Admittedly, 2009 was a whole decade ago, so this is a pretty old show right now. Which is all the more reason for us to be discussing Higashi no Eden (Eden of the East), a quirky and cool anime with a lightness of character juxtaposing reeling mystery and a layered storyline. Eden of the East is eleven episodes long with two movies which end the story. The series begins on the backdrop of Japan being hit by missile strikes in November 2010. The terrorist attacks resulted in no casualties and later became known as “Careless Monday”, soon disappearing into the thick fog of time. Three months later, we follow the life of Morimi Saki, a Japanese college student taking a graduation trip to America. She’s unexpectedly saved by a strange Japanese man known as Takizawa Akira, who is stark naked, amnesiac and in possession of a phone filled with 8.2 billion yen. Saki and Akira become friends, but this single interaction is the beginning of something sinister looming; something that could connect the Careless Monday, Akira and his missing memories.
The story is very important here because there are many events that seem to be separate and sporadic but actually contribute to the development of the story itself. The Careless Monday, the mysterious cell phone-wielding Selecao, Takizawa Akira’s missing memories and several other events create a gripping series in which up or down is never fully fleshed out to you until all of the pieces have been revealed and put together. In that regard, Eden of the East is stellar and reflects various genres from science fiction to action, romance and drama in a small torrent of well-written episodes.
Put together by Kawai Kenji, the Eden of the East soundtrack is quite pleasant, with music that has electronic leanings. The various scenes of Eden of the East are hence a much better experience from the perspective of audio-visual stimulation; however, the opening and ending theme songs are perhaps the best musical treats the series has in store. Falling Down by Oasis is a somber yet hard-hitting opening performed in the English language. With lyrics like “I tried to talk to God with no avail”/”I said if you won’t save me, please don’t waste my time”, the series is set up for more than a happy-go-lucky story, but something heavier in composition. The ending theme song was performed by the now-disbanded School Food Punishment. Futuristic Imagination is perhaps one of the best songs of their anthology and the visuals for the ending theme render the Eden of the East ending theme one of the most unique you’ll ever see.
There is a softness to the Eden of the East art that makes it a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The show has its fair share of gratuitous violence and exploration of mature themes; however, the art doesn’t quite reflect something with sprinkles of hardcore violence. The dissonance that arises because of the art and content of the actual series make certain events in the series all the more jarring because it doesn’t appear to be a show set up to show things like that. Oh, but it does...
Eden of the East is a really unique show and sometimes it feels as if it got lost in the torrents of time. It is an interesting experience because the anime has many things going on at the same time; however, the experience is one definitely worth having and at a short 11 episodes not counting the two movies that come thereafter, it isn’t too great a time commitment either!