Alt title: Freedom Project

OVA (7 eps)
2006 - 2008
3.766 out of 5 from 1,326 votes
Rank #2,528

It is the year 2267, and all that is left of humanity now lives in the 'Eden colony', a domed metropolis on the moon. Earth has long since been abandoned after a cataclysm left it uninhabitable... or so the inhabitants of Eden are led to believe. But when a young boy named Takeru discovers a photograph of a girl which appears to have been taken on Earth, he begins to doubt that this is the case. With the help of his friends, Takeru decides to visit Earth in search of the girl; despite the fact that it is against the strict laws of the colony and despite not knowing what awaits him there...

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Freedom is an easy going sci-fi teen adventure around ecology and propaganda. The basic story is ok but the overall presentation is too easy going to matter. With designs by Katsuhiro Otomo of the Akira movie fame, the entire movie is made to look as much like that movie as possible as a cheap attempt at making the retro fans to like Freedom as much as they did Akira. It is otherwise not close to the context of the movie and hardly has interesting characters. The story is about a moon colony in the future being isolated from Earth for centuries, believing it is now uninhabited because of an ecological disaster. A team of teenagers find evidence of life on Earth and despite the opposition from the authorities, they create a ship and head there.It sounds interesting at first but in reality it is nothing but a naive fairy tale. The boys don’t want to go to Earth to see if it has life but just to meet a pretty chick they saw on photographs. The entire show is driven by hormones and the need to have sex and not by true curiousness to reveal the truth or go against the status quo. Or do you think the boys would want to go to Earth if there was a fat 50 year old guy on those photos? And anyways, the entire story could easily be told in half the time as the other half is just aimless goofing around, having motorbike races, being akward around pretty girls and being chased by the authorities. The artwork is all done in cell shade 3D and for its time it is very detailed and eye captivating. As usual, the motorbikes and the spaceship designs steal the show as Otomo has a talent for those. I can’t say it was too smooth or realistic since it felt too plastic and artificial in overall. I would be more artistic and unique if the Earth portion of the show was done in traditional hand drawn animation or something like that. But even as such, the contrast between the mechanized moon colony and the green pastures of Earth is making it all too polarized. You clearly see this is just an environmental pro story and it is good Earth vs evil moon. That way you again see it all as superficial and childishly conceived. The soundtrack is interesting but not memorable, while voice acting is mediocre and the dialogues are nothing much because of the simplistic story that never seems to require too much thought. The characters are all stock material. We have the archetypical hot blooded male, the kind frail girl, the sinister old folk leaders, and they all play as much expected as possible. They are occasionally colourful and funny but overall nothing special for you to remember them.In all, Freedom is a sillier retelling of Logan’s Run, with Akira aesthetics to full you to think it is better than it appears to be. It is nothing but an average fairy tale with a fancy hard cover with the best part being the action scenes and not the struggle to reveal the truth of score with Earth chicks. It is an easily digestible title but can make a fun ride if you don’t expect too much.


A lot is made, when discussing Freedom, of Otomo Katsuhiro's involvement.  Less often is it mentioned that Otomo was only involved in the character and mechanical design process, and apparently either resigned from the project (his story, though he refuses to comment further) or really was only hired for the designs and left on schedule (Nissin's story.)  Either way, the OVA seems to get unrealistically high ratings across the board due to his involvement - no doubt Nissin's plan all along. The OVA itself isn't badly made, though the choice of animation style is somewhat bizarre.  While it works well enough on the mechs, it can sometimes be hard to read the character's expressions, and sometimes seems reminiscent of an FMV from a console RPG - something the poor writing and characterisation does little to rectifiy. Most irritating, however, is the story.  There are a lot of excuses thrown about - it's only an OVA, they didn't have time to develop the characters or tell an in depth story - but none of them wash.  The fact is that Freedom is lazily told, and full of jarring pace changes and plot holes.  The short run time should have trimmed the fat from the story, but instead we get diversions that go nowhere, characters that take illogical actions merely to advance the plot, and a messy, half-realised Big Bad that only appears towards the end.  The OVA format, thanks to a glut of them in the early '90s, is viewed as something of a dumping ground for lazy or unimaginative plots, but the truth is there are no end of examples that smash that perception - and anyone using the format to excuse Freedom's lame plot and characterisation is way off mark.  The show creates a bare bones narrative merely to allow for the scenes where the characters break open their Cup Noodles and eat (possibly the best animated scenes, in fact.)  Altogether, it's something more reminscent of the B-movie Zaat! than Akira - a company going outside of its usual range for a vanity project it hopes it will luck out on and draw some attention. This review was brought to you by Nissin Cup Noodle.


It's 260 years in the future, and due to an accident with the space program that left the Earth uninhabitable, we now live on the far end of the moon. Many things have change for human kind, such as our inability to talk without looking like our mouth is filled with gum and marbles, our hands being the same size as space gloves even when the gloves are taken off, Cup of Noodles being colored better than the rest of the world and all cars sounding like the sub boss from level 3 of Streets of Rage 2, or at least thats what sticks out and somewhat ruins a pretty decent story. Story - 6/10 From episode one till episode five Freedom had a very good story (well even the last few episodes had one but more on that later) and a theme many can relate too, one that is common is space adventures, searching for love and exploring the unknown. Expect unlike many stories we've heard over the years, unknown is actually Earth.  One day during a type of community service, young Takeru finds pictures and other belongings on the surface of the moon, he believes they are from Earth and will now set off to find out. Unfortunately his Moon Colony, Eden, is run like a Vonnegut novel, where behavior is regulated by a counsel and enforced "for the greater good." But Takeru is now out to defy their orders in hopes of finding the girl in the pictures, he'll do so with the help of his two friends, some former rivals and a mysterious old man who knows all the little secrets of Eden. Sounds great, but once Takeru and his friend reach Earth, they find the girl, have two years pass in an instant and then they go back to the Moon. All this build up and we get a few days on Earth and a montage. The writers apparently thought "We have a great opening and a pretty good ending, who needs an actual story?” Now the last two episodes are still very entertaining, where Takeru and his friends come back to the moon and hope to return humanity, and Freedom's secret, back to Earth, all while fighting off the big government forces, but it just happens so quickly it's frustrating. It's an OVA where you actually wish it was a full fledged series. As for the Nissin plug, it didn't bother me so much as to ruin the series, it seemed campy but it's a common sight in TV shows and movies. What did seem odd is that a company would connect itself to a show that does have some political stances (Ones that stand completely against the company itself.) While the story speaks of Earth being ruined by a space shuttle crash that caused a climate shift, the comments and animation make you think of human caused climate change and wars for oil and other news headlines from the last decades, guess Nissan forgot how terrible for the environment their foam cups are. On the other pole they make a push against big government and it's oppression upon the people, the advances in science, art and entertainment all for "The greater good." Now I don't know how these issues stack up politically in Japan, but Nissin managed to put something in for members of both political spectrums here in the U.S. Animation - 4/10 The art at times was infuriating for this series. When up close the faces of characters look great, with the ability to see real emotion, but pull the perspective back ten feet and every face looks like a line drawing on a balloon. A few other aspects of the character design fail in the perspective department, with the opposite being true (better looking far away than up close,) such as the characters hands looking extremely swollen overtime the perspective gets close. The animation (movement) is also very tough to deal with. Everything is extremely clunky and feels as if they cut frames out to save time. Other times they go to the dreaded computer animation, which is jarring and badly done. But the biggest offender in the animation department are mouths. Be it in the original Japanese or the English versions, nothing syncs up properly. It really looks as if they just animated the characters and months later wrote the script, so no one knew how to make the characters look as if they are pronouncing things. One of the strangest choices for the animation department was their design for African American characters. Truly I haven't seen racial stereotypes like this in cartoons since Disney stopped making Anti-Japanese propaganda after World War 2.  All this is quiet unfortunate, as the scenery is amazingly done. The landscape of the moon, both when in full color and the beautifully eerie newspaper comic version they use from a distance, could win any animation award. As could the futuristic look of the town and the beauty of the Earth.  Another area of the animation that was rather nice were the shadows used on each character. They made the characters and their faces really pop and helped lessen the disturbance of the animation. Sound - 4/10 None of the music really jumped out as memorable. There were the occasional tunes and your typical anthems from movies and video games, a song during a chase, during a difficult endeavor and what not, but nothing to fill a soundtrack. The only music that really popped out was the guitar tracks used while they were traveling across America, very JJ Cale-ish country blues type tunes. The voices were pretty good, all which you've heard before and which fit the characters perfectly (again in the english dub.) They are actually good enough to at times have you over look the terrible facial expressions that don't match anything close to being said in either language. The sound effects were also pretty standard, but for the most part well crafted and blended together nicely when they needed help emphasize the scene, outside of the one annoyance I mentioned before. For some reason the space vehicles the teens use for racing, and subsequently escaping, all sound like the level three tree boss in Streets of Rage 2. Now i'll guess a good chunk of those watching this haven't played the game, but it just seemed so odd to me since it was an almost perfect sampling of it.  Characters - 2/10 The characters are some of the most unlikable I can remember in almost any form of entertainment.  Takeru needs to be locked in a cage somewhere. He's selfish, prone to violent outburst, delusional (oh I found a girls picture so let me risk the lives of my friends, and everyone who may need that space pod back on the moon, to go find her,) a pretty sick perverted individual and constantly takes credit for the work his buddies do. He is truly a terrible person. Multiple times he assaults his friends because they say something he doesn't agree with or they try to put a little sense into his head about finding this girl, one friend literally traveled nearly 225,000 miles to help him meet the girl and upon reaching the earth he attacks him. The best thing that could have happened to this series would have been if the rocket he was on exploded and we spent the next five episodes following Kazuma, Taira and Alan around the moon base. Biz, the engineer of the group, isn't a bad guy, just weak and annoying. He constantly gets pushed around and then whines about everything. The third friend in the group Kazuma, is one of Takeru's biggest enablers, but he does it because he's a friend who wants his other friends to be happy, so again unlike Takeru, he's a good guy. There are interesting characters in the series, or there could have been interesting characters I should say. Alan, Taira and pretty much anyone on Earth (outside of the annoying group of street kids that are basically depicted this way in every series that uses them) could have played a role in the series and made it easier to connect with, but no instead we get stuck with possibly the worst main character in all of entertainment. Overall - 4/10 The only saving grace for the series was the story line. A little more time spent on the moon and a bit more on earth and they would have nailed a great narrative, too bad that would then include more bad animation and most likely more Takeru.

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