eden* is about Adam/The Knight Archetype and Eve/Princess Archetype making terrible omelets.
Note: This post is originally from Reddit’s /visualnovels/ but now, it has pictures. I’m a good VN blogger. Revisions were made on this blog post, so it won’t look like I’m lazy (ok i am).
The world is ending.
Humanity’s fate depends on one girl’s calculations to find a suitable way to live in space. She is a 100 year old ++ loli who has never stepped outside before and she is beginning to feel overworked. The protagonist is a soldier who has gone through several wars. He’s stoic, reserved, and refuses to show any emotions whatsoever. You could say that’s part of his moe.
As humanity departs, the protagonists meet and realize that they are trapped in this military complex. And so, they escape living alone, farming in the mountains with nobody to bother them. They hope to see the world end before they pass away.
Basically, an all-ages porn novel.
The game is split into two parts: Muv-Luv Unlimited and Harvest Moon (specifically that sci-fi PSP game that no one played except me).
Like you would expect, the Muv-Luv Unlimited part is a military overview of the setting. We get introduced to the two protagonists and the important side characters who steal the stage for a few seconds of glory at the very end. The tone is somewhat serious, not something you’d expect out of a VN like eden*. Most people would think it as some kawaii nakige like Planetarian. And they’re somewhat right: it’s just handled differently. There’s even some minor world-building and all that jazz here, but eden* isn’t that. Rather, it’s what most pretentious anibloggers call a “character study” — your Evangelions, your Utenas, or whatnot. Okay, it’s not that DEEP but you get the picture — it’s all about the characters. The main characters in the military side have a darker side to them that only surfaces when you start thinking about why they think that way.
In the Harvest Moon side, the work changes tone. The two protagonists have escaped from the military complex and now they’re living in some house up the mountains. This is what everyone signed up for: the iyashikei parts. You see the two protagonists pick tomatoes and cook up some awful omelets. And not much happens there. There is a conflict (if you can call it that) at the very end, but tomatoes aren’t exactly plot-worthy. You’ll see the protagonists warm up to each other and become more human while the world is, uh, almost ending. The character details you learn about the two from the military side get into play because of this. You can’t really say the male character is a proactive guy in a normal sense; he’s more proactive in a “subtle sense.” He’s seen so much shit in his past, but inside his heart lays a speckle of kindness. His Eve, on the other hand, begins to realize what it means to live (and love). She learns how exhausting (and satisfying) living outside a cage is. I guess it isn’t a coincidence that the opening song is called “little explorer”.
Some readers may point out that eden* is similar to Narcissu in that both works seem to prefer this simple concept: less is more. Sentences are short and to the point. They don’t flail around like purple prose might do. This works especially well with eden* which doesn’t have a huge message to say. It doesn’t say, “HUMANITY SUCKS” or “FUCKING CAPITALISM” or “[insert penguindrum analysis here]”. No, it’s about two broken characters who want to feel human. The work isn’t particularly ambitious nor does it want you to fall into cathartic pain. It’s a plain example of a romanticist work: the characters have a desire to escape the urban sprawl and hide themselves in the mountains where bliss truly prospers — hence, the name Eden. In the end, it’s a story about a knight that saves a princess from a castle. But it’s not just some knight in shining armor; he’s a knight who in his heart wants to be human. The more you read eden, the more he becomes a human. And the princess is exhausted from helping people and has never time for herself. So they escape.
But where can they escape to? Nowhere, it seems. So they stay on Earth and see the world end.
But they’re okay with that because they could at least feel a tinge of what it means to be a human.