**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.