Notice: This review covers both the series and the two movie sequels. They belong to the same story continuity and the producers simply didn’t want to make this a single full season series.
Eden of the East is an amazing work when it comes to themes and context but is also shit when it comes to properly telling them on screen. Most people ended up liking the moral and social messages and turned a blind eye to the completely ridiculous handling of the plot. I of course won’t be as kind.
The animation is done by Production I.G. a studio which always does an exceptional job when it comes to detailed and elaborate science fiction settings. And indeed, the show looks amazingly well done. If there is a problem I.G. works have, that would be the characters who almost always feel like robots instead of people you should care about. In this particular case though, they look exceptionally lively. I salute the work they did here; a result of the show being part of the NoitaminA timeslot, which translates to lots of emotion and romance.
- Every background is brimming with details and colors, most of which really look like real locations of today’s urban America and Japan.
- All the characters’ movements are so smooth and lively most of the time; you really can’t compare them with the average stiff mouth-flapping cardboard of an average anime.
- All faces are drawn rather simple but have such an amazing liveliness in expressions; you can’t help adoring the characters.
- The artistic touches they gave to the opening and ending themes with all that paperwork is simply stunning.
- Not even the SD moments felt annoying. Imagine that!
- Although not Miyazaki level, the animation is simply the best thing one can expect from tv series up to the time the show was made.
- The opening song by Oasis easily becomes a favorite. I must have heard it fifty times so far. BMG and voice acting are also done in a professional way, without high-pitched voices, random tunes and any of the usual things I loath in mediocre productions. Even the dialogues have decent context when they don’t try to explain the otherwise messy story.
Unfortunately I can’t say many good things about the story, which tries to impress you with a triple aerial flip but ends up landing on its head. The premise is definitely amazing, dealing with a plethora of issues such as unemployment, terrorism, a sort of death tournament played through a battle of wits, webbed in a global scaled conspiracy concerning total control over a nation’s actions. It is also a show directed by Kamiyama Kenji, who also directed amazing anime such as the Ghost in the Shell series and Serei no Moribito. It should have been a great story with him on the helm, but unfortunately it was as such only in the first half. Afterwards it lost all sense and justification; more specifically after that bitch magically sprouts wings and flies out of the window. WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? It was vaguely explained to be an illusion or something but under the circumstances it happened it just doesn’t add up. Not only it is not justified how she did it without preparation in just a few seconds but also why did she HAD to result to such a costly gimmick and not just open the freaking door and leave like any normal person would do. At that exact moment I also realized how almost every command the cell-phone players gave was simply not possible to happen so fast and so perfectly executed. I mean, ok, it is an anime show and I shouldn’t expect perfect realism, but under the pretext of the series it just didn’t feel plausible anymore.
Ok, let me explain this part a bit better. The conflict of the show has the form of twelve people being given a cell-phone with which they can phone the headquarters and order for anything they like to happen. The means with which that happens are explained to be fast responses by government agents and officials, so technically you are bribing people to bend the rules anyway you like. Sounds reasonable, right? So guess how retarded it feels when you can wish the most improbable thing to happen in just a few seconds after you give the command, with perfect coordination and execution. This is no longer logical and justified, IT’S PLAIN MAGIC! Up to the first half it was a fine battle of wits where the cell-phone users were supposed to use cunningness to outsmart one another and save Japan from a financial disaster and then you get these ridiculous spell-like commands, such as kill that guy in two seconds, or make that guy have amnesia, or make me sprout wings so I can escape flying instead of opening the door for me to leave. WHAT IS THIS CRAP? They ruined the sci-fi setting and the smart mind games with magical nonsense and it became a random pile of unsupported facts, practically performing a U turn in themes and seriousness. It turned to your average dumb super power shounen! Boy, what a let down …
The thing is, the problem of this show does not stop at the impossible to buy way everything happens. It also makes no sense of why they even make those commands to begin with. The aforementioned flying bitch is an easy example but even that pales before the protagonist, who got amnesiac by an order given to the cell-phone. Now, even if we assume the headquarters had some sort of super hidden technology that could do that to a man in a few seconds via a cell-phone, you are still given no bloody explanation of WHY it happened. You would assume it was a trick by another player as means to get him out of the game and out of his plans but NO, IT WASN’T.
It was supposed to be part of a grand masterplan that affects the lives of everyone in Japan and yet what was exactly accomplished by doing that? I’ll tell you what. Nothing! He did it for no reason at all! It was nothing but a huge hindrance without a single good aspect! Not even that but guess what, he did the exact same thing again at the end of the series! Do you believe that? The exact same thing that did nothing but stomping him! What for??? No sane reason! Imagine you, busting your balls to get smart AND wise AND rich. And then for no sane reason, you decide to throw everything away and start from scratch! All supposed to be part of a plan to save lives when in practice none of this happens! It was a dumb thing to do, plain and simple! So, imagine then managing to recover all that you lost after lots of hard work and even knowing you hindered yourself like that. What do you do then? You throw everything away again for no sane reason! Do you believe how stupid this sounds? Well, it sounds epicly stupid if you include to all this, the fact that it is supposed to be a plan though by Akira, a man that is supposed to be genius! If he was a retard, I would understand the phail. But a genius??? And not only that, it also repeats the exact same mistake??? This goes beyond all scales of ridiculous! THIS SHOW IS A TOTAL TROLL!
And for Pete’s sake people, you used one of the most overused and terribly executed tropes of all times? Amnesia?! It is always just a lame excuse to prevent the story from ending right away. Even more, it is always done so conveniently, that it turns any story to a kindergarten level. So guess what, this anime managed to outdone itself by taking the use of such a trope to new lows and using it not once but A DOZEN TIMES THROUGHOUT THE STORY! As a stupid reset button that cancels all sense of progress and importance of events, progressively building more crap on top of earlier crap. Thus I give one thumbs up only to the first 6 episodes, and two thumbs down to the other 5 episodes and the two movie sequels, which are a junkpile of stupidity, unworthy of even standing next to the initial episodes. I am really disappointed here people!
Onwards to the cast, which as far as being likable they do a fine job. Lively expressions, vivid movements, young naivety, romantic tension, these things make them adorable! Even their motives are well presented most of the time… MOST of the time. Because when that tard of a trope called amnesia enters the frame, well, so long personalities! They forget anything they do and even the reason they did it in the first place, while even neglecting to mature or develop after all this shit. The story even has the nerve to end by resetting everything, a trope so terrible that it makes the dvd of this series to be useful only as target practice. So although I liked their personalities, as characters they do not develop or mature but rather move in circles by resetting their progress again and again for no apparent reason. Piece of crap …
What is even worse is that everybody ends up being nothing but a plot devise in the hands of the magic cell phone of the series. Although they keep trying to tell us it is in fact very logical and that it uses technology or corrupt authorities to get everything done fast, it still makes no sense how it can do anything you like in 3 seconds after you ask for it to happen. Not even Superman could do it THAT fast starting from scratch. Furthermore you easily see how besides the retarded lead and the ringleader of the other cell phone members, nobody else is even important to the plot. For example, think of Saki, the main lead girl. Her cute face is present in half of the duration of the show and she keeps running and asking and gasping and in general sticks her nose in everything. What did she offer to the plot? Absolutely nothing! She was just the stereotypical klutz naive girl in shojo manga chasing after the mysterious bad boy with a mysterious past without even knowing anything about him or caring to find out in general. That sort of treatment is just terrible! I mean, ok, she is supposed to represent the average young citizen who is troubled with finding a job, or wanting to do something to help his nation, or even to seek love and adventure in the most unlikely situations. But come on, other than that she was a passive observer and just there to do everyday stuff who eventually were unrelated to the so-called power struggles of the cell-phone owners. She ended up being a cute face looking for romance so the audience can feel fuzzy inside when in fact the real protagonist was Akira and his … nonsense masterplan he had no idea of how it would work out.
So, does this series has replay or historical value? Well, it sure had a lot more before that terrible use of pukenesia. I still say it is very pleasing to watch with a blank mind as visuals and music are great, while the cast is adorable. I suggest it as yet another easily digested work of fiction for romantic fangirls or people who care to watch without thinking WHAT THE HELL they are watching. I also make sure to add a huge anathema to it for wasting an otherwise great start… Yes, once again we have an anime which starts great but later on jerks around more and more as it goes on. Sigh!
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 10/10
General Artwork 2/2 (looks great)
Character Figures 2/2 (generic looking but highly lively)
Backgrounds 2/2 (very detailed)
Animation 2/2 (very good for a tv show)
Visual Effects 2/2 (paperwork FTW)
SOUND SECTION: 10/10
Voice Acting 3/3 (professional)
Music Themes 4/4 (OASIS FTW)
Sound Effects 3/3 (great)
STORY SECTION: 5/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (starts great, derails completely in the second half)
Complexity 2/2 (rich context)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 2/2 (cute/cool)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (they reset progress all the time)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 6/10
Historical Value 1/3 (a bit famous as a sci-fi show)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too much BS superpowers)
Memorability 4/4 (extremely well-made to the point of forever remembering it)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 6/10
Art 1/1 (looks lovely)
Sound 2/2 (sounds great)
Story 1/3 (good ideas but handled terribly)
Characters 2/4 (likable but they make no sense and go in circles)