Eden of the East is centered around a man in his early twenties named Akira Takizawa. He has lost his memories and the first thing he does in this sudden state of amnesia is prance around the grounds of the White House naked while holding a gun. During this prance, though, he meets Saki Morimi, the random Japanese girl who randomly is at the White House when the random naked Japanese guy is running around randomly. Well, these two wind up in a silly situation where they are running from the police in what can only be described as some form of a Jason Bourne homage. From there the duo go to Japan where Akira wants to learn more about his past. What he does find out is that he is part of a huge conspiracy and may have been the guy behind a series of missile attacks on Japan.
While this is all fine and good, and this plot alone is decent, there is still more to dig into. My favorite part of the plot is the idea of giving twelve random strangers ten billion yen to change Japan. If they run out of money, they die. If they aren’t doing anything to change Japan, then they die. It’s a really cool idea that, in better hands, could have been a bit more effective.
What I hated about the plot of Eden of the East was that it started off really good, but midway we are introduced to Eden of the East, a kind of computer recognition software, and from there things get really strange and seemingly inconsequential. This is especially prevalent during the few episodes concerning the “Johnny Hunter”, which were freaking hilarious for all the wrong reasons and could have been left out with the series having the same impact as a whole. At first I had no idea what a Johnny Hunter would be, because either I’m really dense or that term is really outdated. Just say “Dick Hunter”. It’s not like you’ll offend anyone considering you have a whole plot concerning a woman who garrotes male genitalia if they can’t perform in bed.
The bad guys of the series seem to only be there to explain things. There is never a bad guy who is bad, there is just a bad guy who knows more than anybody else seems to. It’s like taking a James Bond villain, cutting out all the parts that make said villain evil, and just leaving the part where he explains his ingenious plot to take over the world. It doesn’t really make you root for one side or the other, in fact you just don’t really root for anyone here. The plot moves so fast and the explanations are so quick, you can’t keep up and you can’t really root for anyone because by the time the series is over you’re still mulling over the plot.
That’s not to say it’s bad. I quite enjoyed the plot but the pacing was bad. There’s that middle stretch that just doesn’t seem to be there for any reason, it’s not bad, but it just breaks up the pace of the series and could have been used to elongate explanations and do them in a much more exciting way perhaps than just standing around for half an episode.
The ending is alright. Everything comes together and I do enjoy how it ended so large, but it just kind of ends there. Typically after the big finale happens there’s a bit of exposition on what happens to the characters and that final kiss that you expect, but Eden of the East forgoes that epilogue that so many series use because it is effective, and instead opts to just cut to the credits and leave you wondering what happens next.
SPOILER: And I just need to point out that the oblivious people walking around Tokyo during the finale who look up as if just noticing that fifty-nine missiles were blown up over the city, and have some sort of scared expression because the sixtieth is flying over, annoyed me. There are tiny things like this sprinkled throughout the series that take away from the authenticity.
So the plot has a cool premise that is executed somewhat mediocrely. That’s about all I can say that sums that up.
The animation. I really feel like I’m one of the few people who found it kind of okay. It had a certain style that I liked as far as the backdrops and scenery was concerned, but I found the characters to look strange. What I hate most is the fact that these characters that should be adults all look like teenage kids. As far as the characters are concerned I felt the animation dated, but I will say that overall, the animation is pretty damn good.
Sound is good as well. The opening is nice and the ending is meh. The American voice actors all perform decently, there was no outstanding or terrible performance to report.
I’m not going to go into my usual long-winded diatribe about the characters because there’s not a lot I can get into. Akira is a decent character with good motives but his personality is not that unique and really doesn’t shine. His occasional wittiness is not as good as his seriousness. I preferred when he was talking business rather than talking about johnny’s. And the female lead, Saki, is just kind of there for the ride. Kind of like Marie in The Bourne Identity (the book, not the movie), she’s just kind of there. She’s kind of useful, but overall not a really exciting character. The tease of a romance between the two is never fully realized, but does flesh out a bit.
The bad guys are all, as I said before, dull and uninteresting. They’re there to give us backstory, but not there to provide compelling villainy. Other than them, the guys at Eden of the East don’t really compel, nor does Panty. Overall, none of the characters you can really invest yourself in and none are that exciting.
I sound like I’m complaining a lot, and I truly have been, but I did enjoy Eden of the East. It is one of the few anime I’ve watched in the past year that left me wanting to watch the next episode and marathon it as fast as I could because I enjoyed it so much. It was good, semi-mindless fun. The premise was cool, and the plot played out in a decent, albeit skewed, way. It was short and sweet. Fun and exciting.
There’s a lot Eden of the East did right, but a few things it got wrong. Those wrong things do not totally detract from the experience, but do hurt it nonetheless.
Eden of the East is an 7 out of 10.