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Japanator Doesn't Recommend: Eden of the East [Blu-ray]

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First off, cool down. Don't let the title of this post get your panties in a bunch. You'll see what I mean in a minute.

Second, for the purpose of this review please first refer to Lauren's in-depth run-down for all the details. I see no need to rehash her already great synopsis. Plus I agree with her on most of it anyway. So if you're completely unaware of what Eden of the East is about, read that first. This review assumes you've seen the show during its original run, or want a (mostly) spoiler-free impression of what to expect. Also, keep in mind this is about recommending the purchase of the Blu-ray release.

Anyway, me being me, I have to take things much, much further than Lauren's more level-headed conclusions.

If I didn't know that the TV series was just a lead-in to three subsequent films (which I have not seen and which I was not aware of when I watched this initially) I would have to say Eden of the East was a complete failure. Sure, the set-up is fascinating, the character design is adequate and there are a few moments of actual intrigue, but overall it feels like an hour-long film clumsily stretched out over 11 episodes and which drops off without a resolution or ending. Knowing about the movies, I'd simply say the TV series is a waste of time. Is it sci-fi? Slice-of-life? Comedy? Drama? Nope. It's a mash of all of these and, as a result, a miss-handled mess of potentially interesting ideas.

Eden of the East

Eden of the East: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]
Studio: Production I.G
Licensed by: Funimation Entertainment
Release Date: October 19, 2010
MSRP: $59.98


The main character Akira Takizawa is really the only central point and it feels like even he is barely there. In a way he isn't because he's lost his memories. All of his supporters are little more than cardboard cut-outs running around for no apparent reason, picking up a few pieces of the puzzle here and there but mostly just aimlessly running from point A to point B while on the phone. Takizawa's fellow Seleção are occasionally intriguing and show signs of individuality and depth, but they ultimately serve just as much motivational purpose (or lack thereof) for Takizawa as his "normal" companions.

Takizawa remains aloof and detached through the series, forming no real bonds with anyone. At least none that are explicitly stated. You can choose to call this "subtle" or "sublime" if you like. I choose to call it lazy and clumsy. His actions also fail to give the audience anything to grab on to. He's just running around asking questions and never really getting any useful answers. Plus his reaction to what little information he does glean is usually little more than a shrug and a sidelong glance at the ground, or his soulless, dead-eye smile.

Eden of the East

Even worse, the main plot is cyclical, leaving events and their results at exactly the same place as where they started. When the curious mysteries are brought to light they lead to dead-ends or are anti-climactic. This also applies to the one saving-grace of the entire series, the reclusive hacker "Pantsu." He seems to give his life for the cause only to have it handed back, inexplicably, in the end scenes. His relationship with Takizawa is genuinely interesting, if oddly accelerated and compressed into a couple minutes. His sacrifice is the first real dramatic note, yet even that is negated and reduced to zero at the end.

Technically speaking the design is competent (bland), the music is...there (bland), the modern-day setting is ambiguous (bland), the animation is fine (bland) and the dialog is non-committal (bland). Bland bland bland by-the-numbers let's-not-work-too-hard bland bland bland passionless bland-o-la. It's like trying to talk about a single scoop vanilla ice cream cone that's taken away before you can eat the cone. I guess the Blu-ray tech makes the vanilla...look nice?



Just about all of that low-key, hum-drum blandness could be easily forgiven if there was any actual explanation of what was going on, but there isn't. It's obviously just a set-up for future films (which were in the plans from the get-go.) Of course the viewer should not be expected to know this going in. Since the series is drawn-out and reveals nothing of substance, is consequence-free and ends right where it begins, there's really no reason to purchase the DVD or Blu-ray releases. Save your time and money and just go for the films.

Or don't. Maybe save up for three scoops of black-cherry (literally or metaphorically) instead?

mmmmmmmm


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Zac Bentz
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Filed under... #anime #Blu-ray #Japanator Recommends

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