Eden of the East Movie: Paradise Lost
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Series Premise: Eden of the East was an 11-part anime television series aired in 2009, followed by two feature-length movies: The King of Eden (November 2009) and Paradise Lost (March 2010). While on a trip to America, Saki comes across a naked Japanese man, Akira, who has lost his memories, with nothing on him but a gun and a special cell phone charged with over eight billion yen. Returning together back to Japan, they discover that he is one of twelve “Selecao” chosen as part of a challenge — with ten billion yen at their disposal they are to use it in any way they see fit, along with the help of a special program named “Juiz”, to help save the country. But it’s not all fun and games, as those who fail at the task are eliminated, and Akira soon learns what part he played in a terrible terrorist incident three months earlier, as well as the disappearance of tens of thousands of young men.
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Spoiler-free Movie Set-up: Picking up immediately where the first movie left off, Saki and Akira are returning back to Japan by plane, when they are immediately picked up by the staff under the control of the wife of the late Prime Minister Ijima. But after giving them the slip, Akira is off with the help of the Eden of the East crew to help commandeer his own Juiz unit and save it from destruction. Soon they are racing all over Japan as Saki helps track down Akira’s mother, they try to determine if Akira really is the prime minister’s illegitimate son, and just what are Mr. Outside’s intentions in his high-stakes game? Ultimately the all come together at the Ijima mansion, where Akira makes a final call to all of Japan that brings the competition to a close.
My Impressions: Now that it is all over, I cannot say that I was especially wowed by Eden of the East, unlike many other people who have given it a fairly positive critical reception. I eventually mustered up enough attention to watch the entire 11-part television series (after two previous attempts where I stopped partway through), and gave it a decent-enough-but-not-spectacular B- grade. This was followed by the first movie a few months later, which also merited a mildly positive B- grade, because it was essentially a continuation of the previous storyline in both tone and character, only as one long movie instead of broken up into parts.
And this is finished by the second movie, which is…well, more of the same, actually. Like the first movie, I am curious as to why they chose a theatrical format instead of chopping it up into episodes, because in my mind it plays the same either way. It neither gains nor loses anything from the hour-and-a-half format. But one thing is for sure — you *definitely* need to have paid a great deal of attention to the television series and first movie to have an inkling as to what is going on, this is most definitely NOT for someone who is unfamiliar with East of Eden. The second movie can ONLY be recommended to people who have watched it all up to this point.
(Vague spoilers here) Regarding how everything finally wrapped up, I was left unsatisfied. Even though the competition ended and Mr. Outside determined that Japan was better off for it, ultimately I had a hard time seeing much of an improvement other than a *slightly* more optimistic national feeling of everyone coming together. Akira’s whole hopey-changey message of how everyone has to work with each other, the older generation and the newer generation was just so fuzzy and unspecific. On the macro level, I am left wondering, what’s the point? On the micro level, however, with Saki and the other Eden of the East members, I can see how their lives have changed for the better, especially with a directionless Saki at the beginning emerging as a willful character at the end.
In regards to the storytelling style, the artwork, the animation, the fluidity of the plot…it’s all same as it ever was. No difference in this movie compared to the earlier works. I could write up a longer review with details about the plot itself, but there’s really no point, because the only people who should be watching this are people who have already seen the TV series and first movie and therefore are already familiar with the plot. And many others who want to give details (spoilers!) on the movie itself can be found in reviews listed below.
FINAL GRADE: C+ In the end, I can *still* (weakly) recommend the second Eden of the East movie, but it’s far from a vigorous recommendation. And if you’ve already watched the TV series and first movie, you most definitely want to watch this simply for closure on the extended storyline (and honestly, those are the only people it should be recommended, this is definitely NOT a starting point for new fans). It is a very complex and complicated plot and you have to keep track of lots of stuff in your mind — which is a good thing — and I truly hope to see more series aimed at a cerebral audience like this in the future. But the ending of this movie itself left me dissatisfied, leaning me towards a C+ grade, compared to the B- grade for the earlier Eden of the East series and movie.
- Official movie trailer on Youtube.
- Info resources:
- Watch it online at Funimation (TV series free, movies by subscription), available subbed or dubbed, also available on DVD.
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “In the end, Paradise Lost concludes on an ending as open as the one which concluded the TV series, with about as much of an unsatisfying lack of resolution as the latter. Despite the platitudes of an improving society as a result of events, despite the feelings of hope which keep getting pushed into the audience’s faces at the end, one cannot help but feel that The King of Eden and Paradise Lost have become to Eden of the East, what Reloaded and Revolutions are to that otherwise excellent cult hit The Matrix. Grade: 5/10.” – The Nihon Review
- “Just as “The King of Eden” did, Paradise Lost never truly reached the level that the anime series did, and would have benefited from taking a bit more time to making this into a short OVA series or even a second season completely as it would have allowed storylines and new plot devices to expand out a bit further and giving the viewer a more completed conclusion. Grade: A-” – The Otaku Study
- “Throw some romance and incredible visuals in there and you have got one heck of a show…were it not the progression and ending of the show does not satisfy my and probably your taste and curiosity at all. Grade: 6.5/10.” – Polychromium
- “In the end it joins the list of flawed series that actually do have quite a few points to make up for it…Story arc was pretty well thought out but painfully executed. Fans of the series should just avoid this one and hopefully they can manufacture a trilogy to once and for all, finish this series on a high note. In all honesty, I could watch Takizawa Akira run around doing his thing forever. It’s just that I thought this movie would reach new heights for the series, and it didn’t. Grade: C-” – Japan Cinema
- “I came away from this movie in particular enjoying it, since it has more of a focus and definition to it than King of Eden, but the ending, even as it does work on one level, left me feeling cheated as well. I wanted something more distinct, concrete and tangible from it. Grade: B.” – The Fandom Post
- “If there’s one continually and consistently disappointing aspect of anime, it’s this: series seldom end satisfactorily. Even a good series can have an average ending. There are exceptions to the rule (Cowboy Bebop comes instantly to mind), and Paradise Lost is one that can be added to this list. Grade: A.” – Beneath the Angles
- “In the end it joins the list of flawed series that actually do have quite a few points to make up for it. Paradise Lost is really no exception. It wraps up a lot of plot points, it reveals quite a number of interesting twists that tie the plot together and it still manages to keep the pacing restrained, with a lot of focus on the dialogue between the characters. On the downside, there are quite a number of glaring holes left open…I want to be as ambiguous for this as possible due to spoilers, but let’s just say that the final resolution felt weak to me. The fate of the NEETs also is something I didn’t buy. Grade: 82.5/100.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
Miscellaneous Odds and Ends from 2010 left to review: RCrayon Shin-chan Movie #18, Kakko-kawaii Sengen, Shokupan Mimi, Mardock Scramble, Bleach: The Hell Verse, Votoms: Case;Irvine, Votoms: Finder, Pokemon: Best Wishes, Heartcatch Precure Movie, Keroro Gunsou Movie #5, Pokemon Special: Pikachu’s Really Mysterious Adventure, Umi Kara no Shisha, Koko ni Iru, Rita et Machin, Stitch: Zutto Saikou no Tomodachi, Kobe and I, Robo to Shoujo, Sora no Otoshimono OVA