It can be a daunting task to produce a fictional series that depicts various worldwide conspiracies and terrorist attacks. However “Eden of the East” proves that, with the right studio and director, just such an excellent concept can work, especially when it keeps the viewer guessing until the very end.
The series was produced by Production I.G and directed by Kenji Kamiyama (both created the highly acclaimed “Ghost In The Shell”) so a lot of experience went into devising a world full of technology set against an everyday context. I would also like to credit the mangaka Umino Chika who worked on the characters and their clothing designs; some of you might remember her from the manga “Honey and Clover”(another series I urge you to check out.)
Coming back from a college graduation trip touring America, Saki Morimi finds the time to visit Washington D.C. There she encounters Akira Takizawa. He has just woken up naked, with no memory as to how he got there – and in possession of a phone and a gun. As Akira discovers more about these items, he starts to suspect that he may be a terrorist. He believes that only he can trust himself to find out his true identity and how he came to lose his memory.
From this description, it might sound as if Akira has one bad-ass personality but it’s quite the opposite; he has a carefree attitude that is very likeable. When his life unravels, you really start to care for him.
It’s also interesting to hear Akira’s worldwide movie knowledge (the only thing that wasn’t removed from his memory) which allows him to reference everything from the Bourne Identity movies/novels to the British movie “Quadrophenia” (which put a smile on my face.)
The presentation is excellent throughout; the backgrounds are colourful and full of life (for example the bustling streets of Washington make you feel you’re in America) and Kenji Kawai’s score is varied, with a mixture of light electronic material and haunting orchestral themes that really set the mood.
Some viewers might find the plot revelations complex, so it’s an anime that repays multiple viewings. The opening is very stylish and fast-paced and the song (by British band Oasis) “Falling down” is well implemented. However for licensing issues after the first episode, it’s then replaced with “Michael and Belial” performed by Saori Hayami; this makes a good replacement but proves a bit underwhelming. To make up for this, though, the stop-motion paper animation of the closing theme performed by School Food Punishment gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.
Extras include a TV spot and promotional video for the series and some great interviews with Kenji and Umino on the directorial side and the Japanese voice actors for Akira (Ryohei Kimura) and Saki (Saori Hayami) are worth the 22 minutes of your time.
Excellent plot progression in this thrilling 11 episode series which ends with a fascinating conclusion which will leave you begging for more; it’s a definite buy for any anime fan out there.