We are on Earth in the distant future. No humans in sight, just nature, and robots. Eden 3 is a city where robots spend their days peacefully since humans vanished thousands of years ago. One day, two robots, while farming apples, find a human girl, Sara, and decide to take care of her, thus creating an unconventional family. This encounter forces them to reconsider what they know about humans because so far they believed that they are dangerous mythical creatures who deserved to vanish from the planet.
The Eden ONA is a Netflix production with a great team behind it in direction and musical score. Yasuhiro Irie, director of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood takes the lead of this project, while Kevin Penkin who created the musical score for Kami no Tou and Made in Abyss adds his touch to the dreamy soundtrack of Eden. The four-episode ONA was just released on Netflix and we share our impressions of this dystopian fantasy anime set thousand of years in the future.
Family, Found and Lost
Eden is quite Disney-like in the way it treats its villains and heroes. The main characters comprise a found family, with Sara proclaiming the robots who rescued her “Mom” and “Dad” and with robot PJ acting as their “dog”. It’s adorable seeing how the robots become doting parents, memorizing Sara’s needs, wanting to learn all about human emotions, and being overprotective of their daughter. Sara with her openness, excitement, and friendly character teaches the robots that humans are not the evil creatures they have been indoctrinated to believe by Zero, our villain, and his army.
Zero’s motivations and reveal about his past feel a bit predictable if you’ve watched your share of sci-fi anime with robots. We won’t spoil much, but the reveal was underwhelming and has again to do with familial bonds and overcoming one’s pain of the past. There’s even a mecha fight to seal the deal, which we quite enjoyed. Sara becoming a mechanic is giving us Winry vibes and the overall feel is a cross between WALL-E and mecha anime.
One point we have to make is that Eden could easily be a movie instead of four installments. It doesn’t make much sense to release it in four parts, however, this decision probably has to do with how Netflix treats its anime productions as episodic.
Dr. Fields, the head of Project Eden, an ambitious plan to revert the planet to its former state, a real-life paradise untouched by pollution, completely loses faith in humanity after his daughter’s death. The destruction of nature by humans is central to the plot and Dr. Field’s methods to save the planet are questionable. Project Eden is more of a eugenics plan where only a small number of the total population will get to survive and experience the project’s success in the distant future. This could have made for a compelling plot point, the question about whether some people’s lives are worth more than others, but it was used more as an explanation about where did humans go for a thousand years.
We don't have strong feelings against CG techniques, however, it’s worth mentioning that the dramatic scenes didn’t deliver the emotion well due to the lack of spatial depth and stiff expressions of the human characters. It’s ok for robots, mech battles, and dystopian superstructures but not so much for expressing a range of emotions. The overall style with bright colors, beautiful backgrounds, and “flat” character designs reminded us of video games like Genshin Impact, which is not a bad thing at all, but sometimes we wondered whether we are experiencing an in-game cutscene instead of an ONA series.
Eden is sweet and short, and a solid watch for a Sunday morning. It’s not groundbreaking, but the premise of the last human survivor being raised by robots is charming! We recommend it if you want your dystopian sci-fi to have a hopeful message guaranteed.
Have you watched Eden yet? What did you think of its story? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for reading.