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Eden of the East: The King of Eden – The Motion Picture (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 3, 2011 by  



“Eden of the East” was our favorite anime TV series for 2010 and now the sequel to the TV series, a film titled “Eden of the East: The King of Eden” is now available on Blu-ray.  Awesome animation/art backgrounds, an enjoyable suspenseful and fun storyline, I can’t help but highly recommend the TV series and this film!  Featuring the first film and also the prequel film, “Eden of the East: The King of Eden” is definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

BLU-RAY TITLE: Eden of the East: The King of Eden – The Motion Picture

DURATION: Eden of the East: The King of Eden (80 Minutes) | Eden of the East: Air Communications (Prequel Movie) – (2 hrs. and 5 minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: April 26, 2011

Original Creator: Kenji Kamiyama

Directed by Kenji Kamiyama

Screenplay by Kenji Kamiyama

Storyboards by Kenji Kamiya, Masayuki Yoshihara, Toshiyuki Kono, Yoshiaki Kyougoku

Music by Kenji Kawai

Original Character Design by Chika Umino

Character Design by Satoko Morikawa

Art Director: Yusuke Takeda

Chief Animation Director: Satoru Nakamura

Producer: Kouji Yamamoto, Tomohiko Ishii

Anime Production: Production I.G.

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ryohei Kimura/Jason Liebrecht as Akira Takizawa

Saori Hayami/Leah Clark as Saki Morimi

Atsushi Miyauchi/John Gremillion as Daiju Mononobe

Ayaka Saito/Stephanie Sheh as Mikuru “Micchon” Kuzuhara

Hayato Taya/John Burgmeier as Haruo Kasuga

Kimiko Saito/Lydia Mackay as Sister

Motoyuki Kawahara/J. Michael Tatum as Kazuomi Hirasawa

Rei Igarashi/Christine Auten as Kuroha Diana Shiratori

Sakiko Hayami/Stephanie Young as Juiz

Takuya Eguchi/Michael Sinterniklass as Satoshi Osugi

The intrigue goes international in The King of Eden, a feature-length conspiracy thriller that continues the action of Eden of the East. The deadly game that began in Japan now intensifies on the streets of New York City. The rules are the same: do whatever it takes to win. Die if you lose.

Takizawa prevented Japan’s destruction – and then he vanished. Six months later, clues lead Saki to the Big Apple in search of her missing friend. Meanwhile, the remaining Selecao are plotting their final move. Some of them would prefer Takizawa dead and out of the way. Some might even be willing to help him achieve his goals. Unfortunately, some are prepared to destroy everything if it means claiming checkmate in Mr. Outside’s puzzling game.

In April 2009, a few of Japan’s popular talents in the anime and manga industry teamed up on a project known as “Higashi no Eden” (Eden of the East).

Featuring anime production from Production I.G., “Eden of the East” would feature the work of series creator Kenji Kamiyama (creator of “Blood: The Last Vampire” and worked on “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”, “Hakkenden” and “Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade”), manga artist/writer Chica Umino (“Honey and Clover”), art director Yusuke Takeda (“Mobile Suit Gundam Wing”, “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”, “Neon Genesis Evangelion”) and legendary anime musician Kenji Kawai (“Ghost in the Shell”, “Maison Ikkoku”, “Patlabor”, “Ranma 1/2”, “Vampire Princess Miyu”).

The anime series debuted on Fuji TV in April 2009 and was followed by three films and last fall, the complete series has been released on Blu-ray and DVD.  In April 2011, the first of the three “Eden of the East” films titled “The King of Eden” is now available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.

For those who have never watched the TV Anime series, “Eden of the East: The King of Eden” contains the prequel movie “Air Communication” which is an abridged version of all 11 episodes.

“EDEN OF THE EAST” BACK STORY

In November 22, 2010, ten missiles were unleashed in Japan but there were no victims. Because there were no deaths, Japanese tend to disregard the event and the day was known as “Careless Monday”. Although there were no victims, 20,000 NEETS disappeared (note: In Japan, NEET stands for Not in Education, Employment and is a term to describe reclusive individuals who do not go outside of their home).

Three months later, a young woman named Saki Morimi is visiting Washington D.C. Before she is to go back to Japan, she just wants to visit The White House which she calls the “Center of the World”. Because she is unable to get through the gates, she throws a penny on the White House lawn but of course, the secret service sees what she has done and goes to apprehend her.

Meanwhile, a young man who is naked and is holding a gun and a cell phone sees what’s going on and distracts the agents. As the agents scramble to find the man, the young man checks on Saki. And Saki who is a bit bashful of seeing a naked man, gives the mysterious naked guy her coat, her hat and scarf. She learns that he has lost his memory and doesn’t know why he is naked. He just woke up with a gun and a cell phone.

As the guy leaves to make sure he doesn’t get caught by the agents or cops, Saki forgets that she left her passport and ID inside her coat. So, she runs to find him.

The young man is directed by a woman named Juiz to visit a location and when he gets to the location, he realizes its where he lives. When he opens the closet, he finds many weapons and also several ID’s and passports. Saki manages to track him down and when she goes to see him, she tells him that she needs her passport to get to Japan and immediately, the man looks at the passports and decides to go with one of the names he finds… Akira Takizawa.

But the secret service has a bulletin for the apprehension for both Saki and Akira and immediately, Akira decides to join Saki and both leave to Japan.

But while the two develop a pretty strong friendship, Akira slowly starts to learn that the phone he is carrying is more than just a mere cell phone and he will need it to survive. Apparently, he is one of the 12 Selecao and he must take part in a game in which each of the 12 individuals are given 8.2 billion in digital money.

The cell phone which utilizes fingerprint recognition puts him in contact with a woman named Juiz, a person that each Selecao contacts and whatever they want, she will do, but each time something is done, it comes from their own personal account. Also, the cell phone shows the progress of each Selecao and what requests they made with Juiz.

The game is run by a man known as “The Outsider” and the game requires each Selecao to use the 8.2 billion yen to stand up against current modern Japan and find a way to change it. They must spend all the money for that cause and nothing for personal ambition. If they do not follow the rules, a supporter will kill them.

Also, there can only be one winner at the end of the competition.

Akira is upset that he is being forced to take part in this game, but seeing how Japan is in such a mess, he will do what he can to win the game but also win it, so he can get back at the Outsider who forced him to take part in it. Also, because he lost his memory, he is starting to learn that he may be person responsible for “Careless Monday” and the disappearance (or murder) of 20,000 NEET’s.

Determined to find out the truth about his real identity, Akira is determined to win the game and as a Selecao, the first thing he wants to do is help Saki and her friends who are part of a financially struggling company that is responsible for creating a social media application known as “EDEN OF THE EAST” in which one can use their own personal cell phones and aim it at anyone and get information on them but also communicate with everyone tied into the site.

But when one uses the East of Eden on Akira, they start to worry if he is not a well-intentioned individual but possibly a killer. As Akira looks for answers by searching for Selecao, he is unaware that other Selecao are looking for him.

“Eden of the East: The King of Eden”

The film begins with Saki in the United States.  The storyline takes place six months after the ten missile strikes in Japan were thwarted by Akira Takizawa.  But somehow, in the process of defending Tokyo and making his order as a Selecao to become the King of Eden, Takizawa was captured, brainwashed and now he has lost all memory of himself.  In fact, Takizawa has been missing for six months and Saki and friends have not been able to find him.

While in the U.S. carrying Akira’s Selecao phone, it appears that other Selecao are on to her and going so far to getting her in some trouble by putting firearms in here suitcase. As she is berated by her taxi driver for carrying fire arms, he leaves her luggage out but drives off without her purse, passport and the Selecao phone.

Meanwhile, Saki’s team of programmers and hackers, creators of the Eden of the East software program try to find out more information of the Selecao’s latest activities but to see if it can help pinpoint where Akira Takizawa is.  One thing is known, the computer program that Akira has reported to, Juiz, has continued the mission to make Akira the King of Eden by switching his name to an ailing Prime Minister, so if something was to happen to the fallen leader, Takizawa using the name of Inuma can take over.

But it’s not going to be easy as other Selecao are upset about Takizawa’s latest request and now want to make sure that the missile attacks on Tokyo are blamed on Inuma.

Meanwhile, as Saki goes to discard the firearm that was found in her briefcase somewhere in New York City, she is approached by a Japanese guy, it happens to be Akira Takizwa!  But unfortunately, Akira has no memories of his past and is going by the name Inuma.

While Saki tries to help Inuma regain his memories, the other Selecao begin their mission by trying to assassinate or prevent Akira from become the King of Eden, while other Selecao try to help him.  But unknown to other Selecao, Number 1 is trying to destroy the truck convoys containing the Juiz units and to prevent any Selecao from assisting Akira.

It’s a race against time as Akira and Saki try to find a way back to Japan from New York City and the East of Eden team in Japan try to find out how to help them.

The main characters of “Eden of the East” are:

Akira Takizawa – Known as Selecao #9, Akira has amnesia and apparently his memory was wiped out for some reason. He finds out that he is part of a game with 12 other Selecao’s but aside from not knowing much about his responsibilities, he feels close to his new friend Saki Morimi. Along with his cell phone and connected to a mysterious woman named Juiz, he goes out in search of other Selecao’s to find out his true identity.

Saki Morimi – A young woman who is about to graduate college and needs to look for a job. She lives with her older sister and her family and has left to the US on a trip to NYC with her friends as a graduation trip. While visiting Washington D.C. alone, she meets with a mysterious naked man named Akira Takizawa. She currently works alongside her friends (they are all part of the University’s Recycling Club) who are responsible for the social media site Eden of the East but is trying desperately to find a new job so she doesn’t have to depend on her older sister and her brother-in-law.

Eden of the East Team – Eden of the East is a popular social media application that can be used to gain information anywhere, anytime. Point your phone at an individual and immediately pull up information on them. The team consists of Kazuomi Hirasawa (the leader of Eden of the East who wants to create a paradise for the NEET’s), Satoshi Osugi (a friend of Saki who loves her and is jealous that she is spending time with Akira), Micchon (a shy, very young but brilliant programmer known for developing the image recognition for Eden of the East), Yutaka “Panty” Itazu (a NEET and reclusive man who stayed in his home because he lost his only pair of pants. He is a brilliant hacker and programmer).

VIDEO :

“Eden of the East: The King of Eden – The Motion Picture” is just fantastic to look at. Presented in 1080p, the artistic backgrounds are magnificent. I don’t think there was one re-used (aside from Takizawa’s home) but there was always a new painted scene whenever a character was shown. If there is one thing that I love Production I.G., they tend to go all out in making not only their films look great but also their anime TV series.  In the case of “Eden of the East: The King of Eden”, the film looks fantastic, vibrant on Blu-ray! Each painted scene looks fantastic, the character designs by Chica Umino come alive!

The animation and overall colors are vibrant, blacks are nice and deep and I saw no haloing, edge enhancements and saw no artifacting. I was confident to say that “Eden of the East” was one of the best looking anime TV series on Blu-ray and I can easily say that fans of the TV series will enjoy the overall look of the film as well!  More detail, more colors, I really enjoyed the look and style of the anime series!

It’s important to note that the Blu-ray release of “Eden of the East: The King of Eden” comes with both the Blu-ray and the DVD release (2-discs), so you can compare the picture quality and see how much more vibrant the Blu-ray release is to its DVD counterpart.  The scenes with Yutaka “Panty” Itazu and his red shirt will show you how much more vibrant the Blu-ray release is compared to the DVD!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Eden of the East: The King of Eden – The Motion Picture” is presented in English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The audio for this series is fantastic. From the crowd ambiance and just the sounds of leaves, police sirens, blasts, airplanes, computer keyboard clicking, you name it, the audio was well utilized through the surround channels.

While the film is more dialogue driven, in “Eden of the East: The King of Eden”, there is good use of the surround channels, mostly towards the end of the film as you see missiles going after Juiz units to Kazuomi Hirasawa shutting down Eden of the East or a car crash  or a bomb blowing up Akira’s apartment room, you can expect to hear the soundscape become quite immersive temporarily.

Dialogue and Kenji Kawai’s impressive musical score is crisp and clear through the front and center channels. Both Japanese and English vocal tracks were well-done! Although not an all-out action-driven anime series, there is quite a bit of action throughout the eleven episodes and the lossless audio was very good!

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Eden of the East: The King of Eden – The Motion Picture” comes with the following special features:

  • Air Communication – (2:05:00) Haven’t watched the “Eden of the East” anime TV series or don’t have the time too?  Fortunately, “Air Command” is a prequel to the film which takes all the important elements of the 11-episode series and make a 2 hr. movie from it.
  • Movie 1 Newsflash – (1:21) A Japanese news flash for “Eden of the East: The King of Eden” in Japanese with English subtitles.
  • Movie 1 Preview – (:48) A preview for “Eden of the East: The King of Eden” in Japanese with English subtitles.
  • TV Spots – (:48) TV Spots for “Eden of the East: The King of Eden” in Japanese with English subtitles.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

EXTRAS:

“Eden of the East: The King of Eden – The Motion Picture” comes with a slip cover case and the Blu-ray release also includes two DVD’s featuring the feature film, the prequel film and special features.

First, let me just say that I love “Eden of the East”!

Production I.G. has delivered one of the finest anime television anime series to be released on Blu-ray in America. With the release of “Ghost Hound” from Sentai Filmworks last month which I gave a highly favorable review for it, I thought the Production I.G. series was just phenomenal. But when they released “Eden of the East”, I was blown away by the look and also the complexity of the storyline.  The series has elements of suspense, action, drama and many hilarious moments as well!  It was a fun, entertaining series!

But with only 11 episodes of the TV series and it ending with a cliffhanger, you can’t help but want more!

So, fortunately, here we are with “Eden of the East: The King of Eden”, the first film of a movie trilogy continuing the story of Akira Takizawa, Saki and friends and needless to say, the film makes you want even more!

But for those wanting films with endings of closure, “Eden of the East: The King of Eden” is not one of them.  If anything, the film sets the viewer up for massive things to come for the second and third film, while the first film pretty much lays down the foundation of what happened to Akira Takizawa after the missile strike and what Saki and the group have been up to since then.

Fans of the series can expect similar elements of what they love about the TV series in the first film.  While you may not get any death scenes or hardcore action, there are some scenes where you will see missiles, a flamethrower, etc.

As for the Blu-ray release, as mentioned in the video quality section of this review, I love the look and feel of the series.  I love how much is put into each scene, the painted backgrounds are wonderful to look at and the character designs compliment it.  One of the cool things about this Blu-ray release is that you do get both the Blu-ray and the DVD version, which is great if you want to share with your friends, plan to commute and don’t want to scuff up your Blu-ray discs but the combination of Blu-ray and DVD releases seems to be a new standard now with FUNimation Entertainment and those who do purchase physical media, will get the best of both worlds without having to pay a premium price for it.

And the fact that you do get two films (the prequel and the first film) in this Blu-ray release is an awesome deal!

Once again, I truly believe that “Eden of the East” is an awesome anime series and the film is an extension and continuation of the series!  From the look of the film in which rarely do you see the backgrounds being used more than once. It’s like every scene features new animation and background art and there was also special emphasis on lighting.  Production I.G. has high standards for their work and each time I know they are involved with an anime TV series or animated film, I know we are going to see nothing less but quality work and it shows in “Eden of the East: The King of Eden”.

While I enjoyed the film, I do feel that the creators were holding back a bit and building the storyline and to literally make viewers excited about the sequel.  But still, I enjoyed the series and to see the adventures of Akira and Saki once again.  I can’t help but recommend this film and also recommend the TV series if you have the chance.  If you want a quality series that features an awesome story, awesome art/animation, definitely give “Eden of the East” a chance!  And when you are done watching the series, I highly recommend watching “Eden of the East: The King of Eden”.  I’m not sure what to expect from the next two films but I’m sure Chica Umino and Kenji Kamiyama are going to take us on one enjoyable ride in the upcoming two films!

“Eden of the East: The King of Eden – The Motion Picture” is highly recommended!






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