I have always wanted to write an anime review since last year when I finished Code Geass, which I will write on a later date. I have to get this out of my head straight first, because Eden of the East is one amazing anime. It consists of 11 episodes and two more movies to follow and tie up the series.
It is worth noting that the anime has a strange theme to it, which is one of kind, where it puts emphasis on mysteries, conspiracies, and social issues, such as intergeneration conflict. 12 individuals are chosen to particiapte in a game (typical one where everyone else aside from the victor had to die) and given impossibly huge sums of digital money each and a unique phone, connected to powerful supercomputer terminals through which they can make orders or purchases. They are known as the Selecao, chosen to transform Japan’s fate. Among them is the main character who suffers from amnesia, aims to discover himself and till the end of the series ..has yet to discover his true name. He calls himself Akira Takizawa. He, tagged along with the cute female cast and narrator of sorts, Morimi Saki, go through a series of adventures to dig into the mysterious events that are somehow tied to his past and find out about the Selecao.
The series can be summed up in one word: promising. It does its job by keeping you hooked to find out what is going to happen next. It starts off with a lot of naturally built suspense, which is somewhat redressed as minute details in the presentation of the show. While we are at that, the presentation is somewhat confusing. Some unusual events are simply not explained in detail, which can be confusing until you get used to the pace. To put it in another way, its like science fiction but presented like magical fantasy. These inconsistencies with reality, or the supposed setting of the series are not annoying as you watch, but rather they leave some small question marks when you are finally done with the series. There is also this weird inconsistencies in maturity: the theme is supposed to be deep and philosophical, at the same time the presentation is childlike and the attempts at humor is somewhat off at times.
Still, I feel very emotionally involved with the series and characters and somewhat sorry it ended. I am never a sucker for romance, and I doubt this series is actually marketed as one, but the romance between Akira and Saki is very well done. It isn’t as glaring as SAO, it is just right, without too much drama in terms of relationship, just a plain, sweet romantic connection that develops over time. Boy and girl from Japan found each other overseas, helped each other out of tight situations, make it back home, parted ways, meeting again and get to know each other more, with the mysteries surrounding the guy posing some resistance for trust, which was literally nothing. The emotional roller-coaster ride is well presented when it comes to romance, and from this aspect it gets a 10/10 from me. I had never appreciated romance this much, and the Saki easily becomes one of my favorite female anime leads. i imagine she will stay in my top 5 (if I ever make one) for some time.
I don’t think I can talk too much about the other characters because the major developments only happen in Akira and Saki, with the Eden of the East group. The rest had no memorable personalities, even the Eden of the East group isn’t very well explored, in contrast to how brilliantly portrayed Saki and Akira is. They aren’t exactly outstanding in terms of traits to be honest, but they felt extremely real and relate-able, with voice acting that is out of the world. I honestly thought that the supporting cast (Eden of the East) could really do with a lot more development, although their traits are decently memorable and had a good amount of show time.
The artwork is superb. I never know how do I judge the quality of artwork as I feel inclined to give every anime I watched recently a 10/10. But I don’t see how this deserves any less. The expressions and emotions of the characters are very well presented. This is probably my first time paying full attention to emotions and expressions in an anime to read unspoken messages and I am amazed at how realistic and contagious they are. Oh before I forget, the background details are extremely well-illustrated and detailed. The amount of effort took to craft and draw the environmental setting is very obvious.
In short, I give this show a 8/10. The setting and the premise of the story is good enough to be adopted into a real television series or movie. If it wasn’t for the sometimes off presentation, confusing story flow, logical inconsistencies, this would have been something I appreciate somewhere slightly below the level of Code Geass. The aftertaste of the series is really strong and I feel sorry that this actually ended, like that. The series essentially concluded, with a cliffhanging I-have-to-go-but-I-will-come-back-for-you-please-wait parting vows by Akira as he heads off for more Japan-saving business with Mr Outsider, which is a real shame.
Really, if the Akira x Saki had gotten a more fulfilling ending, I would definitely overlook the presentation flaws and give it a 9/10 without question. To me the series is over now, but I can’t help hoping for a more conclusive tie-up to their relationship.