Back in June, Sean and I came across Eden of the East : The King of Eden (2009) on Netflix. The film was the first of two created to finish the story captured in an 11-episode Japanese television series created, directed, and written by Kenji Kamiyama. My mini-review is here. Last week we noticed that the television series, nicely dubbed in English and since released on the FUNimation Channel in December 2010, was new to Streaming on Netflix. Sean and I started to watch the 23-minute episodes, and last night I addictively burned through the last 6.
do I look like the man you are searching for? *
Saki Morimi is already on the cusp of a big transition in life when she encounters the naked man (close in age) in front of the White House. Afterward, all her careful plans fly out the window.
Akira Takizawa has nothing but a gun and a phone—not even his memory. Saki lends him her coat in a rather humorously awkward exchange and they part ways; except her passport was in the pocket. She runs after him, and because Takizawa might as well start somewhere, he decides to go with Saki to Japan, where they are both from. A sweet friendship ensues with a cautiously daring Saki trying to figure out the mysterious and attractive Takizawa and help him uncover the intrigue behind his erased memory. For his part, Takizawa genuinely seems to care for Saki, too.
The strange phone and its concierge Juiz are all Takizawa has to link to his past. As clues accumulate, they only serve to make the plot even more labyrinthine. Why did he order his memory erased? Was he the terrorist behind Careless Monday? Did he cause the 20,000 NEETS to disappear? and if so, what did he do with/to them? And just who created this game and the Noblesse Oblige which tasked 12 people to change Japan for the better? With a sizable bank account, special phones, and a clever concierge at beck and call, their lives depend on a successful future for Japan. How the 12, or the Seleção, believe the change should happen is up to them. The rules are few, but tricky, and the players are surprising choices.
As the game and its network of 12 agents called the Seleção are slowly, yet steadily, revealed, we wonder how Takizawa as number 9 has been operating. The others want to know if he is the Supporter, a mole and assassin tasked with keeping the other Seleção in line and playing by the rules. As we discover who some of the others were before entering the game, and how some still operate in much the same way, we can only speculate and worry about Takizawa.
Saki, for all her sweetness, she is smart and loyal and good. She is also the barometer for how we should respond to Takizawa. And with Saki comes a group of friends who have developed some incredible computer software, are protective, and prove very amusing. They cautiously become Takizawa’s support.
The episodes are comedic, psychological, romantic, and action/suspense. The writing is great and the nicely spaced revelations and humor appease compounding frustrations. One can appreciate Takizawa and others for providing moments of explosive emotion. I love when Takizawa goes into a tirade when expressing how he just really wants to punch the creator of the game in the face.
The animation is beautiful. It is so fluid and the colors and lines, and the occasional manga-like expression is fun. The films are little finer than the television series but it is still well-shot.
There is a lot of lost clothing. There is some language, and episodes 5-7 are probably the least kid-friendly, but otherwise these are easily PG-13. (Yes, I let half-11 N watch it with some cautions.) The story is complicated, and not just the Game part. There is a lot going on and there is something for everyone to enjoy, to look forward to following as the episodes progress. The ending of the television series, while satisfactory, makes you glad for the continuation of the story. It is interesting what Kenji Kamiyama has devised and the viewer is ready for more.
I highly recommend anime viewers who like a pretty screen and intelligent story to check out Eden of the East.**
* the white-out was done by the show. Their use of this censor rather than black bars is actually very amusing. so, naturally I couldn’t resist posting the image. The encounter with the police woman was really funny, especially after an earlier remark by Saki.
** Also, lovers of film, especially the “classics” would enjoy the references, even homages to past great films. Takisawa is a lover of films, and oddly enough, can still remember them.