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.
Eve no Jikan (AKA Time of Eve) is a 6 episode (15 minutes each) sci-fi drama anime set in the future about androids and the line drawn between what is human and what isn’t. This is a common theme in fiction where robots are a key focus and much like other sci-fi about robots, the world here adheres to Asimov’s laws of Robotics. The title refers to a café of the same name where humans and robots are indistinguishable. It has a unique appeal, since right off the bat, this is no ordinary anime. I can tell that this won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but those who like unique anime and don’t like the usual type of anime might enjoy this.
This short 2008 anime is available in 1080p, watching it in any less quality won’t suffice. Because right off the bat, the animation looks beautiful and has an almost movie like quality. After all, it’s pretty much a movie length anime, so of course they would be able to put in all the effort to make it detailed and look stunning. However, the same can’t be said for the fluidity of the animation. It felt a bit off to me, maybe because of the interesting effects, but at times it definitely did seem like it was running at a very low framerate. It does get better later on, but being a short anime, the moments of low framerate stand out more. This lets the wonderful quality of animation down. Though the motion of the characters themselves are especially realistic, particularly Chie whose motion is a major part of her character, what with being a child and all.
The animation style is pretty much standard as far as character designs go, maybe a tinge of originality in there. But what really stood out about the animation style was the use of interesting camera angles and effects, pans and well-designed use of shots of certain scenes make this feel a lot like a high quality movie. It feels almost artistic and that must be commended.
For the most part there is nothing weird depicted in the animation, while some characters might be a bit scantily-clad, the depiction here is reasonable and fits in with the plot. Nothing about the choices in costumes, ahem, clothing choices is unnecessary.
The music here is pretty damn good, it sets the mood well. It doesn’t really have an intro being so short, but the outro is cheery and well-put together. There’s some beautiful instrumental background music, I noticed some sweet piano at one point. Not much to say if it’s done well in such a short series.
Being such a small anime, it’s no wonder that it’s Japanese only, though with the amount of English used (mostly text), an English dub wouldn’t have been so bad. Not essential, as the Japanese voice acting is mostly fine, bar Naoko whose voice sounds a bit too old.
Due to the short length of this anime (thus the limited time I have to write this review) and a decent number of roles, I’ll just list the voice actors and maybe go into details at a later date if I have the time. Rikuo is voiced by Jun Fukuyama, Masaki is voiced by Kenji Nojima, Sammy is voiced by Rie Tanaka, Nagi is voiced by Rina Satou, Akiko is voiced by Yukana Nogami, Naoko is voiced by Yuuko Mizutani, Shimei is voiced by Motomu Kiyokawa, Chie is voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro, Koji is voiced by Michio Nakao and Rina is voiced by Miki Itou.
Of the two main characters, the most prominent is the high school boy Rikuo (no surnames in this anime). He wears glasses and can’t see very well without them, he also used to play the piano. He lives with his family in an apartment (cost of living is high in Japan & issues with space), which includes his mother and father, his older sister and their android, Sammy. He takes special interest in his android and while he has given her a name, which is unusual, his interest and worry peaks when the GPS data from his android shows strange co-ordinates and a message ‘Are you enjoying the time of Eve?’ He has a hard time sticking to a certain rule due to his disbelief and is a bit adventurous. His father works for a company that manufactures androids.
Rikuo’s best friend in school is Masaki, who doesn’t have an android at home and doesn’t know what it’s like living with an android. He often teases his friend Rikuo about his android. He doesn’t really like androids, but will often discuss them with Rikuo. He seems to be the safer one of the two, being dragged along on escapades by his friend. There's also a girl in school who really likes him. His father works for the ethics committee and hates robots a lot.
Nagi appears to be the owner or at least the sole waitress at the Time of Eve café. She likes to remind patrons about the sole rule and gets upset if people break it. Most of all, she’s a kind person and is the type of person who’d listen to your troubles. She seems to like androids, makes sense since she works in the Time of Eve café. She knows all of the regular customers and gets along with everybody. The strange thing is that she calls out when orders are made, suggesting that there is a separate kitchen where someone else makes the ordered goods.
Akiko is an energetic girl, who looks to be in her mid-teens and always wears a hat. She is a regular customer at the Time of Eve and always seems to hang out there. She is very talkative and can speak very fast, I’m surprised she doesn’t bite her tongue. She likes to tease the boys and is the first point of contact at the café, she introduces everyone to them and effectively is their guide. At first I thought she worked at the café.
Naoko is Rikuo’s older sister. Despite apparent claims she is a teenager, she is likely not due to the fact that she goes out drinking with friends (in Japan the legal age for drinking alcohol is 20, good luck buying a drink without ID) and seems to spend her mornings lazing around in hangovers and watching TV. Not able to get a job huh? I guess that situation doesn’t improve in this anime’s vision of the future. She teases her younger brother a lot and casually accuses him of being a ‘dori-kei.’
Shimei is an elderly man with glasses, who is always with the young child Chie at the café. If I had to guess, I’d say he was the child’s grandfather. He’s the kinda and gentle type of old person and he isn’t afraid of playing with Chie and keeping her entertained. Chie is a typical energetic and mischievous child. I’d guess she’s no older than 6 (maybe a toddler?), with the way she runs around a lot and is a sloppy eater. She likes cats and often pretends to be a cat. These two are quite realistic characters.
Rina and Koji are lovers who are regular visitors at the cafe. Rina is flirtatious and scantily-clad, probably to appeal to her man and in typical fashion she is worried about him leaving her and what-not (I guess you gotta do what you gotta do to keep a hold of your love). Koji seems to be an ordinary guy who got lucky with this woman and is now dating her.
There are a few other characters like the mysterious Dr. Ashimori, but these characters aren’t too important.
First explain the world which would be very helpful before knowing the story. This anime is set in the future, where androids (robots that look like humans) are commonplace and most people have one. In this world, the androids follow Asimov’s laws of robotics (think of movies like iRobot). The first law is to not harm a human and to prevent humans from coming to harm. The second law is to obey all orders given to them by humans, unless it conflicts with the first law. And the third law is to preserve and protect themselves, unless it would conflict with the first two laws. The androids in this world look and move exactly like humans, they are clothed for comfort of the humans around them, but an important distinction is made that they must be distinguishable from humans. The only feature that allows androids to be distinguished at a glance are the holographic data rings that rotate above their heads like halos. It is against the law to turn off these rings. As for intelligence, the robots must be given clear commands, they do not seem to understand some normal phrases that humans might use. They speak in a very distinct robotic way and this is another way in which they are distinguishable from humans. It seems that these androids would fail the Turing test (AI test to see how realistic a conversation with said AI is). One of the laws regarding androids is that when upgrading to a newer model, the older model must be collected by the manufacturer. Unfortunately this has a fee associated with it, thuis people end up illegally dumping their old androids. Another obvious issue is that jobs are bing taken up by androids, the teacher of Rikuo's class is an android and some androids seem to be taking creative jobs too. Certain establishments do not allow androids inside, in a similar way to how dogs aren't allowed in shops. There is also the anti-robot group called the ethics committee, who are passive in their anti-android propoganda and are likely resposible for creating the 'dori-kei' label, though they were once very aggressive with their opinions.
Eve no Jikan is a story where two high-school boys stumble across a weird café where androids and humans are indistinguishable. All of the patrons of the café are mysterious and anonymous and there is no indication as to who among them could be an android. Androids even behave like humans in this space, there are no rings and there is not one individual who sounds like an android when talked to. In order to protect the privacy and identity of it's patrons, the door usually locks after someone has left, to prevent tailing. If I had to try and put a finger on the plot, my guess would be that the boys are trying to figure out what the story is behind the café is and coming to grips with its strange rule.
It’s obvious that the question being asked here is that of how we determine what is intelligent and equal to humans, how robots should be treated and if humans should treat robots with respect. Most characters don’t interact with their androids much, to get too attached is seen as a bad thing. Especially for teenage kids, since the derogatory term ‘dori-kei’ (android-holic) is coined to describe kids who spend too much time with androids and get too attached to them, the fear being that this is deteriorating their ability to socialise with real human beings. There are inevitably people who dislike androids or treat them like slaves in this anime. An interesting concept and thus an anime that makes the viewer think. I like it.
The one negative about the story is that it doesn't seem to go anywhere, progression is shallow and the ending seems a bit too vague and sequel-baity, even going so far as to put a question mark after the 'end' shot following the final credits. The movie turns out just to be a summary of these episodes and doesn't add any new content, so don't expect to find a sequel there. Considering the time since this anime was made, I'm willing to bet that this will never get a sequel.
This anime is given a free-pass, due to its short length. It might as well be a movie, heck I think there might even be a movie version of it. Thus we can be a bit more forgiving and realise that it was made this way on purpose. It’s obvious that this anime is intended to make the viewer think and invoke discussion about robotics, AI and androids. I’ve already mentioned in the introduction that this anime may appeal to those who don’t like the average anime, because this is so unique. If you like sci-fi, intellectual anime, or even are a fan of bat-shit crazy plots like me, give it a go. Give it even more of a chance because it’s so short. This wouldn’t even be 4 episodes of a regular anime. I have the feeling that a lot of folks would enjoy this anime, but not everybody. The younger audience looking for more action and plot may not be interested, so go elsewhere. This is pretty much a gentle chill-out anime.
Family-friendliness Rating: 3/5 Irresponsible alcohol consumption and suggestive themes (lower is better)
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 (higher is better)
This anime is a masterpiece, plain and simple. It tells the story of two kids and the friends they make while also building a nuanced and sprawling world around them. The show radiates with life as one can always feel the emotions, be it hate, fear, or love, emerging from characters, be they human or otherwise. Each character was carefully crafted down to the minutest detail to give viewers a heartfelt experience and a message of "peace and acceptance for all". I wholeheartedly recommend this anime to all those who question the need for androids in society as well as those who seek a greater understanding of the nature of humans when confronted by the stigmatized and submissive.
I was just going through some scifi lists when i came across this beauty. This is the sort of anime where you won't find a an actual closure to the plot. It was more like reading a day or two's entry from someone's personal diary.
Plot-Generally, after reading the summary you would feel this anime will have the humans-vs- android-developing-feelings storyline, but its not. Ya, the outline is still about androids having their own feelings, but I don't think they want to be free or want to have equal rights(maybe they will in the future as indicated in the last episode)The androids are most likely in the blooming stage(emotionally)Like they re discovering the emotions. They are discovering individuality. They are experiencing curiosity about the humans and what they feel about them(androids). Note that I am using -ing. This is because they are a work in progress i.e. they are new to all of these. They don't yet feel suppressed, ill-treated etc. So these droids just come up with a place,not for conspiracies....but for just hanging out without being discriminated. So that they can know how humans feel think more closely..
Now if i go on..I ll probabaly narrate the entire story which i dont want to.. But I hope you will get a pretty good idea about the plot.
How would you react to robotic AI reaching a level when they actually develop emotions? How would others? Will society ever be ready for such a thing?
These are basically the most important quetions of this short-series.
Psychological anime and overly artistic anime are usually pretty damn boring.
So what happens here?
Ill be honest, an anime like this should be short. Analysing different views is intiguing, but only to a certain point and after that it becomes boring. Truth be told I get bored pretty easy(you hear that Serial Experiments Lain?).So I think that chosing not to make this into a longer series was a great idea. They had exactly enough material for this mini-series and no more.
Story: Basically robots develop emotions on their own. Most people have household robots or androids, but robots are not accepted in society. They are viewed as tools and no more. (We know how all that turned out in Animatrix, dont we?!). But these is a save haven. A cafe that has a single rule: do not distinguish between humans and robots. So we get a lot of different stories about people and robots: acceptance, childhood trauma, love, fear. In only 6 episodes, this series tackles mostly all the problems society will have to endure in such a situation. Bravo! 8/10
Animation: Top notch! Dont expect the best there is, but I dont think an anime like this could need any better. 7.5/10
Music: forgettable. 6.5/10
Characters: I can relate to all of them. The only negative thing here would be the fact that msot robots are much more sympathetic tham humans. Everyone has a pretty deep background and very respectable motives. So as you can see, you dont need 1000 episodes to describe one characetr, 6 episodes are more than enough to describe almost a dozen. 10/10
Overall: I was sceptical at first, it takes 2-3 episodes to understand the characetrs and the situation they are on. Great writing made this a great anime. Just think of the Katoran episode which is pure art, but its also funny and touching. I could urge everyone to watch this because its short, but thats not the reason I do. Its good! Surpisingly good.