If you being following some of the latest anime news, updates or whatever, you’ve noticed one guy that’s been in the spotlight for some time now and I’ve covered him before on Anime Discovery (even dedicated a month to his work).
His name is Gen Urobuchi and I don’t think I need to reiterate what he did before. Point is, as of recent, everything he tends to write then leave and have some of his friends’ write the rest of his shows and end result of that is it would suck (see Aldnoah.Zero, Psycho-Pass 2, & Gunslinger Stratos for examples).
However, this is not the case this time. He did write this…..then again, this is a movie. Of course, he was going to write the whole thing, which explains his absence in some of the shows he created.
And now, we figure out…..can he still write a good story?
Let’s figure it out with Expelled from Paradise.
Most of humanity has evolved into an existence where each being is turned into data that composes their personalities living inside Deva, an utopian society which governs its individuals through a virtual reality interface in a base above earth´s atmosphere. The continuous interference of a hacker from planet Earth called Frontier Setter is seen as threat and Deva sends security agent Angela Balzac to deal with it. She will have the assistance of Dingo, a terrestrian agent who refused to join Deva.
I’ll tell you this.
If you were expecting a full-on action movie with lots of mecha fights and explosions, you get that…….in the last third of the movie but that’s not to say the movie is boring because it isn’t. It’s actually more of a character-driven story with sci-fi elements and somewhat of a twist that wasn’t expected but it did felt predictable. Even though in my Gargantia review, I said that was Urobuchi’s light-hearted work….however, since he didn’t write most of that, Paradise fits that to a key in some areas. Hell, you can even say some fundamentals of Gargantia exist in there from a being visiting another realm and learning some wisdom from a human. Some of the Deva components is standard for sci-fi stories that felt more as a background than an actual part of the presentation and can be easily forgotten once going in. There are also scenes in the middle that did dragged on and felt muddled with introducing Frontier Setter to Dingo and Angela.
Speaking of them…….
This is a character piece and luckily it’s only 3 characters that got the spotlight. For Angela Balzac…..
First off, who the fuck thought of that name for her? Balzac? Really? I’m surprised you didn’t name her Pen Ness or Tessa Cul. Anyway, you got the typical classic soldier in a fish-out-of-water story for the first half of the story and if you saw Gargantia, you know where this is headed minus a love story. She’s a decent character but not really a highlight of one. That honor goes to Dingo, who just might be the best character of the movie as there was a certain charm and style to him that’s both an likable asshole but a cool guy at the end. Frontier Setter might the least interesting character out of this as he has this whole “he’s a huge threat” vibe to him the first time seeing him and while the change in character isn’t horrible, it doesn’t give much for us to be interested in him anymore.
Once again, a lot of people are not going to like the artwork and animation to this and while visually, the CGI does look awkward and blocky in some parts, it fits well right into the action sequences. It’s an adequate effort from Graphinica, who really doesn’t have much under their belt besides doing the last 2 Hellsing Ultimate OVAs and I’ve seen worse animation done by other companies. *cough* TOEI *cough* (And yet, they were part of the planning committee for this.)
Music is about as distinctive in something like this with a lot of electronic music with orchestra backings and the occasional sounds of rock playing in there, including the bit where Dingo plays the guitar and that leads us to the theme song “EONIAN” (-イオニアン-) by ELISA and it was a good song to end on, especially how it’s used during the credits.
The English dub from Bang Zoom is listenable to a degree while there were no bad performances, there was a weak link in its cast and honestly, it was Johnny Yong Bosch as Frontier Setter and I while Bosch did his best playing him, it was the character more so than the actor as I thought was bland and monotonous. However, Steve Blum and Wendee Lee definitely makes that up for that with their performances as Dingo and Angela, respectively. However, it’s more of Blum than Lee on that although she was playing something that felt autopilot for her anyway.
FINAL VERDICT: What we got here is….exactly an OK sci-fi story that was more light-hearted than the usual Urobuchi story. It’s nothing grand or spectacular, Expelled from Paradise gave us an appealing character story with a medium-sized dose of action thrown in there despite one of the three main characters having a dull focus.
With all that said, this paradise isn’t expelled but it doesn’t get an ‘A’…..
8/10 – Solid B.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
EXPELLED FROM PARADISE is available on DVD & Blu-ray via Aniplex of America. As of the time of writing this review, the movie is available for streaming on Netflix (both languages).
As usual, I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid……OK, Balzac, really? Who was in the writing room when they were thinking of this character? Come on, man!! I don’t know if it’s the language barrier but damn.
I’m done now. Goodbye.
EXPELLED FROM PARADISE – animation by GRAPHINICA / distributed by ANIPLEX OF AMERICA.