Freedom Project – What Is Out There?

Purchasing the blu-ray for this is why I still blind buy anime series from time to time. I mean, I saw this one on sale for a good price and I saw that it had a lot of people that I like behind its production. The first one where the character designs by Katsuhiro Otomo who is behind Akira. So already, it feels like something so rare to come out in 2007 let alone today. Then there is Dai Sato and Shuhei Morita among other cool people. After reading what it is about, it felt like an instant buy. Completely worth it, I had a lot of fun watching this adventure. It hit all the notes of things that I am usually into in a good way. The Freedom Project is pretty cool.

Starting on an artificial world on the moon called the Republic of Eden, Takeru and everyone else lives a simple life. A life of indoctrination and education from a group of mysterious officials who decide what the reality of the world is. At 15 years old, Takeru and his friends Kazuma and Bismarck spend their off time racing tubes with specialized motorcycles. A freedom that comes from creating and recycling a motorcycle that doesn’t work compared to the local group led by the cool Taira. Off days and flaws are rewarded with more hard work than usual, but it is an easy life that someone could live with. You know, until the world changing reveal pops out of nowhere.

The Earth is dead and uninhabitable. That is what the citizens of Eden have been told for their entire lives. One day, that all changes when Takeru and Bismarck take a ride outside to see the bright and shiny Earth and finds a photograph of a girl that he instantly fell in love with clearly in Florida at the former NASA launch center. Takeru’s destiny has changed as he steals a rocket in order to get into Earth and the true journey begins. What happened to the Earth? How can the fate of Eden change if Takeru makes a return? That is what the story and ideas are about. It’s really cool honestly. A very well constructed world in a simple way here.

In a lot of ways, Freedom’s story feels like it’s on autopilot. It’s really easy to predict where the plot will go or how the character’s will change but the experience is so good. The execution of the story is just so well done that I couldn’t help but be enthralled by it. There are some fun twists and turns here and there presented by the world or how NASA rockets still can be constructed and exist. How everything in it plays out and how it is all constructed in a unique way with a lot of space service fanservice that the people in this film love sells all of it to me. Dystopic worlds like this do exist in fiction, but they will never be like this one.

Takeru is also such a fun character to have around and explore the many ideas and locations he wants to go into. He is the classic dumb shonen hero who pushes his friends around, changes the world around him, acquires more friends on his way, and things like that, but he also felt refreshing to me. Especially since this world and the push for freedom wouldn’t exist if Takeru wasn’t interested in looking at the Earth and challenging the bounds of the territory around him. Plus, he is an Otomo protagonist who rebels on his motorcycle. What’s not to like?

The writing for every single character, including Takeru, is very thin. No one feels like a full character because of how they are handled. Not an exceedingly bad thing. Sometimes simple is good and in this case, I think that could be said. A lot of the relationships behind characters do feel genuine even if they are simple. Especially since characters can sit down and talk to each other in genuine moments even if they are very short. It hints at some layers and hints at what changes later on there too. So thin characters, but believable characters there too.

Visually, this OVA looks really cool here. I know there is some blending of CG and traditional animation that looks good from 2007 and still pretty good now. Especially with the Otomo character designs and mechanical designs that made me geek out all the time. I love Otomo’s designs. No one else does it like him. Especially the robots and the motorcycles that are still some of the coolest designs. So yeah, the blending is obvious, but it is something that feels easy to get used to and then enjoy the experience around them here too. It isn’t going to be an Akira in 2007 or now, but this is a way of doing it with current technology that makes sense to make it easier and still look decent. Nothing feels out of place there.

So yeah, I’m going to give Freedom Project a good. It is very simplified with its characters and a lot of its writing, but the experience is really cool. It was a great time to sit down and watch this happen. Especially since even if it was simple, Freedom was still well executed there too. Since this was the same team behind Seam Boy, I really need to actually get around to watching it even if it is just simple or not as good as this one. I think that is ok. Sometimes the rule of cool is enough to carry something. Same as uncovering the complicated mechanics of the world in Freedom in a simple way that makes sense. That’s it, that’s all I have to say. 

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