Friday, 17 April 2009

Eden of the East - Episode 2

Although I had my reservations before I started watching it, the opening episode of Eden of the East managed to tick all of the boxes that enabled it to keep my interest and then some. Before you ask no, numerous scenes features a naked man wasn't a box that required ticking in case you were wondering.

While this second episode of the series starts to give us a few clues and snatches of information about exactly what is going on with "Akira", the overall plot and storyline remains veiled in plenty of intrigue and mystery. What we do learn however is that "Akira" has 8.2 billion Yen available on his phone which he apparantly has a "responsibility" to spend, and also that Juiz, the mysterious woman who he can call upon at any time, can do anything that he wishes. Juiz also refers to "Akira" as a messiah and a priviledged person - Well, with 8.2 billion Yen in his pocket she probably has a point.

The trouble is, it appears that "Akira" isn't the only one in this position, as we're also introduced in this episode to a detective with the same phone as our male protagonist, who appears to be having a few debt problems, and who certainly isn't afraid to use Juiz's help to the fullest of its abilities.

All of this occurs against the backdrop of a Japan that has recently suffered a fresh missile attack, one which has this time downed a plane, a far cry from the previous attack where ten missiles hit Japan but not a single person was killed - An event now known (in that wonderfully understated Japanese way) as "Careless Monday", and a rather eerie topic for this show in a month where North Korea has tested a missile with the ability to hit Japanese soil quite easily. Speaking of such things, Eden of the East also has no qualms about referencing 9/11 freely, even discussing the Freedom Tower which will replace the destroyed World Trade Centre towers thanks to its near-future setting.

Despite all of this intrigue and mystery however, where this episode really succeeds is in the dynamic which exists between "Akira" and Saki, which works brilliantly on so many levels. While "Akira" is the one with no memory, he frequently appears to be the more astute of the pairing, while despite having a complete and functioning memory Saki remains a bit of an enigma to us as viewers at the moment, which serves to create a real bond between the two of them, and as a result to us watching too. It's all pretty subtle, but it really works for me, adding the icing to the already fascinating cake that is Eden of the East. To be honest, I really can't wait to see some more of this show as I'm truly intrigued by where it's trying to take us.


Anonymous said...

Good analysis of the show and dynamic. I was also impressed with the subtle way 9/11 was used.

I liked the way it implied the detective's phone did not give him superpowers - it looked like the shots were coming from the car behind him...

Very interesting and stylish show!

Paul said...

You were absolutely spot on when you write that 'where this episode really succeeds is in the dynamic which exists between "Akira" and Saki'

There was more meaninful conversation between the 2 characters in one episode than you would probably see in an entire series.

Things I learn from Ep 2:

- It will cost you 100,000 Yen to get privileged clearance at the airport.
- A memory wiping program cost 900 yen
- It cost 100,000 yen to kill someone.

Of cos part of the charm of the series is trying to figure out what is happening with Kondo and Akira. It seems like Akira himself initiated the memory wipe so he must have a reason for doing so. And the man from Ep 1 in the car should also be part of the Selecao's 12 (Akira is #9 and Kondo is #4)

Maybe Kondo just want to kill Akira for his money cos he was down to something like 1,506,380 yen after killing those 3 guys. No wonder he could not afford to pay off his 2 million yen debt.

Despite all these sinister going-ons, the episode is nicely balanced with the chatter and chemistry between Saki and Akira. The conversation they had at the quay was disquieting intimate and engaging. As was the one in the monorail and on the boat. This is good writing.

Saki is without doubt the most charming female character this season. The way she looked at herself in the toilet and wondered if she has smiled more is almost refreshing honest for a female anime character. I love it!

Cailin Coilleach said...

@ Anonymous:

The shots -were- coming from the police car outside the alley. You could even tell by the first shot because the bullet went in'n'out through the side of the head, instead of through the front.

Also remember that Kondo is the -third- Selecao we've seen in the show, not the second. Remember the guy in the red car, in Washington? :)

Me, I'm thinking it's no coincidence that Saki and Akira met. If you're curious about my harebrained speculations, read on.