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Eden of the East DVD Review - -

Feature 9.0
Video 8.0
Audio 8.0
Special Features 7.0
Total 8.3
Distributor: Madman
Running Time: 275 minutes
Reviewer: Troy Mayes


Eden of the East

Naked in front of the White House a gun in one hand a mysterious phone in the other. A girl in trouble for trying to make a wish come true and a chance to help her. No recollection of who you are and how you got here. 

Intrigued yet? You should be as this is the beginning of Eden of the East now available on Blu-Ray. Eden of the East is equal parts mystery, conspiracy theory and love story and entirely better for it. Itís a dramatic departure from the usual anime fair that I watch and it was that departure in style that made it even more enjoyable.  

The depth of the series focus made it compelling throughout starting out with the enjoyable focus on Akira (naked guy) and Saki getting to know each other while building up to the revelations about Selecao and their goals. The high-concept idea of the show is also very attractive. 10 billion yen to change the world, use all your money and don't succeed you die, don't use your money you die, someone else reaches the goal you die. There's a lot at stake for Akira to lose.   

Even though the show has quite a serious focus it still finds a way to inject some humor. In fact the opening scene is so funny I thought the series was going to be more of a comedy than a serious conspiracy theory thriller while the appreciation for cinema is also a nice, quirky touch.  

The series generally follows a good formula with each episode building on the events of the last and Akira discovering a little more about himself. It didnít feel like any of the eleven episodes were wasted, they all contributed to the greater story and the sense of discovery was thrilling and helped you connect with Akira, but I did feel the ending was a bit flat. Number 1ís waxing on about how heís going to change the world was a little too heavy to digest and there are a lot of unanswered questions at the end. I would have liked a bit more closure, but at least we were treated to some flashy visuals. There are two films that have since been made so I guess the creators wanted some more closure too.   

The voice acting is strong, even the dub, especially the main character Akira and the series, while not strongly focused on action, contains some powerful scenes. Seeing Juiz 'take care' of problems for the Selecao's is always enjoyable. The characters are well fleshed out and likable, particularly Akira and Saki. This made the journey all the more meaningful as you didnít want to discover Akira was a criminal or a terrorist because he is such a nice guy in the show and truly seems like heís trying to help people. There are some prototypical anime characters thrown in like Panties the creepy womanizing hacker and Micchon the shy girl who still isnít afraid to tell it like it is when itís necessary, but even they have a charm about them thatís hard not to like. The Selecaoís were hit and miss some had a lot going for them, like Number 11, while others were a bit meh with nothing really standing out.   

Visually I had a few gripes with the series. It blends CGI backgrounds and vehicles sometimes and while they are generally well done itís the inconsistent use of the technique that annoys me. Some episodes all the backgrounds and vehicles are done that way and like it or not you can at least get accustomed to it but Eden of the East chops and changes so much I just wish it'd choose a style and stick to it. Washington DC is depicted well and the character designs are well done. Akira and Saki have a softness to them that suits their likable personalities. In Blu-Ray the visuals really pop. Itís a very clean and clear presentation that really highlights the great character designs and use of color by Chika Umino and Production I.G.  

About the only thing in the series that didnít stand out for me was the score. Even in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 I canít say I ever noticed the score too much instead I was more engrossed in the characters and the story. 

The special features include a bunch of cast and creator interviews, trailers, TV spot and a promo video making the Blu-Ray a nice complete package but nothing too special either. 

Eden of the East is simply a fantastic series. The story has a lot of depth, the characters are well conceived and the Blu-Ray presentation is good. There are only a few things wrong with the series but overall its one of the most original and engaging animes Iíve seen.


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