Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tribute to Eden of The East

   The song is featured as the opening theme song in the anime series, Higashi no Eden (東のエデン) (Eden o the East), which is animated by Production I.G. This video was animated by Production I.G. which is a change because all the AMVs posted here are created by fans, although it isn't really an AMV either, more like the creators of the anime having fun.

Anime: Higashi no Eden
Song: Oasis - Falling Down
Release Date: 9 March 2009

Eden of the East
    On November 22, 2010 ten missiles strike Japan. However, this unprecedented terrorist act, later to be known as "Careless Monday," does not result in any apparent victims, and is soon forgotten by almost everyone. Then, 3 months later... Saki Morimi is a young woman currently in the United States of America on her graduation trip. But just when she is in front of the White House, Washington DC, she gets into trouble, and only the unexpected intervention of one of her fellow countrymen saves her. However, this man, who introduces himself as Akira Takizawa, is a complete mystery. He appears to have lost his memory, is stark naked, except for the gun he holds in one hand, and the mobile phone he's holding in the other. A phone that is charged with 8,200,000,000 yen in digital cash.
 (source I G Production) 

    Basically the guy lost his memory and all he has is a gun and a cell phone that has a credit limit of 88,390,702 USD. The story unfolds from there. 

    Higashi no Eden or Eden of the East is an adventurous experiment of an anime with enough charm and suspense that leaves you on your toes, swept up in what is a controlled cat and mouse game set in an alternate modern-day Japan. We know who are the mice, we do not know who is the cat, but they are all part of some cruelly ironic experiment that is looked upon indifferently by the guy in a lab coat. 

    Given billions of yen at their disposal, a mismatched group of Japanese citizens are chosen to use that money to become a messiah for their country. What they do with the money is up to them, however there are stipulations, and deadly ones. To put it mildly, if you cannot become a saviour of Japan, you do not deserve to be anything else, which includes being alive. All this money and all this power are literally in the hands of these people as they use a mysterious system accessible through their special cell phones and converse with a single, unseen informant known only as Juiz.

     Higashi no Eden follows the amnesiac Takizawa Akira who tries to retrace his steps and figure out his identity. Gaining consciousness in Washington, D.C. (butt-naked in the cold and with a cell phone being his only accessory), he catches the sight of Morimi Saki, a Japanese student on a school tour, and from there, the two are pulled into this game back home in Japan. The story is split between Akira and Saki primarily. The scenes involving Akira deal more with the violent and criminal underworld of Japanese society while Saki's scenes focus on the pains of adapting to the normal aspect of society which include getting a job, dealing with your family, friends and even with yourself. When the two aspects of the story merge, it is never contrived, never out of place, and it smoothly and skilfully comes together.

     This is not an anime that explains itself for you, and you often have to work with it to understand what is happening. One of the first noticeable aspects of the plotting is Akira taking his new-found amnesia rather lightly. However, Higashi no Eden, as aforementioned, is a clever anime with intelligent characters. Instead of the typical trope in which amnesiacs prove to be incompetent, helpless and lost, Akira is quick on his feet and very smart, and understands that agonising over his situation is wasting time.

     Also, some may have a problem with the pacing, given the magnanimity of the situations, the plot does not unfold with a sense of urgency that is usually expected. In fact, some may be inclined to think that the story is meandering around the main issues and events. However, given knowledge that the story is meant to be continued beyond the 11 episode run, working on its own pace is something to be appreciated, not condemned. Since the entire anime covers a very short period of time in the lives of Akira and Saki, it's almost as though we are watching this in real time.

     Higashi no Eden is a gorgeous anime. Albeit, the character design is tremendously simple. The style is a very unique and recognisable one, and the characters lack the shiny appeal that other anime characters have though that is not a detrimental aspect of the artwork. It makes them look less generic than other anime characters, as the style used for their design really stands out from others. It utilises both 2D and 3D animation (as well as some excellent papermation/paper animation for the ending sequence), and they work well for it. For example, the famed cell phones use both types of animation for it and it definitely makes them more appealing to the eye. This series has absolutely beautifully rendered settings. The background art is incredible and has an interesting "patchwork" style of colours used on some of the buildings, concrete, furniture, surfaces and roads, making the city never look like a grey mess or the rooms look dull. If anything, it takes a drab setting and makes it beautiful.

     The anime also pays tremendous attention to detail, in particular with the lighting and reflective surfaces. There is a particular scene where the characters are simply heading up an escalator, and yet a sign from the other side of the room is seen reflected upon the glossy surface next to them. If any viewer demands more from the artwork, then they are simply being greedy.


Awesomely eerie instrumental.