Anime Spotlight: Eden of the East

Eden of the East is an anime created by Kenji Kamiyama and featured character designs by Chika Umino. The anime was produced by Production I.G and directed by Kenji Kamiyama. The 11 episodes of the series aired on Japanese television from April 9-June 18, 2009. The franchise also includes three anime films. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American distribution license for Eden of the East.

Three months before the beginning of the series, 10 missiles strike Japan, but there are no casualties. This act becomes known as “Careless Monday” and is eventually forgotten by the people.

At the beginning of the first episode, a college senior named Saki Morimi visits Washington D.C. as part of her graduation trip. When she inadvertently gets in trouble while at the White House, a mysterious naked young man holding a gun and a cell phone suddenly appears and saves Saki. The young man has lost his memory but finds his way back to his apartment and discovers several fake passports. He chooses the one with the name “Akira Takizawa” on it, and he returns to Japan after encountering Saki again. Upon their return, they learn that a new missile has hit Japan.

Akira’s mystery deepens when he discovers that his phone has 8.2 billion yen in digital money, and that he can contact a concierge named Juiz who can fulfill any order he has for a price. He pieces together that he is involved in a game, where twelve individuals known as Selecao are given ten billion yen to “save” Japan in some way. Saki, along with her friends, find themselves more and more entangled with Akira, and the truths that Akira starts to uncover just how deadly this game really is.

The first thing I noticed as I started watching Eden of the East was the animation. The quality of the animation is incredible, and it grabs the viewer’s interest immediately. I also liked how the censoring was done on Akira when he has the full frontal nudity at the start of the series, because the technique that was used fits in with the feel of the series. While the story has serious elements to it, it’s told in such a way that it’s more on the comedic side.

The storytelling in Eden of the East is also very compelling early on, and it manages to keep the viewer interested in what’s going on throughout all 11 episodes of the series. I especially appreciated how, as the story unfolded, the facts that came out would constantly alternate between making Akira look like a villain and making him look like a hero. As a viewer, I was always rooting for Akira, but there were times when the evidence would make it look like my faith in him had been misplaced. I thought it was great how the series strung viewers along about Akira until right near the end. There was also strong execution for the buildup of the mystery surrounding Akira’s past.

I also liked the interactions between Akira and Saki. These two characters really work well together, and I couldn’t help but ship these two early in the series.

Eden of the East should appeal to viewers who enjoy anime with mystery and psychological elements to it. The execution of the mystery element keeps the viewer interested and wanting to learn more in order to try to figure everything out before the final revelations. The psychological aspects of the show help to accentuate the mystery and develop the series’ characters.

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