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Eden of the East (Blu-ray), Early Review
By Marc | October 9th, 2010

Eden of the East… a series that shows love of American film and hope for the future of Japan… and a guy who has misplaced his pants.

A 2009 series that is highly respected for many things, will it be as respected now that it has jumped across the Pacific?

This screener of Eden didn’t come with packaging.

The menu for Eden uses one of the cell phones from the series in its menu (Someday I’ll be able to take menu screencaps, until then… more pictures taken from my phone.)  It’s a well designed menu that has a bit of fun with the design.  Text is clean and readable, and the little submenu pop-ups are used for the main pop-up menu.  It’s a really nice menu.

Eden of the East is a fantastic, well written series.  A young Japanese woman named Saki is visiting the United States for a graduation trip and gets into a bit of trouble near the White House.  Things then take a turn for the strange when out comes…a naked guy, with a cell phone… and a gun.  This young man has amnesia, and his cell phone calls someone who can seemingly do anything he asks. Using the phone he’s able to make his way back to where he lives.   He finds numerous identities and weapons in his apartment.  He takes one of the identities, Akira, along some clothes and decides to go back to Japan with Saki since the various identities he found at his apartment show him as being Japanese.  When he gets to Japan, he discovers 20,000 people went missing, and he may be involved.
That’s a short and overly basic explanation of how the series starts, but with a show based around mystery and intrigue you need to step lightly.  Eden takes much inspiration from numerous American films, some obvious (and outright stated by characters in the series) and some that are hidden just a bit.
The show definitely has a few minor flaws though.  Most of them are just little things you’ll notice and likely won’t even remember when any given episode ends.  The only thing I can even remember is that the name/word ‘Johnny’ is said entirely to much
The series itself will suck you in and refuses to let you go, and when you think it’s ended and is going to slow down for the last few minutes, a wrench of epic proportions is tossed into the mix.  The end of Eden of the East isn’t the end, but rather the beginning, with two films to continue and finish the story.  It’s a great series that will entertain you, and perhaps if you are lucky maybe even inspire you a little bit.  The series tells you with a wink and a nod on a few occasions that that is the goal.

The video quality for Eden is good, but not great.  Eden is 1080p with the AVC codec at 25875 kbps (average bitrate of the first episode.)  The encode itself is quite good.  The level of detail makes me quite sure this wasn’t animated at 1080p though.  720p or 640p seems far more likely.  On the plus side, when Production IG was scaling it to 1080p, they did it properly, so none of the issues from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood appear here.  At times (especially during night scenes) there is some banding and what may be artifacts introduced during the final scaling of the video.  Overall the video quality is quite excellent, and outside of the detail level, it could definitely be mistaken for native 1080p animation.

The audio in Eden of the East is nearly perfect.  Both languages get the now standard lossless audio.  Both audio tracks are identical in quality, and in a bit of an oddity, they even seem identical in loudness… most of the time.  There are small areas where the English track seems to have a bit more low end bass to it (the only place where it’s very noticeable, at least to me, is in the ending theme song.)  Audio comes across as very natural and realistic.  Right below is detailed info on each audio track based on a scan of the first episode (average bitrates).
English Track- Dolby TrueHD Audio (lossless), 5.1, 16-bit, 48 kHz, 2464 kbps (AC3 Core: 5.1, 48 kHz, 448 kbps)
Japanese Track- Dolby TrueHD Audio (lossless), 5.1, 16-bit, 48 kHz, 2507 kbps (AC3 Core: 5.1, 48 kHz, 448 kbps)

Eden has a great dub.  I found every voice to fit the characters perfectly.  The voices most needed to be pointed out would be Jason Liebrecht and Leah Clark as Akira and Sari.  They bring great depth to their characters, but then, everyone in this dub seems to have stepped up.
The dub script is a bit loose, as Funimation scripts often are, but it never seems to change the tone.  Lines are often rewritten to sound more natural and have better flow, but once in awhile details are added (as an example: In the Japanese someone was told he could go home.  In the dub he was told he could go home to his wife and kids.)  They are subtle changes that you likely won’t notice during normal watching.
While not part of the dub itself, it’s worth mentioning that great care seems to have been taken with onscreen text (quite a bit appears at times on cell phone screens.)  Text is always clean and readable, and always is rotated to match the angle of how the Japanese text onscreen appears.  It’s a nice little touch .

For an anime release we get quite a bit as far as extras go, even if there is a noticeable piece missing.  We start off with a few commercials: a 30 second commercial for the DVD and Blu-ray release, and a two minute promotional video for the series as a whole.  After that we get over an hour and a half worth of interviews with various people who worked on the series in Japan (the director, character designer, composer, etc.)  They are a surprisingly large amount of extras we often seem to miss on our releases.
It also needs to be mentioned that despite some legal issues, the show’s original theme is able to be used in the opening, but only for episode one.  They got it on there when it was largely expected it wouldn’t be prior to them announcing it.  Some may be disappointed it only appears once, but I’m happy that it appears at all.  The other episodes use the official ‘international’ opening song.  It needs to be mentioned that for some reason, no clean version of the opening animation appears in the extras.  A clean version of the ending does appear, and it’s quite fun to watch the stop motion animation done with paper.  Overall it’s quite a good collection of extras, even if one obvious bit is missing.

Eden of the East is a great series that will get you to think.  It combines some of the best aspects of American films with anime and comes out with something truly special.  I can’t recommend the series enough.  It’s a series that is very tightly written (being a slightly shorter than average 11 episodes) and the quality of the writing never stops shining.
Show: A (It’s an amazing show, that’s all I can say)
Packaging: N/A
Video Quality: B+ (While likely not produced at 1080, the visual quality is great. The only flaw is a lack of extra detail.)
Audio Quality: A (Sounds great. Both audio tracks are relatively rich.)
English Dub: A (It’s a great dub that is worth a listen even if you hate dubs.)
Extras: B+ (Tons of interviews, just… tons. One missing obvious extra puts a little nick, and the lack of extras from the English crew seem suprising.)
Overall (not an average): A (It’s just a great show, probably the best dramatic anime I’ve watched in the last year.)
Gallery and copyright information under ad. All caps are lossless PNGs, feel free to request more. (Caps are 1920×1080 matching the resolution they are stored on disk, and meant to be viewed at.)
Eden of the East is available to watch streaming for free at Hulu and Funimation Video. The first episode is embedded near the top of this review subtitled for your convenience and enjoyment. The streaming copy of episode 1 uses the international opening song.
This show was reviewed using a screener without retail packaging.
This Blu-ray is labeled to work in Region A and Region B on the disks.
Fanboy Review is currently running a contest for three copies of the Klutz Book of Animation, which teaches you how to make stop motion animation (and provides some tools to help you.) Enter the contest here!



Eden of the East- Licensed by Fuji TV through FCC to Funimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.


Categories: Anime Review, Early Looks, Reviews, w/ Anime Episode
  • http://www.mangatherapy.com Manga Therapy

    I truly believe the series is inspiring. Particularly towards the NEETs. There’s a strong focus on Japanese youth to actually make something of themselves. I hope the movies come out here soon.

    I took a look at the potential of NEETs from my observation of the series, which you can read at: http://www.mangatherapy.com/post/1423933181/eden-of-the-east

    Kudos to Kamiyama for making a really interesting series!

  • Vic

    A very thorough review. Thanks, Marc.

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