Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Eden of The East (2009):

Eden of The East (2009):

“Noblesse oblige. I pray for your continued success as a savior.”

- Juiz, the computerized accountant

In this short, 11-episode anime, Akida Takizawa (If that’s his name.) awakes from a daze on the White House lawn naked and holding a gun. What would you do? If you said, “Uncover a plot by a billioniare to rule Japan while going on a semi-romantic adventure with a girl.” you’d be right! Also, if you said that, you probably watch too much anime. I’m usually not one for more  romantic animes, but this one was oddly fascinating due to the terrorist angle.

You see, in this universe, Japan was the victim of a terrorist attack called “Careless Monday” when 10 missiles were accidentally fired on Japanese soil, and 20,000 people showed up missing. That’s the interesting part to me. Evidence points to him as the terrorist. But, this girl Saki keeps showing this naïve interest in him, that ultimately changes the tone to more mushy romantic comedy.

More to the point, after uncovering this plot to fire the missiles, (Again!) Akida again frames himself and gives himself a new identity rather than arrest the group behind it. Each player in this political game has a cell phone equipped with a 10 billion yen account. Akida discovers he’s one of the players in a game orchestrated by a billionaire to see how individuals if given power, would save or change the country.

One of the contestants, in fact, is a prostitute who cuts off male members if they displease her. It’s a little unsettling…and it’s all there to make some point about love that’s developing between him and Saki. I have no idea what “cutting off Johnnies” would do to improve the country, but sometimes anime is wacky. Also, love or something.

Anyway, I was more interested in the political plot. The team that keeps track of Akida’s political funds is called “Eden of The East”. His computerized cell phone accountant Juiz will do anything he asks with the 10 billion yen. I just don’t get why he blows it by framing himself again, and evacuating 20,000 people! Again! It’s like he’ll have to do it all over again, including meeting Saki!

Yes, I know how it ends. I’m not gonna get into that. I just think repeating the same thing you did to get framed as a terrorist has to be one of the most baffling decisions ever. But, it’s oddly fascinating because at it’s heart you have an anime that wants to be romantic. So, it’s just this guy who just wants to live life, and full in love, and avoid responsibility. Also, just as a whimsical joke…he commits a terrorist act against Tokyo.

He’d probably be in jail, and lose his girlfriend. But, dang if he didn’t have 10 billion yen and a magic robot in a cell phone! Look, I know it’s fantasy, and love, and he can clear his name with a phone call. But, am I supposed to believe accepting responsibility means framing yourself as an international criminal? All I’m saying is, the minute I saw Akida had machine guns in his closet, and planned to commit terrorist acts because he can’t bring down his psychopathic buddies… if I were Saki, I’d leave. I would fear for my life

I know it’s technically like a romantic comedy/political satire, but it had real potential up to the point where he takes responsibility rather than arrest the contestants. Is the rest of Japan still getting played like a game show? What happened to the other contestants? It could’ve been a really interesting espionage thriller, but went the romantic comedy route. By the way, none of this explains why he was naked at the White House.

But, the odd mixture of romantic comedy/espionage thriller works, because the suspense lasts about right up until the second-to-last episode. Then, it’s purely and unabashedly mushy. I’d give this series 2/5 stars. I liked the concepts, and certain parts! But, it just seems like a lot of wasted ideas. And I just don’t think terrorism is a joke. It could’ve been so much more than what it aims for, but the message seems to be take the 10 billion yen and don’t ask questions. The terrorism angle drew me in, but it deals with it far too whimsically!


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