Netflix’s Eden is an interesting little CGI post-apocalyptic sci-fi anime. Not only that, but it truly is an anime this time.
Eden is a 4-episode sci-fi adventure anime on Netflix. Yes, you heard that right: it’s only 4 episodes long. The episodes are all a fairly standard ~24 minutes too. In this case, the anime is definitely going for quality over quantity.
Yasuhiro Irie (Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) serves as the director for Eden, with Kimiko Ueno serving as the writer. Qubic Pictures and CGCG Studio Inc. did the animation for it. Kevin Penkin (Made in Abyss, Tower of God) did the music for this anime, so you know it’s going to be good in that regard.
Eden premiered on Netflix on May 27, 2021. You can check it out there if you’re interested in a short but sweet sci-fi series.
Warning: spoilers for Eden below. If you want to watch this, stop here and come back once you have done so.
Eden: Plot Summary
Eden starts us off by introducing us to a giant apple farm full of nothing but robots. They spend their entire existence delivering apples to a giant glass building called Eden 3 all day, and then recharge at night. That’s the entirety of their existence. All of that changes one day when a pair of robots designated A37 and E92 discover a human toddler locked in a cryogenic pod, with the name “Sara Grace” written on the inside cover.
The 2 robots quickly grow to care for Sara, feeding the little tyke apples and such, and making her laugh with their antics. They grow to care for her so much that they both choose to delay carrying out their standing orders to deliver all humans found to the guard robots of Eden 3. They end up choosing to delay carrying out their orders indefinitely when they come across the guard robots beating and arresting a group of robots that were apparently worshipping humans as their gods. The duo end up running away together with Sara to a ruined city, where they discover other robots who worship humans as gods. These robots take them in, and end up raising Sara as well.
Eden‘s story then skips ahead a couple of years, to when Sara is around middle school age. She’s busy having loads of fun doing dangerous and thrilling things, and also exploring the local ruins. One of those exploration trips leads to her to discover a cry for help coming from Eden 3, and also for the guard robots to discover her current location. Sara ends up going on a journey from her home and loved ones to try and see if this cry for help came from another human, which unfortunately, it didn’t. However, Sara does learn from the voice that there are other humans, but they’re all in cryosleep and she needs to wake them up with the password because only the software only responds to humans, and she’s the only human around.
Sara then tries to find the password, but as it turns out, only the head guard robot actually knows the password, because he’s not actually a robot. He’s a human mind in a robot body. Thus, Sara ends up having to remind said human of his humanity, gets the password from him, and reawakens all the humans. Job well done, Sara. And that’s the end of Eden, aside from a few nuances I didn’t cover. Like the fact that the current setting takes place 1000 years after the old world ended? Yeah, now the Horizon Zero Dawn reference makes sense, doesn’t it?
Eden: The Good
I ended up liking the beginning of Eden most of all. I found the concept of a pair of robots trying to raise a human toddler fascinating and adorable. Especially since the robots themselves might as well be children too. It was like watching children try to raise a child. The robots’ individual personalities only add a tasty flavor to it. They did a very nice job building up their personalities and developing their characters. So nice that you actually felt a great degree of depression when they died. Yeah, the feels do hit you hard then.
I also really liked the setting for Eden. It reminded me of the setting for Horizon Zero Dawn a bit. You had a dying world, and the humans decided to embark on a project to make sure that there is going to be a living world for a future generation. Sure, there seems to be adults in cryosleep, but so far, 2 out of 3 pods we see contain babies/toddlers. That seems to imply that the planners mostly didn’t expect to survive, and they were sacrificing themselves to build a beautiful world they would mostly never get to see. It worked in Horizon Zero Dawn, and it works here too.
The animation itself is also nice. Eden uses a CGI style that resembles cel shading. Combined with bits of hand-drawn animation (or what looks like it) for certain facial expressions, and you’ve got a visually impressive show here.
Eden: The Bad
I think the worst part about Eden is its short length. At only 4 episodes long, with ~24 minutes each, this anime doesn’t have a lot of time to do anything. Oh, it makes the most out of its short length, to be honest. However, I feel this anime could’ve benefited a lot from a more normal 12-13 episode series. I feel like with that kind of length, you could’ve developed the characters and setting even more. Especially the bits where Sara is a toddler being raised by a pair of robots. I feel that was the best part, and I wish it could’ve been longer. Maybe the next season will learn from this, and have more episodes in it.
Eden is a very short sci-fi, post-apocalyptic anime, Short, but sweet. If you want to see a show that’s like the love child between Horizon Zero Dawn and WALL-E, I highly recommend you check it out on Netflix.