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Eden of the East: Paradise Lost [USA] [Blu-ray]
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The intrigue boils over in Eden of the East: Paradise Lost, the feature-length conclusion of a truly one-of-a-kind anime saga. 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 Sele o 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.
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In all the movie is a solid 4 out of 5. Without giving away too much of the plot, there is closure between Akira and Saki and Akira's efforts aren't in vain. I hope this review is helpful to those who choose to read it. Thanks for your time.
Same as Joshua Adair's review, please do not bash me. There are some very emotional ppl out there when it comes to these things, so just try to accept the fact that a review can contain an opinion that is different from yours.
This review is for the entire series, not just the last movie.
I, also, loved this series. It has it's flaws, one of them (for me) was a bit inexcusable, but I still say it is worth the time and effort to watch this series and the subsequent movies.
First, the pros; the animation is breathtaking - drool-worthy, beautiful, can't-take-your-eyes-off-it type of thing. One of my favorite things about EotE's look is the choice in color palette. As an artist myself, I know how tough it is to select - and then stick to - a palette. It can literally make of break your piece. Some very wise choices were made here. There was just enough effort made in "effects" (if you can call them that - animation is one big effect, but still), realism, NON-realism, and cartoony-style humor. The animation was almost my favorite aspect of EotE.
The characters were without a doubt my favorite part. They were fleshed out nicely and a perfect mix. I loved the personality differences expressed between each version of Juiz, based on which Selecao 'she' was assigned to. The Eden team was hysterical and, frankly, very believable.
The other Selecaos were a pleasant mix of the frightening, spoiled, odd, powerful and sweet. The Johnny Hunter still fascinates me - I can never reconcile her actions but I can totally sympathize with her cause. Plus, let's face it, she kind of kicks a$$ in the style department.
Saki was adorable, she was plucky and willing to invest time in a huge risk (Akira himself) without being too much of a pushover, too emotional, or the warriorette. Nothing is wrong with any of those roles, but they would not have done opposite Akira. She was his perfect compliment.
Akira himself is one of the most charming anime characters to come along in awhile. He gets a bit flighty at times (let's see how *you* behave after two memory wipes!!) but he is so endearing that you have no choice but to forgive him. He is clearly interested in Saki - not just she's The Cute Girl That Helped Me, but it's obvious he's looking out for her well-being and wants her to stay near him even if he can't figure out why. Is he interested enough? I fear we will never know. He is compassionate, easy-going, tenacious, adorable, adventurous and intelligent. What more can you want in a lead?
I have only ever seen this in the original Japanese with subtitles, so I will be interested to see how well I like the English soundtrack. I usually have trouble finding enough emotional resonance with the Japanese soundtrack (only because I am sure such a thing is more subtle than English, and I simply don't know enough Japanese to 'hear' it) and I opt to listen to the English. But, I can tell you one thing for sure - Akira's voice actor is without a doubt my favorite male Japanese voice actor so far. So much so, that if I find the english actor lacking when I buy the series, I will not listen to him. I will let nothing ruin Akira. Nothing.
The plot does have it's similarities to other animes, and especially books/movies like the Jason Bourne series. But there is nothing new under the sun children, EVER, and for my money when the series is as engaging and creative as this, I say who cares? if it's good, it doesn't matter how many times it's been done. I was very happy with the reconciliation at the end of Paradise Lost regarding the politics and the NEETs, the future of most of the characters and especially Taki's confrontation with Mr. Outside - which was perfectly in character with him! It was just enough revenge for our hero, and, consequently, just enough for us. The open-ended aspect of the entire ending was absolutely appropriate to the subject matter - there are no perfect answers with a problem this big, it says, but we have to keep trying.
Now for what I did not like about the end. Yes, it was the resolution between Akira and Saki's relationship. Without giving away too much, I believe my problem with it is one of two things: Either the translation from the Japanese to the English subs somehow missed the inflection of the plot, OR, it is the basic rule that if you are a pessimist, you saw it one way, and the opposite if you are an optimist.
I am definitely a pessimist...
This is hard for me to explain, but at the risk of inciting fan-girl flames, I'm going to try. Did he ever go back to her as promised? I don't think he did. After some of Saki's rather final-sounding narration, and Akira's flighty nature when he said goodbye, and the total lack of any visual indication he went back, and especially Saki's very, VERY last line of dialogue, I do not think he made good on his promise to her. Maybe saving Japan has him too busy now, or the fool went and had another memory wipe, or maybe he finds himself too dangerous and is simply protecting her by staying away? I am not sure. It was almost as though he truly wanted to be Saki's guy in the series (even as he knew she needed to get over her bro-in-law, and even as he was willing to show the Johnny Hunter some real affection). But then in King of Eden (after the second memory wipe, mind you), he liked being near Saki, but he couldn't figure out why. But by the end of Paradise Lost, Taki-chan left me feeling like... ok, yeah, I'll say it: He's just not that into her (anymore?). Well, Ugh! You build me up then give me that?! *sigh*
That aspect of the plot left me cold & wanting. It is the ONLY reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5. You want so badly for them to be together - not for a story book romance crap ending, I hate that stuff - but because they are just so good together that you get addicted to 'them'. Who knows, if I can find it in my heart to be more optimistic, I may come back and upgrade that rating. ;) But don't hold your breath.
Don't get me wrong, I still loved this anime. And I will watch it over and over like I did with Samurai Champloo. I admit the series was more engaging than the movies, but that was nothing more than a timing thing, and the part of the ending that I hate... well, I truly, REALLY hate it.
But... I loved it, and can't wait to get all my copies.
The movie leading up to this one, King of Eden, was practically a repeat of the plot device used in earlier episodes, except with less of a journey of discovery, less interesting characters being introduced, and a general sense of waiting around before anything important to the happens plot-wise.
I wanted badly for this series to go out with a bang by returning what made this series great to start with: the suspense, the plans that come together over time, the confrontation with other characters given the same opportunity, even the romantic development.
But I can't forgive this movie. There's a lack of compelling narrative, climax, character development, or satisfying resolution. There's no indication that the events of the movie has a meaningful impact on anyone. The main character's childhood experience is covered again. It doesn't lead to an epiphany, the topic just gets dropped later on. There's no confrontation with an antagonist, no obstacle to overcome, just a few travels, a few conversations and a mouthpiece to voice vague speeches about two of the character's hopes for Japan. I would recommend this only to people that were major fans the series and 1st movie.
The series was fantastic. But the two movies not so much.
Promised the protagonist becoming King or prince, never happened.
Promised to declare winner, ended up declaring everyone winner. Completely lost intensity of the game in the movies, changed the rules midway, no more death for losers. Then #1 and #9 decided to work together.Why would a weak speech and 1 yen make the country better?
Promised romance: never happened.
No more fresh ideas: memory wipe again, lost passport again, coming to America again,
Pointless plots: Taki's mother, driving around Juizes 1 and 9, the whole wild goose chase about illegitimate son, why would that make the guy better suited to be a king?
Stopped the game for no good reason, and started the game again for no good reason. .
The second film follows right up where the first movie left off with Akira leaving for Japan to face the music and many enemies. Saki joins him and soon they are neck deep in a national conspiracy.
The second and final film is outstanding both in story delivery and solid animation. The Eden group is being framed as the terrorists behind Careless Monday and they are trying to find a way to stop it and help Akira. It is a difficult thing to do when they are suddenly fugitives on the run. Meanwhile Akira is busy trying to find out if he is truly the Prime Minister's son and at the same time try to keep a step ahead of the diabolical Mononobe. The other Selecao are still around and the game for king is still on. However it seems to come down to Mononobe and Akira. The countdown is on, everyone is getting ready to make their final moves and another missile strike may be ready to launch.
The suspense of the film is well done, excellent writing and character development. The twists and turns are alluring, the way the film plays out is riveting. By the end of the movie a lot of questions are answered, the Selecao competition comes to an end and Akira has one last, insane gambit to play.
Anyone who enjoyed the introspective and interweaving politics and personal plights found in Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex will appreciate and enjoy Eden of The East. Fans of the Eden series will be thrilled by the final film. Be sure to wait until the very end of the credits to make sure you catch the whole story.
No doubt a great deal of the quality of the Eden of the East series and films are due to the anime `dream team' of writer and director Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell SAC and Ghost in the Shell 2nd Gig), Chica Umino as Original Character Concept (Honey and Clover), music director Kenji Kawai (Patlabor), and animation studio Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor, xxxHolic, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles). The animation is soft of the eyes and smooth and fluid to watch. The score is sublime, beautifully accentuating the films many moods and scenes as they arise.
Bonus features are many and include trailers of other FUNimation titles, original Japanese TV spots, theatrical trailers for the two Eden of the East movies, original Japanese preview of movie 2, Eden of the East TV series trailer, interview with Director Kenji Kamiyama, and audio commentary throughout the movie with Mike McFarland (ADR Director and Line Producer) joined at different times by the various English voice cast from the second film throughout the movie.
Eden of the East Movie 2 Paradise Lost is an outstanding follow up and finale to the Eden of the East series. A superb anime experience!