Finding the Invisible God in…Eden of the East (Part 4)
From the impression given by its title through to the very end of the series (at least thus far), Eden of the East conveys strong Christian symbolism. Months after I drew allusions between three of the Seleção in the series and Biblical individuals (Shiratori and the adulterous woman, Mononobe and Lucifer, and Takizawa and Christ), Funimation’s recent stateside release of the third Eden of the East movie, Paradise Lost, leads to one final strong parallel – that of heroine Saki and Christian believers, particularly those who knew Jesus in 1st century Palestine.
To examine how Saki is similar to Christian believers as a whole, it’s imperative that we discuss whom they (and she) believe in – Christ and Takizawa (Note: Plentiful spoilers for the movie abound in this post). Although I compared the two before, as mentioned above, this movie emphasizes the similarities between the Humble Savior and the crazed genius that is Takizawa.
Paradise Lost deals greatly with the circumstances regarding Takizawa’s birth. Who exactly is His father? The same question must have occurred to Jesus’ followers as he frequently pointed to God as His true Father. Takizawa’s mother also plays a major role in the film, and his birth is shrouded in mystery. Certainly, Jesus’ virgin birth was both a miracle and mysterious.
In the previous film, Takizawa established his wish to become King of Japan (and of his fellow people), echoing Jesus’ declaration that He is King of the Jews when pressed upon by Pilate. And both kings, one identified as a terrorist and the other near that definition (if not defined as it by the society He lived in), sacrifice themselves for the greater good. In fact, the film specifically calls Takizawa a “scapegoat.” That term has Biblical origins, as the “scapegoat” of the Old Testament was a literal goat upon whom sins of the people were transferred. Christ was a scapegoat, taking the sins of all mankind upon Himself.
But Takizawa is not alone. He’s gathered a group of “disciples” in the Eden NEETs. At first, they don’t trust Takizawa fully, although they are drawn to Him. But by this movie, they’ve thrown in their lots entirely with the young man. Saki is particularly representative of this transition, eventually trusting Takizawa fully and faithfully.
But it’s the final scene on-screen between Takizawa and Saki that fully drives the point home. Takizawa tells Saki, as Christ told His disciples, that though he is leaving, he would return one day. The two seal their promise with a kiss, reflecting the idea of sealing a marriage contract with a kiss. The institution of marriage in the west is chock full of strong Biblical connections, reflected in the idea of Christ marrying the church, His people.
By the end of the film, Takizawa still hasn’t returned, even as so many (including Saki) eagerly await him. The first century Christians thought Christ’s return was imminent, and waited expectantly. They formed a strong, communal society, sharing with each other and joining together in ministry. Likewise, Saki, the Eden staff, and other NEETs gather at the mall to live communally, “eagerly awaiting his second coming” (note the words used in the film). Today, believers continue to wait for Jesus’ second coming.
But Takizawa doesn’t leave Saki empty-handed. Though the Holy Spirit is an active part of the triune God, it is also called a “marker,” and its counterparts in the film act as such. Takizawa’s cell phone, which he hands to Saki before he leaves, the Merry-Go-Round ring, which he puts around her neck, and the kiss itself can all symbolize the Holy Spirit, which marks new believers.
And as Eden of the East draws to a close, the future of those involved with Takizawa is open and unfinished. The work has been done, but is also still being done. The Savior will one day return. Until then, they and we sit and wait expectantly, loving a Savior that defies conventional wisdom in the most awesome of ways.