Notice: This review covers both the series and the two movie sequels. They have the same story continuity and the producers simply didn’t want to make this a single full season series.
PRODUCTION VALUES 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. The animation is simply the best thing one can expect from a tv series of the era the show was made.
SCRIPT Eden of the East is amazing when it comes to themes, and shit when it comes to presenting them. As much as you can like the moral and social messages, you just can’t turn a blind eye to a completely ridiculous plot that 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, webbed in a global scale conspiracy concerning total control over a nation’s actions.
The first half was doing great, being a battle of wits where cell-phone owners use cunningness to outsmart one another and save Japan from a financial disaster. But then it lost all sense of logic; specifically when some bitch magically sprouts wings and flies out of a window. WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? They vaguely explained it to be some sort of an illusion but not only they do not justified how she did it without preparation in just a few seconds but also why she HAD to result to such a costly gimmick and not just open the freaking door and leave like a normal person.
That exact moment is when you realize the commands the cell-phone owners give are simply not possible to happen. Requests are supposed to be fast responses by government officials, so technically you are bribing people to bend the rules or bypass bureocracy. Sounds reasonable, right? So guess how retarded it feels when you can wish the most improbable things to happen, such as kill that guy immediately, or make that guy have amnesia, or make me sprout wings so I can start flying. All of which 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! I mean, ok, it is an anime, you shouldn’t expect perfect realism, but suspending your disbelief can work up to a point; not when things are so retarded they can not be ignored anymore. The series began as a plausible sci-fi setting full of mind games; not magical nonsense. It essentially performed a U turn in themes and seriousness, and became an average dumb super power shounen.
CAST And as if that wasn’t big enough of a problem, not even the actions of Akira, the protagonist, make any sense. He gave the order to become amnesiac in the very beginning of the show. Setting aside the fact that there is technology that can somehow do that, and also how amnesia is a very lazy plot device to halt progress, it was never explained why he did it. It wasn’t helpful in any way; in fact most of the show got wasted on trying to remember who he really is. And as soon as he achieves that, he just orders to forget everything once again. It’s all part of a masterplan … when there is no masterplan. And they don’t even stop there; they just spam amnesia after that to make everybody forget everything, and we essentially get a reset ending where nobody learned anything or remembers achieving something.
Along with the protagonist we have Saki, a cute girl running after Akira in his non-sensical adventures. She is there as a self-insert, representing the average young citizen who has a hard time finding his place in a world where money is never enough, troubled with finding a job, wanting to do something to help his nation, or even to seek love and adventure in the most unlikely of situations. That is supposed to make her very relatable to the audience. The problem with her is that she is essentially a lobotomized askman. She is doing nothing but being a lap dog to Akira, gasping and asking question for the sake of exposition. What does she otherwise offer to the plot? Absolutely nothing! She is just the stereotypical klutz naive girl in shojo manga, falling in love with a bad boy who has a mysterious tragic past. So corny! And this is otherwise supposed to be aimed at the josei demographic. This is twilight material! She is Bella, a bland cute face looking for romance so the audience can feel fuzzy inside. And of course not even the romance goes anywhere because they are spamming amnesia left and right.
In a similar way, everybody ends up being nothing but plot devises in the hands of the author and his magic cell phone gimmicks. Almost nobody has something to do in the show. They are just running around, asking questions they know the answers for, but fuck you because amnesia. There are a dozen cell-phone owners and most of them don’t get more than one episode of total screentime. They don’t do anything, nor do we learn much about them. But hey, who cares about such things? The cast has lively expressions, vivid movements, young naivety, romantic tension, and lots of things that make them adorable in the eyes of the casual audience. Why have personalities when you can have bland self inserts? And screw character development because amnesia resets everything. Start writing your fan fiction.
LEGACY It is very pleasing to watch with a blank mind as visuals and music are great, while the cast is adorable. It is otherwise yet another easily digestable work of fiction for romantic fangirls, or people who care to watch without thinking WHAT THE HELL they are watching. Now order to grow gills and go live in ocean. Because technology.
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