Eden of the East Movie 2: Paradise Lost
The story of political and subversive intrigue in the series finally reaches endgame. Even as the law enforcement net tightens around Saki and her fellow Eden of the East associates over alleged terrorist activities, the complex web surrounding the mysterious Mr. Outside is finally untangled as the remaining Selecao attempt to outmaneuver one another. Takizawa's memories and identity are also finally revealed, including his association with a former Prime Minister and his request to be the King of Eden. (From ANN)
Note: This review includes some spoilers for both Eden of the East and The King of Eden and assumes a bit of basic familiarity with the franchise.
Having seen this movie, I stand by the accusations I made in my review of The King of Eden of the Eden of the East staff compromising the story by hastily producing a pair of sloppy movie sequels rather than taking the time to develop any satisfying followup. I did not hate Paradise Lost as much as I had expected to given some of the harsh criticism I had seen, and yet that does not prevent it from being an astoundingly poor conclusion to a series I used to like quite a bit.
Surprisingly, I actually found Paradise Lost to be less dull than its predecessor, which to me had felt like a stopgap given its retreading of much of the parent series' story and ultimately pointless new characters. While the sense of mystery that pervaded the original is gone, as, sadly, is much of the quirkiness of Akira's character, the movie does at least launch into the action almost immediately. Although much of what we see feels like setup, it is at least setup that initially does not appear to be aimed towards an irrelevant sidestory, in contrast to the nonsense with the "filmmamker" Selecao in The King of Eden. There is an amusing scene where Akira, under arrest by the former Prime Minister's widow, pulls a switcheroo with one of the NEETS from the TV series by convincing him that something "interesting" will happen with the same charmer attitude that originally made him so interesting to watch. While none of this is especially memorable, it did initially seem that the film had the good sense to build on what its predecessors had accomplished.
It's just astounding how much steam Paradise Lost loses from that point on. The question of whether Akira was indeed the former prime minister's son turns out to be a big fat red herring and yet simultaneously takes up about a third of the film. Another substantial chunk of its length, meanwhile, is devoted to a subplot related to Akira's mother, a plot thread that manages to waste a colossal amount of time while simultaneously adding nothing to the viewer's knowledge of Akira or the game. This manages to be doubly confounding because in addition to expending a potentially interesting facet of Akira's character history on fluff, it manages to claim almost all of Saki's screentime; she has just about nothing to do in this film besides make futile arguments with this woman, and ultimately does so for naught. Just about the most important thing we learn from this time is the name of the shiba dog ("Angelika"). Those hoping for any sort of development of her relationship with Akira will be royally irritated with this film, meanwhile, for keeping them apart for nearly the entire runtime and then essentially having him leave without consequence after having barely spoken to her. I suppose this was done for the sake of leaving the story open for more sequels, but given how few ideas seem to have been left at this point and how poorly received this movie was, I think we're out of luck (or in luck, rather, if you consider what a mess this franchise ended up in).
Conversely, the film manages to botch another plot point by handling it in an opposite but equally heinous manner. We learn precious little about the Selecao or The Game during most of the movie, seemingly less, in fact, that we might have learned during the average episode of the TV series. With no new Selecao to be introduced, we waste a fair amount of time with brief, useless appearances by the antagonists of the final few TV episodes, along with far too many scenes of the Eden of the East members staring at their computers. Then, after more than an hour of this, Akira finds "Mr. Outside" far too easily. Mr. Outside's motivations for starting this game turn out to be a generic sensation that this country has "declined" since the generation that rebuilt it following the Second World War, delivered in a profoundly uninteresting monologue. When we move on from this point, the film ends by, yet again, bringing most of the characters back to square one, the game having supposedly "ended" but absolutely nothing clear having been accomplished. It is an anticlimax to rival all anticlimaxes, and to call it disappointing is to understate the sheer amount of good material that was squandered with bad followup.
If you look closely, there are some scenes near the end of Paradise Lost where it's clear that the production team submitted the final project without some necessary edits: the color scheme fades noticeably, and several character models go highly off-kilter. I'll take that as evidence that this film was indeed a rush job. While to be honest I enjoyed this film more than its predecessor, whose primary sin was its glacial pacing, it gets a lower rating simply because it is such a massive waste. Having seen it, I declare that I'd take fanfiction over what the "actual" writers have come up with.
While I don't hate it quite enough to flunk it, it remains a terrible movie and a terrible conclusion to the franchise. — Nick Browne
Recommended Audience: Paradise Lost is relatively tame, with a small amount of gun violence but little bloodshed. The film's darker themes, such as abandonment by one's parent and illegitimacy, could probably be handled by preteens and teenagers. FUNimation's english subtitles contain mild profanity and a few instances of stronger profanity.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Netflix
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Eden of the East Movie 2: Paradise Lost © 2010 Production I.G., Eden of the East Production Committee
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