Please Note: This release is a Blu-ray/DVD combo and we’re covering only the Blu-ray portion here.
What They Say:
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 Selecao 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.
The audio presentation for this release has both the English and Japanese tracks in 5.1 using Dolby TrueHD. The main feature has a decent mix to it but it is one that is largely very much a dialogue based piece of work so it doesn’t exactly have to work itself all that much. Events do pick up at times that lets it shine a bit more, but it never feels like it has to flex its mixing muscles and just does things by the book. It has a good feel and the music makes out very well, but it lacks any serious oomph or impact. With it being so dialogue heavy though, it’s very well done in that regard as placement is spot on and when multiple characters talk on screen at the same time, it never feels like it’s poorly laid our or has an odd sense of depth to it. It’s definitely good for what it’s trying to convey but it’s not a feature that really stands out.
Originally released in March 2010, the transfer for this feature is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The feature has a very good look that takes the original TV work designs and has an incremental improvement overall. It’s not a significant jump but it feels just a bit richer in its design and the transfer captures it well. The color palette is one that has a slightly soft look to it, though there are colors that pop at times, and it’s pretty smooth and clean. Some of the interior backgrounds are a bit off though as there are some visible gradients with some strong block designs in how they’re portrayed, but it’s hard to tell if it’s supposed to be intentional because of how strong they are. It’s more in the brownish/gold interiors and isn’t noticeable elsewhere thankfully. It’s not a huge distraction, but you can easily see it in those scenes. Generally, the transfer here looks good and definitely along the same vein as the TV series that we saw previously.
The packaging for this combo release is about as I expected with it being in a DVD keepcase which holds both the DVD and Blu-ray with a hinge inside for one of them. The release gets a slipcover which mirrors what the actual keepcase artwork is and it’s a well done piece that’s fairly understated. The front cover has Takizawa and Saki together in about as much of an action pose as this kind of show can do, even with Saki holding onto the dog. The back cover is a bit murkier in a way as the left side has the same kind of city background, but it’s very indistinct overall and uses some colors that push it to the murky side very easily because of it. Laying over that is like a data sheet that has a few shots from the show and a basic idea of the plot concept at this point,though it’s minimal overall. The production information and technical grid all convey good information, but it’s done with a dark great on black background which makes it hard to read unless you have direct light on it. With the technical information, it definitely makes it harder to figure out what you have there. While there are no show related inserts, there is a great reversible cover that uses a white background with a wonderful illustration image of the city skyline with the bridge in view that fills both panels. It’s not one that I’d reverse to use, but it looks really good when you open up the case and get the discs out.
The menu layout for this release has a good in-theme feel to it while still going with a bit of simplicity by having the background a large series of clips from the feature that are generally pretty mild, slow and mood setting pieces. The menu itself with all the navigation is set along the lower right where it’s done in the form of the phones that are used throughout the film with the various numeric codes along the top to give it a bit more of a connection. The font for the text is a bit awkward to read, especially black on yellow, but it’s all serviceable and basic selections so it’s quick and easy to navigate. Sadly, it isn’t used as the pop-up menu during playback, which admittedly would be distracting but would also fit well, as we instead get a simple soft blue bar along the bottom that has the basic navigation to it. Everything loads very smoothly and the design is good overall, certainly one of the better in-theme menu designs.
The extras are quite welcome as we get a very good US cast commentary track as well as a solid visual commentary on the whole Eden system with the series creator. This is a big piece that runs an hour and thirty eight minutes in which we see people coming in to see the film and Kamiyama’s comments done as a series of pop-ups over it. It definitely gives the movie a huge replay value to find all the little nuggets and thoughts on it from the man behind it all. Add in some previews and TV spots and trailers for all the releases and there’s plenty to like here, both as a fan of the original language track and the new dub track.
After the strong TV series which lead into the less than strong first movie, Eden of the East attempts to bring everything together here with the final installment, Paradise Lost. While the first movie maintained a lot of the visual appeal of the series, it lost its characters and the reasons we really felt connected and interested in them along the way, though it had some very fun moments that made it worth checking out. But some of that magic was gone, even as it played in the same realm. With the second movie, things pick up where we left off and try to get it all on track again as Saki and Takizawa return to Japan.
Considering the recent events, and how he’s managed to become the son of the prime minister, Takizawa’s not one to just slip into the country unnoticed. And a lot of people are expecting him based on what the other Selecao have done, which is amusing as a good number of the NEETs that had gone all naked in the TV series are mixed up in this as well and still hold a grudge even as they admire him. It’s amusing how simple it is for Takizawa to get away from those that came with Iinuma’s wife as he just has to change quickly when nobody is looking, cause someone always slips up like that, and he’s able to head out to figure out what’s going on with the help of the Eden crew. And while he does that, Saki heads off on her own to help after getting the dog that his mother had and seeking her out to find more answers. It’s a natural split to occur and it’s welcome to see members of Eden working both of the story arcs along with Takizawa and Saki.
Amusingly, while Takizawa is trying to get everything taken care of, one of the things he has to do is actually rescue his Juiz. And what they’ve been up to is almost comical after the missile attack in that they’ve been put on large carriers that have been driven all over the area for awhile now. Having Takizawa essentially hijack his own Juiz works nicely since the two actually get close together and have a bit of a fun relationship to riff off of. There’s plans within plans at this stage though as the other Juiz’s are there as well and one of them heads off in addition to him taking his which adds a little ripple into things. It’s a good moment overall since it also brings Takizawa back into physical contact with the Eden gang.
With a large focus on getting to the end game here, where Takizawa has set into motion the whole becoming king angle that Juiz accepted, we also get to spend time on the past. The material dealing with his mother is less than compelling, but it does show how he ended up with Iinuma all those years ago and we also see how he ended up getting involved in the game as well, which is fairly amusing when you get down to it. What’s key about all of it though is how, through the actions of his mother when she abandoned him, that the value of money he learned from that incident has helped him to become what he is now, and to be selected as one of the Selecao where he has all this money and power at his disposal. It goes in some interesting directions as he realizes it himself, and sets his final motion into plan to truly change Japan.
The paths for those changes are certainly varied things as we’ve seen over the course of the franchise, and the additional one we get here about one of them wanting to start up the Home Ministry again is equally telling, since that’s a going to the past method that may seem like it would work but at the same time goes against what the real intention of the game is all about. But even Mr. Outside has some curious views in the end about what’s being accomplished and takes a surprising track when it comes to dealing with all of those involved in the game. It does go to what he hopes overall though, with all of those selected having a potential for changing the world within them, and that it’ll come through in some form some how no matter whether they have the gifts he bestowed upon them or not.
As a whole, Eden of the East is a show I’m definitely conflicted about. While the TV series knocked my socks off, the movies felt like they weren’t able to fully capitalize on what happende there and it all fell short, anticlimactic. A lot of it in my mind comes down to structure as the shift to the movie format for the two follow-up pieces didn’t allow it the time to express itself and sprawl out a bit, truncating things a fair bit. Which is amusing since there is a good amount of dead space to both movies in a way, though this one has far less than the second. I came away from this movie in particular enjoying it, since it has more of a focus and definition to it than King of Eden, but the ending, even as it does work on one level, left me feeling cheated as well. I wanted something more distinct, concrete and tangible from it. I can appreciate the approach, you could almost say it’s a very Japanese approach, and that may be what made it difficult when you get right down to it. It’s a series and set of films that I can still recommend overall though because it does try to go big and do something different, and it does it well for a lot of it. But the high point is definitely within the original TV series itself.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, US Commentary Track, Visual Commentary, Original Previews, Trailers
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: A
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: August 23rd, 2011
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.