'Eden' Review: Netflix's first Japanese original anime paints an interesting dystopian picture
Contains Spoilers for Netflix's 'Eden'
For all intents and purposes, 'Eden' is a heart-warming story of a girl named Sara and how she ends up saving all robots and humankind in what seems like an unlikely quest that was thrust upon her. Based on the manga by the same name by Tsuyoshi Isomoto, the four-part CGI anime tells the story of Sara Grace and the world she lives in - one that is void of humans and her very existence would lead to her death.
The anime also tells the story of Dr Weston Fields, who plays a massive role in the disappearance of the human race and why robots are forbidden from accessing any information about the same. It paints an interesting dystopian future, one where robots haven't taken over, but prove to be true allies.
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The story follows Dr Weston Fields, who lives in a world that is slowly dying, seeing that the air, water and soil have become so heavily polluted that no life can grow or sustain itself. To give the human race a fighting chance at survival, 35,000 humans are to be cryogenically put to sleep and reawakened when the earth has been restored by robots.
The process of pod selection results in wars and more chaos, seeing that everyone is fighting for a spot to stay alive. Dr Fields' wife Ashley, who also worked on the project, is unable to secure a spot. She has a communicable disease, making her a liability. His daughter, Liz, is also a sickly child, but he hopes he can get her in a pod, seeing that if he does, his robots can plan a cure while she is in a state of stasis.
However, he is unable to do so due to the chaos and political power struggle and Liz's failing health. She eventually dies, but Dr Fields is compelled to live on, in memory of his wife and daughter, creating an Eden for them. Seeing that Liz loved nature, he wants it to thrive, He also fulfils her last wish, which allows robots to communicate with humans - Liz always wanted to talk to her robot pet Emily.
400 years before Sara's story begins, Dr Fields is awoken from his cryogenically induced sleep and is impressed by just how well earth has flourished without human. But upon visiting his old home and seeing how it has been desecrated, he enters a blind rage and decides that humans are not worthy of a world that is beautiful, seeing that all they ever do is destroy.
It's here that he has his consciousness transferred to a robotic exoskeleton and locks away his memories to eradicate all traces of humanity from the world, including the 35,999 humans in the cryo pods, seeing that he's the only one with the password and was entrusted to awaken them from stasis. By the time Sara is discovered and raised by A37 and E92, who assume the role of her father and mother, the time during which the humans in the pods can be sustained has nearly run out and it's up to Sara to save all of mankind as well as Dr Fields, who is now the maniacal robot villain Zero, who despises humans.
The series makes for a great watch, seeing that the story is a relatively clear one with not too many complexities. Sara and Dr Field's back stories play out simultaneously and there are multiple hints right from episode one regarding the big plot twist, that Zero is Dr Fields. The series is heavy on metaphors, the constant imagery of apples, which is associated with Liz, who is seen with apple blossoms during her first appearance, while apples are often referred to as 'the forbidden fruit' in Christian texts that talk about the garden of Eden, where God first created mankind.
The fact that each location itself is called 'Eden' with a different number also plays with the idea that it is here that humanity can either die by Zero's hand or live if Sara saves them. The series does have a few questions that are left unanswered as well - how did Sara's pod leave the nesting chamber? Why weren't Sara's parents in pods as well? And the fate of Dr Fields, who is now in the robot body of Liz's dog Emily. While there is no immediate news about a new season, this one ends on a wholesome note nonetheless.
You can stream all four episodes of 'Eden' on Netflix.