A showcase for the beauty of New York City comes disguised as the sequel to one of the better anime series of the last decade.
Story - 8/10
After once again erasing his memories, Takizawa (Taki) returns to New York City and a place marked on his phone as “Home.” Back in Japan the Eden of the East crew searches frantically for him, worried that his last request from Juiz, to be made King of Japan, has also put a target on his back. Six months past and finally Saki gets a clue to his whereabouts, and heads off to the Big Apple, hoping Takizawa’s message to her, about meeting “in their special place,” leads to them reuniting.
After a few unsuccessful spots, Saki remembers the picture she and Takizawa took in front of her town’s version of Ground Zero, which gives her an idea to check a location in Brooklyn that has a similar vantage point to the site of the World Trade Center. She waits there for a short period time, but has no luck, but as she turns she meets a young man that she knows so well, but unfortunatly he has no idea who she is, as Akira Takizawa has now completely transformed into Akira Iinuma.
The two travel around the city, as Saki hopes to refresh Taki’s memory. During this time they are unaware that they are being followed by a new Selecao, Taishi Naomoto, who is using his fortune to make a movie staring these two unsuspecting characters. Many of his requests are to try and create a sense of drama for the film, either by stashing guns in Saki’s bag, turning the heat up in Taki’s apartment so he would go into the shower with Saki, or when all else fails completing blowing up the hotel Takizawa live’s in. Thankfully Takizawa has a new guardian angel looking out for him, the old Johnny Hunter herself, Kuroha Diana Shiratori.
After escaping the final trick by Naomoto, Saki and Takizawa end up in a park with a carousel that looks exactly like the one on the roof of the mall. After a little reminiscing they’re interrupted by armed men, presumably sent by Mononobe, but thankfully this time Kuroha shows up in person to save them. She then tells Taki she was sent by the late Prime Minister Iinuma’s wife, as she wants to find out why a young boy is now running around with the name Akira Iinuma, claiming to be the PM’s son.
As the trio are set to head back to Japan on Kuroha’s private jet, she receives a call from Mononobe about her interference. He hints that he has a way to take Takizawa out of the game for good, with a new missile strike, but this time aimed at his Juiz computer. For her last act as a Selecao, Kuroha asks her Juiz to switch places with Takizawa’s, she sacrifices herself in hopes that Takizawa can become the savior she thinks he can be.
Animation - 10/10
Nothing has really changed since the series to make, what I thought was already a close to perfect art display, anything less, but something did make me want to go above Ten.
Almost the entire movie takes place in New York City, a city, that I’ve previously mentioned in the original review, I know very well. By the looks of it I’d say the creators also know the city well, or at least came to do research on even a few small things. The first was when Saki arrives at Grand Central Station, I was very surprised to see the animators had the cops stationed on a little side street next to the station, one that was situated just as it is in real life. Likewise when they go to Takizawa’s apartment at the Gramercy Hotel, they pass the direction arrows that keep the traffic flowing the right way on Lexington and 22nd Street. The last piece that stood out to me was when they went to the Angelika theater. At first they did get the street outside the theater wrong, but from inside you can see they made it look just like Houston Street, with big plastic newspaper boxes for AM NY and The Village Voice.
These are the little tiny details, either through knowledge or proper research, that I thought put EotE so far above all other anime series in the art department.
Sound - 7/10
Like the animation, not much has changed since this really is more like an extension of the series itself. We hear one or two new voices, as well as the Juiz units getting a bit more personality and sassiness.
There’s a new theme song, which is nothing special when it comes to anime themes, and sounds like a female driven Linkin Park song (which I guess is redundant.) The ending theme is also not much better, with a song similar to the original closing, just with bad drum machines and synths overwhelming the speakers.
Characters - 9/10
Much like the series, this film found a way of saying so much, and building great characters, without doing much in the area of actually informing us.
Our returning cast includes almost everyone from the initial series, though the main EotE group is relegated to sitting at home running ops for Saki’s trip to New York City.
More of Takizawa’s life is unveiled to us as he shows Saki around NYC, as many of the areas shown turn out to be the inspiration for his home back in Japan. It was a neat way of having the city, as opposed to Taki himself, tell his story. The same can’t be said for Saki, who spends the entire episode almost as an afterthought in the substance department.
Even when it comes to the Selecao we’re only given scraps here and there. We’re introduced to a new player in the game, Number Six Taishi Naomoto, a film maker who wants to create the perfect movie with Takizawa and Saki. His real reason for existing is more or less to create dramatic moments for the show, which could have been done in a much more clever way instead of just inserting a pseudo-omnipotent person to try and direct their lives.
Besides Taki the only person who had any type of growth is Kuroha. She acts almost as a protector for Takizawa, deciding that he may really be a savior for the country and hoping that one day he’ll be able to fulfill his promise and save her too.
One Selecao that makes a small return, but with a major impact was Hajime Hiura. Thought the have been killed by the supporter, Dr. Hiura still works at the hospital, but all his memories have been erased and he has no idea of all the good he’s actually accomplished, so perhaps this is the real role of the supporter, not to kill, but just to wipe the memories of those who lose.
Overall - 8/10
While this does move the story along, it did feel more like a drawn out episode, made to again showcase the animation team’s skills.
The few points that do advance things, such as learning about Takisawa’s time as a young boy in NYC, Kuroha placing her bet on Taki and Mononobe’s new power play would have been better suited for an episode or two in a more detailed second season, but it appears the creator’s love affair with NYC got the better of him and he decided it needed it’s own movie to rival those Takizawa enjoyed as a kid.
So even though I did enjoy the film, I think I did so more because I’m a New Yorker over my enjoyment of the original series. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a very good movie, but I use the term “movie” very loosely here.