So a human, a robot, and an android walk into a bar…
…and make a damn good anime by the name of Eve no Jikan. While many sci-fi titles of this nature tend to swing too far with humanizing robotic creations, this particular series strikes a delicate balance between realism and idealism to forge a surprisingly intriguing watch. Indeed, the premise itself is hardly original or breathtaking, with the story taking place in a generic era of technological progress where androids have begun to look, think, and feel like their human counterparts. Insert a societal fear of these androids being surpassing humanity at everything from house chores to grand piano, and the summary hints at a unremarkable setting which can easily be floundered about with trite commentary and mundane philosophy.
Or, in the case of Eve no Jikan, a captivating setting with which to explore the more subtle conflicts of human technological and social progress. Spanning only six episodes at fifteen minutes a piece, the series does not waste any time half-heartedly piddling around with its topics; it knows it has a time limit and several different themes to discuss, so a point to is made to balance its narrative in every way possible. Much like Kino no Tabi or Mushishi, each episode introduces a topic, runs with it in the context of a story for a brief period of time, and then concludes with thoughtful open-endedness. The use of music and visual effects to supplement the story foils this methodology remarkably well, and ultimately deliver a smooth , relaxed, and intelligent viewing experience.
Despite the overall simplicity of Eve no Jikan’s presentation, it stays thematically consistent throughout its many different stories. Though certain parallels are drawn to highlight the androids’ remarkable similarities to their human masters, pinpointing the exact intent of these parallels is a more than daunting task. I still find myself wondering what particular focus the writers had when authoring each of the arcs, as the content can be viewed as commenting on different things by looking at it from different points of view. While not as intellectually stalwart as its more noteworthy peers, Eve no Jikan nevertheless proves an engaging and multi-layered watch.
I’m somewhat split on how to rate the animation. At some points it’s simply gorgeous, while at others the manner in which the camera pans is painfully choppy and hard to follow. Likewise, the character designs tend to be relatively plain, and fluctuate in appropriateness depending on the level of detail in the background. All in all, however, these complaints end up being trivial at best. As a whole the visuals are beautifully detailed, and nitpicking does little to detract from a remarkable level of quality. Environmental lighting can be considered nothing shy of spectacular, and special attention is given to even the most minor attributes of each character’s make and poise.
While the voice acting can’t be considered anything spectacular or worthy of notoriety, Eve no Jikan’s musical composition picks up the majority of its slack. The piece that plays when the main characters walk into the café is surprisingly catchy, and the soft tunes that permeate each scene are fitting and well-suited to the atmosphere. Despite having small dramatic peaks in each episode, the OVA never strays from the mood it seeks to create; tense-energetic pieces are juxtaposed flawlessly with melodic piano solos, and the idle sense of serenity that the café’s occupants experience is lightly passed onto the viewer.
The characters are, by far, what make this OVA succeed. The differences between humans and androids are intentionally blurred, and Eve no Jikan does a wonderful job of making the viewer skeptical as to each character’s distinction as an android or a human. While most of the café’s attendees are eventually exposed as one or the other, a handful of others are left unnamed and with enough gray area to, arguably, be considered of either category. This soft sense of mystery definitely drives Eve no Jikan’s potential into the realm of success, as it takes each of its themes and runs with it to its fullest potential without ever becoming obtuse.
I can’t think of a single character, be they main or secondary, who lacks vivid depth and a three-dimensional personality. For having such a limited runtime (movie length, really) the show fleshes out its characters remarkably well, giving them enough flavor to fit their roles well without overshadowing what they are thematically meant to do.
Despite Eve no Jikan possessing an array of well-balanced and skillfully handled themes, it just doesn’t have any umph to push it up into the tier of greatness. That said, it’s undeniably great at what it does, so don’t let this at all deter you from giving it consideration. As one of the more mature and intelligent sci-fi productions of recent years, it’s no doubt fit for audiences of all walks of life and certainly is not to be missed.
To be honest: I like this kind of anime. It's a story that never really starts or ends. You get a small portion of the life that the protagonists are living and it is great by doing so! You get that realistic feeling I'm missing in most of the animes, but at the same time it mixes it with surreal Topics and you can see the doubts that the protagonist has about the life he is living.
The anime itself only has six episodes but all of them are essential to the story. But why I gave only 8 out of 10? The answer is simple: All episodes are great and important for the character development but only one or two are featuring something like a main story. And at the end even this main story is only partly solved. You get to know each of the characters but when you finally know of their problems and want them to get over them, the anime just ends. Eve no Jikan is simply to short, but on the contrary that not-waisted-a-single-episode would probably get lost if the anime were longer.
The look of this anime is great. You have a good background with great detail and the scenery lets you feel the world that the characters are living in. On the Contrary the look of the main protagonists are a little bit plain. I don't know why they made them that way, maybe to make a more realistic look (you know plain is realistic óÒ), but it feels just a little bit too plain. The other featured characters are looking great and are exceeding the protagonists by far, which is at some points a little frustrating.
Well I'm not the kind of guy who pays great attention to the music and the dubbing, so I won't rate it at all. Better to be honest with oneself than to rate something you don't have any clue on ;)
The character development is greatly made. You get to know the main protagonists and see how they are connected to each other. And it doesn't stop with the protagonists, each one the character that featured is thought through, but what is most disappointing is that you only get know the characters and their story and then almost immediately jump to the next one. There are quite some interesting characters I would have liked to know better, but with the limited time this series has it is imply impossible to make that happen. With the little time they had, the characters are really well made. You have close to no stereotypes and you get the feeling that even if the background of one character is not told that there is more to them than you can see.
I really liked this series and wanted to give it a better score than 8, but with all that restrictions in time and therefore with the not really finished story I simply couldn't. The main topic is the question of what makes something human or not without ever being spoken out loud in the whole anime. Also the catch phrase of this anime "Are you enjoying the time of Eve?" is pointing that way. The "time of Eve" can be interpreted with the "time of equality" or "time of tranquility" (remember the house rule: "no discrimination between humans and robots"). So the phrase is asking you if you are enjoying this time of peace inside this café, outside of all the discrimination of androids or humans and the stress you encounter in your daily life.
So my last words are: If you like topics like "What makes a human human" and are looking for an anime that lets you think about the way which humanity is going, this anime is for you!
This was really good.
Watched up to: Episode 6 (all)
Animation (20%): Passable. Lots of frames held for more than a second and lots of CG to make up for lack of animation. (40/100)
Story (35%): Great. Really interesting concept and doesn't drag on (It is 5 15 minute episodes and 1 30 minute episode). (90/100)
Characters (35%): Good. (75/100)
Music (10%): Ok (50/100)
Fan Service (0%): None
Would I Recommend: Yes
8% + 31.5% + 26.25% + 5% = 70.74% = 7/10, 4/5
Another story about androids evolving to the point where they can recognize their existence. After watching Matrix, I Robot, Ergo Proxy and etc., I wouldn't think there is going to be better series about AI, but I would suggest everyone to watch it.
Six episodes are not enough for such brilliant storyline, I would expect at least two seasons, minimum ten episodes for each season.
There are some questions left unanswered, like:
Famously, the Turing Test is the way to measure if an artificial intelligence is on par with a human one. The premise is simple: if experts cannot distinguish between an AI and a person in conversation, is there any meaningful difference in the interaction between them? Does that not mean that the AI is human enough for the difference to be irrelevant?
Isaac Asimov in his science fiction writing defined "the three laws of robotics", which later became a guiding light for androids in science fiction. The first law is that a robot must at any cost protect human life. The second law states that unless counteracting the first law a robot must obey human commands. The third law is that a robot must preserve itself unless that interferes with the first two laws. This has been done in everything from Star Trek to cheap B-movies.
These are the starting points of Eve no Jikan (Time of Eve). In a society where androids who follow the three laws of robotics live alongside humanity, at what point do they stop being machines and start counting as people? This is a classic science fiction premise (and heavily explored in Star Trek: TNG), and it is such a classic because it is a fascinating question which hides behind it many more ("how do you define a person?" is the automatic one, but also "what is intelligence?" and "can emotions have a completely logical source?"). It all boils down to the Turing Test; if a human cannot tell the difference, then there is none. Or so at least the series claims.
Can you love an android? Can an android love? Can you define love without emotions? Eve no Jikan asks six questions and each one is answered within fifteen minutes. A shame that the last two aren't that good. But the first four? Spectacular. Still, the entire series fits in an hour and a half, and we can only suppose that they wanted something a bit grander in scale than small personal drama to end it. Such a shame that this was the thought process behind it.
Writing (Story and Characters):
Science fiction relies heavily on good writing unless it is an action based premise. Eve no Jikan has no real action (except somewhat in the last episode; the greatest failure of the series), and therefore rises and falls on the script. The fact that it is mostly based on philosophical musings on the essence of humanity is neither here nor there, the execution is all that matters. And in that, perhaps the writing is a bit too obvious for the first part, and not nearly blunt enough for the last episodes to truly shine.
The story in itself is a bunch of slice of life bits surrounding a place where you cannot distinguish androids and humans apart by just looking at them. This is a strength and a weakness. The elegance of the show shines when it is character driven, and when the answers given are organic to what is happening. What really hinders the story from shining is when the philosophical points are shoved down the throat of the viewer, especially in the final two episodes. Still, the story is overall very interesting.
Character driven stories are the heart of the series, and the characters give us the questions and answers. Unfortunately, with fifteen minutes an episode, there is not much time to develop them. While each episode centers around giving backstory to some characters, the main ones end up simplistic. Still, they are tools for the philosophy of the show. While overall, the characters gain a lot from the show, they end up being a bit on the cliche side of things.
Perhaps the last couple of episodes forcing the answers to the philosophical questions tainted the show too much from a subjective point of view. Perhaps this is being too harsh considering the first four episodes have some of the sharpest writing out there. Perhaps this is just me having a bad day. But the writing, while definitely good, fails to reach the high bar Eve no Jikan sets for itself. What a shame.
Artwork (Animation and Sound):
There is a clean and bright aesthetic that permeates throughout Eve no Jikan which fits the science fiction premise. Luckily, it is not the over-the-top neon colored style that is all the rage in the shallower waters of science fiction. This is no dystopia nor utopia, but rather just the future. There are clever uses of simple design elements which simplify our understanding of the plot and characters. All in all, while not magnificent, the art has a very strong showing.
Gorgeous settings, clever use of lighting, and some brilliant designs make Eve no Jikan pop. There are precious few backgrounds and camera angles, but they are used well. It helps give a feeling of continuity considering there are many short stories to Eve no Jikan rather than an overlying arc. The character designs are a bit towards the generic side, but crisp and clean. There is little motion because most of what people do is sit around and talk. There is little that can shine in this format, but the little that can does.
While the voice acting has moments where it is over the top, all in all it is restrained and cleverly used. Especially poignant are the androids - you can (when you think of it) notice that androids try to sound natural for their human masters but do not completely master it, while humans strive to sound more balanced and mature take the opposite path. The soundtrack is short but catchy and a good fit for the series, with the opening theme being particularly memorable and fitting. Still, there are little flaws and the voice acting can get a bit obvious.
Bottom line: the artwork brings the world of Eve no Jikan to life. From the rings above the heads to the brightly lit scenery, there are so many things that just scream "not as far a future as you would think", without any need to go over the top. The artwork works amazingly well with the written material, and has moments where it is truly exceptional. Still, there are technical flaws which are exacerbated by the short episode length which cannot make me whole heartedly say that this is top tier work. Rather it is a proud second tier, and an efficient one at that.
I'm a sucker for science fiction, especially when it gets philosophical. What I don't like is being preached to. While each of the six installations has a question/answer structure dealing with a certain aspect of humanity, the last two episodes don't leave any place for debate as to what the answer actually is - and that brings us to preaching territory. I hate to say it, but a show that could have been one of the best science fiction stories out there is absolutely ruined by the last two installations. Still, even with that, I cannot help but recommend it, as overall, even if ruined, Eve no Jikan remains a far more interesting show than the average one and is worth the short amount of time it runs.