As I've said before, I really liked the Eden of the East tv series and was excited to see what the movies would do, although I wasn't sure when I'd be able to see them. I really don't like blind buying (even if it's part of a series I like) plus I wanted to buy the series on blu-ray but I don't have a blu-ray player yet. Sure I could buy the discs now and watch it in a few years but I've gotten bad discs before and really prefer to test them out as quickly as I could. Thankfully Funimation resolved this dilemma for me by putting out the movie in a DVD/BR combo pack plus TRSI had a great sale on it so between those two things (and the promise of a free keychain!) I pre-ordered it, was surprised when it came in early, and then proceeded to squee during the entire movie.
Eden of the East: The King of Eden
Summary: The first of the two sequel movies to the television series, the movie begins six months after the series ended and in the mean time Saki has been traveling around looking for Takizawa. She's also been helping her group of friends get Eden of the East, the image search and tag engine they developed in college, off the ground and turn into a real business when one day they reveal that they have been hacking Takizawa's Seleção phone and finally have a lead on where he's gone to, New York City.
The Good: During the series the viewer might wonder just how Takizawa acted before he wiped his memory the first time and what his original personality was like. This movie seems to suggest that, no matter what happens to him, Takizawa stays basically the same, although that raises the question of what the point of the memory wipes. The memory wipe does have the unexpected side effect of having Saki be more forward with Takizawa than she was before and it seems like they are creating an even closer relationship this time. Previously Saki seemed a bit too hesitant to get close to him, perhaps scared for some reason, but now she seems more willing and they make a very cute couple. More of the Seleção are revealed and a few leave the game but one of the more exciting moments of the movie explains partially how the Seleção work towards the very end of the movie and hammers home that time is running out in this competition and someone needs to win very soon.
The Bad: Some have complained that this is more of a talking head movie (although, the original series wasn't jam packed with action either, a lot of that was talking as well) and some have suggested that it would be better to view the two movies back to back instead of having a few month gap. The ending of the movie is unsatisfying in that regard (it feels as if the story is reaching the final chapter and then boom, credits, not what an audience wants to see) and some people have suggested that the movies should have instead just been a second tv series (which probably would have worked if this wasn't the noitaminA time slot which almost never has the time for sequels). This movie simply can't stand entirely on it's own and is probably the weakest of the three stories. But, since in every group their must be a weakest and a strongest installment (and the second book in a trilogy is always the weakest) this is hardly surprising and it's still a solid installment to the series.
The Art: The art remains relatively unchanged from the television series and is about the same quality as well. Only a few new characters are introduced and each of them shows Chika Umino's trademark style (manga-ka of Honey and Clover and March comes in like a lion). While the tv series had some fabulously detailed (and highly accurate!) backgrounds of Washington DC the movie has some equally impressive backgrounds of New York City. The CGI on the cars is still a bit noticeable, they could use some more shading, but other than that the movie looks just fine.
The Music: Oasis, the group that did the opening song "Falling Down" for the television series returns to do another song (complete with trippy imagery!) for the show and the group that did the ending song, School Food Punishment, returns as well. It's nice to have some continunity like that and the songs both worked well within the movie. The voice acting (Japanese) was still strong and again the English was surprisingly good, even if it's still odd that so many regular people in the US understand the Japanese Saki and Takizawa are using.
I can't wait for the second movie to come out (I've heard that it should be out in August so I've even held off pre-ordering the second Utena set so I could put them in the same order) and I really liked the DVD/BR packaging. My only complaint is that I thought that the Air Communication prequel movie would show a few events that went on in the six month gap but instead it seems to be a 2 hour version of the tv series with some of the character breaking the fourth wall and talking over at parts explaining what was going on. I didn't have a chance to watch the whole thing (mainly because I wasn't expecting to watch a movie that may have been longer than the main event) but I wish the promo information had made this a bit clearer.