Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Eden of the East Review

Eden of the East was an anime released in 2009, and was created, written, and directed by Kenji Kamiyama, the writer of Ghost in the Shell. The show follows Akira Takizawa, who wakes up naked, holding a gun and a cellphone outside the White House. He quickly saves a Japanese student named Saki, who threw a rock into the White House yard for fun. What follows is an eleven episode show about the woes of society and the people in them. I'm not going to spoil too much of the plot, but here's my review:

While the basic amnesia plot is almost a direct rip of a Bourne Identity, the plot is a lot more than that. While it is slow (especially for an 11 episode series), the plot spends most of its time addressing the problems that the last few episodes endeavor to solve. Personally I've always been willing to put the plot on hold if the character work is good enough, but that's until the next part of the review. The point of the show is not the plot itself but the ideas that are explored by it, which the plot does adequately. While I'm not saying that the plot is bad it certainly doesn't take center stage, as it does in shows like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. No, what this show does is reminiscent of Clannad and Evangelion: if you thought those were about plot you were obviously going to be disappointed. That being said, the plot sets up the ideas and character situations quite well, and is the only show I've seen that makes people sit down and have an intelligent discussion. So the plot succeeds, in its own quiet way. 

Now this is where the show shines. Akira and Saki are easily some of the best characters I've seen in a long time. They're complete, well-rounded people who are feel like ordinary people. Most of this is done by just watching conversations between the two. I for one liked the conversations so much I was a bit disappointed when the plot had to take over towards the end. I would have dearly like more, but the plot's good enough to enjoy. Honestly, the romance between these two characters is my favorite in all the anime I've watched, and that's pretty impressive considering that it's an 11 episode long show!

The series is charming, deep, and intelligent. The characters are well done, and the romance is deep and convincing. The plot is definitely thought-provoking. In short, it's one of my favorite series yet. Now I realize that there's two movies to finish up the series, but I've gotta say that I'm stoked to watch them. If they continue focusing on the characters I know I'll be happy with the results, no matter what they are.