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Eden of the East the Movie II: Paradise Lost – The Motion Picture (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

“Eden of the East” was our favorite anime TV series for 2010 and I came to this “Paradise Lost” with the highest expectation and unfortunately, I was a bit let-down by how things concluded.   I can only hope that there is one more film in the works, to make a trilogy but also a finale that fans can truly be happy with!  But still, “Paradise Lost” manages to have the beautiful looking visuals of the TV series and the first film and also comes with the US cast commentary plus a cool Japanese visual commentary.

Image courtesy of © FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

BLU-RAY TITLE: Eden of the East the Movie II: Paradise Lost – The Motion Picture

DURATION: Eden of the East: Paradise Lost (92 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: August 23, 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

Accused of terrorism and feeling the heat, Saki’s high-tech crew is in the crosshairs. Meanwhile, the shroud of mystery covering Takizawa is lifted as he and his fellow Selecao make their final moves. Every game must come to an end. For those playing Mr. Outside’s twisted game of conspiracy thrills, the end comes now.

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 two films and last fall, the complete series has been released on Blu-ray and DVD. In April 2011, the first of the two “Eden of the East” films titled “The King of Eden” is now available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment and now in August 2011, the second film “East of Eden the Movie II: Paradise Lost” has now been released via combo-pack which includes both the Blu-ray and DVD version of the film.

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.  It is essential for one to understand what is happening in “East of Eden the Movie II: Paradise Lost”, to watch the the previous film (including the prequel or the entire series).

“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.

“Eden of the East: Paradise Lost”

The film begins with Akira and Saki being brought in to meet with the widow of the politician Mr. Inuma and to find out why Akira has been trying to use the name.  While Akira goes to meet with Inuma’s widow, Saki by Akira to do an investigation and find out if the mysterious woman they saw, if it his real mother.

Meanwhile, for some reason, a large number of NEET’s have gathered near the meeting place of Akira and Inuma and Inuma is to be taken to the Inuma compound for the results of DNA testing but to turn him in, because he is regarded as a terrorist.  Mrs. Inuma intends to find out if Akira is the illegitimate son of Mr. Inuma.  But before they can bring Akira back to the Inuma household, he disguises himself as a NEET and manages to escape.

As this is is going on, Selecao No. 1, Daiju Mononobe continues his mysterious plans to hinder other Selecao’s and to get close to Akira, but Akira’s quick thinking has him close to No. 1 all along.  Why does Daiju want to meet with Akira?

As for the East of Eden crew, as they are targeted as terrorists for assisting Akira, they are working underground to continue monitor the Selecao and the game.  Saki and Satoshi confront the woman who may be Akira’s mother, meanwhile Kazuomi confronts Selecao no. 12 (Mr. Outside), the person responsible for the game.

“Eden of the East the Movie II: Paradise Lost” is the final reveal as we learn how Akira was recruited by Mr. Outside, why he has the game in place and what is his true intention.  Meanwhile, Akira makes one final request to Juiz which involves the whole country of Japan, but will it work?

 

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 Movie II: Paradise Lost” 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.  The film looks fantastic, vibrant on Blu-ray! Each painted scene looks fantastic, the character designs by Chica Umino come alive!

It’s important to note that the Blu-ray release of” Eden of the East the Movie II: Paradise Lost” 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.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Eden of the East the Movie II: Paradise Lost” 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 a jet airplane flying, the sound of the keyboard clicking, police sirens, you name it, the audio was well utilized through the surround channels.  Also, good directional use of the ambiance.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Eden of the East the Movie II: Paradise Lost” comes with the following special features:

  • U.S. Cast Commentary - ADR Mike McFarland brings in the US voice cast for separate interviews to discuss the series, the characters and more.
  • Visual Commentary On the Eden System - (1:38:25) With the Japanese premiere of “East of Eden”, the crew did something different in which people could watch the film but also read (in a East of Eden style) of visual commentary featuring director Kenji Kamiyama.
  • Movie 2 Promo - (:52) A promo for “East of Eden the Movie II: Paradise Lost”.
  • TV Spot  - (:17) TV Spot for for “East of Eden the Movie II: Paradise Lost”.
  • Eden of the East Trailer – (1:02) Featuring the trailer for the anime series.
  • Eden of the East: King of Eden – (1:02) Featuring the movie trailer for “Eden of the East: King of Eden”.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

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

From the first time I watched it, I was so impressed by the visuals, the vibrant colors, the detail of the backgrounds, the use of technology/action and then it came to the films.

While the films were fun to watch, I felt that the “King of Eden” was missing some of the dark action/adventure vibe of the series but at the same time, knowing that the film was primarily setting things up for “Paradise Lost”.

First, let’s talk about the animation and overall visual look of the film.

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!

While the TV series looked phenomenal, with film, “The King of Eden” definitely had some wonderful looking visuals especially for its art background.  And the good news is that “East of Eden the Movie II: Paradise Lost” manages to continue that overall look.

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.

But what about the storyline?

If “East of Eden the Movie II: Paradise Lost” is truly the end, I guess my feeling is a bit mixed.  I liked the fact that every character from the East of Eden group were utilized in the film but not sure if I like how everything ended.  I say this because with the series, I love how everyone worked together and were together to the very end, especially Akira and Saki.

This time around, Saki was busy trying to find Akira’s mother, Akira was busy at the Inuma compound and East of Eden crew were split up working on different tasks.  While I do like how they explained how Akira was selected, the goal of Selecao #1…it was not the major climax as I expected.

So, while the series was phenomenal, the first film was a build up for this final film, the final film was good, but not great!  I had high expectations and I admit, I was a bit disappointed (and reading the Japanese reviews of the film, it seems that many share the same sentiment).

As for the Blu-ray release of “East of Eden the Movie II: Paradise Lost”, I am so happy that FUNimation Entertainment did include the cast commentary and the Japanese visual commentary was also a nice addition to the release as well.  And once again, Production I.G. has done a phenomenal job with the overall look and feel of the film and the lossless soundtrack was very good.

But there are still some loose ends that need to be touched upon for people to get some real closure for the film.  So, I hope there is one more film left and in essence making it a trilogy.  In my past reviews, I have read that the plan was to have this as a trilogy but noticed that more people have reported it only being a pair of movies.  I’m wishing for a third and final film.

Otherwise, if “East of Eden the Movie II: Paradise Lost” is truly the finale, I still recommend the Blu-ray release but it’s not exciting climax that I was hoping for.

If you have invested your time in watching the series and the first “East of Eden” film, then it’s a no-brainer… “East of Eden the Movie II: Paradise Lost” is recommended!

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