After watching this movie, I’m sure of it: Higashi no Eden should never have been a Noitamina-series. The time-slot is perfect for those short stories that have a small but dedicated focus a la Tokyo Magnitude, slice of life stories like Hataraki Man and Antique Bakery or episodic series in the way of Kuchuu Buranko or Hakaba Kitarou. Series that want to tell a huge story are far better off with a regular time-slot of 26 or more. This is the mistake that shows as Library Wars and Jyu Oh Sei also made. The series of Higashi no Eden just jumped around too much to really allow the story to develop properly.
The movie’s pacing is completely different. It’s here where Kenji Kawayama has more than enough time to spend on telling his story. And that’s exactly what made it work for me. It’s a shame that the build-up of the first season left things to be desired, because otherwise it really would have been an excellent movie.
And seriously, I was expecting the two Eden of the East Movies to jump around just like the TV-series did. Instead, they focus on believability and realism. The background sounds are kept to a minimal. And instead we get to see long, long scenes of character-building that don’t attempt to cut any corners whatsoever. It really takes its time to let everything flow naturally, which makes for a very slow-paced movie, but the characterization is worth it. This really is just like Seirei no Moribito: not afraid to get boring in order to be realistic, which often has its uneventful times. It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to watch such an anime, and it’s without a doubt refreshing and I’ve got to admire the restraint of this movie, avoiding the use of overly cheesy monologues or over the top plot twists, while occasionally packing a punch where needed.
There are a bunch of weird things with this movie, though. While the TV-series did a surprisingly good job at handling the language barrier, the movie… um… didn’t. One scene shows Saki talk in English to an American with a really weird accent who uses really short sentences. A while later, we see Akira talk to the same guy, in JAPANESE. The American understands him and just talks back in English. Uh, why? How? There are also some of the side-characters that I still couldn’t buy. The comic relief of Saki’s friends… I’m still not much a fan of them.
Nevertheless, I have to admit: a lot of attention to detail was put in the atmosphere of a young company. I can very much relate to that (due to my current internship and all), and I must say that the creators caught it spot-on. And that’s really the great thing about this movie: the realism that you really don’t get to see in many other anime. Despite the hiccups, this movie was really refreshing compared to how the TV-series disappointed me. There are still a ton of questions that need to be answered in terms of the plot. But hey, with 90 minutes, Paradise Lost should be able to do it.
|Storytelling:||9/10 – Much more focused than the TV-series. Really slow pacing allows for lots of realism.|
|Characters:||8/10 – Such a slow pacing gives a nice feel to the characters, but they still spend a bit too much time on exposition + badly portrayed Americans.|
|Production-Values:||9/10 – No significant increase in quality compared to the TV-series, but that one already looked awesome so there still is a ton of eye-candy.|
|Setting:||8/10 – I first want to see what Paradise Lost is going to do before celebrating this part: there is a ton of potential in this setting, provided that the next movie handles it well.|