The Catalog


Friday, February 26, 2010

Freedom Project (OVA)

SOURCE: Before you read any further. Please take note that I am an aerospace engineer and since this anime deals with a subject of particular interest to me, my views are perchance biased. First watched it in late 2008. Watched the Blu Ray version not more than a month ago.


Basic post apocalyptic scenario plot. Due to an event known as 'The Great Disaster' caused by the crashing of a massive space-station into the Earth, a massive climatic shift occured. Ensuing wars over scare resources wiped out the last traces of humanity on Earth. The last human survivors now dwell in tightly controlled environments on the Moon. The various domes comprising the settlements are collectively known as Eden. Adolescents are rigorously schooled and allowed a brief period of 'freedom' before being integrated into society as workers in different fields.

During this phase, most adolescents would participate in or become spectators to racing events where they would race each other using special vehicles which look like motorbikes (except they're so much cooler!). The principal protagonist Takeru is distinguished by the fact that he has built his own 3 wheeler vehicle with the help of his friends Kazuma and Bismarck (Biz). However, when his vehicle catches fire on a public road, Takeru is sentenced to 10 hours of community service where he is forced to perform maintenance on the exterior of the 'domes' which they all inhabit.

Takeru is frustrated at his failure to defeat his arch rival Taira in the race, and the fact that Kazuma's sister Chiyo (The one he had a crush on) is dating someone else. He is performing his duties outside the dome when he notices an object falling from space to the surface of the moon. He rushes over to see what it is and finds a smashed capsule containing pictures of a girl and various other people and children. On the back of the girls picture there was a message 'We are safe. Is anybody out there?' Infatuated with the girl, Takeru attempts to find out more about her and forces Biz and Kazuma to help him.

Alan, an old man whom they befriended tells them that the picture was of a place on Earth... namely Cape Canaveral in Florida on Earth. Intrigued, the boys try to learn more about the Earth only to find that all information about the Earth was tightly controlled. Feeling suspicious, Takeru decides to venture outside the dome to learn more. It is then that he, Kazuma and Biz discover the secret of Eden. The Earth was not a barren red wasteland as the Eden government claimed it to be. It was blue and looked to be in good health. Takeru decides to escape Eden and go to Earth to find the girl from the picture. The anime follows his exploits as he crash lands in Las Vegas and travels all the way across the United States to Florida in order to find the girl... will he find her? What happens next?

ANIMATION: The quality of the animation I have seen in this series far surpasses most anime I have seen (that I can remember... and I have seen a LOT of anime)... its simply mind blowing.... besides... they had Katsuhiro Otomo (of Akira and Steamboy fame) as the character and mecha designer...

VOICE TALENT: I dont usually pay attention to the seiyuus names but whoever they were... they did an outstanding job IMO.

MUSIC: Is very fitting. Dunno what else to say really. I liked it. Did not interfere with the feel or flow of the anime as some music sometimes does....

PLOT: Generic for the most part (see synopsis)... but well executed... concentrated on telling the story rather than dishing out fan service or other pointless distractions... some humor is integrated into the scenes, but the overall feeling is that of young people out on an adventure in a new world... some 'anti-establishment' / 'stick-it-to-the-man' sentiment in some scenes... but mostly its about the exuberance and the potential of youth... the friendship between teenagers boys... the incredible will to survive that all humans have...stuff like that... its predictable... but not boring... which is not easy to manage...

OVERALL SCORE: 8/10 I would say... Note again that I am biased because I have a soft spot for anime dealing with space.... I particularly liked this one because it uses some existing rockets (namely the Saturn V) and launch sites (Cape Canaveral). For a more objective rating I guess you could take off about half a point... or maybe one full point...

SIDE NOTE: This anime was sponsored by Nissin Noodles for some anniversary of theirs (35th I think). Anyway.... characters will often be seen eating Nissin cup noodles. So... yeah... thought you ought to know... product placement is coming to the anime world too...

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