This is a pretty good show, but it isn't perfect.
The overall of the story is someone finding out that their human robot acts like a human alongside other robots in their private time. Like that is more than less it.
Now the show is good in how it went about it. But it's also bad because it's obvious we aren't going to get anything beyond this first season. By the time people are built up over the 6 ep. That's that.
What makes an android? Are androids any different from humans? Eve no Jikan is a cafe where such questions come naturally and the line between human and android all but disappears.
Thoughts: Story is good, Animation is good but the camera occasionally shakes pretty badly, Sound is good and Characters are good and the androids are more human than some humans from other shows.
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)
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.
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.
I like to constantly remind people that reviewing shows isn't an objective process, but a rather bemusing mix of personal opinions and facts. I'll admit that I'm partial to shows about the man-machine interface, forcing people to reconceptualize what it means to be alive and to have a soul. When my friend told me about Time of Eve, a short web series about a robot cafe, I was definitely intrigued.
The regular customers.
In the not too distant future Japan begins to employ heavy use of androids for daily tasks such as housework. The models are visually crude at first but eventually these androids are able to assimilate into human populations seamlessly, which isn't a comforting fact for pro-human interest groups. Androids are therefore required to display a floating digital halo above them to make their machine status apparent. The story follows Rikuo and Masaki, who notice that Rikuo's family android has been coming home at irregular intervals. They follow her travel logs and end up at an underground cafe that has only one rule: no discrimination between androids and humans. No one is displaying their status rings and so whether or not anyone is an android is also a mystery.
The six fifteen-minute episodes are loosely connected but an overarching plot isn't stressed. The cafe setting almost demands that episodes be treated like stand-alone incidents, many of which are very, very funny. The show has very organic, almost documentary camera movements that also lends to Time of Eve's relaxed atmosphere; the show's elements are brilliantly self-referential. By far, the funniest episode was "Nameless: Eve's Doll," where an absurdly outdated android enters the cafe and pretends to be human.
Time of Eve falls short of a five-star rating, oddly enough, because the laid back and enjoyable mood doesn't allow for any serious conflicts to develop. I won't say that everyone always had a good time at the cafe; Rikuo and Masaki are new to the idea that androids can be social beings, and society at large does not consider the possibility that Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics has loopholes that allow for abberant behaviors. The series even suggests that A.I. is on the verge of developing sentience, but this never becomes a big issue. Time of Eve's unconventional approach to post-humanist concerns prevents the show from being kitsch and worn-out, but it also restricts conflicts to being mild annoyances caused by misunderstandings. The more serious themes that serve as potential plot points aren't expounded upon and quickly deflate.
Time of Eve provides anime viewers with a beautiful slice-of-life series that humorously addresses the liminal moment where androids and A.I. begin encroaching on human boundaries, in accordance with the uncanny valley hypothesis. Rikuo and Masaki go through amazing character transformations as they continue to question the essence of humanity and compassion, and whether or not machines are even capable of fathoming such attributes. Time of Eve manages to pack more quality content into its abbreviated six episodes than most anime does in twenty four. I think all anime viewers, from the casual to horror buffs to ecchi lovers, can enjoy this series.
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Eve no Jikan revolves around the timeless question of whether androids could ever possibly have any form of emotions. With the story for the most part taking place within a secret cafe involving a cast made up of both andriods and humans. Though Eve no Jikan does a wonderous job in blurring the line between them to such a degree that it becomes almost impossible to actually tell them apart. Though the overall theme in Eve no Jikan as been explored before in other forms such as the movie I,Robot or Bicentennial Man, but instead as following the exact same course that either of those movies followed Eve no Jikan instead tends to focus a bit more on societies reaction to andriods with emotions.
There aren't a whole lot of reason as to why someone shouldn't wacth this. The story is interesting and engaging and can actually lead one to think about what the future would be like if such things were to ever occur within our own reality. The animation as a whole looks amazing with things like excellent lighting and detailed graphics making the show look rather stunning. Though the series lacks any action and the central focus being the conversations it should still be an enjoyable watch for just about anyone.
Every once in a while you find a gem among all those stones that just shines so much brighter. Eve no Jikan is such a work, and I'm SO happy I watched it. This show offers a lot more than you'd expect, and I would suggest repeated viewings to dig out all the little bits.
Positives: You can't help but notice right off that the art is fantastic, but more importantly, the characters are really well done. Each has a fantastic backstory which only helps draw you in. You'll find yourself wishing to know more about them all, and not for just the story based reasons (that will make more sense when you watch it).
There's some philosohpical depth here as well, which is a turn off to some, but can really be whatever you want it to be. You can ignore it all, and just enjoy the story on a less deep level, or really dig in and muse about what this is all really about. Personally I did a bit of both and enjoyed both aspects.
Eve no Jikan is short, and you can watch it either as the separate episodes or as the combined movie with a few extra minutes of footage. I'll let you decide which was is better, but I like the movie format. Either way though, once it ended I was sorely disappointed. I hate when shows of this quality end. I sincerely hope we're going to see a part two coming out sometime soon...
Negatives: Not long enough? Seriously, the show is really well done. There aren't any boring parts, and even though it's more or less without action you'll likely find yourself very involved.
This is one anime I will be proud to display on my shelves. There aren't a lot of things that get that sort of premium exposure, but Eve no Jikan is just that good.
We all know the score. Robots become so advanced that they over-analyse Asimov's Three Laws and some of them do crazy shit. One is left to ponder the philosophical distinction between life and non-life, stroking a goatee of varying states of existence. Eve no Jikan shows us something slightly different. No massive pitched battles, action sequences or ground mobilisations here. It's a slice-of-life.
The background is that some crazies are beginning to relate to robots not as slaves, but as people. Robots are indistinguishable from humans and display a status ring above their heads as a matter of law. In the titular cafe, which robots hear about on the grapevine, there is only one rule: robots turn off their ring and act like humans, and no-one knows the difference. This is a twist on our concept of racial apartheid, since here, the outward is the same: looks, behaviour, but the inner is different: logic circuits versus biological brains - the exact opposite of what we're used to seeing in racial commentary.
There isn't really a storyline. It's episodic, each episode focusing on a customer of Eve no Jikan, with the final two on the main characters themselves. Only in the last episode is a connection revealed: the Ethics Committee, which seeks to discourage such heresies as cross-platform miscegenation, has a rather close connection to one of our main characters which shows during their investigation of the cafe.
The place where this anime excels is in its slice-of-life-ness. It's very hard to create a future world that works in a realistic way, but here we see one. It's exactly like our world, only set a generation or so down the line, just like, by and large, the world we've grown up in is the same as our parents grew up in, only with computers. Here the advancement is in robotics (though they have some pretty neato hologram devices going on as well). Everyone is easy to relate to.
The techniques used are very post-modern animation techniques. The characters are drawn sharply and shaded by computer, of course. But the money shots are in the lighting effects. Light streaming in through a window is brilliantly realised via the magic of 21st-century processing power. The series lasts for less than two hours, so there is plenty of smooth animation. The only reason I haven't given the animation a 10 is because there are some utterly cringey CGI panning shots, and also maybe because there is not enough differentiation between certain character designs for my liking. The design of scenes is contrived to make the world appear like a massive iPod: light, airy, smooth-running, user-friendly. Every open space is gleaming white or festooned with space and fans. Nothing is grotty. All of it evokes the same feeling you get when you install the latest Windows OS or unpack a shiny new games console and it's all clean and swishy and impressive.
Each time they enter the cafe, a bright and sunny synth tune plays. There's also a non-descript closing instrumental and I believe there was something at the end of the last episode. None of it very memorable, all of it like a Windows welcome jingle. I didn't see anything special in the voice actors either, though Chie, the little girl, had a lot of character and so did Sammy, the forlorn home-maker robot.
Masaki has the backstory, but there isn't really a main character in this short six-episode jaunt. It's all told from the perspective of Rikou - but he's so unremarkable that I just had to check what his name was - as he comes to understand that androids can be people too. In all, the episodic format centres around a character in the cafe and particularly on solving some sort of mystery about whether they're an android. Some of the characters have a lot of character, particularly Chie, Akiko and Nagi, the girls. They exist to give it a bit of fast-talking vim. However, the lovers Kouji and Rina, and the nameless outdated android who tries to act human and breaks down, seem to serve as counterpoints to a particular facet of the robot society. "Nameless", however, provides the most moving episode as he tries to remember the name he was given despite having been wiped.
I really enjoyed this. I really got the feel that this was a slice of life and that not everything was fully explained: you have to spot things in the background to make inferences about the culture of these future people. It doesn't hurt a bit that the episodes are made for the ADHD generation at fifteen minutes a pop. I was left wishing that the series were longer and more suspenseful, and I have never once felt that before about anime, which can often be a bit of a slog and padded out with filler crap. It's similar themes to everything you've seen before about robots, but presented in a wholly novel way. And the animation is stunning. Give it a whirl.
Slightly above average take on the tired "are androids alive?" question, using Asimov's equally dated Rules of Robotics.
No new material here, but the visuals and characters add enough to pass the time well. Short episodes help this along.
“Eve no Jikan” Review
It's the future, and scientists have finally developed androids that look just like humans. In order to keep humans from getting unnaturally friendly with the androids, robot laws are put in effect, making it forbidden for androids to go anywhere without a holographic ring above their head.
At the Time of Eve—a cafe “probably in Japan”--there is only one rule: treat everyone equally, and don't ask if someone else is a robot. Any android customers shut off their rings and mingle with humans. When it's impossible to tell the difference between man and machine, is there really any difference at all?
“Eve no Jikan” is every classic sci-fi nerd-otaku's dream: an anime that draws from Isaac Asimov's classic 3 Laws of Robotics and brings a new twist on classic themes of the robot story. Though only six ten-minute episodes long, it is nearly perfectly paced, spending all its time focusing on plot and character development while seamlessly slipping in balanced comic relief.
Its only real flaws arise in the final episode, which gets excessively melodramatic towards the closing scene. It's a fairly uninspired end, but very sensible, so it's tough to fault it.
The CG from Studio Rikka is absolutely gorgeous, and that's really all I can say about it. The effortless flow into the third dimension, perfect character and set designing, a wonderfully real technique from director Yasuhiro Yoshiura...if I say anything else it'll just be different ways to say “beautiful” again and again.
To start with, the themes are very fun Japanese instrumental pieces, which matches interestingly with the overall optimistic nature of the show. The voice casting is also pretty great. But the way music is introduced as a metaphor into the story itself, through the main character Rikuo, introduces a new way to access the message of common humanity.
Our POV characters, Rikuo and Masaki, provide effortless exposition and explain just enough of our new science-laden world that we can understand it. The show's plot is essentially to build their characters, and their arcs are suitably fascinating. But their relationship with each other is also built simultaneously, providing both comic relief and a strong source of tension.
Each episode focuses on one of the cafe's patrons and tells their story, which factors directly in with Rikuo and Masaki's respective philosophical journeys. It's an easy formula to screw up and fill with cliches, but this becomes a great science fiction tale instead.
“Eve no Jikan” is a gorgeous-looking Japanese take on concepts Isaac Asimov wrote about for decades. It doesn't take the robot genre anywhere particularly new, but the spin put on this particular iteration of the “human machine” story is beautifully handled; one might say it is at the same time an homage to science fiction's roots and a step forward to the future of the genre in animation and visual arts. It can't escape from its own melodrama at times, but succeeds in being a lavish work of great philosophical and psychological importance.
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!
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 takes place in a future vision of Japan where robots are commonplace, and more sophisticated androids are gradually making their way into homes around the country. These androids are treated as slaves, despite looking and acting exactly like humans. Each is fitted with a holographic 'halo' so as not to be confused as a human, which must be kept on at all times. However, in a small cafe known as Eve No Jikan androids switch off these 'halos' and are able to stand alongside humans without discrimination. The series focuses on two high school boys, Rikuo and Masaki, who, after discovering that Rikuo's android has been visiting the cafe, find themselves challenged by the equality that Eve No Jikan provides.
Eve No Jikan is a truly beautiful series, in absolutely every sense of the word, and a masterclass in storytelling. Discrimination and inequality as plot devices are not exactly uncommon, but I have never seen them handled so delicately as in this series. Real-life parallels are there to be made, inevitably with subject matter such as this, but they are never thrust into the viewer's face. Subtlety is the key to this series, and it succeeds completely. The androids are not chained up and forced to work, they are happy to serve. It is in the snippets of TV news that we see, or the throwaway comments made by Rikuo's sister that we come to realise the depth of the prejudice against robots in this society. In fact, most of the show's story is told in this manner. We are presented with a conversation in the cafe and it falls to the viewer to pick out the details that might be important. Not everything is, but it is these minor background details that give the alternate world we are observing a much more realistic feel. By it's nature, the subtlety of the show means that not every question has been answered by the end, and while that is by no means a bad thing, there were some aspects, specifically the darker elements, of the series that I felt could've been fleshed out slightly more.
Visually, the series excels once again, with a combination of CG backgrounds and 2-D characters proving surprisingly effective. I'm usually the first person to criticise this combination of techniques, as it can so often be jarring, to the point where it leads the viewer to focus on the animation techniques instead of the story being told. Eve No Jikan proves to be the exception however, thanks in part to the quality of the CG. There is an attention to detail and almost painterly quality to the backgrounds that is missing from most standard anime background work, let alone in other lesser examples of CG. The duality in the visuals also provides an instant connection with the story elements, particularly as most of the robots, as well as the single distinguishing feature of the androids, their 'halos', are also CG, conflicting straight away with the 2-D elements and helping to make the story more accessible. Character design is also a cut above many other series. The series has a very clean style, and characters look a little more realistic than your typical anime fare, while remaining distinguishable from each other without the need for goofy facial expressions and hair spanning all the colours of the rainbow.
The music of Eve No Jikan is strong, if not stellar. The BGM is always understated and somewhat whimsical, adding a slightly lighter feel to what could have very easily been a dark and overbearing series. These are not tunes that will be stuck in your head for days after watching, but that is not what they're there to achieve. One fairly important scene involving a piano is also handled very well, made all the more powerful thanks to the choice of music. Voice acting is again well above average, if not entirely memorable. The performances that do stand out are the robots. TEX in particular, a major character in the final episode is played perfectly, juxtaposing a real sense of humanity against the robot character that brings the themes of inequality right to the forefront.
The characters are another example of how this show's subtle and delicate touch makes it extraordinary. Each episode essentially focuses on one of the patrons of Eve No Jikan and Rikuo and Masaki's attempts to discover who among them is human, while coming to terms with the concept of android equality. Getting to know the various customers at the cafe is a treat in itself. Watching a nameless and malfunctioning robot's attempts at appearing human is almost as funny as watching Rikuo and Masaki fuss over how to treat him properly. Indeed every character's story is interesting, peppered with moments of humour alongside those of great emotion. The real joy of the show comes from watching Rikuo and Masaki's attitudes change throughout the six episodes, and particularly how Rikuo's relationship with his house's android evolves. Again, it is the little moments that make the characters. When Rikuo starts to order his coffee without asking for a menu for instance, hardly an earth-shattering event, but it does show the gradual change in his attitude towards the cafe and it's implications as he becomes more comfortable.
I cannot recommend this series enough. Every aspect of the series has been delicately crafted to create a story that is just remarkable. It ranks right up there with Grave Of The Fireflies as an anime that I believe everybody, anime fan or not, should see. At just six episodes long, each lasting only fifteen minutes, excluding the 30 minute long final episode, it won't take you very long. Believe me when I say you'll be thankful you did. And then you'll watch it all again.
"Are you enjoying the Time of Eve?"
The setting instantly took my mind to "I, Robot", because of the way the androids are used and of course, because of Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics". But the actual content of the show brings my mind towards the HBO drama "In Treatment".
Time of Eve is slow paced, quiet and peaceful, but it's still filled with fun and engaging twists a little below the surface that always develops both the characters and story, which in my book spells out as great writing.
I really liked how we got to see the way society is dealing with androids when it comes to the small everyday situations instead of some government conspiracy, and to be honest, this is actually how I imagine a future with androids would look like.
The reason it doesn't get full points is because it didn't fully develop everything. Those things aren't actually necessary, but it would be nice to have it a bit more fleshed out.
Animation/Artwork/Visual Effects: 8.5/10
It looks great. The character designs are good because they all have their unique look. Even some kids in Rikuo's and Masaki's class that just appear in the background have unique looks which is something that definitely gets a plus from me. And the 3D surroundings looks like it fits right in with the characters most of the time. There are times when some 3D image looks a bit dated and awkward, but it's not really anything that you place any real thought on. But just those reasons wouldn't give it such a high score when I'm reviewing. The reason it gets an 8.5 (and almost a 9) is because of the excellent directing. The way the director utilizes it's animation to it's fullest. No unnecessary movement just because they're able to, which is something I've noticed that many anime do. Clannad, K-On and Bleach: Fade to Black instantly comes to mind.
I can't remember the BGM at all, which actually proves that it did what it was supposed to. Highten the experience without being noticed. Although to reach a higher score would have to be something that I would take notice to.
The voice acting is very good, but nothing extraordinary.
Well crafted and highly likeable characters. They all have flaws that seem real which makes them seem like actual people. This show doesn't have a single character that I feel is poorly constructed. But I still don't love any of the characters like I love Takemoto from Honey & Clover or Tamaki Suoh from Ouran High School host Club.
My favorites are Masaki, Nameless and the couple; Koji & Rina.
Great from start to finish.
This is definitely one of the best titles (if not the best) of the year and I highly recommend it to anyone.
"Are you enjoying the Time of Eve?"
Yes. Yes I am.