Netflix has quickly become one of the go-to streaming platforms for original anime series, boasting a huge library of critically acclaimed movies and series like Aggretsuko, Castlevania, and Shinichiro Watanabe Carol and Tuesday. His latest, which debuted in late May, is Eden, a four-episode short series by Yasuhiro Irie, who directed Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, about two robots living in a post-human future who accidentally find a small child and decide to raise him away from their human-hating overlords.
EdenThe first episode of begins by outlining the robotic code of ethics, thematically similar to Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics: Basically, developers cannot create robots that could harm humans, robots must be able to maintain and cooperate, and a robot that cannot meet these requirements must stop working. A thousand years after humans left Earth a desolate wasteland and disappeared, robots have reclaimed the planet, building a lush paradise around their fortress, a giant mirrored building they call Eden. The structure is managed by security robots, farming robots that harvest apples and the like for no apparent reason, and overseen by a creepy robot overlord who wears a cape and calls himself Zero.
The first episode follows worker robots A37 and E92 (voiced by Rosario Dawson and David Tennant in the English dub), who stumble upon a cryogenic pod containing a baby human girl. As soon as she speaks to them, the robots’ language centers are activated and they can respond and talk to each other. They decide to hide her from Eden’s security forces, as Zero (Neil Patrick Harris), who hates humans, believes that all humans are violent and destructive and that the world is better off without them. The girl, whose name is Sara (Ruby Rose Turner), grows up among a motley coterie of rejected robots who “do not fit” into Eden’s rigid societal structure. When Sara receives a distress signal from the depths of Eden Fortress, she knows she must make a dangerous journey into anti-human territory in order to save what she believes to be the only other human on the planet.
The first season is short, its four episodes are all under half an hour and can be watched in an afternoon. The animation, which is done in a flat but three-dimensional digital style similar to The Dragon Prince and Blood of Zeus, is the prettiest version of this style I’ve seen – the tendency of computer-animated movements to look jerky and unnatural is helped by the fact that most of the characters in the series are machines. The gentle meditation on whether humans would be worthy of a world that machines have built for us feels familiar, as it always does in human-robot storytelling, but is revitalized in the unexpected way and curvy of this show. From the last episode, Eden has built a world just waiting to be explored.