It’s hard to judge Eden of the East: it started out as a series that promised to be amongst the best of the year… and failed to live up to that. It tried to do way too much in too little time. The movies tried to make up for a lot by deliberately keeping the pacing slow, but in the end, even that wasn’t enough to turn this into the masterpiece that it could have been.
In the end it joins the list of flawed series that actually do have quite a few points to make up for it. Paradise Lost is really no exception. It wraps up a lot of plot points, it reveals quite a number of interesting twists that tie the plot together and it still manages to keep the pacing restrained, with a lot of focus on the dialogue between the characters.
On the downside, there are quite a number of glaring holes left open. Some other revelations lack their build-up so that they fail to make any impact for a mystery series of this scale. Other revelations just come out of nowhere and really would have benefited from more foreshadowing and others just don’t make any sense. I want to be as ambiguous for this as possible due to spoilers, but let’s just say that the final resolution felt weak to me. The fate of the NEETs also is something I didn’t buy.
Now that everything is over, I also have to say that the series just didn’t have the time to flesh out its characters. Because of that, there really is just one character who actually develops when you ignore the memory loss devices of this series. I think that out of all the flaws of this series a lot of them can be forgiven, though this is one of those key flaws that caused me to enjoy this series a lot less than I would have liked. Most of the characters are just walking plot devices that just didn’t feel interesting to watch beyond the plot they were trying to tell. And its a shame, because that plot really was pretty good and imaginative.
Despite its short length, this did turn into one of those series that actually evolves: Paradise Lost really is completely different from the first episodes of the TV-series, and through its run this is one series that has been constantly changing. Because of that, every part of this series is different and fresh, not ripping off itself and it wonderfully manages to avoid the formula that it promised in the first few episodes.
On retrospect, I don’t think that even 26 episodes and two movies would have been enough here. To really be able to flesh out everyone, and give the story really its time to be complete, the creators would have needed at least 39 episodes. But really, I do want to say that despite my bitching, I really like what this series was trying to do: here we have the brain child of a very talented director. A series that’s not based on anything and a completely original story that really benefits from its format by including some of the latest technologies, feeling like this is one of those few series that really takes place in 2009, rather than something that also could have played in the year 2000. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped to.
|Storytelling:||8/10 – A good number of twists and yet a slow and restrained pacing. The story is great, but it uses too many plot devices to get there.|
|Characters:||7/10 – In the end, the big weakness of this series. I tried, but I failed to care about most of the characters here.|
|Production-Values:||9/10 – Again, Paradise Lost’s graphics weren’t exactly better than the TV-series. It’s still very consistent and detailed though. The use of music was also very excellent.|
|Setting:||9/10 – I like the guts of this series. It’s not afraid to think beyond the box, try out new stuff and overall I really like the different ideas put into this movie.|