the first episode because of her cheerful and lovely personality. She garners more attention when she falls in love with Takizawa Akira when they meet one day almost by fate. However, this love relationship between the two becomes tepid real quick and lingers on like a flickering light for the rest of the series. What’s worse is that Saki is seen as nothing more than Takizawa’s “helper” after the first episode, and every scene that she is in thereafter is her either worrying about Takizawa or being gloomy and helpless.
Then there’s Takizawa, who confuses me more and more as the anime goes on. His amnesia at the start of the show was a nice set up for the anime to develop him as he slowly learns more about himself. However, the anime fumbles around too much and Takizawa doesn’t learn about himself until the end. As a result, Takizawa comes off as a scatterbrained protagonist who seems to know what he’s doing but half of the time he wings it. Hence, I never knew whether I should support Takizawa because he doesn’t explain what he tries to do half of the time and he never strongly affirms to what kind of a nation he wants to build until the very end.
With the two main characters undeveloped, the supporting cast of characters is even less developed. Namely the “East of Eden” crew, a group in charge of an image recognition software, this group of characters can best be described as “monotonous.” They are always around to help Takizawa fulfill his noble goal of helping Japan, but their presence is rarely a welcome sight and thus their efforts seem underwhelming. Also, their range of emotions is limited to being gloomy, serious, or mildly humorous, so that made the characters dull and uninteresting. Overall, the little to no character development is what ultimately made this show surprisingly bland.
3) Plot holes and unanswered questions:
This show is full of them, even with 11 episodes and two movies. The amount of plot holes and unanswered questions eventually reaches a point in which the show tries to take the easy way out by explaining everything at once. The first season sets up for this disastrous scriptwriting because it leaves so many unanswered questions for the two following movies to answer. As a result, the two movies are filled with mostly dialogue and events trying to explain everything, thus preventing the story from moving forward. Even if the second movie ended more or less wrapping up everything, the ending is still somewhat forced, rushed, anticlimactic, and underwhelming.
To end, “Higashi no Eden” was definitely one of the most memorable anime I’ve seen because of its aesthetic and auditory components. However, the show fails follow up on its overly ambitious and potentially philosophical story because of its plot holes, unanswered questions, and undeveloped characters. Considering Kenji Kamiyama’s other esteemed works, this show definitely deserved better but ended up getting the short end of the stick.
(Yes, I did not give this anime a score of 10 or 9. Go ahead, press the ‘Not Helpful’ option without even reading the review.)
There, now hopefully, the fanboys are out of the way.
Alright, I walked in with high expectations for this one. I had read so many rave reviews about this particular show and though I would give it a shot. Was I satisfied?
Only one way to find out…
[ 1 MINUTE REVIEW ]
Eden of the East puts forward a superb concept: letting a bunch of people, with a ton of money, play a game to
“save” their country. This creative story is very refreshing and has and the direction has a Hollywood-like feel to it. With such a mysterious plot and an amnesiac protagonist, this anime should be brilliant shouldn’t it? Well, it is, but not as brilliant as it COULD have been. Although overall, the anime is absorbing, poor characters, inconsistent pacing and logical inconsistencies prevent this anime from being a masterpiece. The animation, especially the detailed backgrounds, is fantastic and one of the best I have ever seen and reflects on the high production values. The OP was very cool, with a chic video and a solid English song, while the ED was good in its own right. The anime starts with a bang and ends with a much bigger and more satisfying bang. Sadly, the anime is quite disappointing in the episodes in between as the show tries to incorporate more genres like shojo and psychology into it and this leaves the viewer with a rather confused state of mind. And considering the whole show is only 11 episodes, this was a fatal mistake. The last few episodes were exhilarating, intelligent and were a smooth build up to the movies, but even these fantastic episodes are not enough to compensate for the irregular first half. Eden of the East is a show with so much potential, that on paper, it is a blockbuster, but in reality, it is quite a letdown. It’s a wonderful anime, make no mistake about that, but it’s just that it feels like winning 100$ in a 1,000,000$ lottery.
[ 5 MINUTE REVIEW ]
Let’s put you into the protagonist’s shoes:
You are a Japanese man who is currently outside the White House and you just realized that you are completely naked. (You sort of look like Mowgli from Disney’s The Jungle Book btw). You have a slick mobile in one hand and on the other, you have a gun. You have no idea who you are, why you are outside the US President’s office, how you got there or when you got there. Basically, you have lost your memory of all past incidents. What will you do?
Alright, fine. Let’s assume you somehow obtain the information that the cell phone in your hand is actually a very special one. It has 10 billion yen charged in it and it can grant any wish. You are also told that you need to save Japan using this money and the phone. If you do not, you will be killed. There are 10 others just like you and the same conditions apply for them. Once again, the same question arises: What will you do?
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely loved this story. It was totally fascinating and I was looking forward to watching it as soon as I read the synopsis. This was like the anime version of a Bourne film mixed with The Condemned (the Steve Austin movie). Did the story live up to my expectations? It most certainly did. It had me hooked from episode one to eleven and I can’t really pinpoint the reason for this anime’s engaging storyline. Maybe it was the mysterious aura that surrounded it. Or maybe it was the amnesic protagonist. However, the story was the one place, other than the animation of course, where I was fully satisfied.
The show has an overall dark mood around it. Although the main characters prance about cities carelessly, you do feel a certain anxiety in the atmosphere as you are constantly wondering what is going to happen next. And for maintaining this nervous atmosphere, which for some strange reason reminded me of Darker than Black, throughout, Production IG deserves a lot of credit.
The same cannot be said for the plot though. There were several plot holes and some mistakes were just dreadful. For instance, the studio employed professional English voice actors for the Americans, something that is not often done. A very welcome choice, nonetheless. Yet, these American locals, who are introduced as people who speak only their native language suddenly comprehend Japanese. Honestly, how do the cops overcome the language barrier in a matter of minutes? And are they trying to tell me that some Washington cab drivers know Japanese while some do not?
While we are on the topic of cops, here again, Production IG makes some pretty stupid errors trying to recreate the Washington DC police force. After all the homework they did trying to get the background of DC right, they could’ve spent a bit more time on the creative aspect, as the intelligence level of cops is below zero and their tolerance level is ridiculously high. Although I’ve never been to DC, I really don’t think the cops monitoring the White House will allow a naked Asian guy carrying a pistol to get away. Hell, the first thing they do in these sort of situations is call for backup. Apparently that didn’t strike the creative team, but it struck me, a guy who watches a lot of Hollywood flicks. Also, another instance of cop insanity, is when a police officer requests a guy to drop his pants to verify his “Johnny’s” identity. Apparently, his Johnny is more recognizable than his face. There are logical inconsistencies all over the place and this sort of ruins the mood occasionally.
[SPOILER START]Also, the anime tries to be as realistic as possible in the start, with the Death Note-like approach, but as the series goes on, you see supernatural elements brought into play. I mean, it starts off with a guy and a girl struggling to outwit the police, but in the middle of the series, a character sprouts wings and jumps out of the windows. I’m not kidding. Oh, and the wings were black. EDIT - I heard this was due to "graphics" and it was all just an illusion. I dunno how that works, but hey, when there's a visual search engine that tells you about a piano with just a cellphone image of its foot, then I guess anything's possible.[END SPOILER]
After slandering the creative team there, I’ll move onto the department that has completely outdone itself – the animation department. The animation was freakin awesome. The backgrounds were perfect and were extremely detailed. Both Washington DC and Japan have been done really well. Transition is smooth and there is an overall fluidity. A perfect ten for this department. The character designs were a little unique as well. The heads and the legs were pretty disproptionate and although this may usually make for ugly characters, the coloring and the dresses of the characters suit them so well that this minor flow is easily overlooked. Saki looks a bit chubby, in the cute way, which is something most anime artists don’t do and her skin has a certain gloss to it. Kudos again! Certain chibi animations did feel out of place though.
The audio department has done a great job too. The OP, Falling, is done by British band, Oasis. I am a huge Oasis fan and I love their music and this track was no exception. It was a cool song that is certainly iPodable. The video for the OP was very creative too, with random messiah sayings propping up all over the screen and the liberal use of the color pink. Very good presentation. The ED too, was very innovative, with paper characters and a stop-motion animation. The vocals were decent. As for the background score, it was your usual set of instrumental pieces which get the job done. Neat work by the sound dudes :D !
The characters are, well, shallow. I know people all over the world love Akira, but to be honest, I really don’t see why. Sure, he plays cool, especially in the end, but he really isn’t all that much of an interesting a character. He maybe occasionally smart, but he hardly shows any emotions. This might not have been a problem if the show tried to be just a thriller, but Eden of the East tries to be more than that and that’s where it falls flat. It tries to add some shojo romance, some chibi comedy and some psychology stuff too. And in the end, there is one cook too many and the broth is spoilt. I often felt confused in the middle of the episode as I was unclear on what genre this anime wanted to fit in. The side characters are totally boring and you will most probably forget their names and their faces when you start watching a new anime. One word I know I won’t forget is Johnny. (In case you didn’t get it already, Johnny is a dick. Very tasteful, huh?)
Also, Saki, the “main” character, does nothing to justify her role. All she does is whine about Akira or look downcast, like her puppy died. Oh, and since this is an anime, her parents are dead.
There were several references to Hollywood films, which I liked. But don’t worry; most of the films are the big hits, so I think you’ll know what they’re talking about.
Overall, Eden of the East is a great anime that wastes its potential due to poor plot design, average characters and irregular pace. Although this is a love it or hate it anime, I somehow manage to fall right in the middle. Agreed, some parts were just silly and could’ve been done away with, but the show also contains a lot of scenes that I found exciting to watch.
I heard the movies are awesome, so I’ll get to watching that right away !
This is a hard anime not to recommend due to the varying impact it has. So, I think you should definitely check this out. I can guarantee it won’t be a total waste of your time.
I knew it wouldn't be long until my next review, as I started this halfway through Ergo Proxy, and so that's one pro/con straight off the bat - this is a bite-sized anime with only 11 episodes! Despite that, I personally think the anime didn't feel rushed and so let us segway into the full review of Higashi no Eden, or Eden of the East:
Story - If my opinion means anything, this opinion may deter you from watching this but I don't think that's fair, I think the show is still good but the story is certainly the weakest link in the show. I realize
saying this I'm likely going to get a letter soon from a collection of you on MAL saying I should burn/rot etc, but allow me an explanation. Know what I said earlier, how I said the show doesn't feel rushed? You'd think that would mean, in my opinion, I thought everything was well explained right? Well, that's my main problem. You're still scratching your head halfway through at the characters, even some new ones getting thrown in right at the end, and they're all really well explained, and I commend that. However, the main characters motive, a certain organizations purpose and motive, the other characters linked to both the main character and said organization, VERY disjointed, there was no real cohesive storyline despite the fact these characters and the organization are essentially THE PLOT OF THE SHOW. For saying it's about missile attacks in Japan, there's no real tension either. Now, to combat this, I watched Zankyou no Terror (which I think I reviewed and highly recommend, whether I did review the show or not) before Eden of the East, and both shows have VERY similar plots, and so this may have spoiled the plot for me as I may have sub-consciously thought I was just watching the same show by a different art team, but I dunno. Either way, it's still enjoyable if not always easy to follow. 6/10.
Art - Thankfully, for the shows creators, it's fans and myself (for the hate I'm likely to get for the above), the story is certainly the only real weak link. The art is gorgeous. No Cowboy Bebop or Dragon Ball (I think everyone can appreciate hand-drawn art styles), but it's certainly a looker. It really conveys whatever it's try to depict, whether that be Saki (the girl on the cover) and her cute face, or the architecture of Tokyo, it's all very colourful and clean. 9/10.
Sound - The sound is great too. Not as good as the visuals, but still well implemented. For me not saying there's much tension, there's actually some very tense, but also action-type music, where it's needed, but then there's also calmer interludes and rifts and such as it's needed. So it's very well implemented as well as just being, or should that be sounding, good. The opening is by Oasis (yes, "Wonderwall" Oasis) and the closing theme is just as calming, by a Japanese artist. All very very nice. 7/10.
Characters - So, to quickly rattle them off (by second name for convinience):
Saki, Takizawa, Mr Outside, Kazoumi, "Sis" (don't know real name, either it's not said or my memory), Ohsugi, Kasuga, Katsuhara, Shiratori, Mononobe, Kondo and "Panties", or Itazu. I'm gonna give a quick bio of each so strap yourself in:-
Saki is in America studying in her last year of university. She's sweet, cute, kind and forms a bit of a love triangle between herself, Takizawa and Ohsugi. And she starts to fall for Takizawa, when she makes her return back to Japan after graduating. It's not shown them having a relationship, but it's certainly implied she has feelings for him. She's likeable if not a bit bland.
Takizawa is the real protagonist, being linked to the aforementioned organization, and he has a phone given to him by this organization which allows him to do whatever he wants, along as he has the funds (he has over a billion yen, so essentially for such a short run-time this means the power is limitless). Sounds interesting, but with the plot being so disjointed in my opinion, it doesn't work as well as it could have.
Mr Outside is implied to be the head of said organization, but he's not seen much, if at all, I can't exactly remember. He's only really there as a goal for Takizawa to work towards, as he repeatedly says he'd love nothing more than to punch Mr Outside in the face for setting up this game (said game being the plot, so won't be mentioned as NO SPOILERS) so take that as you will.
Kazoumi, Sis, Ohsugi, Kasuga and Katsuhara form a group that, well, I don't particularly understand there purpose. They're goal is to help the thousands of NEET's (people not in education, employment or training) that rose out of the aftermath of the missile strike (this is the only spoiler, it's in the bio, and it's needed for context), but other than that I don't see any purpose. Kazoumi is the straight-talking thinker of the group, Sis I actually thought was the mother of either Kazoumi, Kasuga or Katsuhara (as the former two look in their twenties, and Katsuhara looks between 12 and 15) but she's just another part of the group, Ohsugi is litreally just there to be jealous of Takizawa and Saki (oh, and Saki is with his group as well, again this isn't explained), Kasuga is the comic relief character and Katsuhara is the cute one, but also, how did my friend describe his sister... The typical mardy teen? Because that's how I'd likely describe Katsuhara as well. Oh, and she's a tech wizard. Basically the fan favourite because a) she's a loli and b) she's a computer geek.
Right, to quickly rattle off the rest - Shiratori is also in possession of a phone that can grant her any wish, same restrictions as those placed on Takizawa apply, and is there just for conflict. It's implied she was abused in the past as her "trait" is chopping off rapists and murderers "johnnys". I'm sure all the males, and a lot of you females, know what a "johnny" is. Moving swiftly on...
Mononobe is revealed in essentially the penultimate episode, don't really see his point, he just wants Takizawa's phone so he can have more money, and therefore more power. Kondo is a detective and has exactly the same motive as Mononobe and then there's "Panties", so called because he lost his pants at school and ever since being stripped has been a shut-in since. I won't reveal his purpose as it's rather integral to the plot, but he's your typical shut-in. All in all a big cast for such a short show, and most rather likeable. 8/10.
All-in-all, should you give 3-4 hours of your life for the show? Had the show been any longer, I would've had to have a long think about it, but for such a short run-time what are you really missing by giving up 3-4 hours? And for as bland and disjointed as the plot and some characters can be, you care for these guys. There's a philosophical message Saki rattles off in epsiode 9 or 10, possibly even the final episode, and while it's the same thing you've heard countless times, (something about how Takizawa isn't evil even though he fired the missiles, this is the only other spoiler don't worry!) it actually really spoke to me about humans and their good nature, at times. So yeah, if there are other shows you think you'd enjoy much more, watch them first, but if this interests you, the characters are interesting enough and the art and sound are great and certainly good enough to fill this bite-sized show. I award a credible 7/10.
On a trip to the United States, college student Morimi Saki stumbles upon an odd sight. Of all things, she meets a naked Japanese man, armed with a handgun. As she learns, this man has no idea who he is, or how he got there, and all that he can really remember are films, save for which one his personal favourite was. Soon, it becomes apparent that Takizawa Akira, as he is now going by, is a lot more than he first appears, as he finds out that he may have been part of a terrorist act committed in Japan. Then, he only gets even
more shrouded in mystery with the presence of an odd phone; which he is told possesses ten million yen, and all that he is told to do with it, is to continue to be a Messiah.
Now, on the surface, this premise is interesting enough, albeit a little silly. The show starts strongly, but unfortunately, it doesn't stay that way. Although it's genuinely funny at first, the jokes quickly grow stale. The drama almost never works, because of a bit of silly dialogue that makes you want to laugh rather than take it seriously, there are plot holes left and right, especially towards the end, and speaking of the ending, it's silly. It feels really rushed and doesn't make much sense at all.
Really, this is just a perfect example of an interesting premise with poor execution. This could have been something great, but it falls sadly short. You can feel the potential this series had, but it really blew it. It's just too bad when this happens, it really is.
The characters are, well, a bit shallow. Okay, really shallow. Takizawa's air of cool is interesting, and he's fun to have around, but for most of the series, the man doesn't show any emotion. He isn't well developed, and when they try to develop him, it's very sloppy, and makes him come off as annoying. Saki never really goes through any changes in the series aside from the fact that she changes who she has a crush on. By the end of the series, she's still as helpless and ignorant as she was in the beginning. Some of the minor characters in the show, such as Satoshi, Ryou, and Yuusei appeared to be really interesting, but because of the series' short runtime, were never given the chance to develop properly, and the show really suffers from it.
There are good things about Eden of the east, though, and one of them is the animation. It's smooth, and well done, without any CGI affect that plague many recent anime to throw it off. The landscapes are all beautifully drawn, and full of life. The character designs are a mixed bag, some being incredibly detailed, and some being very simple, but it usually works.
The music in Eden of the east is usually pretty unremarkable except for maybe one or two pieces. The rest are entirely forgettable. That cannot be said about the opening theme, though, or, at least the English version of the song. (To clarify, the Japanese version has an opening with English vocals, and probably due to licensing issues, the English version has the opening with Japanese vocals.) The English version of the song is sung by the British band "Oasis". It is incredibly catchy and fits very well with the animation. This, unfortunately, cannot be said about the Japanese version of the song. The Japanese version is sadly, uninspired and doesn't fit well with the opening animation at all.
The acting in Eden of the east is great in both languages, but the Japanese version really went the extra mile here by hiring English-speaking voice actors to play English-speaking characters. There isn't any cringe-worthy 'Engrish' here!
Overall, Eden of the east is a bag of sadly wasted potential. It has some interesting characters, and the plot can be exciting… when it wants to be. The payoff, though, is wholly unsatisfying. Great animation, and an awesome opening can't really make up for all the series, unfortunately, did not do right.
Higashi no Eden starts off well. A premise which holds much promise. It disappoints by not following it through.
If you are the jovial kind who is forgiving, then this might merit your consideration. If you don't tolerate inconsistency and hate failed prospects then this is definitely not for you.
It looks promising initially. The first few episodes provide an extremely good platform to flesh out the details. However, the core, the performance as it is suffers nothing short of a catastrophic collapse. You even feel that the budget was halfway through cut off to the extent the story had to be crushed to
be completed. I rate it a 6 only because some of the initial prospects were very interesting.
The art is good enough.
Character Development was lacking. On one hand most of the central characters stagnate, on the other hand the minor characters simply go on to demonstrate the fact that the major characters are going nowhere in so far as understanding is concerned.
The first few episodes were alright. The later episodes were a genuine test of patience.
I would say the series is fair since it is a significant failure. The beginning salvages this series. It's heart is an unsalvageable wreck.