Animation Production – Production I.G
Director – Kenji Kamiyama
The Eden of the East TV series was straight up a well produced sci-fi mystery by Production I.G. This first movie continues on the from the end of the unresolved series so it is a good idea to first watch the TV series and then the movies. While this is a movie targeted to viewers of the TV series it is extremely well produced where Production I.G continues their excellent record with crisp detailed animation and an interesting continuation of the plot of the TV series. If movies like Summer Wars disappointed you because of the unbelievable plot then you will find that Eden of the East deals with a technology driven plot in a much more realistic and well thought out way.
The plot can be summarised as a group of 12 people in Japan have been selected to take part in a game to save Japan with each access to 10 billion Yen and a concierge via phone who will execute requests. The events of the movie pick up months after the 60 missile strike on Tokyo where Takizawa has become a cult hero as he is potrayed as the one who saved Japan by averting any casualties. He then goes on to declare that he would become the King of Japan, wipes his memory a second time and leaves the country without trace except a message for Saki “I’ll be waiting at the place where our Journey began“. The state of Japan has changed with the PM resigned, Japanese financial markets tanked, and the global economy in downturn. The Japanese government have proposed to add a new 100% tax on inheritance to encourage the older generation to spend their savings or risk losing all of it when the die. By saving Japan from a deadly missile attack Takizawa hasn’t saved Japan in the underlying sense and the game is still going on with the remaining Selecao plotting against each other to complete the goal. Eden of the East, now a proper startup company with an office as a result of their popularity, are trying to track down Takizawa and piece together the actions of the other members of the game.
The underlying theme of the show is so interesting in that it is a direct representation of the state of current Japanese society. It comments on the state of the Japanese economy and more importantly the problem of social outcasts in society. On the bright side there is some injection of hope with Eden of the East’s transformation into a proper company. As well as in the series Takizawa used the latent workforce of the Hikikomori to save the day. But the naiveté of some of the members of the game to try and save Japan is a shot at the narrow-minded nature of many of the Japanese population. The portrayal the younger Selecao (other than Takizawa) have been outright psychotic. For example in this movie we have a young filmmaker obsessed with shooting real life scenes by calling on the concierge to put Takizawa in fatal situations.
Like I said with my review of the TV series there needs to be more shows like Eden of the East that are mature in its presentation and don’t fall back on the Japanese animation cliches. Kenji Kamiyama knows how to craft a good sci-fi story and Production I.G is the best in the industry at what they do. Let’s hope the second final movie can wrap up the series in a satisfying way (already shown theatrically in Japan, waiting for the DVD release).
Rating – A –
Year – 2009 Length – 1 Hour 22 Minutes
Genre – Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller