Eden of the East: Paradise Lost
The exciting conclusion to Mr. Outside's game awaits you. Along with many plot twists and turns we are introduced to a few new characters (as well as seeing what a living, breathing Juiz might be), and we even find out the identity of Mr. Outside himself, although the secret of how he obtained his fortune is left to the viewer to guess.
The series concludes while also setting itself up for some kind of sequel, but the whole thing raises more questions than it answers, much like the hit TV show LOST. Of interest is that the whole thing revolves around NEETs versus Japan's "Greatest Generation", i.e., those that fought WWII, and then built Japan into an industrial powerhouse and one of the strongest economies in the world (rivaling the USA in the 1980s), and, given our own financial instability in this day and age, as well as a faltering global economy, it does make this reviewer wonder if we don't need a real savior. I also have to wonder what our "Greatest Generation" thinks of how the USA has lost its way, sold out, and has it own generation of NEETs.
And while I think that Takizawa's final solution to end the game was a bit of a cop-out on the part of the writers, overall, this anime made me THINK long and hard about our own crisis, and what kinds of miracles will be needed to solve it. And to do that makes this little anime-adventure film more relevant, more important, and more required viewing than any Hollywood film out this summer.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, October 2011
Eden of the East: King of Eden
If you enjoyed the TV series Eden of the East (I know I did), then you'll be happy to learn that the movie "King of Eden" hits the ground running into familiar territory, as it takes Saki all of five minutes to lose her luggage (again!) and it turns out that Takizawa has lost his memory (again!). After that however, things start to get topsy-turvey as Mr. Outside's Game is getting close to the end.
Several players we've never seen before are introduced, and I was surprised that Juiz got a much larger role in the film. In fact, considering she's supposed to be a computer, I was also surprised at how rude she is to a particular player. However, this is explained later on, as it turns out there's a different Juiz for each player!
However, things are proceeding quite quickly now. Unfortunately Takizawa is burning through his balance, as his request to Juiz before having his memory erased was to make him "king". So, Takizawa is being replaced (on the internet), with a version of himself that is heir to the Prime Minister, who is stepping down.
This puts the poor boy on everyone's radar, and it isn't before long that they are on the run from everyone. Unfortunately, the movie ends with a cliffhanger, so we'll have to wait for "Paradise Lost" to find out what happens! Noblesse oblige. I pray for your continued service watching this extraordinary series!
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, June 2011
Eden of the East
"The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power."
— Julius Caesar: Act 2, Scene 1
What would you do if someone gave you a million dollars? For most of us, quitting our jobs, or maybe buying an expensive car would be in order. Now imagine someone said they would give you that million, but only if you spend it for the good of others. How would you spend it then?
Now imagine its 100 million dollars, and if you fail to "save" the country, you'll be killed. Still willing to try? Well, Eden of the East is about a number of individuals willing to take that assignment. In a very real way, Japan is spiraling out of control. The boom of elderly citizens, low birth rates, the rise of the Hikkikomori (anti-social shut-ins) have all helped created a climate similar to a house of cards. This is not fiction.
But the Noblesse Oblige are doing something about it, or rather, they must. Given 100 million dollars, and zero oversight on its usage, they can do anything they want, but will be killed if their actions do not "save" Japan. Example: A dirty cop spends his money literally bump off the mob. He singles out yakuza leaders who the law can't touch, and tries to excise that section of society. Example 2: A doctor spends his money bypassing laws/codes to oversee the creation of a hospital where health care is free to the elderly.
Everyone has dreams and ideas, but no one has the power to make it happen. When power is compartmentalized, individuals feel the walls and say, "well, there's nothing I can do." In this way, Eden of the East is an amazing show that forces the viewer to look down the barrel of society. Only by being above the law, above reprieve, can true change (right, wrong, indifferent) be made. "Nobility obligates"
Of course, there's a show here too. Our protagonist is one of the Noblesse Oblige, though highly questionable. The show's first episode opens with him being dumped in front of the White House. Armed with a gun in one hand, a cell phone in the other, and no clothing, he commands the voice on the other end of the phone to "do it." Suddenly, it all goes black. Our protagonist blinks back to consciousness right where we left him, with no knowledge of who he is, or what led him to that moment.
Eden of the East, as it seems, is about a man's journey to find himself, and save the world at the same time. No idea of what transpired, he finds more and more evidence that he wasn't a nice man, all the while learning of the responsibility he accepted.
But that's all you get. This riveting series is short, sweet, and due out Stateside not too long from now. FUNimation acquired the rights, and will probably be grabbing the two animated features that followed the series. Oh, and the opening is a gorgeous example of typography, set to an Oasis track, if you're into that sort of thing.
Reviewed by John Martone, July 2010
Below: Scenes from Eden of East.