Eden of the East: King of Eden (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus isn't sure what's going on but it sure does look pretty while it's doing it
Travelling to New York Saki Morimi (Saori Hayami/Leah Clark) is in search of the now infamous Akira (Takizawa Ryōhei Kimura/Jason Liebrecht). With Selecao members hot on her trail and a larger game afoot to make Japan a better place, the Eden of the East group struggle to keep on top of the situation... at least that’s what I think was going on.
I’m not gonna lie. When I first saw our news article it was the first time I was aware of this franchise, which I understand was a TV show before this movie arrived. This was a bit of an eye opener to me because I used to follow everything to do with Production I.G. quite closely but this really struck home that I was now totally out of the loop. So with a review copy winging its way to me, I happily delved into Eden of the East: King of Eden.
Well straight off the bat I loved the artwork. I knew I would from the cover art but seeing it all animated was a joy. I love the style here, the characters are all adorable, especially lead girl Saki and the real world approach to the piece made for some fantastic artistry without going into massive anime explosions and demons powers and such. Beyond that I have to say I was pretty lost. I sort of got the basics of what was going on and this is a very wordy movie so there was a lot of catching up opportunities but really it seemed like characters were referring to people I didn’t know all the time and for the short seventy-seven minutes runtime I felt I was always struggling to catch up or had missed something (especially because of the seemingly important blink and you miss them text messages that appear on characters' phones that stay on screen for all of two seconds most of the time).
I won’t pretend to have any form of understanding of the larger scheme here (I couldn't tell you for sure what the Eden of the East organisation does or who the hell was phoning the players in the game, or indeed how they'd win this game) but I will say, despite feeling a little set adrift I still really enjoyed my time with Eden of the East. At its core, Saki and Akira are a good pair to hang around with and the larger politics about this secret organization trying to make Japan more globally respected seemed like a good idea for a show (even if the goofy mobile phone element felt a little forced to me).
Well despite missing the HD glow that would really make this pop, this standard definition transfer is clean, full of well-presented colours and really is a good example of 2D animation with a bit of class to it.
There are no faults with it at all outside of an expected SD softness. The image looks great whether bright and sunny in the day or moody and streetlamp lit by night. The haziness of some shots is very effective and the subtleties are all captured well in the transfer, with Saki’s eyes a real stand out example and honestly to get any better you’d have to go down the Blu-ray route.
Keeping it simple for the most part, the majority of the dialogue lives in the centre speaker. It’s clear and strong and pretty much sounds like most anime out there. To spread it out a bit there are a few traffic scenes which sound very realistic within the Dolby Digital 5.1 track and often streak across the front and rear speakers to add a bit of depth. Beyond that, there’s the odd bit of melodramatic score or worse still, the original Japanese theme tune (the lyrics are as crazy as ever) and while none of that makes the track feel any bigger, the three front speakers have a bit more to do. Overall it’s a basic track with the odd noticeable use of the surrounds for some atmosphere.
Disc one holds nothing in the way of extras but disc two has Eden of the East: Air Communication, which I’m told is an edited together movie of the TV show, like they did with Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex a couple of times. This is presented in Japanese only and with Stereo 2.0 as the only option and in a way filled in the blanks I had about the set up. I was still a bit lost and was a bit miffed the purple haired chick didn’t have wings in the movie like she did here (which also reminded that in the movie Saki’s dog also had wings—with no explanation as to why?? Ah anime) but generally it was equally as watchable and made me more inclined to seek out the entire series at some point in the future.
The only other extras are three trailer type things. ‘Movie News Flash’ (01:18) which I think is a trailer for the next movie Paradise Lost (at least it seemed that way). 'Movie Preview’ (00:48) which is a short trailer for King of the East and in fact made the story a whole lot clearer in my head and ‘TV Spots’ (00:48) which were more of the same.
Eden of the East certainly seems good, despite the fact I’m a little sketchy on what actually happened in it. The artwork is subtly amazing, the characters all adorable in their own ways and even though I was on catch up I can see something very appealing is tucked away in here somewhere.
The disc looks good and with the catch up movie on disc two, newcomers are (sort of) given the opportunity to get up to speed with the franchise. This review was quite late, so I’m sure fans already have their copies but anyone out there with a passing admiration for anime might find something in here, even if it’s just the pretty animation.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 6th June 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese, Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Extras: Eden of the East: Air Communication, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Kenji Kamiyama
Cast: Saori Hayami/Leah Clark, Ryōhei Kimura/Jason Liebrecht
Genre: Animation and Drama
Length: 77 minutes