Space is such a vast canvas to work on and when Hiro Mashima amalgamates elements of fantasy, science fiction and adventure onto that canvas you get a wondrous experience complimented by lovable and relatable characters progressing through uplifting and extraordinary stories. It is a journey filled with spectacle, wonder, mystery, darkness, heart and excitement.
Edens Zero follows the adventure of Shiki and his crew in search of a existence known as Mother located somewhere within the vast cosmos able to grant any wish to any who find her. Not only do our protagonist have to overcome the quest of finding the location of Mother in the endless reaches of space but they have to combat the dangers residing within the unknown and compete against powers also in search for Mother.
One of the major themes at play within the universe of Edens Zero is the relationship between humans and machines. The conflict between the two forms initially exist as a sub plot but as the story progresses further the growing tension begins to boil and rise to the surface of the narrative. Both groups feel victim to the other and believe such a perception provides justification for their proceeding actions. Even though Machines were created, they have been enhanced to the point where they have developed a consciousness of sorts to act autonomously. Some machines, tired of the growing anguish they feel at the treatment suffered onto them by their creators react by concluding humanity is the enemy and an inferior form to continue existing within the universe. Portions of humanity in response to such a rebellion react in tune to how the machines view them by being destroyers. Consequently, machines and humans as a whole are dragged into that abyss of hatred and set out to break down any bonds present between the two groups. The “reality” the two factions perceive sadly leads to division and cruelty. Through such narrow-minded thinking and self-absorbed reactions, the idea of coexistence becomes a path foreign to both minds. It illustrates how “identity” plays a part in the darkness of both Human and Machine hearts. The universe is so vast yet the mind can be so limiting.
Fortunately, within such chaotic upheaval there are a few who seek to pierce the miasma of separation and rise above the anger consuming all, to become a beacon inspiring change. The courage displayed by those looking forward allows for the winds of reform to sweep across the darkened souls clouded by hostility and discord. The idea of division derived by form becomes a concept seen as a shackling limiter once genuine retrospect is achieved.
Bonds connecting the hearts of varying existences conveys how complex life can be and how transcendent the emotions shared between those spirits are. On one hand you have the relations between living beings and on the other, there are connections created between living beings and machines. The contrasting nature of those relationships as well as the dynamics surrounding it creates such a beautiful setting onto which the concepts of love, bonds and heart can define itself. What is a heart? And what constitutes “being alive“? Through the adventures Shiki and Co. experience as they journey into the chaos unfolding within the cosmos, such questions become the driving force for developing both the story of its characters and that of the world.
The cast in Edens Zero are exceptional. Each possess distinct characteristics with vibrant personalities. And when the characters interact with one another, it becomes hard not to fall in love with them. In particular, my favourite member of the crew is Witch. Not only is she the informal commander assisting Shiki in his role as Captain but she is insanely badass as the Shield of Edens Zero. As Edens Zero is a story about characters journeying through space to find Mother, it is natural for numerous new characters to be introduced with each new arc and for some to even join the crew in the quest to find Mother. What I am currently excited by is having different groups beyond humans and machines being featured more prominently and developed. The universe is vast with an array of life-forms existing within it. As each planet journeyed to expands the image of the cosmos, so too would having deeper focus on the varying and fantastical life-forms present. And potentially, some of those life-forms may become future allies of the Eden Zero crew.
Turning to the power structure within Edens Zero, the energy empowering individuals is that of Ether. Machines are able to naturally filter Ether through their body and manipulate it into different forms. For organic life forms like humans to exercise dominion over such energy, a medium is required. This is where the Ether Gear comes into play. It allows for organic life forms to harness the Ether and manifest the energy into specific elements, forms or functions depending on the disposition of the individual. Of note, the Ether Gear powers of the two main protagonist become a feature point for the whole Edens Zero story.
The battles progressively raise the stakes as the story delves deeper into the quest to find Mother with the main characters encountering more powerful antagonist. On top of the protagonist getting stronger, the opponents they face become more merciless and brutal. The atmosphere characterising the arcs also becomes increasingly darker and bolder with death frequenting the pages more often. There are moments where hope succumbs to its shadow called despair and the adventure of discovery becomes a reality dyed in the heaviest of terror. Such moments herald powerful and impactful scenes that linger within your mind long after. And the consequential nature of such darkness presents the precarious path our protagonist are traversing across.
For me, I found the first saga’s main antagonist to be phenomenal. Beyond the disturbed atmosphere their actions created, they also provided the Sakura Cosmos saga with a substantial terror that genuinely pushed the protagonists to go beyond what they were capable of. This character also assisted in setting up future antagonist whom belong to the same group as them.
The world we live in doesn’t just exist in “truths” and “fiction” but also in the possibilities we envision within our hearts that gives what we perceive substance and real emotion. To find value in the adventure. That is what being alive truly means. That is the tale Edens Zero seeks to craft within its expanding and enthralling setting. I have fallen in love with the series, its characters, its adventure and the art presenting such a compelling spectacle. I eagerly look forward to continue experiencing the adventure of Edens Zero as it journeys further into its unknown cosmos.
Enjoyment level: 10 Ether/10 Ether