In addition to the 11 episode TV series, Eden of the East also has two follow-up movies: King of Eden and Paradise Lost. Unlike most anime movie spinoffs, the Eden movies are both necessary since the TV show doesn’t properly conclude the story. The immediate conflicts are resolved, but several plot points are left unexplained until the movies. The movies are really more of a second season to the TV show than two separate movies since they assume complete familiarity with the TV series and continue the plot right from where it leaves off, which is why I’m reviewing them together with the TV show.
Eden of the East is one of the most fundamentally Japanese anime I’ve ever seen. It’s not told in a particularly Japanese style and doesn’t have many Japanese characters, but it’s full of social commentary that is clearly directed at a Japanese audience. Eden of the East addresses many uniquely Japanese social issues that just wouldn’t be familiar to most non-Japanese viewers, and understanding those issues is an important part of understanding the show itself. I don’t normally do this, but I’ll be splitting this review into two parts since there’s too much to say about it in one post and keep it at a reasonable length.
One Piece Film: Z is a hard act to follow. It was an excellent shounen movie that was very popular in the One Piece fandom, so it only makes sense that Gold would be compared to it. The big question going in is always going to be “is it as good as Z?” The short answer: not quite, but that doesn’t really matter. Gold may not be quite as good as Z, but it’s still an excellent movie.
It can’t be understated how influential Madoka Magica was on the magical girl genre. It didn’t invent the idea of “magical girls but dark” but it certainly popularized it. Since then, there have been plenty of anime that have taken influence from Madoka, some good, some not. The existence of Madoka means that Magical Girl Raising Project risked coming off as just another Madoka ripoff. Thankfully, it wasn’t. It was an Akame ga Kill ripoff. I’m joking, of course, but the two have a fair number of similarities, and not in a good way.
Mokoto Shinkai’s been a huge name in the anime community lately. Scarcely a week goes by without some news about Your Name. breaking some record or opening in a new country. While Your Name. is the only Shinkai anime to get any kind of mainstream attention, it’s not the only great Shinkai anime. Back in 2002, Shinkai made an OVA called Voices of a Distant Star that I’ll be looking at today.
Very few anime directors can even come close to matching Hiyao Miyazaki’s fame. Even people who know nothing about anime know about Miyazaki’s work, and for good reason. His films are the perfect combination of quality and accessibility and vary from good to outright amazing. Princess Mononoke is definitely the latter.
Serial Experiments Lain is weird. Not in the way Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is weird with random comedy and unfamiliar cultural references. Serial Experiments Lain is weird in the End of Evangelion style of weirdness: abstract symbolism and striking imagery mixed with a story that values theme and atmosphere over a clear narrative. When I say weird, I don’t mean it in a negative way; I’m just using it as a descriptive term. There’s really no other way to describe it in a single word. It’s weird.
Warning: This review contains minor spoilers for post-timeskip One Piece and the movie should not be watched until after the Fishman Island Arc.
Most shonen spinoff movies fall into one of two categories: recaps of previous arcs or moderately entertaining side-stories that aren’t as good as the original. That doesn’t make them bad, but they rarely impress. One Piece Film Z is a rare exception to that rule.
The isekai (parallel world) subgenre is one of the most common subgenres in anime and light novels now. All that’s really required is for it to have a main character transported into a fantasy world, which is pretty easy to do. The problem is that a lot of isekai anime end up as pretty generic wish fulfillment shows. That’s what Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World,- more commonly known as Re:ZERO, seems like at first, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Orange was a show that many people went into with high expectations. Based on a popular manga, it had already gotten a live-action movie and was one of the most anticipated anime of the season. The end result didn’t quite live up to expectations, but still managed to be one of the better shows of the season.