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Eden of the East (東のエデン Higashi no Eden) is a Japanese anime television series, which premiered on Fuji TV's noitaminA timeslot on April 9, 2009. Created, directed and written by Kenji Kamiyama, it features character designs by Chika Umino and animation production by Production I.G. Based on an original story by Kamiyama, it is the first original noitaminA series.
A compilation of the TV series, Eden of The East Compilation: Air Communication, had a limited theatrical release on September 26, 2009. Two other theatrical films are planned for release. The first movie was released in Japan on November 28, 2009 while the second movie will be released on March 2010. The anime TV series has been licensed for release in North America by Funimation Entertainment.
On November 22, 2010, ten missiles strike against uninhabited areas of Japan, claiming no victims. This apparent terrorist act is referred to as "Careless Monday" and disregarded by most people. The series begins three months later, with a young Japanese woman named Saki Morimi visiting Washington D.C. as part of her graduation trip. When she gets into trouble, a mysterious Japanese man, who introduces himself as Akira Takizawa, helps her through it. The man appears to have no memory and is completely naked, carrying only a gun and a cell phone charged with 8.2 billion yen in digital money. The cell phone has the phrase, noblesse oblige ("nobility obligates" in English), printed on it. While they are coming back to Japan, they learn that a new missile has hit their country.
Development and conception
The series was announced in 2008's 23rd issue of Hakusensha's Young Animal manga magazine, denoting Kamiyama's involvement as creator, director and writer and Umino's involvement as character designer. It was further announced that two theatrical films are also planned for the series, which is stated to premiere on November 28, 2009 and March 2010 respectively, after the television series ends its original run. In March 2009, it was also announced that the series would premiere on noitaminA on April 9, 2009. On March 19, 2009, the official website to the series relaunched with a trailer, which announced that the opening theme would be "Falling Down" by English rock band Oasis, while the ending theme was "futuristic imagination" by Japanese band School Food Punishment. On April 9, 2009, the series began its run of 11 episodes, to be followed by two films. Another film will be shown in theaters before the two films. It will be titled Eden of the East Compilation: Air Communication. It is a film retelling of the 11 episode TV series.
- Saki Morimi (森美 咲 Morimi Saki)
- Voiced by: Saori Hayami
- Saki is in her last year in university. She is 21 years old, born on January 6, 1989. After her parents died she lived with her married elder sister and her baby. She visited New York City as part of her graduation trip with her friends and after visiting Washington D.C. alone, she meets Akira Takizawa who helped her out when she threw a coin in the grounds of the White House and is questioned by the police. After noticing that she left her passport in the coat she gave to Akira, she follows him and then decides to go back with him to Tokyo, Japan. She plans to work in the company that her brother-in-law used to work for, because she is ashamed of living off their money. She could only go to college with the aid of her sister and her brother-in-law. Her ability to enhance the value of junk items have been one of the main reasons Eden's success.
- Akira Takizawa (滝沢 朗 Takizawa Akira)
- Voiced by: Ryōhei Kimura
- Seleção No. 9.
- He lost his memory during a brain washing program. He meets Saki Morimi in Washington D.C., appearing naked and only carrying a gun and a cellphone. When he helps her out because she threw a coin in the grounds of the White House and is questioned by the police, she gives him her coat, scarf and hat. He has a very modern cell phone with the phrase "noblesse oblige" printed on it and 8.2 billion yen in digital money credit. When he makes his first call, a female voice claiming to be Juiz answers. She sends him a map that marks an apartment building where he is apparently staying. In his apartment, he finds guns and many different passports which seem to all belong to him. Saki returns after realizing she left her passport in the coat she gave him and the two decide to return to Japan together. According to his passport, he lives in Japan, in Toyosu, his name is Akira Takizawa and he was born on January 7, 1989 and is therefore 21 years old making him one day younger than Saki Morimi.
Eden of the East
Eden of the East started out as a small recycling group, but has quickly turned into a springboard for a successful commercial website, thanks to Micchon's revolutionary image recognition engine that resides in Eden website and Saki's ability to improve the value of any item, including junk. Soon, the site's ability to work on phones attracted many people as members, inclusive of students. It has also grown into a popular matchmaking site.
The group however, is small and consists of only a few members who have only recently graduated from college.
- Satoshi Ōsugi (大杉 智 Ōsugi Satoshi)
- Voiced by: Takuya Eguchi
- He is a friend of Saki's and in the last year in university, as well. He went together with her to the graduation trip to New York. He has an unrequited love for Saki and is both suspicious and jealous of Akira Takizawa. After seeing him several times with Saki, he decides to find out more about Akira's past.
- Kazuomi Hirasawa (平澤 一臣 Hirasawa Kazuomi)
- Voiced by: Motoyuki Kawahara
- He appears to be the de facto leader of Eden of the East. However, he admits that he has no inherent talents and that most of the credit to Eden of the East's success belongs to Micchon and Saki. His ultimate goal is to create a paradise for NEETs.
- Micchon (みっちょん)
- Voiced by: Ayaka Saitō
- Real name Mikuru Katsuhara (葛原 みくる Katsuhara Mikuru).
- Micchon is a very shy girl, who is only open and frank when around people she is close to. She is apparently a genius programmer, as she is the person who programmed Eden of the East's image recognition software.
- Onee (おネエ lit. Sister)
- Voiced by: Kimiko Saitō
- Onee appears to be an older member of the club.
- Haruo Kasuga (春日 晴男 Kasuga Haruo)
- Voiced by: Hayato Taya
- Kasuga is Ōsugi's friend, and seems to possess a great insight into the qualities of others. For some unknown reason, he hides under a desk during club meetings.
Twelve individuals (including Akira) are each given 10 billion yen by the mysterious Mr. Outside for them to spend. This huge sum is in digital currency only and cannot be exchanged for real world money. The Seleção are allowed to spend the money how they see fit, but they must make use of the money to find a way to "save" the country. The supporter who is hiding as one of the Selecao will be sent by Mr. Outside himself, to assassinate one of the other participants if they try to escape, use the money wrongly or fails with his/her mission to help society; it is also mentioned that when one of them successfully "saves" Japan, the other remaining ones will be eliminated as well, regardless of their less than complete successes. The name comes from the Portuguese word "Seleção" (Selection).
- Daiju Mononobe (物部 大樹 Mononobe Daiju)
- Voiced by: Atsushi Miyauchi
- Seleção No. 1.
- The mysterious man seen in the red car at the beginning. He appears to be collaborating with Yuuki and is not afraid to take morally questionable actions such as running down "Panties". He is one of the executives of the ATO Institution and is the one who reveals to Takizawa about Mr. Outside and Takizawa's past. His ultimate ambition is not only to win the game, but to replace Mr. Outside himself. In the King of Eden movie, he is assigned by the Japanese police Public Security Dept to begin an internal investigation of the Eden of the East group, which has been involved with Akira Tanizawa's activities. Using his connections with the government, he intends to pass the "100% Inheritance Tax Bill" in order to combat Akira's plan with the NEETs.
- Jintarō Tsuji (辻 仁太郎 Tsuji Jintarō)
- Voiced by: Kōji Yusa
- Seleção No. 2.
- Another Selecao working with Mononobe and Yuuki. He seems to care very little about Mr. Outside's "game" and wishes simply for it to be over as soon as possible. He claims he has not spent any of the 10 billion yen he was given. In the King of Eden movie, he begins to make his move, by making Tanizawa the main figure of a major trend and idol. He is responsible for marketing Tanizawa as the "Air King", with advertisements and merchandise depicting Akira's pose while averting the missile crisis. Ultimately he plans to have Tanizawa sacrificed as a martyr and hero of Japan. He is eliminated from the game when Mononobe destroys his trailer.
- Yūsei Kondō (近藤 勇誠 Kondō Yūsei)
- Voiced by: Hiroshi Shirokuma
- Seleção No. 4.
- A detective in Japan. After spending almost all of his money without accomplishing the mission given by Mr. Outside, he steals Akira's cellphone in order to take possession of his cash, but his plans are thwarted when he is informed by Juiz that a Selecao's money can only be used by its rightful owner. He is then killed by his wife while attempting to return the phone to Akira, but manages to warn him of how dangerous the game is before dying.
- Hajime Hiura (火浦 元 Hiura Hajime)
- Voiced by: Shinji Ogawa
- Seleção No. 5.
- Hiura is a 52 year old former talented doctor specializing in neurosurgery. Due to an accident, his hands are unable to be used in surgeries that require precise accuracy and eventually resigns. Based on a former thought that the number of patients a doctor can help are limited, Hiura uses the cellphone to aim for the ideal treatment for all illnesses. He is eliminated by the Supporter after spending all of his money, and although he failed to save Japan, he tells Akira that he succeeded in his own mission. In The King of Eden movie, we´ll discover that the Supporter didn´t kill him; instead he brainwashed him.
- Taishi Naomoto (直元 大志 Naomoto Taishi)
- Voiced by: Hiroyuki Yoshino
- Seleção No. 6.
- Naomoto appears in The King of Eden movie. He suddenly appears to Akira and Saki, claiming to want to aid Akira in his goals. He intends to film the "ideal movie" with Akira and Saki as the main characters. For that reason, he causes them a lot of problems, especially for Saki, because he figures that the prince will come to save 'the damsel in distress'.
- Ryō Yūki (結城 亮 Yūki Ryō)
- Voiced by: Masakazu Morita
- Seleção No. 10.
- The perpetrator responsible for the missiles fired on Careless Monday. Despite this, Yuuki is very meek and shows hesitation when forced to assist in the silencing of "Panties". He works for Mononobe as they have similar goals. Yuuki's motivation for Careless Monday was as an act of revenge against the society he hated. He was forced to work to support his ill parents and felt cheated by the system. In The King of Eden movie, he breaks his phone, in a bid to evade Mononobe who is tracking him, resulting in his elimination from the game.
- Kuroha Diana Shiratori (白鳥・D・黒羽 Shiratori Daiana Kuroha)
- Voiced by: Rei Igarashi
- Seleção No. 11.
- Shiratori is president of a model agency by day; however by night she is actually a serial killer. She uses the cellphone to clean up evidence of her murders and cover up her crimes. She kills men by severing their penises ("Johnnies") with a cigar cutter. However, she only targets men who have victimized women, like rapists, and it is implied that she had been a victim herself, inspiring her current actions as a Selecao. In The King of Eden movie, she allies with Akira, saving him from various problems. She is eliminated from the game when she shields Akira´s trailer from a missile launched by Mononobe with her trailer.
- Seleçao No. 12
- The identity of this Seleçao isn´t known. He was the responsible of frustating Mononobe´s plans to become Mr.Outside spending his first money deposit on changing Juiz's location. Mononobe says No.12 is The Supporter, even possibly Mr.Outside too. He´s eliminated from the game in The King of Eden movie when Mononobe destroys his trailer.
- Asako Morimi (森美 朝子 Morimi Asako)
- Voiced by: Kaya Matsutani
- Saki's elder sister. Works at the family bakery - "Sangetsu Pan". After her parents died, she and her husband took care of Saki.
- Ryūsuke Morimi (森美 良介 Morimi Ryūsuke)
- Voiced by: Mantarō Iwao
- Saki's brother-in-law, whom Saki had a crush on.
- Juiz (ジュイス Juisu)
- Voiced by: Sakiko Tamagawa
- A mysterious female voice who is connected to the twelve Selecao. She gives them information and provides for their requests to be answered, from bribing authorities to assassination orders. Her name comes from the Portuguese word for "Judge". It should be noted that the cellphones used to contact Juiz have a sword and a scales, which are symbols (normally used in courts) for justice and law. In episode 10, it is revealed that Juiz isn't an actual person, but an advanced artificial intelligence.
- Mr. OUTSIDE (ミスター・アウトサイド Misutā Autosaido)
- An unseen and mysterious character who chooses twelve Japanese citizens as Selecao and gives them the special "Noblesse Oblige" phones. Mr. OUTSIDE gives the Selecao their mission to bring stability to Japan in whatever manner they wish. However, he will send a "Supporter" to kill any Selecao who uses up their money before they can complete their mission. The "Supporter" will also eliminate any Selecao who breaks any of the "rules" established by Mr. OUTSIDE, which include acting purely for self-interest or simply doing nothing with the phone for an extended period of time. Mononobe strongly believes that Mr. OUTSIDE is actually Saizō Atō (亜東 才蔵 Atō Saizō), a powerful businessman who helped build postwar Japan. Takizawa also noted that "Ato Saizo" is a pun for the Japanese pronunciation of "Outside." It is possible that Mr. OUTSIDE/Ato may already be dead, or may even be the mysterious Supporter himself.
- Yutaka Itazu (板津 豊 Itazu Yutaka)
- Voiced by: Nobuyuki Hiyama
- A prodigious yet reclusive hacker that the Eden club nicknamed "Pants" (in the British English sense of underwear, from which the Japanese loan word pantsu is derived) based on an alternate reading of the Kanji in his name. Once an engineering student, Yutaka became a recluse after losing his only pair of pants. Takizawa offers him Kondo's Selecao phone to aid in his investigation of the events surrounding Careless Monday. He was run down by Selecao I and X in their car, and was presumed dead, but is shown in episode eleven in a hospital recovering from his wounds.
- Original concept, script, director: Kenji Kamiyama
- Original character designs: Chika Umino
- Character design: Satoko Morikawa
- Music: Kenji Kawai
- Chief animation director: Satoru Nakamura
- Art director: Yusuke Takeda
- Animation production: Production I.G
The Japanese release of the first DVD volume debuted on July 29, 2009 in 23rd place on the Oricon video charts, with 4,394 copies sold. The first volume of the Blu-ray Disc release was released on the same day, and debuted in 7th place on the SoundScan Japan Blu-ray charts. The series has won numerous awards since its release, including the TV Feature Award at the 2009 Animation Kobe festival and the best television series of the year award at the ninth annual Tokyo International Anime Fair.
The series received high marks for its first episode in the Anime News Network Spring 2009 Preview Guide. Reviewers Theron Martin, Carlo Santos, and Casey Brienza each gave the first episode a rating of 4.5 out of 5, while Carl Kimlinger rated it a 5 out of 5. In his review, Martin wrote that "this is not your normal anime series. If you're looking for the new season's most unusual entry, something well departed from all of the game adaptations, shonen action series, and cutesy romances, this one is it." Additionally, he praised the artistic aspects of "outstanding background art, appealing character designs, highly likeable lead characters, and a unique closer." He concluded that "this one does everything it can to draw viewers in with its first episode and get them to want to keep watching, and many will." Santos commented that "there's only one reason this episode falls short of perfect: it's not until the end that the story really takes off", but also pointed out the "slick, expressive animation." Brienza started her review saying "Well, what the heck; might as well be blunt right from the get-go: I loved it," but criticized the "hackneyed plot" and claimed it "has been ripped whole cloth from a Robert Ludlum novel." Ludlum is known as the author of The Bourne Identity. Her praise related to "the scrupulous, realistic detail of the Washington D.C. setting" and the "gentle, whimsical innocence" of "Chica Umino's character designs", as well as "the scatological humor... and tender hopes of the heroine" which reminds me a lot of Hayao Miyazaki." Kimlinger, while admitting "I am not a fan of Kenji Kamiyama", stated the episode was "a weird and charming start to a weird and charming show." He wrote that "the first few minutes of Eden are some of the funniest in recent memory", and commented that "both leads have a conspicuous excess of likeability, and Kamiyama displays a mastery of smiling humanism that would have been unthinkable earlier in his career." Like Brienza, he pointed out that "the debt Eden owes to The Bourne Identity is considerable", but concludes that "the result is, in a word, superb."
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