Eden of the East left a mark on me when it hit our shores last year. The show was powerful with a thought-provoking plot, well-developed characters, and an open ending that really made you think. Ultimately I was satisfied and I'm not ashamed to admit that I power watched the entire eleven episode series the moment the first disc went into my DVD player. Now that some time has passed, FUNimation has released The King of Eden. Does this film add anything else to the series?
Eden of the East: The King of Eden is available in two formats: A two-disc DVD edition, or a three-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. After watching both versions of the film, I can definitely say the Blu-ray edition is the way to go. With that being said the bonus features and quality of the film are similar in both cases; you're just going to get better video and audio with the latter selection.
When The King of Eden picks up we get to see a very depressed Saki, going through the motions working at Eden of the East. It's clear to her friends that she is longing to find Takizawa, and that she's worried about him, but in the six months that he's gone missing there hasn't been much of a peep. Apparently since his request to become King, Juiz has erased his memory and given him a new identity as a Prime Minister's illegitimate son. He's also apparently living in New York City somewhere, and Saki has determined that it's up to her to find him and save him before some of the other Seleção take him out.
Upon arriving in New York, Saki is greeted to a rude awakening. Her suitcase has been stuffed with an armory's worth of guns and grenades, and in the confusing and panic her taxi cab driver winds up leaving with her purse and Takizawa's Noblesse Oblige phone. It's a similar circumstance to the events that set up her initial meeting with Takizawa, and in predictable fashion he soon finds her, despite suffering from amnesia.
As it turns out, Takizawa is being targeted by several other Seleção that are still in the game. They have recognized his attempts at becoming king to win the game, and have stepped up to either create a better idea, or to kill him in the process. Juiz remains impartial in the game and the Seleção use her resources to a great extent. Opposing Takizawa is a filmmaker-turned-savior who has some odd ideas about how things should go, another Noblesse user is attempting to exploit Takizawa's Air King notoriety, and Number 1 fires an end game volley of missiles towards the end of the film.
All told Eden of the East: The King of Eden is rather a riveting film. It's interesting, entertaining, and it compliments the series well. The only problem is that it's merely the first half of a larger finale. Paradise Lost simply isn't available here in the States yet, and that's kind of frustrating when taking this film into perspective. It's rather anti-climactic, and in many cases one could argue that it's a borderline pointless film. The series ended on a fine note that left things open, but definitely guided viewers in the right direction. Let's just hope this new storyline doesn't screw with what's been established too much.
If you were a fan of the series you'll want to pick this film up, since it's a nice continuation. Do keep in mind that it opens up a can of worms for those who were satisfied with the way things went in the eleven episode anime. These kinds of projects almost always have a way of ending on an unnecessary note. I'll reserve that judgment until the second half is release, but for now it's recommended.
Eden of the East: The King of Eden is presented on Blu-ray with its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. With a full 1080p output and AVC-MPEG 4 encoding, the film looks utterly fantastic from an anime standpoint. The colors are bold and vibrant, lines are crisp and clean, and all in all there's really not a lot to gripe about. Some banding occurs here and there, but otherwise the image is free and clear. By comparison to the DVD the Blu-ray is definitely a step up, but since both editions are included here there's something for everyone.
The Blu-ray disc comes with English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks, and as one would expect they sound very good. There's some nice dynamism in the soundstage and the rear channels pick up with plenty of directionality. While it's not the most bombastic track out there, the subtle soundtrack and atmospheric noise added to the experience. Don't expect an action-packed romp through New York and you won't be disappointed. The DVD included here comes with English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks, in case you were interested. They too sound good, though they don't quite hold a candle to the TrueHD mixes.
Despite being a three disc collection the bonus features for this release are rather on the weak side. Some trailers, TV spots, and previews are included here. There is also a 2-hour refresher course version of the series for those who need to be brought up to speed before watching the film.
Ultimately King of Eden is very good, but it's incomplete. Do keep that in mind when picking this up, though that shouldn't deter fans of the franchise. This is a very good film that just unfortunately doesn't stand on its own two feet. The movie does some good things with the characters and the next installment promises a showdown between Takizawa and Number 1, so that should definitely be interesting. Recommended