Urobuchi December: Expelled from Paradise

For this post, I am jumping a couple years of time between Psycho Pass and this film’s appearance. Part of that is because these two things connect with the theme that I am going to discuss tomorrow. Another reason is because I get bored of doing things in order and I want a little chaos in my listings. Is that too much to ask for? I mean, I discussed Gundam things out of order. Why would I stop now? But for Gen Urobuchi writing, it’s something interesting when discussing his writing because this is his only stand lone anime film he’s ever written. Isn’t that something special? I think it is. Especially since this film is all of his ideas boiled down into one ninety-minute thing. It makes his work easier to analyze in that way. If you know what I kind of mean.

Expelled from Paradise is a very simply laid out film. Out in outer space somewhere around the Earth, there is DEVA. A floating station in which people live by being in hard drive space. The hardest working people in that society have more data allocated to themselves. Then there is the Earth. Meat space. People living on a broken-down planet that is barely surviving on barter and trading. Our protagonist’s name is Angela Balzac, an agent of DEVA. one day, her day gets ruined when a mysterious voice hacks into DEVA to discuss possibly traveling to outer space with him. So of course, the leadership sends Angela and other DEVA agents to destroy the signal that is hacking into them. Angela leaves early and that is how our story starts.

The story itself is a road trip movie. Angela works with a man named Dingo to discover who this Frontier is because it can hack into DEVA so easily. Something which that system cannot take lying down at all. Clearly this is the story of Angela in a human being experiencing things for the first time with Dingo as a guide while exploring this mystery. So obviously, there is the two connecting and Angela slowly loosening from her hard-working self to being trusting and relaxing. The final discovering of what Frontier can be somewhat expected, but very interesting in its own right. Dingo does feel like the voice of Urobuchi in this film in the most unfiltered way possible and I don’t think that hurts it as much.

For a CG film from 2014, Expelled from Paradise still looks pretty decent. I really mean that considering how CG can really age like bread. Very badly. There is some easiness with the locations of the series with flat deserts and just simple locations all around and the characters move pretty stiffly as well. But still, it’s easy to see all the character acting and body movements in character models that really sells this movie and what makes it age pretty decently. The mechanical stuff looks great though. Frontier looks great, the mecha fights all looks fantastic, and the flow of all the designs and other things in those incidents are excellent. Just all well realized and though out for what it wants to do. Yeah, not much else to say other than that.

So what themes are there to explore? A lot of them honestly. For me who has watched enough animated media from Japan a for a long time, there is something about the state of classes and rankings in Japanese media that are heavily prevalent. I feel like Expelled from Paradise examines that sort of class ranking a fair bit. The DEVA really does establish an order in which the hardest working people get all the rewards. So obviously, this is rigged system where having a flesh body is at the bottom of it. Yet, there is freedom at the bottom. Something that Angela learns to feel and think about with Dingo’s help. Dingo is a person who works with DEVA, but he enjoys the freedom to just do what he wants.

The other theme that I see explored is about humanity itself. What makes us human and who decides that fact is a pretty prevalent thing in a lot of media and anime of the science fiction and cyberpunk variety here. The way Expelled from Paradise is laid out allows this theme to be explored in an easier way. Or should I say, efficient. Multiple elements of the way this story is written play into that fact and do a lot of double duty and I think that is why this film works as well as it does. Angela going from a data person to a human person (and back and forth really quickly) really explores that along with the very road trip/buddy cop nature of the film. The real winner for tis exploration comes from Frontier Setter himself from the way he talks and reacts in a machine body compared to Angela’s first time in a human body. In that situation, who is the real human? How are we supposed to see or know? Hmmmm….

So yeah, those are my takeaway from Expelled from Paradise. A very simply told anime film with a lot of complicated sorts of themes that one could look into and comment on in some interesting ways. Or at least explore and think about. A simple world that yet feels complicated when looking at the details of the story. Just like DEVA. In the opening of the film, we’ve only seen what DEVA is like for five or so minutes before Angela is sent to Earth but we got to see DEVA so quickly in that time space but that was all we needed. Very efficient film to a fault and that can be good sometimes. Sometimes over explaining or letting the audience have enough time to figure out what is going on if the viewer wants to. I’m going to give this film a solid because I really do dig all this film is trying to do and speak. It just works and always functioning on a high level.

If you want to read an even better post about this movie, read K’s post from a while ago :D. You can read that here: Link

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