Heads Up – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya 2009

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Animation Production – Kyoto Animation

Director – Tatsuya Ishihara

The long awaited return of the original season that aired in 2006 is back and is starting to air some new episodes. This return is a combination of the 14 original episodes along with 14 new episodes. The reasons to watch this show stem from the fast paced comedy with the energetic Haruhi, and jokes making fun about Otaku culture mixed with a lot of dry humour. Basically the people behind this show are very self aware of their audience and do a fine job of exploiting it for humour.

The first new episode ‘Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody’ involves Haruhi’s latest obsession, tanabata. Tanabata is a Japanese tradition where they hang pieces of paper with their wishes on a bamboo tree. It celebrates the meeting of the stars Altair and Vega. Below are the wishes of the main characters and give a good account about their personalities. The rest of the episode involves time travel.

Wishes

  • Mikuru Asahina – I hope I get better at cooking/sewing
  • Yuki Nagata – Change, harmony
  • Itsuki Koizumi – World peace and safety of my family
  • Kyon – Give me money, give me a two storey house
  • Haruhi Suzumiya – I wish the world would revolve around me, I wish for the world to rotate in the opposite direction

Eden of the East Review

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Animation Production Production I.G.

Director/CreatorKenji Kamiyama

Eden of the East is the latest project by the team of Production I.G. and Kenji Kamiyama who most notably directed the critically acclaimed Ghost in the Shell T.V series. It is so far an 11 episode series with 2 movies planned, the first “The King of Eden” is due out in Japan on the 28th November 2009.

Set in current day Japan the show involves a game surrounding a select group of individuals, “Selecao”, who have been chosen to save Japan. The founder of this game believes Japan is in stagnation and needs a revolution and he has charged 11 individual with 10 billion yen and a phone that will execute any requests. The show revolves around Akira Takizawa who is one of the Selecao and Saki Morimi who is a member of a group called Eden of The East. If you want further information about the plot take a look at my previous episode summaries.

This is the kind of show that entirely appeals to my tastes, I love the mix of mystery and believable science fiction set in modern day Japan. The technology involved in this show is not as crazy as what we have seen in something like Ghost in the Shell but has more to do with the internet and applications surrounding it. Eden of the East is a group who have developed an image recognition software and utilise the public to effectively tag people and objects. It is accessible on mobile phones and puts into focus possibilities for real life application. This aspect is not a main focus but gives it some depth along with the mystery elements surrounding the premise of the show.

One of the main underlying themes is the societal problems in Japan surrounding the NEET’s. But this isn’t a show like Welcome the the NHK, it has some upbeat attitudes towards them and they are involved at various points in the series. Akira utilises the strengths of theses NEET’s as a collective to try and save Japan. Other Selecao have different ideas on how to save Japan such as missile attacks on the elderly and NEET’s. Some buckle under the pressure or the greed overtakes them with 10 billion yen to spend. The actions of the Selecao sum up the different views on the current state of the society in Japan.

Go out of your way and watch this show, there needs to be more like this.

Rating A-

Genre – Mystery, Science Fiction Length – 11 Episode series Year – 2009

Eden of the East 11 – The East Goes on Further

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Episode Summary

This final episode wraps up many of the remaining mysteries and sets it up for the first movie, The King of Eden.

  • Akira used the NEETs as a collective workforce to evacuate people from targeted areas before the initial “careless Mondays” missile attacks. However the evacuated people were suspicious of them knowing where exactly the missiles were going to fall.
  • Akira deflected the blame of the attacks to himself in front of the NEETs who were then sent to Dubai to shield them from the public eye.
  • To prevent the upcoming missile attack Akira used this time the collective minds of NEETs to come up with solution.
  • Akira believing he can’t just make the public believe this latest attack attempt was the fault of terrorists makes himself King/Prince of Japan. “And just like that he became a prince, in a country with no kings”

It’s tough making a final episode for a TV series where you satisfyingly resolve enough of plot but keep it open for future development. I think Kamiyama has done as good of a job as he could with a 11 episode series (around 4 hours total), with such a short amount of time it is hard to develop characters and flesh out this alternate reality. A full series review will be up soon.

Eden of the East 10 – Who Killed Takizawa Akira?

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Episode Summary

This episode has demystified much of the plot and is wrapping up the 11 episode season. We find out that the game that the Selacao are participating in has been set up by Ato Saizo (Mr Outside), the president of the ATO Company, who has been an major political and economic influence in post WW2 Japan. The reason as to why he set this up is believing the current state of Japan was not not going anywhere and needed a revolutionary change.

The three Selecao pictured above are planning to launch another missile attack this time with 60 tomahawk missiles. They aim to eliminate elderly and slackers (NEETS). And on cue the NEETS are back from Dubai and apparently without clothes. Good to see the unique censoring method back again as it was last seen in episode 1.

The only aspects left to tie up are what is going to happen with the missile attacks and who the hell the supporter is.

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Eden of the East 09 – The man who lived too little

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I though this episode in particular was well paced with the right balance of reveals and suspense throughout the episode.

Episode Summary

Two new selecao are introduced. Mononobe a middle aged former bureaucrat and Yuuki a young man around Akira’s age.

Yuuki is reveal to be the one who “fiiled Japan with holes” with the careless monday missile attacks. However it is uncertain as to the circumstances. He is referred to as “the hero who is trying to prevent hundreds of thousands of millions of people from being wiped out by missiles“. Is there another missile strike planned in the future?

More information is revealed on Akira’s past as he gains access to past activity messages. Some of the messages are below in reverse chronological order.

  • Memory wipe program download from ATO Harima Neuroscience labs (900 yen)
  • Nippon Pacifico Sea Freight Full Container ship x2 Charter (16 million yen)
  • Shibata Industries Sea Container x500 (47 million yen)
  • Destination Dubai Round trip freight rate (298,252,497 yen)
  • Appeal to the MFA for the personal security of 20,000 people (5000 yen)
  • Convenience store meal delivery for 20k people for 2 weeks (136,000,000 yen)
  • Change the caption on street side monitor (3000 yen)
  • Propaganda Truck x150 (50,000,000 yen)
  • Large Charter Bus x100 (1,300,000 yen)
  • Obtain police uniform 1000 outfits (7,350,000 yen)

So from this we know Akira prevented any causalities in the missile attacks by evacuating people from the targeted area. And loaded up 20,000 Neets to Dubai for an unspecified reason.

Activity messages from selecao 10 (Yuuki) were also revealed –

  • Bomb the ordinace-designated cities and the six major cities of Japan (990 million yen)
  • Hack Surveillance Satellite
  • 60 tomahawk missiles
  • Induce Preemptive attack

Rating – 8/10

Eden of the East 08 – Search for a Fore-Lost Journey

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Episode Impressions

If you are keeping up with this series as I am you would probably be wondering what can they possibly do in the final 3 episodes of the TV series. There have been great episodes in the past, especially the 1st and 7th, but there certainly have been average episodes. Being a 11 episode series you would expect each episode to be interesting but it is increasingly becoming cleat that this is a set up for the movie that will follow the series. There are 3 episodes left and a whole lot of Selecao have not yet been introduced.

Here is a summary of what happens in this episode –

  • Akira along with Saki and Micchon take a train to Kyoto to meet a talented secluded computer expert.
  • Akira needs this expert to gain access to Selecao number 11’s phone so that he can learn more about his history from the past messages.
  • There is more mystery about the 20,000 missing neets and controversy about Akira’s mysterious past. Akira is entered into Eden’s recognition system and comments start popping up identifying him under multiple names. We end the episode more uncertain about Akira’s character and intentions.

Episode Rating – 7/10 (Solid)