Eden of the East: The King of Eden, Movie 1 – Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack Review

Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $34.98 US (Blu-ray + DVD)
Running Time: 80 minutes
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Rating: Unrated
Release Date: April 26, 2011

Noblesse oblige, I pray that they continue to make anime this good.

Having been a huge fan of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Eden of the East just proved to me that Kenji Kamiyama is a brilliant mastermind that not only knows how to tell a great story with but also keep his audience hooked with visually dazzling animation and themes that make you think. In Eden of the East: The King of Eden, Saki and Takizawa are back as the fate of Japan rests in the hands of those who continue playing this deadly game.

Movie 1 takes place six months after the events seen in the series as Saki Morimi and Akira Takizawa helped divert a series of missiles heading for Japan and thus stopping a catastrophic event similar to “Careless Monday.” As a result of this action, Takizawa was seen as a savior of Japan and it didn’t take too long before phone cam pictures turned the young man into a global icon people known as the Air King. He’s even on t-shirts and billboards across the world.

However, after their arrest, Takizawa disappeared leaving no real indication of where he went except for the Noblesse cell phone he left behind. Having been interrogated by the authorities, Saki is released but finds herself worried about what has become of Takizawa. Along with her friends who started the Eden of the East website that has become a world-wide phenomenon, they use the Noblesse phone to search for clues. What they find is that not only did Takizawa ask the Selecao consigliore called Juiz to be named the King of Japan but also that he memory be erased.

Oh, there’s another clue that puts in motion the events that will lead to the ultimate goal of the dangerous game all Selecao are playing and that is that he planned on meeting up with Saki again in “their special place” but in New York City. As it turns out, Saki knows exactly what that message means since she carries with her a picture they took together when they first met. So, armed with the strange phone and help from his friends that now includes the master hacker they all call Panties, Saki heads out to the Big Apple.

Of course, her trip to New York City doesn’t go smoothly as her cab driver discovers that she’s carrying a travel bag filled with guns, ammo and grenades. The cab takes off with her purse and the phone, leaving the poor girl stuck outside Grand Central with an open bag filled with weapons and ammo. She makes her escape thanks to a well-timed car accident and finds herself determined to find Takizawa near the spot that is special to them both.

Meanwhile, her friends used the Eden of the East website plus a program that Panties designed to look into the Selecao movements and what they find is actually quite startling. For starters, there are still Selecao still active, one of them being the very sexy Diana Kuroha Shiratori and the mysterious Number Six whose identity cannot be pin-pointed by the group. What they do know is that he might be the one who packed Saki’s bag filled with guns.

We also meet another player in the game, a mystery man who has turned the whole Air King phenomenon into a mass merchandizing empire thanks to his manipulation of the NEETs. There’s also Number One, who has his own agenda that is bringing him closer to winning the game. Each Selecao still counts on the aid of Juiz, who – comically – starts sounding annoyed with the outrageous demands of one of the Selecao that is tailing Saki.

When Saki is finally reunited with Takizawa, she discovers that the rumors of him using Juiz to wipe his memory are all true. Going by another name and working in the city, Takizawa doesn’t even recognize Saki, although she does get him to help her get her purse and phone back. It is thanks to the Noblesse phone that Takizawa starts realizing that Saki might actually be telling him the truth.

Unfortunately, they are being tracked down by more than one Selecao, one of which has cleverly made it out to look as if Takizawa is the illegitimate son of recently deceased Prime Minister of Japan. They get help from the most unlikely person, though, and I won’t spoil things by revealing what happens to said person as a result. What I will say is that things are really heating up as the movie does a brilliant job of setting up the events for the inevitable second movie as Japan is once again in danger.

There’s a lot to The King of Eden despite its 80-minute running time and that says a lot right there but on top of the suspense, meaningful character interactions and the intrigue, there’s a message of hope for a great country striving to be better in tough times. The film contains great dialogue and the animation is simply stunning, especially when it comes to the detailed background. It’s impressive to see New York City animated this beautifully.

Eden of the East: The King of Eden is simply one of the most compelling and convincing animated features that does justice to a series that seems hard to top. Once again, Kenji Kamiyama weaves a story that is intelligent and utterly engrossing that you will find yourself caught up in this mysterious and deadly game all over again. This combo pack has everything you can ask for including an extra feature that recaps the entire series. In other words, there’s no excuse for not picking this one up right away, Eden fans.

BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A+
Six months after the missiles failed to destroy Japan, the young man who is now hailed as a savior has disappeared. Worried that the other Selecao playing the deadly game are targeting Takizawa, Saki heads out to New York City after receiving a message meant for her. When she does find him, though, Saki finds out that the other Selecao are determined to carry out their own plans to win the game.

VIDEO QUALITY: A+
The series looks amazing whether you watch this on Blu-ray of DVD with the gorgeous backgrounds, good CG effects and endearing Chica Umino character designs. This is definitely worth watching on HD if you have a Blu-ray player.

AUDIO QUALITY: A+
The voice acting is topnotch once again no matter if you prefer the original Japanese voices or the excellent English dub cast. Both Jason Liebrecht and Ryouhei Kimura still pull of great performances as Takizawa. Then there’s the amazing score by Kenji Kawai and great sound effects that make this worth watching with a good sound system hooked up.

EXTRAS: A
The extras come in the form of FUNimation trailers, the Movie 1 preview as well as the original TV spots and a neat News Flash tease. Best yet, however, is the “prequel movie” called Air Communication that is more of a lengthy recap of the events from the series with the Japanese voice cast making comments in character.

On top of these extras, it’s good to find that FUNimation has included the DVD version with this combo pack so if you don’t have a Blu-ray player you can always check out the two-DVD version.

OVERALL: A+
For those who loved Eden of the East, The King of Eden is everything you can ask for in a feature film that continues this riveting and compelling tale. This being the first movie in this series, you will find yourself wanting a second movie in this series that is both intelligent and exciting enough to make you a big fan of an original and brilliant animated series.

Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment

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