“Eden” is Netflix’s first original Japanese anime. Originality is not “Netflix original”, but original IP. It has some big names behind the scenes, with Fullmetal Alchemist director Yasuhiro Irie at the helm of the series, and Denim Bebop character designer Toshihiro Kawamoto in charge of the role. Both of these anime series have been enthusiastically sought after and are a must-see list for any anime lover. Will this translate into making Netflix’s Garden of Eden a classic anime? Not really.
A four-episode series with no real second season scope, the Garden of Eden follows the old metaphor of a distant future, where humans have eliminated themselves and only robots are left. The Seventh World War is over, and as climate change, industrial waste and pandemics accelerate in the process of self-destruction, we have seen flashbacks. A young scientist, Dr. Weston Fields (voiced in English by Koichi Yamadera and Neil Patrick Harris) is responsible for creating an “Eden” for humans. The task of robot caretakers is to revive the poisonous earth, while their owners wait in a low temperature environment. .
There is an ongoing theme of illness throughout the Garden of Eden, which is of course difficult to avoid due to the premise of the show. The number that appeared many times in the series emphasized this point. This number is in the hundreds of billions and is slowly counting down-making people doubt its importance until the big revelation.
It was in this situation that after humans stopped walking on the earth for a thousand years, a pair of agricultural robots A37 (Kyoko Hikami and Rosario Dawson) and E92 (Kentaro Ito and David Tennant) found one in a wrong stagnation chamber Toddler child. The robot is not sure how to continue to execute the regular orders of arresting and destroying any individual of destructive humans, and decides to secretly raise the girl Sara (Marika Kuono and Ruby Rose Turner) outside the robot outpost in the lush Garden of Eden 3-transforming the earth. Next is the child growing up into a young adult, raised by a robot, who fears and fuss for her in the same way as human parents.
In addition to the aforementioned metaphors of human self-destruction and the survival of robot servants, there are other common science fiction metaphors in the Garden of Eden-are robots better than humans? Can robots care and suffer? Or are they automata without thinking? Can we empathize with robots? What would a child raised by a machine think about being alone? Would the earth and its countless creatures live better without humans? Or will the revival of mankind destroy the now thriving planet again?
Garden of Eden poses these questions to the audience, but never takes a stand-which is good because it makes it a thought-provoking thing. However, I should point out that the maturity rating of Netflix shows is 7+-it is for kids to watch, as you can tell-so although the question is smart, there are aspects that may not satisfy adult audiences.
The first thing that prevents it from becoming an adult fare is its length. It is very short, only four episodes of 25 minutes in length. This does not leave much time to tell a detailed story, especially when you consider that most of its content is focused on a teenager, and only a quarter of the time describes the background story or other events in detail. However, there are advantages to doing so. The entire show can be watched comfortably at once, and the whole family can enjoy it on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Although the plot can be described as sufficient to tell a short but complicated story, frankly, there are some incredible events that may be too convenient for the protagonist. In general, they have not detracted much. There is even a modified version of Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. Although it is designed to occupy the center of the storyline, its meaning is quite empty. An interesting difference that has not yet been clarified is the difference between AI and the robots in the series. Are they different in intelligence? Do robots have no perception, only artificial intelligence? You decide.
Many of the characters in the Garden of Eden and their behavior can be described as “kawaii”, and sometimes they even look cute. I personally cringe at several parts of this series, from Sara’s outburst to the antics of her robot parents. Somehow, this is also the highlight of the series, creating a very cute moment of human-computer interaction. I began to be attracted by the warmth expressed by the robot. At least in the Japanese version, Eden has great voices for robots and human characters. In English dubbing, although it has some powerful star powers—people like Tennant, Patrick Harris, and Dawson—but everything seems pretty dull.
But due in part to the robot empathy developed in the audience in the series, the threat of robot violence or the potential destruction of outstanding robot characters stands out. Although the violence that did occur was certainly not bloody or unprovoked, there were more distressing scenes, such as robots being forcibly reprogrammed. To some extent, it follows the tradition of cartoon violence-as long as there is no blood and humans (and sometimes even animals) are not injured, they will not cross the boundary.
As mentioned earlier, Kawamoto, the animation director and character designer of Cowboy Bebop, is the character designer of Eden. Although I think he did a good job overall, although the villain Zero is beautifully designed, it seems a bit too much compared to the rest of the world. Maybe this is the intention. Kevin Penkin’s soundtrack is very adventurous and fits the theme very well. There are quite a few actions going on, and in most cases they are carefully choreographed, from robbery and escape to machine-to-machine boss battles.
Short-lived events are suitable for one-time viewing. However, the dystopia of Eden in the sadness hopes that the vision will leave some indelible memories.
Eden is now playing on Netflix worldwide.