Utada Hikaru’s “This is Love” [Freedom Project]

It’s sometimes quite amazing that whenever you hear a particular song that you are familiar with being featured in an anime opening, or an advertisement and then suddenly it becomes your overnight favourite. It happened to me quite a number of times. Songs that seems “just ok” or “average” suddenly becomes your favourite when you see it being featured in somewhere. Talk about the power of visual entertainment.

One good example would be Utada Hikaru’s “This is Love” song that is being featured as an opening song to the Freedom Project OVA series.

The Freedom Project is being produced and commissioned by Nissin Cup Noodles as part of thier 35th anniversary celebration. Produced by Sunrise, the work is done by Katsuhiro Otomo creator of Akira and Steamboy. His unique and trademarked character designs are evident and bear striking resemblance to the other two works mentioned.

As mentioned previously, the opening of the series was a surprise for me. I didnt expect one of Utada’s songs to be featured in an anime. I always had that impression that a singer with a huge celebrity status would never consider having any of his or her songs featured in an anime series, but it seems that i was wrong. “This is Love” (click here to listen) as the title of the song is concerned, is the first track in the “Ultra Blue” album.

The opening is fantastic i really like the fusion of animation and real life artifacts shown here and the song just blew me away. It is a very fitting song for such an opening. From the looks of it, i can tell that its a very high budget production.

As far as the anime is concerned, the production is not yet complete. Slated for 6 OVA and 1 prologue, the first 3 has already been released. Ive watched the first 3 and its quite good in my opinion. Im particularly struck at the fluid character animation. If im not wrong they are sort of like 3D on a 2D background, and the series has some fantastic facial expression. No longer do we see camera panning the face without any changes in the expression.

The story takes place far into the future, when a catastrophe happened on earth and made the earth inhospitable. As a result, the remaining humans who happened to colonize the moon, created the last surviving colony of the human race. A few million people, whats left of the human race, now live in “Eden”, a large domed canopy, where a rigid society is now in place. However, a boy by the name of Takeru somehow found out that earth is well and healthy, when he ventured far out of Eden to the outside lunar surface to see the beautiful blue earth and encountering scattered photographs on the lunar surface, instead of the orange globe, where they were taught it to be initally. Curious by the fact that something is amiss, and that Eden is hiding something from them, Takeru and his group of friends, with the help of an old man, tries to evade the authority while at the same time find a way to shuttle back to earth. What lies beyond lays in episode 4, 5 and 6.

One funny aspect of this series is the liberal use of Nissin Brand that youll come across when you watch the anime. Since this project is funded by Nissin, naturally its brand would be found wherever they like it to be. You’ll see the character slurping on the noodles from the cup noodle withe the Nissin brand , drinking from the cups with the Nissin logo and so forth, like in this example.

I cant wait for the other episodes to finish production. The last episode that i watched, ended in sort of a cliffhanger, though i shall not say what has transpired during that point of time.

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