Eden is one of Netflix’s latest original anime directed by Yasuhiro Irie (of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood fame) with Clover Xie serving as background director. Additionally, the series was created by Justin Leach, with character designs by Toshihiro Kawamoto, written by Kimiko Ueno, and animated by CGCG. The series is a short one with just four 30-minute episodes, but what it lacks in length, it makes up for in heart.
Set thousands of years in the future, Eden takes place in a city known as “Eden.” But this isn’t just a normal city, it’s inhabited solely by Artificially Intelligent robots whose former masters vanished long ago. While on a routine assignment, within the depths of the city, two maintenance robots accidentally awaken a human baby girl from a stasis pod and begin to question all they were taught to believe. As they bond with the young girl, they realize that humans aren’t just a forbidden ancient myth or a danger. In fact, they can be family. Together, the two robots secretly raise the child in a safe haven outside the city. Naming her Sara, Eden showcases the bonds that can form outside of biology, as the little girl grows. Calling the robots A37 and E92 mom and dad, she begins to question her identity and look for others like her.
Eden is a stunning animation and a stunning story. With an English voice cast of phenomenal actors, Ruby Rose Turner, David Tennant, Rosario Dawson, JP Karliak, and Neil Patrick Harris, we get the chance to see a science fiction story that isn’t like one we’ve seen before. Often, when we get stories about humans becoming a danger to robots and robots taking over the world, we see the build-up. We see a robot uprising, we see fear, and we see violence. But in Eden, we’re in a narrative that takes place after humans have vanished. The mystery of their disappearance slowly becomes clear as the series continues, but by and large, Eden is without real violence. In fact, the robots are barred from harming humans in any way. This element allows the story and the relationships that are built to take center stage.
While the large sci-fi concepts of Eden are well executed, they’re not what this series is about. Instead, the series is about love, home, and the responsibility to do what is right. Eden is at its best when Sara is talking with her parents. When they bicker, when they console each other, and as A37 and E92 are learning what it means to raise a human child. There is a wholesome core to the series that drives every choice. From the voice acting to the big moments and the animation itself, all of this revolves around a push back to a narrative that is by and large happiness or seeking happiness. Eden is, above all else, comforting. Even in its last episode which brings sad moments and tough choices for Sara after the revelation of where the other humans are, its ending is about love and bonds.
When it comes to animation, 3D CGI is largely hit or miss for me. But in Eden, studio CGCG has beautifully blended 2D background art with gorgeously vibrant 3D CGI. That said, there are moments where the human characters don’t look as well done as their robot counterparts, but by and large, there is bright beauty that the animation studio has achieved. The balance of nature and machine is delicately maintained, which is stunning to watch for all four episodes.
Overall, Eden is short, it’s sweet, and it’s extremely wholesome. Truthfully, it’s a light and beautiful story for dark times. It’s about hope and it’s about family and right now, it’s what everyone can use.
Eden is available exclusively on Netflix May 27, 2021.
- Rating - 9/109/10
Overall, Eden is short, it’s sweet, and it’s extremely wholesome. Truthfully, it’s a light and beautiful story for dark times. It’s about hope and its about family and right now, its what everyone can use.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.