Netflix Anime 'Eden' Is a Short and Sweet Humans vs. Robots Adventure

A thousand years after humanity's end, two robots find a tiny human child.

netflix eden

Netflix has quickly become one of the go-to streaming platforms for original anime series, possessing a vast library of movies and critically acclaimed series like Aggretsuko, Castlevania, and Shinichirō Watanabe's Carole and Tuesday. Its latest, which debuted at the end of May, is Eden, a short, four-episode series from Yasuhiro Irie, who directed Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, about two robots living in a post-humanity future who accidentally find a small child and decide to raise her far away from their human-hating overlords.

Eden's first episode begins by outlining the robotic code of ethics, thematically similar to Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics: Basically, developers can't create robots that would harm humans, robots must be able to maintain themselves and cooperate, and a robot that can't fulfill these requirements must cease to function. One thousand years after humans left Earth a desolate wasteland and disappeared, robots have reclaimed the planet, building a lush paradise around their stronghold, a giant mirrored building they call Eden. The structure is managed by security robots, agricultural robots that harvest apples and such for seemingly no apparent reason, and overseen by a frightening robot overlord who wears a cape and calls himself Zero.

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The first episode follows worker robots A37 and E92 (voiced by Rosario Dawson and David Tennant in the English dub), who stumble across a cryogenic pod containing a female human toddler. As soon as she speaks to them, the robots' language centers are activated and they can reply back and talk to each other. They decide to hide her from Eden's security force, as human-hating Zero (Neil Patrick Harris) believes all humans are violent and destructive and the world is better off without them. The girl, whose name is Sara (Ruby Rose Turner), grows up amongst a motley coterie of robot rejects who "don't fit in" to Eden's rigid societal structure. When Sara receives a distress signal coming from deep inside Eden's stronghold, she knows she has to make a dangerous journey into anti-human territory in order to save who she believes to be the only other human on the planet.

The first season is short, its four episodes all less than a half-hour long, and can be watched in an afternoon. The animation, which is done in a flatly colored yet three-dimensional digital style similar to The Dragon Prince and Blood of Zeus, is the prettiest take on that style I've seen—the tendency for the computer-animated movements to look jerky and unnatural is helped by the fact that most of the characters in the show are machines. The soft meditation on whether humans would be worthy of a world machines have built for us feels familiar, as it always does in human-vs.-robot storytelling, yet is given new life by the unexpectedly twisty way this show unfolds. By the final episode, Eden has built a world begging to be explored.

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.