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Eden of the East Movie 1: The King of Eden April 12, 2010

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Film.
Tags: , , , , ,

Eden of the East: The King of Eden Movie poster


I’d been eagerly awaiting this film for half a year — one can’t help but after you’re left hanging by an otherwise fantastic TV series with no ending. So was The King of Eden worth the wait? Do we find out just what the heck is going on? Who Mr Outside is? Or the remaining Selacao? Does Akira really become a King? Does Saki ever get over herself? Is Juiz actually a really hot cyborg?

Disappointingly (though somewhat inevitably) only one of these is answered, and that only partially. The King of Eden is just the first of two Eden movies. As such, I kind of expected this one would cop-out of actually revealing much and instead string us along for 80 minutes with the carrot tantalisingly just out of reach…

(I’m going to insert a SPOILER WARNING here, though there isn’t really much to spoil, even when you’ve seen the film :P)

That’s not to say there wasn’t a lot to like here. It’s still the same lovely package: great Production IG animation, wonderful score and direction, the same lovely seiyuu, Chica Umino‘s familiar designs.

Story-wise, I liked the decamp to New York (especially the attention to detail over real life locations, such as the wonderful Angelica Cinema — one of my favourite spots in NY City). Granted, there’s much casual racism against the Americans (particularly in the first 5 minutes, which also make little sense) but I did laugh at the reversal of Japanese/American attitudes to guns and danger (as is urban legend, many Japanese think the US is so dangerous you’ll get shot if you step outside).

It also reminded me of all the things I liked about Eden of the East in the first place: all the interesting ideas and contemplations about augmented reality, NEETs, graduation, capitalism, the world economy the future (or rather ‘your future’). Add to this this movie’s new theme of identity theft/loss — and the ease of doing so in the digital world — and there’s plenty to overheat your noggin on.

Of course, none of this exactly makes sense. As stated above, one of Eden’s great hooks is the fact that it dangles all these things in front of you so you think about them until they nearly make sense. But it never quite explains things, which in a way keeps you in the same position as all the Selacao and the Eden of the East group: no-one’s ever really sure what the game is, who to trust, or if some aspects — like the supporter — have just been fleshed out in our own imaginations.

Other random things I liked: Juiz’s multiple personalities, tailored to each Selacao (and her attitude to Number 6!), the Juiz servers being held on the move on trucks and Number 1’s shrewd plan to eliminate the others.

Some random things I didn’t like: the relative lack of Akira focus and, as always, Saki being a dolt.

I also have to wonder about the decision to finish the series with two movies. For one thing, these aren’t really ‘movies’ in any cinematic way. Sure, the animation is still beautiful and grander than any other TV anime — but not on the grand scale you need for the big screen. These are TV movies. I’m sure the studio was always targeting the DVD/Blu Ray market and not the relatively short cinema run. But I’m wondering if this was a cost saving measure or an attempt to ring more money out of the otaku-who’ll-pay-anything. It really depends on whether two 80 minute movies are cheaper/more expensive to put together than another 14 episodeTV season. I’m no expert in these matters, so perhaps some of you out there can enlighten me?

Don’t get me wrong. The movie contains everything that was so slick and enticing in Eden the series. But this first movie just seemed to me like an exercise in fan masturbation with only a few plot points actually moving things forward. The second film will hopefully rectify this.



1. My anime 2010 « Canned Memory - January 30, 2011

[…] up on the second one sometime soon. And I finally finished Eden of the East with the two movies, King of Eden and Paradise Lost. To be honest, I was rather […]

2. My 2010 « Canned Memory - January 30, 2011

[…] up on the second one sometime soon. And I finally finished Eden of the East with the two movies, King of Eden and Paradise Lost. To be honest, I was rather […]

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