Eden of the East: Paradise Lost UK Anime Blu-ray Review

Eden of the East: Paradise Lost UK Anime Blu-ray Review Eden of the East returns for one more outing, with Mr Outside emerging from the shadows to finally pick a winner to his little game. Although while it does a good job of tying up all the story’s loose ends, it’s perhaps not the ending you would’ve expected…

What They Say:
The story of political and subversive intrigue in the series finally reaches endgame. Even as the law enforcement net tightens around Saki and her fellow Eden of the East associates over alleged terrorist activities, the complex web surrounding the mysterious Mr. Outside is finally untangled as the remaining Selecao attempt to outmaneuver one another. Takizawa’s memories and identity are also finally revealed including his association with a former Prime Minister and his request to be the King of Eden.

The Review:
Audio:
Audio comes in both English and Japanese language, with both languages in 5.1 Dolby TrueHD surround. I listened to the Japanese track for this review. The movie is heavily focused on dialogue, and as such sticks pretty heavily to the centre of the soundstage – there’s little opportunity to show off with the audio and effects. Simple but effective. There were no obvious encoding issues.

Video:
Video is presented in its original 1.78:1 widescreen format, using the AVC codec at 1080p. As with the TV series itself, video is a strong point, with wonderfully-detailed real-world cityscapes forming the backdrop to the show, but there are some issues with CG (vehicles, mainly) and with shading of backgrounds that spoil the look – corridor scenes in particular were very jarring, with light shadows being done in a way that made me do a double-take to make sure there wasn’t an issue with the encode – but no, it appears to be deliberate, and it does take a while to get used to. Other than that, though, a good-looking movie..

Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Menu:
The main menu’s background is a series of clips from the movie, with some atmospheric background music playing; a replica of the Selecao phone at bottom-right gives options for Play, Scene Selection, Setup and Extras. Selecting an option pops out a small menu with the available options – there’s no animation to these, so it’s all quick an easy to use. No complaints from me.

Extras:
There;s a decent set of extras here: a US cast commentary track, a Visual Commentary on the Eden System (at 1 hour 40 minutes, not something to enter into lightly!), with director Kamiyama’s comments presented by him popping up in-vision to talk about what’s happening; reactions of people watching the movie are also included. An unusual way of doing a commentary, but enjoyable. There’s also a 50-second preview clip for the movie, a TV spot, and FUNimation’s English-language trailers for the original TV series and both movies.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Saki and Akira return to Japan, flying straight into the domestic mayhem that his request to be “King of Japan” has caused. Juiz’s planning to bring about his request has been quite impressive, with no stone left unturned, but it’s the news that he’s the illegitimate son of a former Prime Minister that’s created the biggest stir, with his widow being determined to prove the claims false. Meanwhile, Eden of the East are being targeted by the authorities as a potential terrorist group themselves, making it that much harder for the group to help Akira in his quest; Selecao Number 1′s plans seem to be coming closer to fruition; and Mr Outside himself is finally located, and persuaded by Akira’s actions to finally choose a winner to his little “game”…

There are two ways you could look at the Eden of the East movies, really. The TV series stands complete in the sense that it tells the story of Akira’s search for himself, which the Selecao “game” helps him do – all you really need to know about Akira is there, if that’s all you want. It’s only if the game itself intrigued you that the movies come into their own – King of Eden acts as a stepping-stone to Paradise Lost, doing all the necessary groundwork for the big reveal that comes in this movie. So it’s been built up to provide a lot: the conclusion to a deadly game, whose aim is to secure the future of an entire country.

The finale comes down to two approaches to saving Japan: Selecao Number One is a career civil servant, with plans to restructure the company that would be what you’d perhaps consider to have a quite traditional approach, even if they’re drastic in the scale of what they’d do: more of the same, only fast, if you like. Akira represents the hopes and aspirations of the younger generation, trying to persuade the older generation to step aside, taking their tired approach to running the world with them and letting new ideas take over. Mr Outside is the neutral observer, weighing up the two approaches to decide which one will work the best, and who deserves to be the victory in his high-stakes game.

Be prepared, then, for the big reveal to be a little unexpected, as for all the mystique that surrounds Mr Outside, and all the impressive abilities that Juiz is able to bring to bear for the players, when we finally get to see who’s responsible for it all, it’s considerably more down-to-earth than you might expect. It’s hard to say more without giving out some rather major spoilers, which I don’t want to do – just bear that in mind.

That said, the journey there is Eden of the East at its best. The story moves along at a cracking pace, switching back and forth between Akira’s own actions, with Saki tagging along as best she can (and events move so quickly that she has real trouble keeping up); and the Eden gang’s own efforts, as they take the lead in tracing both Akira’s mother and Mr Outside, making use of the technological wizardry that they have at their disposal. It’s good to see the Eden gang given as much focus as they have been, with them each getting to play their part in unraveling the show’s mysteries – it would have been very easy to make this the Akira and Saki Show, but that urge has been resisted in favour of a true ensemble story, with everyone’s contribution being a necessary part of the whole.

In Summary:
Not much in the way of complaints on the story front, then – it’s perhaps not the ending I would’ve like to see, but it does tie everything from the current ‘game’ up while dangling a hook for it all to be kicked off again should the people behind it have the burning need for a sequel. Eden of the East was always a good idea done well, and Paradise Lost give it an appropriate & enjoyable ending. For fans of the series, it’s a good send-off and well worth seeing.

Features:
Japanese Language 5.1, English Language 5.1, English Subtitles, US Cast Commentary, Visual Commentary on the Eden System with Director Kamiyama Interview, Movie 2 Preview, TV Spot, Eden of the East Series Trailer, Eden of the East “King of Eden” Trailer, Eden of the East “Paradise Lost” Trailer

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: A-

Readers Rating: [ratings]

Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: November 21st, 2011
Running Time: 133 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37″ widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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Eden of the East: Paradise Lost UK Anime Blu-ray Review