Eden of the East
|Eden of the East|
|Made By||Production I.G.|
|Episode Length||25 minutes|
|# of Eps/Volumes||11 episodes, 2 films|
Sum it up in a Sentence:
Naked amnesiacs, cool phones, conspiracies, and romance.
Saki Morimi is on a trip to Washington D.C. when she runs into a naked man outside the White House. She gets caught up in the adventures of the man, Takizawa Akira, (and his Johnny). Akira has no memory of anything before his Washington streaking, but he does have a special cell phone with billions of yen on it and the ability to buy just about anything. Akira returns to Japan along with a smitten Saki to investigate the mysterious people called Selecao and his involvement in a bizarre missile attack that didn't kill anyone.
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From the same director/studio:
- Death Note -- Takizawa has a phone that can do anything, while Light has a book that can kill anyone.
- Mirai Nikki
Food Court Druid
This is a very enjoyable show, but sometimes baffling. You just have to keep in mind that the seriousness of this show changes every episode and like many anime it can go from serious to light-hearted to WTF in a matter of minutes. With that said, Eden of the East does a good job building on its mystery and slowly revealing the truth behind Akira and the other Selecao. The characters are all reasonably well-developed within the small screen time most of them get, and the romance between Akira and Saki felt a lot more real than most anime romance does. The production values are also top-notch, including an awesome ED.
The major problem with this show is that it's only 11 episodes and there were a lot of loose ends left at the conclusion. Hopefully the movies will rectify this.
Falls Down Stairs
This show is one of those "mindscrew" shows that constantly throws plot twists at you and seems to deliberately provide fertile soil for Epileptic Trees. It's particularily fun, though, in that it combines a tightly paced, highly suspenseful story that provokes speculation and wild guessing, occassionally taking a stab at social commentary, with a lighthearted, whimsical, even goofy attitude and somehow manages to make the whole thing work. It will challenge the viewer to take it seriously and then proceed to unfold in such a silly way that taking it seriously is impossible, and yet it will manage to retain its sense of suspense and mystery all throughout.
It's kind of like Death Note or Code Geass in that it stars a young protagonist granted a mysterious power with which he can change the world thrust into a game-like struggle against others, but the tone is different from either of those shows. Akira lacks the dark streak that Light and Lelouch have; he's a rather bright and chipper guy.
The only real problem with this show is that it's very short and leaves a lot of dangling plot threads for the movie sequels.
What to make of this one... It's a bizzaro conspiracy thriller that couples romance, light comedic touches, and a cast of odd characters. Some of it's well-played plot twists and some of it's absolutely loony (in kind of a good way), with not a lot of middle ground between serious drama and crazy weird comedy. I was scratching my head at points thinking that maybe there were supernatural elements, that maybe this is going to get into really heavy science fiction stuff, but it keeps the viewer in the dark about what kind of tricks it has left up it's sleeve, and often doesn't explain just what in the hell we're seeing happen in front of us.
But even with all the weirdness; the mall full of naked people, missile attacks, and a serial killer who cuts off penises with a cigar-cutter; what's most surprising is that our hero, Akira, is a happy-go-lucky optimist in the face of constant threats, and the romance is exceptionally well-executed and comes across as genuine character development rather than, "Oh, well the main character always needs a girl at his side."
At 11 episodes, the TV series is a breeze to watch, and contrary to what the trailers would have you believe, it's not at all action-heavy, and is very dialogue-driven. Kenji Kamiyama, having the brilliant Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex under his belt, feels like a good match for such an odd show.
But then we have the two-movie conclusion, starting with King of Eden. Uh, what the hell happened here? I'll start with the positives of King; the New York setting is full of vivid, exceptional detail (Grand Central's exterior and the Angelika Film Center in particular are immaculately rendered), and the romance bits are -once again- quite good. Everything else is a total mess, and should stand as a great example of how not to continue a story. For a movie this short (80 minutes with credits) there is a huge amount of padding, and it's of the "let's talk about politics that are only tangentially related to the plot for five minutes to kill some screen time" variety. Most telling of all is the introduction of a new character who does nothing but momentarily put our heroes in danger (and is barely followed up on in the second movie, getting maybe 30 seconds of screen time). Last but not least, the ending literally feels like it should be the end of the first act, as there is nothing remotely climactic about it. This easily could have been the first 30 minutes of the second movie and you would have lost nothing from cutting 50 minutes. There's no middle or end, just a beginning. An 80-minute beginning to a two-movie series that when put together runs 170 minutes. Only watch the first movie if you're curious, but have the fast-forward button well at hand.
The second film, Paradise Lost is better than the first, but still has a lot of problems, and in my eyes wasn't a satisfying ending. There's a lot of logic holes, and it's disappointingly predictable as a conclusion to such an eccentric show, but there are a few good scenes.
My advice would be to watch the main series and only see the movies if you absolutely want to. The main series has a somewhat open-ended conclusion that I found to be much more satisfying than the choppy plotting of the movies.