REVIEW – Eden (2021) Season One

Netflix has been churning out quite a few anime series and movies recently.  Many times they involve a lot of action and some very heavy stories.  So how about something fun and heartfelt?  The first season of Eden is now streaming, and just might fit the bill.  So, what's it about?

The synopsis from Netflix describes Eden this way: "Thousands of years in the future, a city known as 'Eden 3' is inhabited solely by robots whose former masters vanished a long time ago. On a routine assignment, two farming robots accidentally awaken a human baby girl from stasis questioning all they were taught to believe -- that humans were nothing more than a forbidden ancient myth. Together, the two robots secretly raise the child in a safe haven outside Eden."

Sure we've seen the story of a found child before, we've even seen the "not sure about robots" story before.  To me, as I was watching Eden, this felt like a fresh and unique spin on those kinds of stories.  We're talking about robots here, so how would they deal with finding a human baby?  Not just robots, but robots that haven't encountered humans and are told that they are forbidden.  It sounds serious, and at times it is, but Eden puts such a fun spin on it, especially in the early going.  Sure the story gets into what the dangers are and who might want to eliminate any human that was found, but at it's core this is a story about the difficulties of parenting, growing up and finding your place in this world.

The series boasts an impressive English language cast including Ruby Rose Turner (Sara), David Tennant (E92), Rosario Dawson (A37), JP Karliak (S566), Neil Patrick Harris (Zero), Cassandra Lee Morris (Zurich) and Julie Nathanson (Geneva).  Sara is spunky, full of energy and curiosity.  You know, something any young kid should have.  At the same time,  you get to see the influence of her actually being raised by robots.  Some of the dialogue is very interesting, and it's subtle, but really adds to just what Sara is dealing with in this story.  I also wanted to note the Japanese voice cast of Marika Kohno (Sara), Kentaro Ito (E92), Kyoko Hikami (A37), Tarusuke Shingaki (S566), Koichi Yamadera (Zero), Yuuki Kuwahara (Zurich) and Yuhko Kaida (Geneva).

It's also interesting to note here that these aren't just mindless robots.  You get to see how they differ from each other, and how they process certain challenges that come their way.  The way that they are surprisingly instinctive is something that I really enjoyed.  I'm not just talking about how they interact with Sara, but how they interact with each other as well.  It's not quite sentient, but far from that feeling of being programmed.  There is a very good reason for that, which I will not spoil here.

As far as the visuals go for the series, they are absolutely stunning.  Eden has an open world feel, despite being set in a particular area.  The backdrops are quite breathtaking at times, and thus makes a character like Sara feel even more vibrante.  A lot of that credit has to go to director Yasuhiro Irie, Taiwanese animation studio CGCG and Qubic Pictures.  The different character designs for the robots, both heroes and villains, helped bring those characters to another level and ultimately enhanced the performance of the voice cast.  Toshihiro Kawamoto did a wonderful job with that, especially with the more villainous robots.

This Justin Leach creation has a lot of good things going for it.  It's also a quick four episode binge, if you're looking for something to lift your spirits and be a feast for your eyes.  There is a lot of potential here for Eden and Sara feels like a character that we could really see a lot more stories for.  This is also something safe that you can enjoy with the whole family, and a good way to introduce your kids to anime if you haven't already.  I certainly look forward to seeing where this story is going.

If you'd like to watch the first season of Eden, go here.

Photo Credit: Netflix