What’s it about? A young boy named Shiki is the sole human that lives with robots on the planet Granbell and dreams of exploring other planets with his friends. Shiki’s quiet life changes when Rebecca and her cat friend named Happy come to the planet to explore it, and Shiki ends up leaving with them to start his own space adventure.
When I first heard about Edens Zero it sounded like it has the makings of a “B-rated anime,” which isn’t a bad thing–as long as it’s entertaining then it’s ok in my books. I was surprised when I heard notable names were attached to this series, such as Chief Director Ishihira Shinji (Talentless Nana and the upcoming Sasaki and Miyano) and Chief Writer Hirota Mitsutaka (Rent-A-Girlfriend and the Digimon Adventure tri movies).
I haven’t read the manga, but since this is being adapted by capable hands, I figured it was going to be an enjoyable watch. So far it’s a mixed bag. If I had to make a list of the usual tropes seen in shounen manga then Edens Zero would checkmark every one of them. Our lovable idiot protagonist is told by his (robot) grandpa to go on an adventure someday before he dies conveniently off screen. The power of friendship (partially) saves the day, though in such a way that it ends the episode on an extremely sad note.
There were probably better ways to convince Shiki to leave planet Granbell, but sure, why not traumatize him into following his dreams. I assumed being robots would make them consider more direct and rational options, but it was more important for our hero to have a tragic beginning. Those kinds of tropes are fine comfort food, but I didn’t appreciate seeing Shiki groping Rebecca’s breasts and looking under her skirt because he’s “clueless” about how to treat women respectfully as the sole male human living on Granbell. It doesn’t help that the anime keeps putting Rebecca into situations where we are forced to look at her body in sexualized ways.
Thankfully Rebecca is spunky and a lovable character together with her amazing cat friend, Happy, but she doesn’t entirely stand out in her own right . The male gaze also extends to this mysterious being called “Mother” (I laughed too) who apparently grants wishes, but when we finally meet her, she also has huge breasts and knows all about Shiki already. I’m hoping there’ll be an improvement on the treatment of women characters because if this continues then it’ll become a bore real fast.
Overall, this feels like a standard shounen anime series with all the tropes it’s known for, but is that going to be enough to get audiences to watch this show, especially since we have newer shounen manga and anime doing far more creative things in the genre? I have so many questions, but I’m not sure I’ll stick around to find out.