Review: Eden of the East – Paradise Lost
With Mononobe turning up the stakes in the game to determine the final seleção left standing, Takizawa returns to Japan to face public scrutiny as a terrorist, as well as the widowed wife of the man who is apparently his father. Meanwhile, the East of Eden group goes to work to assist him, with Saki going on possibly the most important mission of all – the one to find Takizawa’s mother.
If there’s one continually and consistently disappointing aspect of anime, it’s this: series seldom end satisfactorily. Even a good series can have an average ending. There are exceptions to the rule (Cowboy Bebop comes instantly to mind), and Paradise Lost is one that can be added to this list.
The second original movie in the series begins where the last (King of Eden) left off, with Takizawa and Saki about to return to Japan. The situation isn’t happy – although he is returning as a hero to some, the government views him as a terrorist. Add to that an angry widower of the ex-prime minister’s, the ever-conniving Mononobe, and a heavily-monitored East of Eden group, and the finale of the series begins right where George Lucas said it should – the characters are in the worst situation possible and must now work out of it.
While the movie continues to exhibit Eden of the East’s strengths – interesting characters, smart writing, beautiful and detailed settings, and great animation (the opening sequence is particularly stunning in Blu-Ray) – this film helped me realize what has all along been the series’ best aspect: mystery. We never know where it’s going, and the places the show and movies take us are inventive and, in the world created by Kenji Kamiyama, always plausible. The great thrill for many fans will be this, though – many of the questions in the series are answered, though in Kamiyama’s typically unexpected ways.
We know that Takizawa will initiate another creative plan to get out of all this, and although I don’t think the finale reaches the heights of that in the final episode of the series, it’s more fulfilling in a way. Heavily symbolism comes into play, particularly in the final minutes of the movie (see my post on this for spoilers). And though the movies ends with the possibility of future installments, it’s an ending that I think will also leave viewers feeling fully satisfied if this really is the final note. If it is, there’s no better way for the series to go out, ending as it always has – with a bit of passion, a bit of depth, and a whole lot of mystery.