Freedom Project is a seven part OAV that lives in The Dream alongside Wings of Honneamise, Planetes, and Rocket Girls. It does so well enough that I can forgive its origin as an advertisement for the 35th anniversary of Nissin Cup Noodles.
For all that it is set in the future the storyline of Freedom Project has a story that hearkens back to the shipwrecked sailor, the face that launched a thousand ships, and the message in a bottle.
It is set in a Lunar colony called Eden with fragmentary references to a Freedom Project. The highly regimented life of Eden is based on the belief that the Earth is uninhabitable due to a disaster and sundry wars.
The story is driven by what happens when the lead character Takeru finds a photo of a beautiful young woman, Ao, in a place that can only be a green Earth that shouldn’t exist.
I will admit that the distinctive character designs of Katsuhiro Otomo, and the initial scenes of juvenile delinquents engaged in slightly illicit motorcycle races, are far too reminiscent of Akira for my taste. I was somewhat disconcerted by this in the opening episode, but there was enough interesting worldbuilding to overcome my reluctance.
That said, Freedom Project settles down quickly into fascinating tale full of shout outs to both the historical space program, and the other visual imaginings of it that I have always adored. Add in a resolution that adds up to a full on coming of age for Takeru, and the ending just works.
The locally available Bluray release looks and sounds great. I quite like the opening credits which have an interesting mix of manga style artwork and live action footage of abandoned buildings.
Overall Freedom Project is a strong OAV that plays well to a topic I love. I thoroughly recommend it despite the seemingly endless Nissin Cup Noodles product placement. 🙂