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The Freedom Project was created to celebrate Nissin Cup Noodles' 35th anniversary in 2006. The centerpiece of the project was a 7-part OVA released throughout that year. The character and mechanical designs for the project were done by Katsuhiro Otomo of Akira fame.
Centuries in the future, the space station Freeport dropping on Earth sets of a chain of events that renders the planet uninhabitable. The last survivors of humanity are the domed city of "Eden" on the far side of the Moon, which was established as a base for Terraforming Mars -- the project is abandoned, and the city's leadership turns its focus inward. Eden becomes a self-supporting city-state able to support its population in comfortable, albeit micro-managed, lives.
Takeru, a rebellious boy sentenced to community service outside Eden's dome after an accident in a quasi-legal motor-vehicle race, witnesses something crash on the moon's surface. Among the wreckage, he finds a photograph of a young girl and a bunch of children, with a message written on the back saying that "We are safe. Is anybody out there?". Takeru becomes obsessed with the girl, and eventually realizes that the pictures were taken on Earth, despite Eden's ruling council insisting that the Earth is still a wasteland. Takeru decides to go to Earth himself, at any cost.
Tropes used in Freedom Project:
- Arc Words: "Freedom" -- besides the obvious meaning, it's used as a Shout-Out to NASA's Freedom 7. It also becomes significant as the name for the crews of the post-apocalyptic Apollo missions and the mothballed Mars colony ships hidden within Eden colony. Similarly, "Apollo".
- Big Brother Is Watching: Everyone in Eden, young or old, wears a bracelet that tracks them and issues official warnings. Then there are the security cameras and the monitoring of Web searches.
- Black Helicopter: Eden's Council has Black Shuttlecraft that it sends out when Takeru and Kazuma steal a rover to see the Earth for themselves.
- But What About the Astronauts?: Eden base after the disaster.
- Cel Shading
- Cool Trike
- Cool Old Guy: Alan.
- Cozy Catastrophe: The Earth's seen better days when Takeru and Biz arrive, but most people seem to be handling it with a smile.
- Domed Hometown: Eden.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Takeru goes to great lengths for a girl he's only seen in a photo.
- Eagle Land: Subverted -- Americans are the most friendly, helpful people you could ever hope to meet when they have no money or government.
- Earth-That-Was/Scavenger World
- Evolving Credits: The opening sequence changes in the fourth episode to reflect Takeru and Biz's escape to Earth, along with revealing Ao's face.
- Expy: Takeru looks and acts very much like Kaneda from AKIRA.
- Fake Defector: Kazuma, after being left behind while Takeru and Biz left for Earth, managed to become an elite member of Eden's council, and takes charge of capturing Takeru once he returns to the Moon. However, he was trying to get into position to change Eden's society from the inside, and secretly takes steps to help La Résistance free his old friend and escape with the Freedom-series spaceships.
- Lighter and Softer: The protagonist and his buddies get involved with some dangerous bike races. They also end up opposing the military and the government. However, nobody dies or gets any part of his body shot-up or exploded.
- Message in a Bottle: "Earth is well. See you soon."
- Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: 5.5) Futurology.
- New Age Retro Hippie: Many of the residents of Earth.
- Product Placement: This miniseries was explicitly created to promote Nissin Cup Noodles. It shows.
- Paranoia Fuel: If there supposedly isn't any contact between Eden and Earth, why are Cup Noodles readily available in both places?
- Ragnarok Proofing: Ao's town at Cape Canaveral in Florida is able to put together a small rocket that can carry message capsules all the way to the moon's surface each year. They were even able to assemble and launch kitbashed Saturn V rockets with passenger-rated capsules... twice! The second one even launched successfully!
- Road Movie: After crash-landing in Las Vegas, Takeru and Biz drive 2400 miles to get to Cape Canaveral. They make the journey with no problems whatsoever thanks to Nissin Cup Noodles.
- Spider Tank
- Utopia Justifies the Means
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Eden's Council ignores the Earth's revival and maintains totalitarian control over its people out of a desire to avoid the mistakes they believe led to Earth being destroyed in the first place.
- We Used to Be Friends: Takeru and Kazuma.
- You Are Number Six: Eden's government refers to people by their name and serial number.
- ↑ Alan Shepard's Mercury capsule used for the United States' first manned space mission.