Anime Spotlight: Expelled from Paradise

Welcome dear reader to the first issue of Anime Spotlight. My hope is to inform you of anime from new to old. In today’s anime spotlight, I bring to you Expelled from Paradise, a 2014 film from Toei Animation directed by Seiji Mizushima.

Expelled form Paradise is a story where high sci-fi and old west meet. At the time the film takes place, it is hundreds of years into our future so there have been many technological advancements. However, Earth was devastated by a disaster known as the ‘Nano Hazard’ incident. This nearly destroyed the Earth, so to save the human population the specialised space station, DEVA, was constructed to house humanity. To preserve human life and lower resource cost, humans shrugged off their mortal coil and traded their physical bodies for digital ones. Humans can now live in a digital paradise where they never get sick, never feel pain or suffering, they can just focus on living a happy life fulfilling their hopes and dreams without risk.

The tranquil peace that all the citizens share is disrupted by an unknown hacker calling himself ‘Frontier Setter’. He speaks of a different fate for humanity aboard a space ship to explore the galaxy. Unfortunately for him the governing council see his hackings as a threat to DEVA security and must be stopped. Enter System Security Third Officer Angela Balzak who has been put on the case to track down this hacker and stop him. The hacker’s origins have been traced to earth’s surface so Angela sets out to find him.

Living in a digital world means you have no need for a physical body, so to travel to Earth a clone body is created for Angela’s use. However, she is head-strong and can’t wait for a fully-grown body so she resorts to a younger 15 year old version of herself. This explains why she looks so young but acts like an adult throughout the movie, though she can still be quite childish.

To assist Angela’s search on the surface she receives the help of local agent ‘Dingo’. Not all humans were transported to DEVA because some could survive on earth; agent Dingo is one of these people. Unlike Angela who has a very logical way of thinking, almost arrogant, Dingo is very different. Dingo holds onto the value of living in the real world with an ‘imperfect’ body.

The relationship between these two characters is strained at first; they often fight and didn’t see eye to eye. This is because their world views were different since they grew up in two very different worlds. Angela would often bicker about how terrible a physical body was and because she wasn’t used to one she very quickly pushed it to its limits. Angela quickly got over exhausted and sick, not knowing the feeling of a body or what it means to get sick. Angela had no knowledge of what she was doing to her body by pushing it so hard.

After some time to recover its back on the trail of Frontier Setter. Now going any further into detail means we start running into spoiler territory, so hopefully what I’ve said so far has sparked your curiosity.

An interesting point to mention about this film is the animation. It’s not done in the traditional Japanese hand-drawn style, its actually done in 3D. Yes, to a lot of people’s displeasure this is a 3D anime movie. There is a group of anime viewers that dislike the 3D style that has been popping up a lot more lately. All I can say to them is they don’t appreciate what can be done in 3D that is very difficult with hand drawn cell animation. This can be seen best in the final act of the film where there is a large Mech battle where the camera is moving around a lot and so are the characters in the scene. To have been able to animate this sequence as smoothly by hand, frame by frame, would have taken a significantly longer time and required more work and effort. So, I see nothing wrong with them taking the 3D approach to cut down on time and costs. Plus, the art style that they went with kept the look and feeling of hand drawn animation.

Now I haven’t said a whole lot about the film, just the setup and a bit about the characters and animation style. So you may be asking why? Well that is because the purpose of Anime Spotlight isn’t to be a review but to highlight an anime, show or movie, so that you may become aware of it if you aren’t already. My hope is that by sharing cool and interesting anime you might go out and watch it yourself, so I hope what I’ve written so far has pecked your curiosity to go see it for yourself.

This Anime Spotlight was brought to you by the fine folks at Pixel Pop, as well as Madman, who provided me with a copy of Expelled from Paradise to bring this spotlight to you. Thank you all for reading.

Expelled from Paradise is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray. Check out the Madman website for more information.

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