Usually I stick strictly to manga for reviews, but I haven’t been able to get this particular anime out of my mind since viewing it over a month ago. It has a connection to manga, since the character designer for the series is Chika Umino, known for her popular shojo series Honey and Clover. If that doesn’t pique shojo fans’ interest, then I hope that the following will.
The Gist: Saki Morimi is in Washington D.C. for her college graduation trip. At the White House she encounters a naked young man with a gun, a cell phone, and no memory of what he was doing or who he is. She gives the boy her coat with the intent to meet back up with her classmates and leave to Japan. Except that she left her wallet in her coat. Her reunion with the boy, decidedly Akira Takizawa, takes her on a journey, one that will change her life, as the audience is left to question the working and social structure of Japan.
The Characters/Romance: The characters of Saki and Takizawa are what boost the intriguing plot into another level of engrossment. Both characters are very much endeared to the audience, and from the beginning I think any girl like Saki would find the mysterious Akira Takizawa difficult to resist. The amount of chemistry is what I find addictive about these characters. I want to know more about Takizawa constantly, and I just enjoy watching the two of them interact. This is one of those animes where your guy will like the plot and the action, and you get the added bonus of sparks between the main characters.
The Artwork: Well, not that I’ve seen tons of new stuff lately, but this has been one of the best in regards to artwork in most recent memory. Like I mentioned earlier, the character designs are by Chika Umino, and though I’m not that fond of her style, it works for the characters in this anime. Saki is downright cute girl next door, and Akira does well with the dark and mysterious, outgoing nice guy. The backgrounds are fantastic, with many recognizable landmarks in Japan and the United States. Be sure to take the time to watch the closing, or ending credits, as well. The use of 3D modeling to create the origami like paper effects is fabulous.
The Voice Acting: I haven’t watched the Japanese with English subs, only the English dub. I happen to like many of the Funimation voice actors, so I enjoyed the English dub. The cast gets into character and maintains that throughout the show. Since I tend to recognize a lot of voices, it’s nice when I can watch the show and forget about the actor. In this case, it was never an issue. The voices were the characters, and that’s the way it should be.
The Music/Sound Effects: I didn’t really notice the background tracks during the show, so I can’t comment on that much. I CAN say that this anime has great opening and closing tracks. The first opening “Falling Down” is by English band Oasis. Oasis was big in the states back in the 1990s. I hadn’t heard much from them since their hit album in the states (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, but I really do like this recent track. The ending track on the anime is “futuristic imagination” from the Japanese band School Food Punishment. Their sound seems to be making some headway in the Japanese music industry right now.
The Audience: Definitely for older teens to adult viewers. There is mild language, nudity, and complex topics.
Media: Eden of the East is available from Funimation entertainment on DVD and Blue-Ray disc. The next part of the series, The King of Eden, is being released as an OVA by Funimation on April 26, 2011. There is one final OVA, Paradise Lost, which we don’t have an ETA for at this time.
Heart of Manga Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
If an anime keeps returning to my mind months after watching it, then it’s definitely good in my book. I even had to write about it!