While we’ve seen a lot of sci-fi and fantasy movies and shows over the years, and there’s certainly a glut of new titles on TV and streaming services, we’ve rarely seen a sci-fi/fantasy movie that’s as varied as ‘Edens Zero’ is. The movie follows an adult female protagonist as she deals with the aftermath of a near-death experience as well as a battle for her soul as she struggles to come to terms with the realities of this new world she’s living in.
We know, we know… We’re not the first to mention this and we won’t be the last. The concept of Edens Zero is not new: it’s been done before and done better. Set in an alternative version of our own world where the world has been plagued by the plague, we follow a man who has been forced to take part in a set of experiments as a means to find a cure. However, as he delves deeper into the research, he begins to uncover not just what has happened to our world, but the alternative one as well.
“Edens Zero” is an understated gem about a disillusioned teenager who ventures into the Forest of the Dead to find his father who died during a mining operation. The Forest of the Dead is an interesting setting which lends itself well to future plot development. Other than that, it is a typical fantasy novel that has little to offer the reader.
The year is X492. On the machine planet Granbell, Rebecca, a B-Cuber video streamer, meets Shiki, a little child who can control gravity. After a sequence of events, Shiki is carried out into the mysterious outer world by Rebecca, who becomes his companion on an adventure in space. They will go across the universe together, visiting numerous worlds with diverse landscapes and populations. While doing so, he discovers the truth about the cosmos.
While Hiro Mashima is most known for his works Rave Master and Fairy Tail, his most recent series, Edens Zero, was met with a strong response from fans when it was initially revealed on Shounen Jump. At first look, it seemed to be a space-based version of Fairy Tail, especially the character designs, which are almost identical. (I’m looking at you, Erza impersonator, Happy, Plue, and Happy impersonator.)
That impression lasted all the way through the anime adaption, with some people refusing to watch the show at all. Is Edens Zero, on the other hand, really deserving? Manga fans are presently fascinated with the manga’s narrative path, contrary to common opinion. So, what exactly is Edens Zero, and how does it compare to Fairy Tail’s calamitous failure?
We can’t go forward without dealing with the elephant in the room: character designs. While they may share a similar appearance and even have the same voice actresses, the similarities end there. In contrast to Fairy Tail, where friendship reigns supreme, the characters in this series have distinct principles or values that drive them onward. This is exemplified by Weisz. He joins the squad because he needs to preserve his skin, not because he loves them. He’ll jump ships if it’s in his best interests, yet he has a decent heart in certain circumstances.
Rebecca, or the better Lucy Heartfilia, is a more realistic heroine who comes from a low-income household and rises through the ranks. She defies the damsel-in-distress stereotype by rescuing herself in a number of circumstances. Both Weisz and Rebecca are aptly explained by their battle against a swarm of tentacle humanoids.
Weisz stood by, ‘admired’ the view, and tried to make it more ‘enticing’ before being pulled away by his own tentacles. Rebecca had had enough and smashed her way through, but not before reversing the roles that Weisz had played on her. I hoped they hadn’t gone back to the main character since I was so captivated with the mutual teasing exchange.
While some may find it impossible to overlook the characters’ identical looks, their personalities and interactions are distinct and entertaining. It’s much more real since they’re not forced to be friends because of the “guild is a family” cliche. They chose to become buddies on their own.
What adventure is Edens Zero trying to convey, apart from the characters? Edens Zero differs from Fairy Tail in that it has a definite end goal: to meet Mother, the Goddess of the Cosmos. This ultimate objective may give us a clear sense of Edens Zero’s direction, or it may be a red herring to the game’s real purpose.
Edens Zero isn’t hesitant to tackle darker topics like slavery and human trafficking, while Fairy Tail generally has a more cheerful tone. So far, the narrative has shown how AI Robots are mistreated in a world dominated by humans. They are treated as second-class citizens and are made to be laughingstocks, tormented, and eventually abandoned after they have proved to be worthless.
Shiki, the human protagonist who was reared among robots, comes into play here. His empathy for robots is well-developed, and he did not acquire it overnight. As a result, Shiki is more likely to get engaged in a dispute. Mother worries, like she did at the conclusion of the first episode, whether he would become a legend’s hero or the king of demons, like his adoptive robot grandfather, and bring devastation. His compassion for the downtrodden robot minority may lead him down that road.
The plethora of meta-jokes and Fairy Tail easter eggs strewn throughout the Edens Zero narrative is another entertaining element of the series. As someone who both loves and hates Fairy Tail, seeing Natsu and Lucy in the background, or a Wendy-like character with a well-developed breast and a different attitude, is very appealing.
In terms of production, it seems like the creator has a greater understanding of Edens Zero’s narrative direction. It won’t be a lengthy, drawn-out disaster like Fairy Tail, but rather a good balance of key narrative elements (like Rave Masters) and making things up as they go (like Fairy Tail). Also, if the sound design of Edens Zero seems familiar, it’s because the original Fairy Tail sound designer (Hata Shouji) is also working on this series!
Despite the series’ early failure, the narrative and characters make for an entertaining and thrilling trip to follow. Ten episodes of a long-running series can only reveal so much, but they’re trying their best to hook viewers on the idea of chronophage (a dragon that takes a planet’s time) and temporal paradoxes. Based on how manga fans are anticipating future arcs, expect big things from the shounen series.
SCORE: 7 OUT OF 10
‘Edens Zero’ is an indie-produced Sci-fi fantasy which follows the story of a young trooper in the Space Marine chapter of the Imperial army named Jamil. Jamil is sent to a rehabilitation facility for soldiers who have been injured in combat, and is tasked with the duty of re-training the soldiers to fight again. The film follows Jamil and his fellow soldiers as they train and fight against an invading force of hostile aliens.. Read more about eden zero and let us know what you think.
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