Type: Almost there
Synopsis: 98% of people live in the matrix. 2% of people live in the real world. I’m not sure why, they never really explain it. But then someone hacks the matrix, and the only anime solution is to send a pretty girl to fix it.
Pros: Expelled from Paradise is almost, almost a great film. It has all the elements. It has a glossy digital world. It has a determined female protagonist. It has a bare bones real world. It has a robot. An intelligent robot! The plot is straight forward. A security officer, Angela Balzac, is sent to stop a hacker in the real world, while learning about life along the way. She’s funny in that modern 2010’s anime kind a way. Haughty but likable. I really liked the A.I. character, Frontier Setter (was “Settler” too obvious?), and still feel his story had the most potential. That’s what I ultimately feel about the film. It was one good rewrite away from fufilling its potential.
Cons: The film employs 3D animation style with 2D-like designs. Visually, this actually works really well, as the styles blend nicely. Then the characters start moving. Movement, especially from Angela, looks too stiff and puppet like. But kudos for trying. Story wise, I think the film would have worked better if they cut one element from the story. Any element. Even the lazy biblical allusion could have been cut out (Is Frotier supposed to be Adam? Abel? That guy with the salty wife?) The thing is, the story is just a little too crowded, and would have benefited from a more concentrated, intimate plot. Ideally, something involving Frontier Setter. It’s status as a sentient A.I. with an appreciation for human culture and innate kindness is narrative gold. The story could have focused on his relationship with Angela, a digital citizen. Or his relationship with Dingo, a salt of the earth drifter. Or just his life as an artificial intelligence in a world where all the humans have chosen to live in a digital world. But instead, the film chooses the generic route and focuses on Angela’s mission with Dingo, and exploits her ignorance of the real world for wacky results. It even has the standard scene where Angela is accosted by creeps, beat them up for a while to show that she can “take care of herself,” but then gets rescued by Dingo and undermining her capabilities, because anime. In fact, the film could have benefited from not having Dingo. I like him well enough, but he doesn’t really add that crucial that couldn’t be written around. Going back to the story as a whole, it’s tone shifts from comedy to existential to action in a way that doesn’t mesh well. Although, I did laugh my ass off while watching the ending of the English dubb, because when Cowboy Dingo finally gets to sing a song on his guitar, his voice goes full Japanese. I always find it hilarious when the English writers don’t bother to translate a song.
Watch it: Honestly? Just skip to when Frontier Setter shows up
MVP: Frontier Setter
I can’t believe they let him go by himself. He must be so lonely.
Best Moment: Dingo’s song (The Japaneses sticks out soo badly!)