The way Eden of the East is mixing dissimilar elements together has captured my interest, but at the same time, I don’t know if it’s really working. I was underwhelmed by the first episode, and wasn’t wowed by the second episode. For some reason, the show’s atmosphere is really throwing me off. It’s lighter, romcom moments don’t mix well with it’s darker, plot driven moments. And it’s darker, plot-driven moments are countered by plot holes and unrealistic character behaviors.
Why I don’t want to take it seriously
- The whole first episode. The johnny inspection, the pedestrian pantsing, the DCPD incompetency, the nakedness, etc. Nothing from that first episode should be taken seriously.
- Akira. You’d think a guy who woke up one day, naked, holding a gun, with $8 million on a super smart phone, and a strangely omnipresent concierge system would show a little more urgency in trying to put all the pieces together. If he doesn’t really care, I guess I shouldn’t either.
- Akira + Saki. Because a girl falling for a guy who was naked and waving a gun, when they first met is so believable. I know this is fiction and couples can pop up from wherever, but c’mon. If I’m supposed to take EOTE seriously, my suspension of disbelief bridge is not suspended enough to believe that. But if EOTE is just pre-melodrama Tora Dora with spies, then yeah, I might be cool with it.
Why I want to take it seriously
- Set against a backdrop of terrorism and murder, it’s not exactly your typical lighthearted fodder.
- The whole air of mystery they’ve created with Noblesse Oblige, Messiahs, and the omnipresent, killer concierge system, etc. is setting itself up as a bit too complex and heady to be just considered dumb fun.
- It’s taking place in a realistic world. Production I.G. went out their way to get native English speakers for episode 1, which made the US feel more real. The backgrounds are realistic and show actual places and they’ve made a point of referencing recent historical events. Obviously, they’ve put in a lot of effort to create a world that feels like the world we live in.
For me, EOTE is falling somewhere in between “serious” and “dumb fun.” Because of this, I’m still not sure whether I’m supposed to take this show seriously and treat it like an intelligent thriller, or if I’m supposed to turn off my brain and just enjoy the ride. Every time I try to do the latter, things such as the concierge killings at the end of the episode pull be back to the former. And every time I get pulled back to the former, the show’s inconsistencies and improbabilities become that much more glaring to me.
Why does this matter? Well, it could mean treating EOTE as either the most unique romantic comedy ever, or the ridiculous mystery romance ever. Obviously, I’m exaggerating a bit. But do I let things slide like I do in Sengoku Basara and K-ON!, just because it’s fun to watch or should I hold it to a higher critical standard, like I did with Death Note or Code Geass? Or is it one of those rare anime that straddles both sides of the fence well, like Baccano? I guess time will tell. Until then I guess I’ll just remain confusedly engaged.