Eden of the East: Paradise LostOverview -
This review may contain spoilers concerning 'Eden of the East: The Complete Series' and 'Eden of the East: The King of Eden.' As such, those who have not seen those titles would be advised to skip ahead to the technical portion of this review.
The intrigue boils over in Eden of the East: Paradise Lost, the feature-length conclusion of a truly one-of-a-kind anime saga. Accused of terrorism and feeling the heat, Saki's high-tech crew is in the crosshairs. Meanwhile, the shroud of mystery covering Takizawa is lifted as he and his fellow Sele??o make their final moves. Every game must come to an end. For those playing Mr. Outside's twisted game of conspiracy thrills, the end comes now.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
After the eleven episode series and first film adaptation of 'Eden of the East,' I had a number of questions going into the final part of the journey, the all-too predictably named 'Paradise Lost.' Sadly, due to how generic and uninteresting 'The King of Eden' was, not all of these questions were from anticipation, hopes, or curiosities about the complex plot. Even worse, my number one question was whether or not this final entry in the saga would once again give its main character amnesia, since both other releases had done so. Would we meet the master of the game, the mysterious Mr. Outside? What about the as-of yet unseen Seleção? Were they going to pop up, or would they leave the door open for some future adaptation down the line, a midquel of sorts? Would there finally be answers, or would this finale just open up a whole other can of worms?
'Eden of the East: Paradise Lost' picks up right where 'The King of Eden' left us, which is about where the original series left us, considering how little was accomplished in the first film. The only new mystery was that of Akira Takizawa's parents, as it seems in his absence from Japan a rumor sparked that he was the bastard child of the prime minister. The remaining competitors in the deadly game have upped the ante, taking aim at each other with the majority of their actions, hoping to up their odds of survival by process of elimination. Number I (Mononobe), whose attempts to better Japan have led to numerous vague and mysterious terrorist attacks, is at the front of the charge, hoping to eliminate the capabilities of his peers, while taking aim especially at Takizawa. As the mysterious, amnesia riddled youngest Seleção attempts to reconnect with his past and learn the truth of his identity, Mr. Outside will be revealed, as will the identity of the deadly Number XII, and the game will end. But the big question is: who will win, and how?
'Eden of the East: Paradise Lost' is a somewhat fitting end to the saga, even if it ends on one of the bigger copout moves ever, resolving so little that, once again, questions arise where answers should be. That isn't to say this final film a failure like 'The King of Eden' most certainly is, but it can be safely stated that this is definitely not the closure fans were expecting due to the tangled narrative of the series.
Thankfully, there's no additional amnesia or lost memory tangents or wasted time in this film, beyond the already existing quest for Takizawa to find out his true identity, a question also being actively investigated by the government. Instead, we get an interesting dose of Seleção vs Seleção, as the survivors realize the end is near, a good amount of political intrigue and maneuvering to put the events into perspective in what is the closest thing to a real world connection in this saga, and the idea of friendship, as the members of the Eden of the East team and their friend help each other to uncover the truth, no matter the cost.
The terrorism subplot of the entire series meets a very poor end. See, the thing is, when you have someone firing missiles at a country, repeatedly over the length of the show, you'd expect a crackdown on whoever is suspected in the form of some massive, massive raid, you know, like more than just three cops with peashooters or guys in suits making discouraging faces. Yet, that's the end of the plot in the show. No one seems to really give a shit about pursuing or arresting an admitted terrorist, responsible (in a sense) for the loss of some serious life. On the bright side, though, we don't have yet another terrorist strike here. Instead, the entire film is about neutralizing the other Seleção, about wrapping up loose ends, and on that front, this film is a success.
I also don't quite get how the drivers of the mobile assistance units for the various Seleção are written off so willy nilly when said vehicles have been struck in the past, due to a revelation in this film. It's really...stupid.
'Eden of the East' had potential. The series really had it going on, then it was devastated by an awful film, and now it wraps up with an average, somewhat silly conclusion. The finale to it all makes little to no sense. Sure, it's really interesting to see how the twelve players were chosen, and to see the inspirations behind it all, the wizard behind the curtain, as it were, but if given a chance to start over at the end of the series and make two films or another truncated season, I would drop this film and its predecessor like the bad habit that is my tick about keeping complete series, rather than selling off unfulfilling volumes. If I could. Sadly, that isn't the case. Instead, at least this film is a step forward, even if it's not a massive leap or the all encompassing ending many fans could have imagined after the terrific series.
The Disc: Vital Stats
'Eden of the East: Paradise Lost' comes to Blu-ray on a DVD+Blu-ray combo pack, on a BD50 disc with Region A/B coding. The menu system is the same as the prior two releases. I cannot confirm packaging, be it a DVD or Blu-ray sized case, as this review comes off a disc-only edition.
On another note, FUNimation makes some beautiful discs, the actual discs themselves, with the layered artwork making them look like some neat little 3D, but this disc may very well be one of the most beautiful looking Blu-rays ever made. It's utterly gorgeous, and a huge step up from the 8-bit-esque art from 'The King of Eden.'
Be sure to stick through (or fast forward through) the credits, as one final scene plays, putting Mr. Outside and Takizawa again one more time.
The previous two releases in the 'Eden of the East' saga on Blu-ray have been a little underwhelming, so the transfer found on 'Paradise Lost' is a real treat, as it readily trumps its counterparts at nearly every turn.
Sure, the diffusion effect is the strongest of any of the films, but detail and texture (in CG elements) remain strong. The integration of CG is still awkward, as vehicles have that bizarre weightlessness, but that's a production issue that this high def release only brings to light. Colors are strong, free from banding outside of the intentional color grade shifts in some objects like railing. Better yet, the amount of artifacting is reduced dramatically, as there's only a rare moment or two where a color isn't solid and powerful. The random jaggy lines aren't as bad as many an anime, but they did distract as the film rolled on.
I only wish the other releases looked this good. Whatever the difference maker is or was, it's really noticeable on this disc.
With dual lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks, there's really no wrong answer when it comes to which track to choose, aside from the whole "native vs dub" argument. Whatever your poison, FUNimation brings both on this disc with equal strengths, with no penalty for preferring one or the other.
This track is a bit better than the one found on 'The King of Eden,' as it maintains the strengths, while doing some work against the weakness that plagued that release. Localization is still top notch, while movement effects, though somewhat fewer this time around, all work pretty darned well. Rear ambience is increased, as the final act to this show really puts you in the room with the characters, whatever their situation may be. It's really well done! Bass levels are still pretty darned wimpy, but there are some increased bumps and light rumbles, particularly coming from the massive trucks in the caravan. As always, dialogue is cleanly prioritized and features no distortion.
A good, solid track.
Since this release only comes as a DVD+Blu-ray combo pack, with no individual release for either edition, and the lack of a hard retail copy to check the DVD for extras, all supplements on the Blu-ray are being listed in this area. If any supplement turns out to not be on the DVD of this release, please inform us and we'll gladly relocate it to the appropriate section!
- DVD - A bonus DVD is a great way to add value to any release! The forcing of one packaging style or another, not both, and the inability for owners of one format but not another to just get what they want is a little odd, though.
- US Cast Commentary - This track is not an interview compilation, but a mediated series of interviews between the ADR director, Mike McFarland, and the cast. We hear about the actors' opinions of the characters and their experiences recording, as well as some questions as if the actors were in the place of any of the chosen twelve, given so much to better their country selflessly. We hear more about the entire series than this final film, as this is more a commentary for the entire show. Due to the format, this track gets repetitive awful fast, hearing the same questions over and over.
- Visual Commentary on the Eden System (HD, 98 min) - Not only is this some weird and unique stuff, but it's also pretty damned awesome! It's a mixture of a fact track and an interview with the director (with his notes coming in blue boxes rather than green ones), utilizing a system similar to that of the Eden of the East program from the series and film. In other words, this is just awesome, awesome, awesome, even if the audio is only in lossless stereo. You had better be a quick reader, as the comments come rapid fire at times. It's actually an insightful, clever track, that I must give two huge, huge thumbs up to FUNimation for, even if the overlap on consecutive, one second apart blurbs is beyond annoying. One thing I'd change, aside from some pop-ups being impossible to read without freezing the screen? No LOL's. Seriously, it's not necessary.
- Movie 2 Preview (HD, 1 min) - This plays a lot like a trailer for the final film. Speaking of which...
- TV Spots/Trailers (HD) - A TV spot, trailers for all three 'Eden of the East' releases, and a series of unrelated FUNimation advertisements for other titles.
'Eden of the East' is a series I'd like to rewatch every so often as it has plenty to offer its viewers, and a ton of great characters and very few misfires. The first film? You couldn't pay me to watch it ever again. Sadly, in order to really know where every character is, and to understand what is going on in this second film, it's somewhat necessary. That's... not good. 'Paradise Lost' is a good conclusion to the show, albeit not an amazing one. It's a mile ahead of the other film, though, that has to count for something. This Blu-ray release is also the strongest of all of the 'Eden of the East' discs, and it has, by far, the best extra I've seen from FUNimation on Blu-ray (outside of bonus OVA and films, of course).
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