2017 Summer of Anime – Eden of the East

11 Eden of the East

It’s been one week since you looked at me, cocked your head to the side, and I erased my memory.

During her senior year of college, Saki Morimi decides to take a trip to Washington D.C. and tries her hardest to throw a coin into the fountain in front of the White House since she sees it as the center of the world.  She misses, but some officers noticed her throwing something and start going after her.  Saki is then miraculously saved by the appearance of a naked amnesiac Japanese man holding a gun and a cellphone.  The two escape and wind up at the man’s apartment where he starts getting some unsettling clues to his identity.  He has a stockpile of guns and fake passports and a cellphone which connects to a woman named Juiz who can make seemingly anything happen using the 8.2 billion yen available to him.  He chooses the Akira Takizawa passport and heads to the airport with Saki.  As he finds out more about the world around him, Akira becomes afraid that he’s connected to Careless Monday–the day three months prior when 11 missiles struck Japan but amazingly didn’t kill anyone.  The truth is much larger than Akira can possibly imagine, and now he’s pulled Saki into this dangerous game neither of them know they’re playing.

I actually watched the first episode of Eden of the East back when it first aired.  I thought the set-up was pretty neat, but for some reason, I never watched the next episode.  Genuinely couldn’t tell you why.  After its 11-episode run and two sequel movies, I had planned to finally sit down and check it out, but I kept hearing that the show never lived up to the mysteries in the first episode.  I…agree and disagree on that.

Don’t really want to get into spoilers for why Akira had lost his memories, what happened with Careless Monday, who Juiz really is, etc.  Yeah, this show is eight years old now, but hey, I didn’t know going in.  So yeah, the answers to some of them were pretty satisfying and great.  They led to more action and drove the plot.  But then some answers tried to make a cannonball in the pool and did a belly flop instead.  Granted, most of my problems with that are from the movies, so I don’t necessarily hold that against the actual show too much.

The show itself is pretty good.  The chemistry between Saki and Akira is believable, and the series was at its dullest when the two weren’t together (even though Akira did do some things that irked me).  I loved seeing those crazy kids help each other out with Saki aiding Akira in uncovering his identity and Akira being the catalyst for Saki becoming her own person.  I even wound up liking the side characters quite a bit more than I thought I would–both Saki’s friends and Akira’s fellow Selecao (super phone-wielding special people).

The pacing was off sometimes, and it is a true crime that Funimation didn’t (or couldn’t–don’t know which) get the rights for “FALLING DOWN” by Oasis as the OP for each episode.  That ED is a thing of beauty, though.  The long and the short of it is I’ll give the 11 episodes of Eden of the East an 8.  Had the ending faltered, it would’ve been lower, but it was a solid, satisfying conclusion for the most part.

Now, to the movies.

13-14 King of Eden and Paradise Lost

You wear your heart on your sleeve?  He wears himself on his shirt!

Although I did like it, the first movie, The King of Eden, was kind of a letdown.  Even knowing I had another movie to watch, I couldn’t help but go, “Wait…that’s it?” when the credits began to roll.  The weak answers, pacing issues, and my own problems with Akira from the series are exacerbated here.  I’m all for taking your time to get from Point A to Point B, but man, this just felt like it really didn’t want to get to Point B.  It was great seeing the fallout of the show’s finale and more of the characters I loved, but there are only, like, two important things that happen in the first movie.  It might even be closer to one-and-a-half.  Anyway, I can’t bring myself to give it lower than a 6.5 or 7.  I did enjoy it, and I do think its good, but I also feel like this was a bit of a cash-in.

The second movie, Paradise Lost, on the other hand, was legit.  Pretty much the entire cast got their time to shine.  I actually marked out when Saki’s friends got tired of sitting around and jumped into the thick of things.  The reveal of who set up the phones, the 10 billion yen, and Juiz was actually good.  It’s something that definitely felt like they’d been building up to, and the mastermind was more than I’d hoped he’d be.  Once again, though, Akira does some things one might consider questionable or stupid, some scenes get way more time than they should, and other resolutions came off easy.  But, I’ll give this movie an 8 like I did the show.  Pretty much had the same problems in the same doses.

Now, I didn’t touch on the themes of the series like nationalism, the NEET culture, the place of youth in society, etc., and there is one thing that happened that really needed some better explanation (someone grows wings).  So, if this felt rushed to you, then I have the perfect excuse:  It is!  Yeah, I fell behind a bit because I actually decided to visit some friends and family and stay with them.  Got at least two more of these Summer of Anime posts coming up fast, so keep a weather eye out.

 

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