This review will conclude my rampage through CG anime territory. I saved a movie for last because it was shorter so I could squeeze into a moment where I had limited time. And it’s a great movie to be sure, but it also shows what a CG anime on an absurdly large budget can do. Eat your heart out Ajin.
Set in the distant future, Earth was ravaged an apocalypse caused by out of control machines(It eventually stopped though.) and the bast majority of the human race left Earth, but not for some other celestial body. Instead, they digitized themselves aboard the space station DEVA, where they now live immortal lives in a perfect digital society. When a hacker from Earth manages to effortlessly bypass DEVA’s security measures multiple times, the ruling council sends agent Angela Balzac to investigate and find the source on Earth.
This story is filled with political commentary and the characters accurately reflect the drastic differences between someone who has lived a perfect digital life and someone made of flesh and bone who has survived on the devastated Earth. The whole reason behind the story is nothing more than a plot device meant to move the characters along. It’s the characters themselves that carry the story and make it worth watching more than once. Let me explain.
Angela is a member of DEVA’s Station Security and lives a fairly comfortable life because she’s worked hard for it. When her job forces her to leave the digital world and go to Earth, she doesn’t understand why anyone would want to live there and why they like the things they do, and it’s all because DEVA is run by logic. Things that are deemed unnecessary are deleted. Dingo is a man who has always lived on Earth and he feels that the weight he feels on real chest means more than living a high and mighty life in cyberspace. He also loves music, something that was apparently deemed unnecessary in DEVA and thus was deleted from the Archive. The story reveals over the course of its two hour run just how flawed humanities vision of the perfect future really is. Resources are limited no matter where you go, and cyberspace is no different. Everything uses up data and thus this data must be skillfully managed. As a result, only those who work hard can get the best in DEVA, they get the most memory. Those who are found lacking... they’re archived for all eternity. That sounds like a fate worse than death. Sure, it sounds like reality where you need money to survive and the more you have the better off you are, but in reality even if you fall to the bottom you can pick yourself back up and try again. In DEVA that isn’t possible and you are given zero alternatives despite the fact that they exist.
The reality is that the real world might actually be better than the perfect digital one. Sure, being digital has its perks, but it also has its major downsides and you lose a lot of the soul of what its like to be human, to be alive.
Also, before I move on, I want to call into question a part of the story that happens early on. The main protagonist, Angela, is in her 20's from what I can gather, and in DEVA she’s a stone cold stunner and her design was great. To get to Earth, she has to have a physical body grown for her based on her DNA, and just to save like 4 minutes she stops her bodies age at 16.... I ask why? Sure she wanted to save time, but it was like 4 minutes and so now she’s a busty 16 year old, working with a guy whose probably in his 30's. I was not a fan of that change for once. And to top it off she wears a skimpy leotard with what I swear is a thong that’s gonna give her a serious wedgie. Normally I don’t criticize this stuff because I love fanservice as much as the next guy, but they already had a 20 year old version of her that was fanservice worthy and they chucked it out for the rest of the movie because Japan has an obsession with busty lolita teenagers.
Pop quiz: Is the above image 2D or CG? Go on, take a guess, I’ll wait.... Okay the correct answer is CG. I’d chalk this up to a film budget, but the Ajin films look nearly identical to the television series as far as I’m aware and it’s not a recut like the Gundam Unicorn OVA to TV series was. Expelled from Paradise was animated by Toei Animation and Graphinica and they did an outstanding job confusing the hell out of me. Ninety-five percent of the time I was convinced I was looking at very well animated 2D anime, but it isn’t, it’s CG, and that is what makes it extremely impressive. It’s beautiful, it’s fluid, and it’s convincing which is important. There’s also some full on unashamed nudity which they probably got away with because movie.
I have nothing for all of you this time because I can’t find the soundtrack on Youtube. Like Sidonia and Ajin apparently the soundtrack is heavily policed by the rights holders. So take my word for it that the soundtrack is decent. There wasn’t much that stood out to me and the film was kind of quiet a lot which is where the great sound design stood out. I do feel like the soundtrack should have been far more noticeable and there should ahve been less quiet scenes, but it works. The main spectacle here is the animation and I’ve already pitched that to you.
Expelled from Paradise is well worth one or two watches. It is a great film and I can’t wait to see what Graphinica does next. I was also surprised to see Gen Urobuchi attached to this so maybe that’s a big reason as to why it was so good. I want to see more of these characters because it was definitely left open for a sequel though I’m not 100% sure what kind of story they would tell. I wholeheartedly recommend you give this film a try, you may find it on Netflix in both English and Japanese.
I will probably be forever salty about this. What you see to the left of this text is adult Angela from the beginning of the film. Why could this not be her for the entire movie? Why?! *Crys in a corner.*