The English translation of his weight loss memoir, Sayonara, Mr. Fatty!, is selling out on Amazon, but Toshio Okada is more well known in Japan as the founder and former CEO of Gainax and author of Otakuology and other books about otaku culture. Okada tweeted his thoughts about Eden of the East and sparked some discussion about both the show and the nature of being a savior. There is a potentially major spoiler for Eden of the East which will be bracketed.
I saw Eden of the East. If I were to state my impressions in just a few words, "Fist of the North Star: Academic Version." Fist of the North Star covers the daydream of, "What if I were super powerful and the world is just coming to the end of the century?" While in Eden's case it's, "What if I had 10 billion yen and a secretary?" These two ideas are similar to a surprising extent.
Points of similarity between the two shows:
Both are legends of century-end saviors.
In both, the victor was the person who could withstand more sorrow.
In both, a step brother-ish character who left a weak impression comes along to start a fight.
During the last episode of the [Eden of the East] TV anime I thought, "Huh? This is how it ends?" I couldn't understand the motive for erasing Takizawa's memories. There was some talk that explained it, but I didn't have any sympathy for it so I had this "feeling of being deceived with a trauma-like explanation." I'm gonna watch the movie next, but lol.
Why are characters in both Eden and Madoka Magica portrayed so weakly? Of course when you compare it to Rokushin Gattai God Mars it's way, way better, but…You feel their "shallowness as that of mascots, not characters." I wonder if it's because they sacrificed "universality' and prioritized "now-ness' in their portrayal?
I saw a tweet or a blog somewhere saying, "If I were given 10 billion yen and an omnipotent secretary, what kind of savior would I be?" and felt kind of weird. I thought that if there's something you can do with 10 billion yen, then you can start with 10 thousand, even though you wish you could be a savior right away.
That is similar to the feelings of admiration for Fist of the North Star. "If only I were as strong as Kenshiro, I wouldn't allow any evil!" That's doesn't seem right. "Because I'm strong I won't allow evil," is simply, "Bullying weak people." Isn't it fighting regardless of whether you are strong or weak that makes you an "ally of justice?"
For that reason I think "If I were given 10 billion yen and an omnipotent secretary" misses the mark. So that's why I feel Eden of the East has a weak theme. You don't have to be a "chosen one" to become a savior. So I'm lecturing the staff—if you avoid that point, you don't really have a coming of age story. [Note: he uses the German term "bildungsroman."]
He takes some questions and later seems to conclude...
It's interesting—this "receiving 10 billion yen and a multi-purpose cell phone and undertaking the role of savior" plot to me screams of a creator thinking, "If I were to receive ample time frame and budget, I should make some kind of "meaningful anime" without concentrating on ratings or what I want to make, personally.
What do you guys think? Is he overanalyzing or does he have a point?