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Edens Zero review: Japan's failed attempt at bringing back Star Wars nostalgia

Read the manga instead of watching Edens Zero on Netflix

2.0
Shaheen Irani
Aug 29, 2021
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Story:

Inspired by the manga series penned by Hiro Mashima, Edens Zero revolves around the life of a protagonist named Shiki. Having grown up around machines, he sets out on a journey to find new friends, starting with 'B-cuber' Rebecca and her droid kitty Happy. They move around Sakura Cosmos in search of new adventures.

Review:

Edens Zero is a failed attempt at anime. While the manga series was widely read in Japan with its 13th book series coming out in March this year, the Netflix TV series barely makes an impact. The anime is introduced with a focus on space. The main lead Shiki has a talking half skeleton-half robot for a grandfather - the Demon King and a robot-magician Michael for his friend. The scene is a classic cinematographic masterpiece which was a smart move, considering space plays an important role in the show.

Shiki is introduced to Mother, space and the idea of human friends, thanks to his grandpa. Thus, he sets out on a journey to find all of them. Later in the series, it is revealed that he is the only human among robots, in the world of Granbell Kingdom. Shiki was brought down and treated as an equal to the robots upon the 'Demon King's orders.

The Granbell Kingdom is where we meet a cat named Happy and a girl named Rebecca, who hails from a place called 'Blue Garden'. The duo only cares about making videos and getting views. Rebecca even dresses up as a cat for her videos, thus hinting at what you can expect when you go on the Aoneko channel on B-Cube (a hint at Youtube).

Rebecca and Shiki have an awkward first meeting. He scares and disgusts her brains out, making the viewers feel the same way. He later stalks her and ends up showing her the place where he lives, introducing her to his friends in the Kingdom. Rebecca enjoys the company and becomes one among them in no time, making us wonder if she and the anime are so shallow that a creep is forgiven because he shows her the place. On top of that, Rebecca offers Shiki to be her boyfriend. The basis of the show is very weak. Thus, there is little scope for improvement thereon. In all, Edens Zero is a commercial series that overlooks basic morals and is ironic. While the show constantly shows the men perving over the women, it also shows the women take control and scare the men when it comes to action.

We are then introduced to Lord Castellan, who is the first antagonist of the show. Rather stereotypically, he is seen sitting in the dark as his eyes glow red. His true intentions are revealed in a battle of robots vs machines and sometime later in the same episode. Like a superhero, Shiki has Ether Gear (magic gear), a power from the dark ages which helps throw robots away from him and injure them for good. While some of his fights have depth, the others simply appear too convenient with the VFX work.

Leaving the Grambell Kingdom, Shiki, Rebecca and Happy are faced with several opportunities as they fly into outer space - the Sakura Cosmos. Thereon, Shiki's journey to make over 100 friends, as suggested by his grandpa, begins. However, knowing the way he behaves upon meeting humans, all the viewers can expect is disgust and senselessness.

Their adventure begins with Happy getting kidnapped. The whole scene is overtly dramatic. The background music does nothing to enhance the scene. Rebecca in action, however, is something to look forward to. Shiki comes across another antagonist, this time in a princess named Elsie. The show takes a twist when Elsie's real power is unveiled.

The costumes on the show are pretty interesting, although derogatory too. Rebecca is always seen in revealing clothes. Meanwhile, a few others are seen with a tie that stretches up to their legs. Elsie and her rival named Justice have a Star Wars-like fight. A part of the battle, obviously, also involves Shinki. Another similar reference is the Rogue Out team, introduced later in the series. For the uninformed, Star Wars had Rogue One.

Rebecca's rival Labilia is introduced as an arrogant B-Cuber who can get her fans excited by drawing a poop. To eliminate competition, Shiki suggests meeting Mother. Edens Zero happens to be a ship that takes them outside of the Sakura Cosmos, to meet Mother.

The viewers see a twist when robots find out Rebecca's broken necklace and claim that a man and a woman are dead. The narrator Xiaome is introduced to the show in an equally mysterious manner. Unfortunately,  she did not have much to do in the first season of Edens Zero.

Rebecca and Happy's story with Professor Weiz on the planet of Norma is explored soon. The story takes so many turns that it gets tough to keep track of them. From time travel to aliens, the episode has everything you could think of. A robot fly Pino is introduced to the plot and she happens to play an important role in the story. This time around, Pino is kidnapped by Sikir, who has spread terror to Norma. As an antagonist, Sikir does a fair job.

The 'Foote' brothers, working for Sikir, are creeps who cannot get over Rebecca's legs after they accidentally get a glimpse of it. They manage to disgust you as much as, if not more than Shiki himself. The Shiki vs Sikir fight is one of the highlights of the show.

Illega is a frog who uses women for his pleasure. He is the ideal example of what the rich people in a corrupt land are capable of. Rebecca becomes one of his targets. To save her, Shiki makes a dynamic entry and goes on a roll. However, as Rebecca has proven previously, she is beyond capable of getting out of the situation on her own. This, once again, appears to be an attempt by the makers to show how women constantly need support through tough situations. Interestingly though, Edens Zero is run by women who are more than capable of taking on opponents all by themselves.

Shiki faces an opponent - a cyborg named Jinn - who also uses the ether gear. The fight could have been impressive but ends up being dramatic, especially with the music. Jinn's dressing will remind you of Sasuke from the Naruto franchise. What's more? He uses ninjutsu without thinking much about others. If that doesn't scream inspired, we don't know what will.

Homura, introduced in episode 9, is an interesting personality. She wishes to challenge the Demon King and get aboard Edens Zero. Her character evolves well with time. She's an amazing samurai who also uses Ether Gear but as a soul sword rather than for gravity attacks. The latter is something Shiki specialises in. Despite being rivals, Shiki's behaviour takes Homura by surprise. It is not as much a surprise for viewers though, considering Shiki's wavering personality.

One of Demon King's subordinates, Sister's entry is powerful. She is constant thereafter. However, sister Ivry, the real sister, gets into action and leaves no scope for anyone else to take over when she is on the screen. A chronophage heads to Shiki's place. The element steals time and is known to take time to 50 years back, from the Norma incident. This forces team Shiki to take some drastic steps. Once again, the show stoops so low in terms of moral grounds.

Edens Zero takes an interesting turn when Shiki and Rebecca happen to follow the same instructions while in front of the enemy. The scene is shot with them separately, dealing with different enemies and still, they are in sync with one another. That method is often loved and Edens Zero is no exception to that.
An alchemist named Draken Joe is also introduced in the series. He makes a fair first impression but does not have much of a role in the first season.

The biggest disappointment is that the series is left at an incomplete stage which isn't even a cliffhanger.

Verdict:

Go read the manga. The anime barely does justice to the book, which is probably why Hiro Mashima wanted nothing to do with the Netflix series.

Give Edens Zero a skip if you want to continue loving anime and don't wish to see a ruined version of Star Wars.

Unlike most anime, Edens Zero does not make you laugh, cry or keep you glued to the screens. Even a show like Boruto, which is shunned for not matching up to the standards of Naruto, appears to be a gem in front of this series.

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