Anime fans will probably know this show, but for pretty much everyone else, this series flew well under the radar. Which is kind of sad, as Eden of the East is a great show to introduce people to anime with. Especially if they are James Bond or Ludlum fans, since the show is similar in a lot of ways.
For those who have never heard of it, Eden of the East is about a Japanese University student named Saki, who goes to Washington D.C. for her graduation trip. While admiring the White House, she meets a Japanese man named Akira, who shows up totally naked and waving around a gun. From there, things get weird.
Turns out, Akira has amnesia, so he has no idea how he got outside the White House with a gun and no clothes on. His only other possession is a cell phone he can access eight billion in Yen through, as well as a support system that will grant him anything he wants, for a price.
Saki and Akira quickly learn that he is part of a game, with twelve players attempting to prove they can save Japan, at the behest of an unknown benefactor. If they run out of money, though, they die, so the race is on to find out who Akira was, how he got involved in this game, and what he can do to save an entire nation from an uncertain future, and some of the other players in the game.
Eden of the East was written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama, the man who brought us Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex, so right there, you know it’s going to be a wild ride through philosophical ideology, which it totally is.
Even more amazing is how well the opening credit sequence captures the essence of the show. For real, this thing is a damn work of art unto itself, which I know I say often, but always when it is completely true.
The staggered images of urban decay cut through with ominous background text sets a visual mood with a brilliant and subtle touch. The carefully placed shots of Saki and Akira as they move amidst a world falling apart highlight them as bright spots in the coming darkness. The fast cuts to the computer generated and surreal imagery make the nature of the game they are caught up in feel more sinister. It’s all very well put together from a visual standpoint.
Laying down “Falling Down” by none other than freaking Oasis as the opening music atop all that, gives the entire sequence an almost dream like quality, one that threatens to tip over into a nightmare at any moment. Which is where this entire opening comes together into art, because that sums up the entire series better than anything else could.
In a world where opening credits are used with less and less frequency to set an actual mood, Eden of the East is an Oasis.
No, I’m not sorry for that.