Eden of the East
“On November 22, 2010 ten missiles strike Japan. However, this unprecedented terrorist act, later to be called as “Careless Monday,” does not result in any apparent victims, and is soon forgotten by almost everyone. Then, 3 months later… Saki Morimi is a young woman currently in the United States of America on her graduation trip. But just when she is in front of the White House, Washington DC, she gets into trouble, and only the unexpected intervention of one of her fellow countrymen saves her. However, this man, who introduces himself as Akira Takizawa, is a complete mystery. He appears to have lost his memory. and he is stark naked, except for the gun he holds in one hand, and the mobile phone he’s holding with the other hand. A phone that is charged with 8,200,000,000 yen in digital cash.” (Synopsis from ANN)
Just reading the synopsis of Eden of the East doesn’t give the series anywhere near enough credit, and it would be unfair to judge the series based on such a vague introduction. At 11 episodes, it is one of the the shortest anime series to be licensed in recent years, and has a lot to fit in, yet each episode takes the story at its own pace, intricately weaving its subplots to a hugely anticipated conclusion.
Eden of the East follows Saki Morimi and Akira Takizawa, as they try to unravel the mysteries involving Akira’s memory loss. As revelations arise about the origins of his mobile phone, Akira is thrown into the middle of a dangerous psychological game. The game involves 11 other “Seleção”, players of the game, each credited with 10 billion yen, and the task to “save Japan”. However this game turns out to be far more sinister than it originally sounds.
Psychologically gripping, and politically relevant, Eden of the East shows an interesting inside into the human mind and its weaknesses, and is far more meaningful than most anime I have had the pleasure of viewing. Not only is it unique, but it’s animation is similarly flawless.
Whilst you may not make the same sort of character connections to Eden of the East as you would with a more regular anime, this isn’t important. Each character is well rounded and designed, steering carefully away from overstated anime stereotypes. The results may not leave you falling head over heels for main characters, Saki and Akira, and may not keep you up all night writing fanfiction, but they do give the story the strange sense of realism that it needs to succeed.
My only gripe with Eden of the East is its length. Whilst I said that nothing seemed rushed, and the story intricately wove its subplots into a hugely anticipated conclusion…I still wanted more. And it appears the writer and director had a similar opinion. The series only takes the story three quarters of the way to completion, and I will certainly expecting something big from the two movies (already released in Japan), that have also been licensed for North American, and UK releases.
Overall – 8/10
ADDITTIONAL NOTES: Eden of the East is licensed by Manga UK, and is scheduled for release on 29th November this year.