Anime for beginners Case File 3 – Eden of the East

I want to go new school this time by talking about a more recent series. A series with a high pedigree of talent, yet a fairly short series that spanned only 11 episodes and 2 movies. It’s the 2009 series (and probable future classic), Eden of the East.

Pictures of known Selecaos
Believe me, understanding this series is not this simple.

This time I will not give a book report. There are way too many things to try to explain without trying to give away any potential spoilers. The show’s title tag is, “Some conspiracies are more than theories.” Also, it’s due to the fact that I need to re-watch this series four or five more times before I can fully understand it myself. And since this series is directed by the same man who also directed “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” (and 2nd Gig, and Solid State Society) and “Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit“, you know this show is going to have more intrigue than you can shake a stick at.

The show has all the earmarks for a classic. We have great characters, a great story, great animation, and gorgeous music. It’s too bad that the series only goers for 11 episodes. The story concludes with two feature length movies, “The King of Eden” and “Paradise Lost.” (Did I mention all of the classical literature and movie references? Well, I guess I just did.)
I do have one nitpick with the first movie, “The King of Eden.” The opening scene takes place in New York City, as our heroine is in a cab going from JFK airport to downtown Manhattan. The only reason I have such a problem is because the animators did such a bang up job in going into so much detail. They tried so hard in trying to be accurate that they made one HUGE, glaring error that almost threw me off for most of the movie. Take a look at the sign on the left:

what's wrong with this picture?
Eden of the (Long Island Expressway) West?

“But Omnibus, don’t all American interstate highways ending in even numbers go east-west?” Yes, but the Van Wyck Expressway actually goes north-south: from the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge to JFK International airport. And it certainly does NOT go to Long Island. If they wanted to go to Long Island, they would go in the opposite direction, since they are currently driving on the FREAKIN’ LONG ISLAND EXPRESSWAY! And second of all, what kind of freaking detour did the taxi driver take, since the most direct way from JFK to Manhattan is to take the Van Wyck to the L.I.E. Since this is my neck of the woods, I know the answers, but the bottom line is that it is illegal for cabbies to take roundabout routes.

But I digress. This show is a combination of “24” and “The Bourne Identity.” The male protagonist is young man with amnesia, equipped with an unique cell phone that gives him access with a near-omnipotent assistant, and a huge bank account. He is also a participant in a dangerous game. He must spend that money in his cell phone account to change Japan “as he sees fit.” He is contestant #9 out of 12. Oh yeah, one of those twelve is rumored to work for the puppet master as a “Turk;” one who finishes off a contestant when he or she runs out of money. This show has it all: mysteries; terrorist attacks; hackers; a vigilante; and a love interest. This show should more appeal to a younger demographic (ages 10-18) than the adult swim mainstay “Ghost in the Shell.”

Although the series is too short to appeal to television networks, the combination box sets should make the series economically affordable to the wallets. That is another reason I recommend this show, so that fans can support the domestic anime industry within a reasonable budget. This series is not one of my favorites of all time. It is not one of the all-time best. It is, however, quite good enough to serve as a gateway series. And since this is one of the rare series that was not based on a manga, it is a series you can show to a manga fan without worry that he or she already read the story (and thus complain how the anime “ruined it.”)


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