"Eden of the East: The King of Eden": Nobody Ever Said Ruling Was Easy
When I first found out that Eden of the East would be finished in two movies, The King of Eden and Paradise Lost, I was a bit apprehensive. The series itself was so dense with material that it seemed as though two movies would never be enough to really flesh out all of the key details. Unfortunately, after watching The King of Eden, I have to say that I am still apprehensive about everything being wrapped up properly in Paradise Lost. This isn’t a deal breaker for The King of Eden; it just means that there will be a lot of pressure for Paradise Lost to give this show a proper ending. The King of Eden suffers from pacing problems, but by the end it taps into the suspense and drama that the series mastered so well.
Eden of the East ended on a high note, with Takizawa shooting missiles out of the sky to save Japan (on order from Selecao number 10) and requesting Juiz make him the “King” of Japan before having his memories erased. The King of Eden picks up six months after the attack. Takizawa has disappeared and his request to be King is slowly being put into play, the most notable step being named the Prime Minister’s illegitimate son. Meanwhile the Eden of the East system has taken off as an integral part of the internet throughout the world. Despite the success and Japan being saved, Saki isn’t happy because Takizawa isn’t around. She learns that he has left a message for her, explaining that she can find him at their “special place.” With this hope Saki takes off for New York in search of Takizawa. The other Selecao are also making their moves, with Selecao number 6 making his first appearance and number 2 being the one responsible for making Takizawa the “Air King.” As in the series, Selecao number 1 is the one to be feared the most, for he discovers his own way to eliminate players from the game.
As I mentioned in my review of the series, the overall premise of Eden is very fun and entertaining. The downside of the series was that by the end the game had just started to get really crazy with the other Selecao making big moves in an attempt to save Japan and win. Going off of that, The King of Eden should have jumped right into things and continued unraveling the puzzle. Instead, everything comes to a halt because Takizawa’s memories have been erased again. In the series the memory loss worked well because it added a layer of mystery to everything going on. It was also clever in the sense that as Takizawa learned the game, so did the viewer. This time around it feels very been-there-done-that, because, well, it had been done in the same show. In fact it becomes even worse when Saki loses her wallet and passport again.
When Saki does find Takizawa it comes across as very convenient. New York is a huge place, so to have him run into her at a random dock is silly. For the sake of the story moving along, though, they needed to be reunited somehow, but it could have been handled better. Since Takizawa doesn’t have his memories they work on figuring out who he is, again, causing the plot to drag at a crucial time in the story. During all of this the Selecao are making subtle moves, and generally when they are in the scene the story picks up. The ending of the movie is bittersweet because it is when the main plot finally comes to the front and you really just want the story to keep going. There is little action in The King of Eden, so when all of the Selecao are really going at it to eliminate each other from the game it makes for an exciting race to the end. All in all The King of Eden is a lot of build-up. Even though the story drags there is a lot of necessary information in it, so the movie is still well worth watching and will leave any fan of Eden thoroughly excited for the next movie.
It also offers a lot of character development between Saki and Takizawa. Saki, specifically, has grown to be a rather strong girl through her search for Takizawa. She is still naïve at times, like forgetting to check Taki’s phone when she lands in America, but she is more assertive and sure of herself. This is especially evident when she keeps searching for him in spite of losing her passport and wallet, and then later sticking with him to recover his memories. Takizawa is still as mysterious as ever, having no idea why he would have his memories wiped again. If there is one thing we learned in the series it is that Takizawa has a plan for everything, so in spite of seeming clueless about the situation I expect things to come full circle in the end. While there are plenty of touching scenes between Saki and Takizawa, the one that stands out the most is when they visit an old merry-go-round. As Saki spins around on it Takizawa has another memory about his mother. This is the second time Saki has invoked a memory about Takizawa’s past, and it goes to show how much she means to him and her influence on his life.
Meanwhile, Selecao number 6 at first seems as though he might be menacing, but then through Juiz the viewer quickly learns that he is actually just weird. He acts as a means to show how different each of the Selecao are, and with their differences come different plans for the future of Japan. Number 11 in The King of Eden takes the role of a guardian angel to Takizawa, making sure he doesn’t get himself killed. In the series we had only known her to be a serial killer, so it is nice to see the effect Takizawa had on her when they met and how much she had changed in six months. That Number 2 is finally becoming interested in the game is definitely a positive, because the more Selecao involved the better. They are more or less the ones who keep things moving, so it would be a waste to have some of them sidelined. Number 1 is as cunning and sneaky as ever, and really probably the most entertaining Selecao. He seems to be one step ahead of everyone and the one who will give Takizawa a run for his money. As a whole the Selecao could have used more screen time, which I expect to be made up for in Paradise Lost. With everything going on with Saki, Takizawa and the Selecao, the Eden group does sort of get shafted. They have little moments here and there but other than the Eden system itself they don’t contribute much to the story.
The animation in the movie, like the series, is of high quality. Normally for a movie I’d expect the animation to be better, but the show already has very clean animation so it is nice that the quality hasn’t dropped. The music at the end literally sends chills down my spine, with a dreary and dark tone that fits perfectly with the scene. Included in the extras is the compilation movie (subtitled) Air Communication. It is a film about the events that took place in the series, just condensed. As far as compilation movies go it is actually fairly decent. There are parts that are narrated by the characters during it, as if they themselves are looking back at the series too so that adds a little fun.
The story takes awhile to get moving, but The King of Eden is by no means terrible. There is still the mystery, suspense and drama that made Eden of the East entertaining and thoughtful, just at a reduced pace this time around. It would have been nice for the plot to move faster, and perhaps even forgo the whole memory loss angle. At the end of the day, though, the movie can’t wholly be judged until Paradise Lost comes out and the story is complete. Only then will it be known whether or not The King of Eden used its time, and story, wisely.