Basically, the only thing separating this from other shows of its ilk is the fact it shows dissatisfaction for the Heisei era.
With the Showa era predicted to reach its end in 2019 when the current emperor abdicates his throne, it feels somewhat odd to watch Eden of the East, with its ideas encapsulating how dissatisfied people of the Heisei era are. This is because a lot of the ideas which the show tackles – NEETs, overwork, corporate greed – have their roots in the idea of the “lost decade/s”.
For those who don’t understand what I mean by “lost decade/s”, there’s always Wikipedia, but in short the Japanese economy took a nosedive around 1990 and it’s been argued this phase went up to 2010. Since the Heisei era went from 1989 to (presumably) 2019, the era is associated in the minds of Japanese with this slump. Eden of the East is set around the end of that time period, which is why these ideas are coming to the forefront in a Noitamina work like this – because Noitamina has a history of dealing with prickly subjects like terrorism, due to the mutual themes between this and the show that would pop up on the same block a few years later…Zankyou no Terror.
One potential spot to begin would be how the Noblesse phones and Juiz create monetary values for “favours” such as killing people and making the Japanese prime minister say “Uncle”, thereby making the idea of “money [making] the world go ‘round” a lot more potent. The fact anything can be priced brings to mind the more dubious markets in the world, such as organ trafficking and surrogate mothers (which are “wombs for hire”). Obviously, people only resort to these when they have no other more legal option within their reach, which is what would occur when people feel disassociated from what their state is doing.
Another option for these disassociated people would be to become a NEET like Yutaka. The NEET phenomenon is a complex thing by itself, based upon multiple factors both inside and outside a state, but having an extreme character when it comes to NEET habits in Yutaka shows how Eden of the East is shaped by contempt for this idea, even though Kazuomi dubs the group “NEETs” (which they’re technically not if they’re university students or working) as a show of sympathy.
On the other end of the spectrum is overwork – there are some people who have secure jobs, but they work hard because the pay is notoriously bad. Eden of the East doesn’t touch upon this topic much so I can’t go into it, but needless to say, neither extreme is a good thing…so remember to have proper breaks while working. “Yeah, yeah. How’s that political, like you suggest in the title?” you ask? Well, job security is assumed to be a responsibility of the state, if not a company. With humungous global conglomerates such as Apple and Samsung, people can not only shift their manpower overseas to places where overwork is not as frowned upon (such as how Akira moved those NEETs to Abu Dhabi…even if that wasn’t the full extent of his intentions), but they can also evade things like paying tax, which brings the post full circle.
That’s not even counting the more obvious discussion of how the missiles were speculated to be a foreign power attacking Japan and the fact it starts in America implies whoever was on script really didn’t like how America-Japan relations were at the time, but…that’s a bit much for now and would cause a bunch of arguments, so we’ll cut the post short there. Thus, trying to touch on so many societal issues in one work is quite daunting, especially when there’s already so much literature on these issues combined, so applause must be given where it’s due to Eden of the East. However, I feel like even the movies wouldn’t be able to answer all the plot holes the show had…
Even though I get the ulterior motive of the deeper themes in Eden of the East, I still don’t get why there was so much gratuitous “johnny scribble”. So, regardless of whether you’ve seen the show or not (or even the movies), what is the point of having male nudity mark climactic moments in this show???