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 off 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.
- Ambiguously Brown: Ao, whose race is never explicitly stated (but is most likely Florida Seminole).
- Arc Words: "Freedom" — besides the obvious meaning, it's used as a Shout-Out to NASA's Freedom 7note . Alan also controls "Freedom Sector", an Outlaw Town within Eden that hosts those who can't or won't fit into normal society. The word also becomes significant as the name for the crews of the post-apocalyptic Apollo missions, and the name of the mothballed Mars colony ships hidden within Eden colony that the Cape Canaveral villagers hope to have replenish Earth someday. Similarly, "Apollo".
- Art Shift: Eden and the Moon are, for the most part, crisply-rendered CGI environments. Earth, on the other hand, features extensive hand-painted backgrounds and a generally more organic feeling.
- 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.
- Braids, Beads and Buckskins: Ao (well, more like braids, beads, and Daisy Dukes).
- But What About the Astronauts?: Eden base after the disaster.
- Casting Gag: In the English dub, Johnny Yong Bosch plays the Foil to Takeru, who's very clearly an expy of Kaneda from AKIRA. Bosch did the voice of Kaneda in the 2001 dub of the film.
- Cel Shading: This series uses cel shaded CGI for all of its characters, mecha, and many of the backgrounds. The opening sequence even applies screen tones.
- Cool Bike: No Otomo project would be complete without them. Special mention to Takeru's custom Cool Trike, which is practically a main character itself; the prologue revolves around Takeru and Kazuma meeting Biz while searching for a motor to rebuild the vehicle with.
- 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, which is built as a complex of domed habitats able to support an Artificial Outdoors Display.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Takeru goes to great lengths for a girl he's only seen in a photo.
- Eagleland: 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.
- Fan Disservice: At one point, Takeru and Biz end up in full-body alien costumes that are just a little too tight. Awkwardness ensues.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Language is generally milder in the English translation - i.e. kuso ("shit") is translated as "dang".
- I Will Wait for You: When everyone is evacuating to the Earth, Takeru stays behind to reason with Eden's council and convince them they can co-exist with Earth's inhabitants without repeating what happened before. He and Ao promise to see each other again, and the two are reunited two years later in the ending.
- In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race: Canaveral is a grouping of just about every ethnicity, and this is clearly beginning to happen with their children.
- 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.
- Well, at least nobody dies of anything other than old age.
- Meaningful Name: Ao, which means "blue" in Japanese. As in, the blue Earth she lives on.
- Message in a Bottle: "Earth is well. See you soon."
- 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?
- Purple Is Powerful: Ao's jewelry.
- Ragnarök 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 Trip Plot: 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.
- Rule of Symbolism:
- Takeru's time on Earth can be seen as parallel to Moses' time in the desert (see also The Lion King (1994)). Furthermore, if Takeru is Moses, then Kazuma is Rameses.
- Likewise, Takeru's arrival from a distant world and subsequent romance with a Native American girl.
- Scenery Porn: This entire series is downright stunning to look at, but especially when we reach Earth.
- Shirtless Scene: Takeru gets one in Episode 7, on account of being quarantined.
- In the prologue, they show a futuristic motorbike repair shop called Moonraker, where Takeru builds (or rather, modifies an old model he apparently found in a scrapheap) the trike he uses throughout the series and eventually even takes with him to Earth.
- The Apollo 18 mission patch shows the astronauts' names as "Lee/Lifeson/Peart". Furthermore, one of these astronauts is Ao's father.
- On at least one occasion, Takeru's bike does the classic sideways brake from AKIRA. There's also Takeru and Kazuma yelling at each other, which doubles as an Actor Allusion in the dub for Kazuma.
- Spider Tank: Eden's Council uses spider-like mecha to chase down and detain miscreants. The tanks are almost fast enough to catch up to Takeru's Cool Trike.
- 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 in the final episode. They get better by the end.
- You Are Number 6: Eden's government refers to people by their name and serial number.