In addition to the 11 episode TV series, Eden of the East also has two follow-up movies: King of Eden and Paradise Lost. Unlike most anime movie spinoffs, the Eden movies are both necessary since the TV show doesn’t properly conclude the story. The immediate conflicts are resolved, but several plot points are left unexplained until the movies. The movies are really more of a second season to the TV show than two separate movies since they assume complete familiarity with the TV series and continue the plot right from where it leaves off, which is why I’m reviewing them together with the TV show.
There’s not much to say about King of Eden; it has most of the same strengths and weaknesses as the TV show. The one issue with it is Juiz’ character. Throughout the TV series, she had the same slightly friendly but distant attitude and treated all of the Seleçãos (people with the special phones) the same. In the movie, she shows a lot more personality and emotion compared to her demeanor in the TV series. This is eventually explained, but still seems inconsistent with the TV series. Still, this is a relatively minor issue and King of Eden is a worthy follow-up to the TV series. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Paradise Lost.
One of the best parts of Eden is how well it balances its thriller aspects with its social commentary. Unfortunately, Paradise Lost loses this balance. The social commentary is as interesting as ever, but the plot becomes far weaker. Much of it feels like things are happening because the plot needed them to happen, not because anything actually justified them happening. It also doesn’t seem to know what to do with Saki and the secondary cast. Saki was a co-lead in the TV series and the first movie, and her NEET friends worked well as a secondary cast, albeit a simple one. The second movie doesn’t seem to know what to do with them, however. Saki is relegated to trying to find Takizawa’s mother which, while a nice idea, doesn’t contribute to the story much. She also doesn’t share much screen time with Takizawa compared to the series, which is a shame since their interactions were one of the best parts. Her friends are relegated to even more inconsequential roles that ultimately don’t do much except pad the runtime. Takizawa is the only main character who plays a significant role in the story, and even that is mostly talking (although there’s a pretty cool car chase near the middle).
What saves it is the social commentary, which doesn’t suffer at all. Paradise Lost continues to explore the ideas set out in the TV series regarding struggles of young people in Japan. It eventually provides a solution, but not one that could be pulled off in the real world. To the film’s credit, though, providing a concrete solution to these issues was never its goal in the first place. Eden never tries to solve all of Japan’s problems; its only goal is to bring attention to them and show the younger generations’ frustration, which it succeeds at admirably.
The animation in Eden was done by Production IG and lives up to the studio’s reputation. It doesn’t have any standout sakuga moments, but is consistently high quality throughout. The character designs are also high quality, with a rounded look that somewhat resembles IG’s work on Stand Alone Complex and Moribito (all three were directed by Kenji Kamiyama). The backgrounds are also great, especially in the films. Aside from that, there’s not significant difference in animation quality between the films and the series, which is more because the series already looked great than any failing in the films. The soundtrack is catchy, with several fun jazz pieces, but isn’t a huge standout. The dub is up to Funimation’s usual standards, with solid performances by Leah Clark and Jason Liebrecht as Saki and Takizawa, respectively. The secondary cast is generally Funimation regulars who all turn in good performances as well.
Eden of the East is an interesting anime. Part thriller, part social commentary, it has two goals that it generally balances well. The plot is intriguing, the characters are fun and its handling of social issues is well thought out. It’s occasionally slow moving and the second film is a step down from the rest, but it’s still highly entertaining and well worth watching.
Eden of the East is available from Funimation and on RightStuf and is available for streaming on Funimation.com.
King of Eden: 8.9/10
Paradise Lost: 8/10