Note: This review is just a repost from my previous site. Nothing has been changed.
Title: Time Of Eve – Eve no Jikan
Episodes: 1 (1 hr and 46 minute duration)
Producer: : Studio Rikka, Directions, Code, Trick Block
Genre: Sci-fi, slice-of-life,
Recommended/Similar Titles: Pale Cocoon, Mizu no Kotoba, Ghost In The Shell, Chobits, Kowarekake no Orgel
Review Source: Bluray Copy (1080p)
The future, probably Japan. Robots have long been put into practical use, and androids have just come into use.
Influenced by the Robot Ethics Committee, it’s become common sense for people to treat androids like household appliances. Their appearance – indistinguishable from humans except for the ring over each android’s head – has led some people to empathize unnecessarily with androids. Known as “android-holics”, such people have become a social problem. Rikuo, a high school student, has been taught from childhood that androids are not to be viewed as humans, and has always used them as convenient tools. One day Rikuo discovers some strange data in the behavior records of his family’s household android, Sammy. Rikuo and his friend Masaki trace Sammy’s movements, only to discover a mysterious café that features a house rule that “humans and robots are to be treated the same”…
Time Of Eve is no means an end all to be all movie on the concepts balancing humanity, robots, and androids; the meaning of what it is to be human – yet to that end, brilliantly shines with its concepts in the most illuminating of fashions. The storyline itself is rather simple, Rikuo, a high school student has been living his day-to-day life with the idea set of how androids are supposed to conduct themselves, but when he notice something amiss with his own household android, Sammy – he and his friend, Masaki make the discover that most androids secretly head to a cafe that only has one rule “That humans and androids are to be treated the same.” It is quite a weird premise, but by far, one that gets the most mileage out of anything else in the same vein. Speaking purely based on construction at the moment, the writing and execution for Time Of Eve is both fluid and smooth; not too fast, but also not to slow to make it boring or drab to an extent. In addition, while it does try to convey a more interpersonal and solid atmosphere reflected in the writing, Time Of Eve is certainly not afraid to insert its own comedy slapstick into the mix that can be seen throughout the movie in various places. It is handled with resistant and respect with regards to the more emotional scenes, but all in the spirit of fun and helping break up the story’s more denser sections to keep things preceding. However, with that said, the constructional part is not the noteworthy end, but more of a supporting piece. The characters and the overall themes are the main course to this meal.
As with any character driven piece, Time of Eve has both interesting, but also dynamic characterization from its cast. Whether it can be attributed to the voice cast, writing, or any other combination is debatable, but they just seem to take on a life of their own. The robot and android characters in particular are the most pivotal of round characters; seemingly human, but not really until are inside the cafe – yet only to be treated as servants and devices in the human world. Surprisingly, that steadfast rule inside the cafe is for both human and machine to be treated equally, but the human law of robotics is an interference and the other side of this duality that they must follow at all times. This not so tangible concept and more are continuously juxtaposed throughout the film and an excellent one that both speaks volumes and personal truths as Rikuo and Masaki interact and hear the stories of the other androids and visitors that make themselves to this cafe seemed untouched by time or prejudiced. The film also holds up a very real mirror to how humanity acts, both in its positive aspects (shown by the android cast), but also the negative aspects (represented in some the androids an human characters with regards to the Ethic committee and faceless characters). So we have attractive barista Nagi, foster parent Shimei, lovers Koji and Rina, along with others that highlight these aspects aforementioned inside and out.
Art and animation wise, the film is anything else than impressive which is also a quality that attributes to the atmosphere and not just the visual portion. Needless to say, the animation does not exactly do anything thought worthy or playful, but the artwork itself does set the tone in the atmospheric department, usually balancing the animation with its CG scenes to create stunning visuals. Studio Rikka does not include any trademark tricks and signatures like Shaft with its word and background play or rather easy to spot in the crowd like Production I.G or Bones, but it does overall take into the account how well it can provide the viewer with a generally enjoyable viewing experience that appeals both the eyes and mind. Sadly, the other aesthetic production of music seems to wavier quite a bit, with only a limited array of tracks, but not necessarily anything of importance or will be noticed when taking in what the story has to offer. To top it all off, the voice acting cast is easily recognizable and well diverse with such names like: Rina Satou (known as Misaka Mikoto from the To Aru series), Rie Tanaka (Chi from Chobits, Maria from Hayate, etc), and Kenji Nojima (Shiki from Carnvial Phantasm and Keisaku from Shakugan No Shana) just to name a few.
As for my own personal viewing experience, I found Time Of Eve to be both a refreshing watch as well as very emotionally intelligent. Admittedly, at first, it did not seem like it, more than often not seeming to go anywhere within the first fifteen minutes, but with an open-mind and moderate expectations, the hour and forty-six minutes seemed to fly by and I was deeply locked into the story. For me especially, it was definitely one of those films that resonated with me and provided an interesting exchange of ideas that were lingering in the back of my mind, but soon brought forward like a criminal awaiting his/her sentence from the judge. I was quite mystified by the ambiguous ending, but it leave a feeling for wanting more. It is certainly a film I would likely recommended to anyone, regardlessly of preference and one that does try to probe the deepest recesses of the mind in ways that can not be explained. It would be a disgrace just to label the show as merely “interesting” or “amazing”. It does have a few flaws in place, but not enough of them or seriously critical to effect my experience in a negative fashion.
If you enjoy shows like Ghost In Shell or even like Chobits, then the Time Of Eve is something that is definitely well-worth the time to see. For that matter, if you enjoy anything with the emphasis of the human condition, robotics, or futuristic material as the subject, then this should be more than average to wet your appetite. With both a mix of all sorts of emotions and affections thrown in, the mood should be enough to suit any fan, but you are a person that is looking for a more homogeneous nature throughout or not exactly accustomed or enjoy anything of the cultured vein, than this will probably not suit you. However as aforementioned, regardless of the taste, I would freely recommend Time Of Eve as just an interesting story if nothing else that is worth every bit of time it has to offer. Might be helpful to give it a chance if you have not.
Pros: Solid story, interesting concepts and characterization, impressive animation quality, strong writing
Cons: Limited soundtrack, ambiguous ending without proper closure, questionable or weak beginning