Okay, I decided to rewrite this entire thing since the review I originally wrote was crap. Kenji Kawayama really is one of the better directors out there. His sense of realism, attention to detail and originality has really made his series one of a kind. After Seirei no Moribito I therefore was very eager to watch his next work: Eden of the East. As promised, it’s a very solidly produced series, but I do have to admit that it is a tad disappointing.
After thinking a bit about the series, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two reasons that prevent this series from being among the top of this season for me. First of all, the cast of characters leaves a bit to be desired. The lead character Saki is a great one: she grows very subtly through the series, and while she may seem weak at times, she really stands out as a strong character. The rest of the cast lacks a bit of a spark, though. Akira as the male lead is a bit too much of an idealist; his character without any seeming flaws is a bit hard to get into. The majority of the rest of the cast simply feels not fleshed out well enough: some characters show too little of themselves to really make an impact, while others are just plain annoying (most of Saki’s friends). Two notable exceptions are Kondo (whose story gets nicely explored through his limited airtime) and Micchon, who serves her purpose as a quiet side-character well.
My second issue with this series is its mystery. As a mystery-fanboy, I was of course elated after the first episode. It was so delightfully weird and unusual. There were so many different theories possible for what went on, and it really intrigued me like no other. But yeah, the thing with mystery-series is that the challenge comes with correctly revealing the mystery, and in that I feel that this series did a lukewarm job. It can’t keep its air of mystery consistent through the series, and as the series goes on and the answers come, there aren’t really any new questions asked: the answers are simply presented on a silver platter when the time seems ripe for it, without really using them for anything other than for the sake of filling up plotholes.
But yeah, despite these flaws, there still is lots of good stuff in this series. The animation really is amazing. Animation in anime is often a job of cutting corners, but here the animation is really well done to the finest details: the creators have made sure to bring their pictures to life. The CG may be a bit obtrusive at times, but the realistic movements and awesome background art really make up for it.
The setting is also very thought-provoking. Through the 11 episodes of airtime, this series takes a critical look at idealism and its positives and negatives. The whole concept behind the show remains very original and thought-provoking. You can see that a lot of imagination went into creating the setting for this series.
So overall this series served its purpose as a solid build-up for the upcoming movies, which of course I’m going to review as well as soon as they come out. I know that the rating is lower than what one might expect, but I just can’t say that this was the best of the season because of the reasons mentioned above. Small series like this one really need be focused, and in my opinion this series goofed off a bit too much at times and it feels to me that this series was trying to stuff too much into just these eleven episodes. Let’s hope that the movies will use the build-up that the series has provided, but standalone this series for me wasn’t as enjoyable as other short series as Natsu no Arashi or Ristorante Paradiso, which both did know how to make optimal use of their tie (so far, at least).