Posted on 19 June 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Eden of the East



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).

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 7/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 9/10

22 Responses

  1. mds says:

    your scores for production value is a bit low for a total eye-candy treatment series like this.
    From unsual character design (Chika Umino = unique choice for a thriller anime like this) and a beautiful background that only surpassed by series like Seirei no Moribito,Macross,and a little few others.
    I think it should got 10 already.

    Characters? I mean..didn’t we get some depth in many of characters already? Are they so annoying that you give it 7?
    I think it’s weird to give this series the same rating as Chaos;head (82,5??)

  2. psgels says:

    First of all, thanks for reminding me to lower the rating I have for my Chaos;Head review, since that one indeed was rated too high. Second, I have long been thinking of how exactly to rate this series. Especially after that first episode, I really wanted to give this series a high rating, but it just seemed to be missing something, and I still can’t quite put my finger to what made this show turn less good than I hoped to, especially with the huge amount of fans it already has. Also, “annoying” isn’t really the right word for the characters (except Oosugi, perhaps), but my problem was more that… they didn’t really stand out. Only Saki and Kondo felt genuine; the others… didn’t really make an impact on me.

  3. Pax says:

    What can i say…one of the few good anime in the last few years and it gets such a score!!?? actually the review is what’s more unsatisfying than the score.I know you said this is suppose to be a great season but for me it was just another mediocre year for the anime industry .

    In the end,you really should have tried to come up with a better review and overall with better reasoning :(

  4. psgels says:

    As for the review, apologies. I had a complete black-out when I sat down, trying to write it.

    As for the score, please do remember that I still really like series with a rating of 82,5. It just left some things left to be desired. Just in the way you apparently can’t appreciate series like Natsu no Arashi, Shangri-La, Cross Game and Phantom, I had some issues with this series that prevented me from handing out a top score.

  5. c-ron says:

    So your reasoning for labelling it unsatisfying and basically not on par with cross game or shangri la is..what exactly? You can’t ‘put your finger on what exactly it is’? What kind of reasoning is that?

  6. Leonardo says:

    I am sure very curious to know what was the best series of the seson then, in particular if Eden of East scores so low. I have been watching pretty much all of them (with a few exceptions like queen blade and), and hands down this was the best story/character-chemistry/animation/thriller of the whole season.

    Cross game was high on my list but after 4 episodes on a single baseball game is out now.

  7. Mike says:

    I really wanted to give this series a high rating, but it just seemed to be missing something

    It’s pretty obvious just what is missing in Eden… the damn movies!! :D

    I have enjoyed this show immensely, but like you said, ultimately the series felt more like a build-up for the movies, which can’t come soon enough.

  8. psgels says:

    Okay, I decided to rewrite that horrible review I wrote earlier today. I hope that things make more sense now, because I really was in a strange mood when I had to write it.

  9. tj han says:

    I actually really liked Eden, and think it’s one of the best shows in the past few years I’ve seen. And we all know us anime bloggers have seen a lot. It’s sad that the run is pretty short, I’m sure with more time, it’ll be easier for Kamiyama to do his usual awesome things. None of his shows have failed to be awesome btw, and possibly is the only person in the anime industry with such a high hit ratio.

  10. bdawg says:

    in ur original review you said he wiped his memory “again” but i didn’t see that happen….where did it happen?

  11. psgels says:

    Bdawg: I read that in the following page, though it’s all a bit of speculation:

    http://forums.animesuki.com/showpost.php?p=2459530&postcount=15

  12. Theowne says:

    I would give it a 7. The first episode really set a large expectation of quality but I don’t think it delivered. Frankly the characters weren’t engaging/complex enough and the romance subplot felt half-hearted. THen there was the story. The best fiction with these kind of mysterious, sophisticated plots start off feeling scattered but end up completely cohesive, that never really happened with this series.

  13. hashi says:

    I liked the show and think it was one of the best of the season, but I agree that in the end it was disappointing. I accepted a lot of slight illogicalities because of the way the show mixed fantasy and reality, but such things as getting the NEETs to solve the interception problem were fairly weak, I thought.

    I think numerical ratings are impossible. This show had lots of faults, but lots of strengths to counterbalance them. I don’t know how you put that into numbers, especially in a logical rating scheme like the one you used. Life and art aren’t logical enough for numerical ratings.

    Best of the season? So far, it’s Phantom, for me. This is a close second, and Pandora is third.

    As for the memory wipe, it’s fairly clear that that is what is going on when he puts the phone to his ear and we hear the same sound we did when he first wiped his memory, and he gets a surprised look. I hold out some hope it turns out to be the sound of Juiz giving him his memory back.

  14. Machi says:

    Well nothing much to chime in here. I do think the series was solid overall but its fault for me is that it didn’t peak at any point, I’ve mentioned this before, and instead its felt like a big build up towards what will be the climax of the game.

    A climax that we won’t be seeing till the movies, which seems to be headed down the route of being a glorified episode though I hope not. The characters definitely stand out but as noted they don’t really have much of a background that gives them depth. In any case I do disagree with people saying this is the best the season has to offer when I do think Natsu no Arashi tops that for me, I’m not watching Phantom yet so I can’t really put that up for debate, and Cross Game comes in second.

  15. Pax says:

    I have to say that i am glad you rewrote the review,what bothered me yesterday was the quality of the review and not really the score,but for some reason when you score a anime under 85 i get the feeling you didn’t liked it that much seeing what other anime you also gave a 8x score,but oh well,that does not really matter as i don’t care about the score you give that much if you have good arguments.

    btw i did expect more from this anime’s soundtrack,it did not really appeal to me.Also i am definitely gonna give Natsu no Arashi another chance and comment when you’ll write the review of that series.

  16. mds says:

    glad to see you overeviewed the chaos head review…now how about you overeviewed any other anime,from what I see there are many others who got rating too low (ex :Paradise Kiss,etc) with such short review…I hope you have an extra time to rewatch it ^^;

  17. PL says:

    this show should have been given 26 eps, because the concept is so huge, and there were so many opportunities for great subplots that would have further developed the characters, it really could have been one of the best series I’ve ever watched if they’d just taken the time to truly flesh all those out… Like the theme of getting the NEETs to solve the problem, using the eden software… we should have seen a lot more buildup for that, seeing as how that seems to be the major theme of the show, and if it had been properly built up over three or four eps, it could have really driven it home emotionally. Also, Saki’s doubt/faith in Akira could have been much more intense. I’m sure the movies will go a long way towards fulfilling the promise this series had, but it would have been nice if the series itself had done that…and it could have, just by having more time

  18. totoum says:

    This is just trivial,but i had some free time and i was bored,so…
    this is the lowest rating you’ve given to a show that at one point topped your monthly chart,it’s the only one that hasn’t gotten at least 87.In fact,it’s one of only four 1st place shows that didn’t end up getting a 90 (ergo proxy:87,Natsume Yuujin Chou:87,5 and Mokke:89)

    Not critisizing your rating,just wanted to point out that I guess this fact shows that you were indeed disapointed a bit.

  19. psgels says:

    totoum: interesting, I never really realized that. :P But yeah, my expectations for this series after the months were so high that seeing the rest of the show not living up to these expectations became a bit of a disappointment.

  20. AKI says:

    Well what do you know, i’m kinda late to comment, but better late than never. Whew, Higashi no Eden was a very fantastic ride but I’ve got to agree with psgels on the rating. It set a very high bar during its pilot episode and never did the succeeding episodes cleared the bar. The mystery was dealt with less and less subtlety and by the time the end approached it was like, wtf? I’m gonna wait for November until the movie comes out? No offense but personally, Chaos;Head would rank higher than Eden.

    24 episodes format would be too long for this series. The directors could have used another episode or two to build and wrap the mystery and finish with a very exciting cliffhanger. That way Eden would be a somewhat close to masterpiece. It indeed lacked something, and I concur to what it lacked – yeah, the movies.

    As with the mindwipe thingy, I’m not really sure if Akira really did wiped or regained his memories. Too much speculation can lead to further disappointment, so let’s just leave the mystery at that and let’s wait for the movies. Oh yeah, Pants is still alive? Fatty sure has a life equal to his fat density.

  21. Le says:

    I don’t think you should’ve even given your review of these 11 episodes. The show’s not even finished yet. :\

  22. Eric says:

    Hey buddy, I liked your review. Haters are gonna hate. I don’t understand why they are reading a review if they have already seen it anyway.

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  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 09:05 AM)
    @Wicked Yup. Though he did have his off-hand moments, he’s one of the most active film makers I know, second only to someone like Tim Burton or Ted Raimi.
  • Wicked
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:59 AM)
    @k-off well sometimes transcendence is not the same as greatness. he’s arguably a way better director and producer than he ever was a an Actor
  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:55 AM)
    @Wicked True, but it’s obviously not what he wants to be just remembered as. He is a great writer and director, and that’s a fact too easily forgotten nowadays.
  • Wicked
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:49 AM)
    @k-off Well he kind of defined the modern western cinematic hero.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:49 AM)
    @K-off: Pecks a great actor, he was also in the omen which is one of my favourite old horrors.
  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:48 AM)
    @Emma Oh, I absolutely loved the film adaptation with Gregory Peck as Atticus.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:47 AM)
    feck..how’ I forget lone wof and cub, along with zatoichi.
  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:46 AM)
    @Wicked I find that people focus way too much on Clint Eastwood’s acting career, personal gripe of mine. Mostly the younger kids though.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:45 AM)
    @Wicked: Must read.
  • Wicked
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 08:45 AM)
    holy crap there is a Barakmon spin off manga call Young Barakmon about Handa’s high school years

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