Eden of the East Series Review – An Interesting Look At ‘Saving’ A Nation

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Eden of the East Overview:

Eden of the East takes place after an event known as careless Monday (a bunch of missiles hit Japan but there were no casualties).

Saki finds herself travelling in America before beginning her first job. She wants to make a wish but after throwing a coin over a fence in Washington she is confronted by police. A naked man comes to her rescue and ends up travelling back to Japan with her, after taking the name Akira from a whole bunch of passports he found in his house (yeah he has amnesia).

Eden of the East Review:

While I’ve watched the series for this a number of times I haven’t yet watched either of the films that follow on from it (despite having them sitting in the DVD case with the series). I don’t know why I haven’t gotten around to the films although my cheap justification will be that I’m worried that any further explanation of events may very well undermine what is a fairly solid series.

Eden of the East

I decided to write this review after my Top 5 about characters with convenient missing memories because it got me thinking about Akira again. This series is really enjoyable and has some interesting ideas in it, but it kind of lacks cohesion at times.

Because of this, I’ve decided to take a plus/minus approach to Eden of the East. Before I get into that though, just saying that this story has politics, nudity, terroist attacks and some heavy commentary about capitalism.

Plus +

Eden of the East has a compelling story as we see the Selecao (characters armed with a phone and a large amount of money) pursue their own agendas and tasked with the very vague goal of saving Japan. It’s an interesting set up. While it might be compared with Future Diary (unidentified characters with phones competing against one another), Eden of the East takes this in a very different direction.

The stakes aren’t some supernatural god-hood (Future Diary or even Platinum End style) and the phones really don’t achieve anything that cannot actually be achieved with money (and a large imagination that allows for transactions to occur instantly with no miscommunications). I really enjoyed the political aspects of the show as well as the character driven moments between Akira and Saki.


Minus –

Possibly the story is too ambitious. We have multiple characters all trying to achieve this goal (or at least giving lip service to this goal while going their own way) but the focus is firmly on Akira and his interactions with these characters.

So in addition to following Akira on his journey to remember what happened, and achieve his goal, we have other characters sometimes opposing Akira, sometimes doing something totally unrelated to Akira but there’s a thin cross over so that they have some reason for appearing at all, and we also have Saki and her friends who are serving as the everyman in the series so that the storyline doesn’t become too inaccessible. And honestly, with the short run time, some of these characters and developments could have been cut so that more time could have been spent on a central narrative.

Admittedly, it is clearly a stylistic choice to have an ambiguous plot that comes together toward the end but it does make you wonder whether the story could have been enjoyed in a more straight forward manner.

Plus –

Saki is not the oblivious, blank slate female that is getting duped by Akira. Nor is she the damsel in distress. While she isn’t privy to a lot of what happens in the series, she continues to ask questions, to have suspicions, to demand explanations, and when she’s actually convinced of something she takes action. It would be a stretch to say that she is a strong character, but she is a very relatable character.

Uncertain about her future, plunged into a situation beyond her control, crush on a guy that may or may not be trouble, trying to establish clear relationship boundaries with friends and potential but dismissed boyfriends, and going through family issues. Again, the short run time really stops us from delving into any depth with her character, there’s certainly enough there to see her as an interesting character and not a cookie cutter place holder.


Minus –

The rest of Saki’s friends aren’t particularly interesting or developed and given the scope of the rest of the story their moments feel like they are really just in the way. While they do get tied in nicely to the finale of the series, it feels like we could have had less in the group and spent more time learning who they were so that we actually cared about them beyond the fact that they were Saki’s friends.

Plus +

Eden of the East has a really diverse range of settings. We start in America before crossing back to Japan. We see Saki interviewing for a job in an office, the room her friends meet in, the various places Saki and Akira go while travelling around, the shopping mall that Akira apparently lives in, a hospital, hotel, and the list continues.

That said, we never feel lost in this anime. We aren’t just zipping around from location to location. Each place feels meaningful and it feels like the characters are interacting with the world the way people do. We aren’t static and just following the same paths every single day (or at least we like to believe we aren’t), and Eden of the East feels like it understands that.


Minus –

The ending of the series does offer some resolution but the story isn’t finished. The immediate crisis of the series is averted and Akira uses his money for something that seems wholly ridiculous and yet kind of gives the final episode a feeling of finality. As I said earlier, I haven’t watched the movies yet, and it seems like these will continue on and give a bit more closure, but for once I kind of like the ambiguity of this ending.

It really feels like there isn’t going to be a satisfying answer and imaging the possible outcomes has been quite fun. But, it makes it difficult to recommend a series when you know it doesn’t finish in a way that most people would call finished.

Plus +

This series has a great balance of drama, plot movement, character development, and the occasional comedic moment to keep things moving. While it isn’t an anime that reels from one emotion to the next and the tone is fairly level throughout, there is some great writing that keeps the audience engaged. There’s definitely some sad moments but there are also smiles and some really fascinating interactions.


Minus –

A very minor minus. I don’t like the explanation we’re given for how Akira came to have his memory erased. This is kind of a critical plot point and revelation and I just found it kind of blah. It seemed really stupid and unnecessary and yet it is quite obvious the story doesn’t work without Akira having his memory removed.

I really, really wish they’d come up with a better reason as to how we got to that starting point because this is the point that always makes me roll my eyes when I watch this series.

Final selling point: There’s a dog with wings (not real ones unfortunately). That is all kinds of cute.

eden of east.jpg

If you’ve watched Eden of the East, let me know what you think. If you’ve watched the movies let me know if I should get on that right away or whether it’s okay to let it sit for a bit longer.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Top 5: Use of Phones in Anime

Top 5 Use of Phones in Anime

We’ve all seen anime characters using their phones. Whether they are flip phones or the more recently prolific smart phones, characters do love their phones. My list today looks at 5 interesting ways characters use of phones in anime (okay, four interesting uses and one use that just worked well with the story).

These are the uses that stood out to me and felt like they were fairly integral to the story. Please feel free to add your favourite use of phones in anime in the comments below.

Top 5 Use of Phones In Anime

Please Note – There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mention to Haganai for having two characters who both owned phones being completely unable to use them.

Number 5: Yuri on Ice

This is the one that I said wasn’t all that interesting but worked well with the story. All the way through Yuri on Ice the characters used their phones to update where they were, take and post pictures and video and generally stay in contact. It was nice to see these characters simply using phones as part of their everyday rather than having them as a gimmick or an add on.

Plus, the camera rolls and videos stored on the characters phones were used for a fairly significant plot reveal toward the end of the series which would have seemed really lame if we hadn’t seen the characters using their phones all the way along.

Number 4: Mirai Nikki

Yes, future diary. I still don’t know why anyone would keep a diary on their phone but it is the basis for this anime that sets up a death match between diary users and each diary is given a power based on whatever the person was using the diary for. Our main character was recording everything that happened around him but not a thing about himself so his diary shows him the future for everything around him. Good thing his stalker/girlfriend was recording everything about him.

Number 3: Steins;Gate

Who wants to send a text message and change the past? Well, hopefully no-one after seeing the mess it got these characters into. It probably would have been better if they’d had a clue how they’d managed to accomplish building a time machine that could send text messages but even then they probably would have still gotten into the mess by changing world-lines and then having to essentially undo every single change.

Number 2: Noragami

Alright, the phone aspect isn’t very big in this one but I like that a god has been reduced to spraying his number all over town and that he can teleport to the person who has called him. During the first season at least this was one of the many ways this story was made to feel modern. The second season kind of loses a bit of this and that is probably to the show’s detriment.

Number 1: Eden of the East

It absolutely had to be. Phones given to a group of selected individuals with a large amount of money on it and charged with saving the country. What could possibly go wrong? I think it is the operator on the other end who is more extraordinary given pretty much any request can be answered provided they still have enough money.

If it wasn’t for the deadly consequences of participation this would very much be the best phone on this list to have. Aside from the Selecao’s phones though the other characters use their phones to connect and interact. Removing the phones, Eden of the East does not work as a story.

Top 5 Use of Phones in Anime

And that’s my list this week. What do you think about phones in anime?

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Top 5 Survival Anime – Murder Games, Zombies and More

Top 5 Survival Anime

There’s been a seeming resurgence of the survival anime throughout 2021 as we had High Rise Invasion, the recently completed Battle Game in 5 Seconds, and the Fall Season is bringing us Platinum End. There’s been plenty of others as well and for live action you can always jump on the Squid Game bandwagon.

As such, it seemed kind of appropriate timing for me to look at my favourite survival anime and count down my top 5. I will admit, I didn’t stick to just death match games but looked at anime where there was a focus on the character surviving a situation. That said I did consider and leave a few prominent titles off of my list.

What are your top 5 survival anime? Leave a comment below.

For instance Btoom and Deadman Wonderland both didn’t make my top 5 in the end largely because without any kind of resolution in the anime (or even really feeling like we’d gotten to something resembling a reasonable stopping point) they have limited rewatch value unless you really do just like watching anime characters die in painful ways. However, both are actually probably better quality and potentially better stories than some of the titles I did include on my list and fans of the survival genre should probably check them out anyway.

No. 5 Bokurano

Bokurano is a survival anime though your chances of surviving are pretty random.

Bokurano is an anime I have talked about before and it definitely falls into the category of survival anime given the kids who are tricked into piloting the robot know they will die if they are the selected pilot.

However it isn’t just the kids who find themselves needing to find a way to survive as Bokurano puts entire realities on the line and the lives of everyone and everything is at stake in what is seemingly a fairly pointless excuse for a giant robot battle and the worst game of musical chairs ever.

Here murdering your companions won’t do you much good so at the very least we are spared a massacre of 12 year olds (actually I can’t remember how old the kids are but either way that would be tragic).

No. 4 King’s Game

King's Game - Survival Anime

Well, those who have followed my blog for any length of time had to know I was going to include King’s Game on a list of survival anime. It is so bad it is almost hilarious as a group of teens get roped into a game where they receive instructions on their phone that they must complete or suffer horrible punishment (usually horrific death).

I can’t even remember if the worst moment was when they tried to suggest a real world virus somehow became a computer virus infecting mobile phones or whether it was the character who was on fire calmly delivering exposition to the characters who were going to survive after her. There were a number of other equally ridiculous moments along the way.

What I do appreciate about King’s Game is that despite the standard horror trope of knowing that the game will start up again (because there always has to be an opening for a sequel), King’s Game as a series does conclude well enough. This group of characters are mostly dead and there’s been a final confrontation between the two main rivals in the plot. It ends up being pretty satisfying if you can handle how decided b grade (okay maybe c or d grade) the overall anime is.

No. 3 Eden of The East

Eden of the East - Survival Anime

The last thing you expect when you meet a naked man holding a gun while on vacation is that said naked man is actually an amnesiac who is part of the weirdest game ever. Eden of the East has our main character carrying a phone which allows him to access a lot of money and seemingly unlimited ability to spend it to make things happen. Only thing is he is tasked with saving Japan and failure does mean death.

Not to mention there’s a whole bunch of other phone wielding characters, some of which seem very unbalanced, and ultimately surviving is going to depend on out-thinking them in how you creatively use that money and power at your disposal.

Again, this one isn’t just a blood bath or battle royale, but more a situation where really only one character can save Japan. There’s always the question of who is pulling the strings to make his requests happen and how do you place value on something like making a politician say uncle while in parliament?

Anyway, Eden of the East is an intriguing watch and what could have turned into a simple fight for the phones actually ends up being a much more complex and interesting story.

No. 2 Future Diary

Future Diary - Survival Anime

I just realised that 3 of my top 5 survival anime revolve around the use of phones. Anyway, Future Diary or Mirai Nikki is pretty much exactly what you would expect from a survival anime. Here are twelve characters given special powers through their phone diaries (are phone diaries even a real thing?) and now they are going to kill each other in order to become God.

I still wonder about this system because being ruled over by someone ruthless enough to slaughter 11 others on their way to victory doesn’t sound like a positive outcome.

That said, Future Diary is unapologetically violent and boasts some of the most ridiculously over-the-top moments in anime ever. Expect bomb blasts in a school, blood splatter of all descriptions, and one yandere character who still kind of tops the list in Yuno Gasai.

Do not expect anything resembling nuance or subtlety and don’t expect the characters to really get much in the way of growth or development. While they are interesting, the vast majority of the cast are one-note and it works for this survival anime as it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than an excuse for a slaughter.

No. 1 School Live

School Live - Survival Anime

If you haven’t watched School Live I’m about to spoil a reveal that comes at the end of episode 1 and explain why this is my very favourite survival anime.

Still with me?

Okay, School Live is a survival anime in the very strictest sense of the word. Our cute female students are actually the only known survivors of the zombie outbreak and they are sheltering in their school.

The cute contrast between the character designs and the bright fluffy moments where we see their everyday friendship versus the real risk of being attacked by zombies as well as the way this story deals with the mental impact of the horrific situation really does make it something special to watch. While it doesn’t bring the mindless death and carnage of so many other horror or survival anime, it gives us a very human story set in a horrific environment.

Top 5 Survival Anime
These were my favourite survival anime but I’d love to know yours so be sure to leave a comment below.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Tuesday’s Top 5: Characters With Convenient Missing Memories

Tuesday's Top 5

Characters with missing memories are an overused plot device, a cliché, and a cheap way to build a big reveal into a story, and it’s a staple in far too many anime.

That said, not every story built around amnesia (or every character with convenient amnesia) is all that bad. Sometimes this well established storyline is delivered well and it is these small miracles that convince other writers to try and duplicate the efforts leading to such an oversaturated field.

However, this probably isn’t a list of the best characters but rather the ones where I actually enjoyed finding out what they had forgotten. As always, it’s entirely subjective and I invite you to give your own suggestions below.

Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned.

Honourable mentions this week go to: Tuxedo Mask (Sailor Moon), and Tada Banri (Golden Time). I love these characters but they didn’t make the final cut (nor did 07 Ghost, Hitsugi no Chaika and a whole slew of other titles where characters have convenient missing memories).

Character with Missing Memories Number 5: Yashiro Isana from K

As someone accused of murder and with more than one group of people out to kill him, it would probably help is Yashiro Isana remembered who he was or what he’d been doing.

The fact that his amnesia was imposed on him from outside (with the best of intentions) makes him interesting as most anime characters just seem to have missing memories from either shock or blunt force trauma.

The other reason I like Yashiro is that it is only through him having no recollection of events that he is able to ask the questions the audience needs answered. And yes, this definitely falls under the category of cheap plot device, but imagine being dropped into K without a clueless protagonist to ask all those questions. The audience would be even more lost than most of them are when watching the show.

Besides, I find him a genuinely likeable individual as he floats along through his narrative and slowly finds the missing pieces of his memories.


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Live a Live – RPG Game

Character with Missing Memories Number 4: Zwei from Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

Of all the characters on the list, Zwei from Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, is the only one I actually feel sorry for. He was an ordinary tourist who witnessed something he shouldn’t and then got kidnapped, had his memories erased, and was forced to become an assassin.

While eventually his missing memories return, this is (at the time) more a curse than a blessing as it only reinforces that he’s gone too far down the road of an assassin to return to his normal life.

His identity and his future become very muddled for a fairly long time. Zwei is definitely more of the blank slate amnesiac than Yashiro, but despite limited interactions with other characters, he still manages to leave quite an impression. His development when contrasted with equally blank slate character Ein is really interesting to watch.

Character with Missing Memories Number 3: Akira Takizawa from Eden of the East

Akira’s amnesia is entirely self-inflicted, or so we learn as the story progresses. Quite why his former self thought this would help the situation is never really made clear, but his current self is forced to try to learn more about what is going on and what he needs to do now.

Eden of the East is just an interesting story and much like K, the main character having to learn about the rules of the game from the ground up really is the only reason the plot is accessible to the audience without lengthy expositions that seem to serve no purpose.

So, definitely a plot device, but also a fundamental part of Akira’s character. He felt cornered enough to have his own memories erased. It leaves you seeing his character in a very different light. It also casts some shadows over his growing relationship with Saki as you can never tell what is really going on in his head.


Character with Missing Memories Number 2: Yuuko from Dusk Maiden of Amnesia

Right from the title, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, you know that this one is about a character who has missing memories. The fact that the character is a ghost who is rumoured to haunt the school makes it a little bit different but that by itself isn’t enough to really add Yuuko to the list.

While this is a big spoiler, Yuuko’s amnesia is caused by her essentially denying anything bad ever happening to her. She literally throws off any bad memory to a shadow version of herself. And boy does she not want to confront these memories.

I really enjoy watching Yuuko and the way she interacts with the human characters (those who can see her at least) but she isn’t exactly demonstrating a healthy approach to dealing with trauma.

Character with Missing Memories Number 1: Chiyuki from Death Parade

I think I like Chiyuki from Death Parade the most because even though she has lost her memories, it isn’t the crutch for the entire plot. Everyone who visits the bar has missing memories. Chiyuki knows things aren’t right and she puts a lot of things together on her own, but even without direct memories, she is most decidedly a complete character.

She isn’t stumbling around trying to figure out who she is and what’s right and wrong. At times you even forget that there’s anything missing. Which fits in with the theme of the show of trying to determine who people are at their core. When the truth is finally revealed it is more a natural next step rather than a shocking revelation which makes this character feel more like a real person than a plot device.

Finally, it is Chiyuki’s developing relationship with Decim that is just a pure joy to watch in an otherwise fairly dark show, that allowed her to top my list of anime characters with missing memories.

So, which character would you choose to add to the list? I’d love to know.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James