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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Higashi no Eden: Know Your Action

"The strangest romantic sci-fi, conspiracy, terrorism story that I would remember the most."


If coincidence is a real fate, then I will include this anime as part of my fate. It is quite strange that after receiving a news of capturing terrorist, somewhere in Indonesia, I found the anime called Higashi no Eden (translated: East of the Eden) which actually referred to a group of young people whom developed a recycling group and end up making website and social internet community that mostly was signed up by students.

However, the story was not about their struggle of making their bussiness. It was about a game of life where Akira, who had amnesia, found himself as terrorist. Very interesting to see Japanese put themselves as terrorist, somewhere in America. Taken 2010 as where the story was started, Saki visited Washington DC during her graduation trip. As she was suspected because of her action (throwing coins to the White House's garden) by polices, a naked man with gun and cellphone came to rescue her. This man, later picked 'Akira' as his identity from his many passports.

Akira decided to returned to Japan and found out about the 'Careless Day' which happened 3 months before, a day that Japan was 'attacked' by terrorist using missiles, or so it was believed. Strangely, there was no victims. That event evidently was connected to Akira as he was 'number IX' of a game where 12 person was selected and must play as a Messiah or savior. These people were labeled as Selecao. But one between them was also a Supporter who must kill any of them if they disobeyed the rules, use the money inappropriately, or one of the player win the entire game. The game itself was about to save Japan from injustice (if you take a serious look to the logo) and each player had virtual 10 million yen to use for that.

The meeting of Akira with 'Number IV', 'Number XI', and other Selecao, surely helped him to track his past and also the truth behind the game itself. However I left this part for you to watch by yourself ;)



Very Morita, Very Honey & Clover!

Seeing Akira, I was shocked. His profile was very close to Morita from Honey and Clover, thus, of course, by seeing in a second, I just knew Umino Chika was involved. I thought it was her story but then found out that Kamiyama Kenji was the brain of the story. I was almost praised Umino if she really wrote the story because this was way too different from her style. A story where terrorism, cyberworld, and romance were told in one place would be too superb for her but if she really did,... wow..

Meanwhile Kamiyama was quite known well with his involvement to some famous anime such as Jin Roh (ahem, my favorite) and Blood: The Last Vampire (ahem, another favorite), and Ghost in The Shell (aheeem, also my favorite!). So I could see the influence of those anime to his work.

Other character was also reminded me to Honey and Clover. It was Hirasawa Kazuomi. His profile was so much resemble to Mayama. The glasses and his calm character was so much close to Mayama. Akira himself, somehow, had some same quality to Morita. Even seeing Saki had reminded me to Ayumi Yamada in shorter height but with characteristic of Hagumi. For this part, I would say that Umino had failed to broaden her imagination. However, her quality to create beautiful characters were still superb.



The Beauty, The Romance

If you're not a conspiracy story lover, then at least, enjoy the beautiful panorama graphic of this anime. It is surely beautiful. It is like Darker than Black was set in Honey and Clover. It has every quality from both anime: comedy, mystery, conspiracy, gloom, and sadness.

The second beauty you must recognize is the music. Not only the theme songs but also the background music. The opening had involved OASIS and for the scores was worked by Kawai Kenji. Lol, again, Kawai-sensei!

The anime is surely not stop at chapter 11. The 2 movies are confirmed to be aired on this year and 2010. I'm looking forward to see it.



The Strange Stuff..

I believed it has no relation to our real life terrorism, but I was quite surprised that the room of Number XI had spent in the hotel was number 1109. Of course this is - somehow - as if trying to remind us to the tragedy of 9/11. To the recent bombing act that I know, the terrorist who blown Ritz-Carlton/Marriot in Indonesia took room 1808 to prepare their action (later, official said that the terrorist planned to bomb the president houses on 8/18 on this year). Is Kamiyama able to read a terrorist mind or it just a common that terrorist would think that way? I mean, would it just common that terrorist tried to symbolize their action through number? Or Number XI had her own reason of taking that room? Another thing that almost out of my attention but then thrilled me a little -- was the shopping mall's shop named 'Indonesia'. Was it only coincidence because Indonesia was quite fame in Japan (I mean... Bali mostly...)? Was it because some bombing happened in Indonesia, mostly right after 9/11?

What kind of message that Kamiyama wants to deliver, I'm exciting to know.



Conclusion

For a story which began with terrorism issues and turned into conspiracy story, I think this anime is awesome. I don't think there were any anime which took terrorism as background as real as Higashi no Eden. Somehow, Kamiyama tried to bring reality into animation and for me it is so refreshing also thoughtful.

Though the story was not as dark as Ghost in The Shell, some important messages was delivered: taking responsible to kill, yet taking responsible as terrorist had a lot of consequences. You're not about to take one random person's live, you're not about having some idealism behind your action, you're not about to create a new world. Rather than killing, you can save 20.000 people, especially if you have 10 million yen in your hand..



Some recommendation:

If you like a kind of conspiracy story, please also watch: Jin Roh, Darker than Black, Ghost in The Shell, Appleseed, Black Cat, Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohaninohoheto, Samurai 7, Blood+
If you like some kind of 'terrorist' story, then Naruto, Code Geass and Gundam Wing 00. What I mean here is... Lelouch of Code Geass let himself known as terrorist, while Celestial Being in Gundam Wing 00 was labeled as intruder by other party. For Naruto, don't you think Akatsuki is acting as terrorist...? o_O

Reading source is Wikipedia:
Eden of the East
Honey and Clover
Kenji Kamiyama

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