NEETs and "Eden of the East"
Modern Anime Focusing on a Modern Problem
Not too many people on the Western side of the globe know what a NEET is. I had never even heard of it until I watched the anime Eden of the East for the first time. NEET is an acronym for "not in education, employment or training," and it is an issue for the United Kingdom, Japan, China and South Korea. In Japan, this group of young adults between the ages of 15-34, cannot or will not work because they refuse to meet the expectations of older generations. Japan is infamous for their strict work policies, demands for overtime, and oppressive work environment. It's not unusual to see this youthful rebellion to such antiquated ideals.
That's why Eden of the East is such a realistic anime. The focus is this very concern of the younger generation, and although as an anime, it takes on a very unrealistic turn, it keeps the viewer engaged throughout.
A Brief Overview
The main characters of this anime are Takizawa Akira and Morimi Saki. These two meet in Washington D.C. right after Takizawa has erased his own memory, for reasons that are not explained until the very end. I won't spoil that for the reader--suffice to say, Takizawa's personality are enough to keep the viewer interested. Add to that the developing relationship between him and Saki and you have a plot right there.
There are other issues, of course. Takizawa spends most of the series trying to get his memory back and figure out why he erased his own memory to begin with. I should explain, too, that he has a cell phone that connects him to Nobless and a spending account of 8.2 billion yen. But there is a catch. He has to do something really awesome with that money or die when it runs out.
The point is, once again, focusing on the NEET epidemic. Takizawa had apparently already tried to do something to help them but it backfired, pissed them off, and now the whole country hates him...and he doesn't remember why. He's also considered a terrorist, which is another theme that is quite popular now.
The Story Continues
The series is eleven episodes but there are two movies that pick right up where the series leaves off, which is nice. The King of Eden and Paradise Lost are also highly recommended. In fact, you will feel like you are missing something if you don't watch the movies.
Sadly, if you are a romantic, like me, and are hoping to see Takizawa and Saki take it to the next level, you will be very disappointed. That was my only complaint. You have to see the entire series and both movies to even get a little satisfaction, and it's not much. But from a social standpoint and for purely the entertainment value, this anime gets the thumbs up from me.
A final note about it, though. I strongly suggest watching it in the original Japanese, just because I am a die hard fan of Japanese anime and I feel it should be viewed in its original format. It has been dubbed, though, for the less adventurous. The point is, watch it. You will feel smarter for having done so.
Eden of the East Movies
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