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Eve no Jikan (Movie) Anime Cover

Score: 8.09/10

Synopsis

The movie version is the complete version of the story. It includes all the ONAs and completely new scenes giving details on the background story of some characters. Sometime in future Japan, androids have been involved in every aspect of people's lives. One day, upon checking his android's behavioral log, Rikuo, a student, noticed his android's returning times have been odd recently. With his friend Masaki, they found out the place where his android, Sammy, have been visiting: a small cafe called Eve no Jikan where androids and human are not seen as different. Upon talking with the "people" in the cafe and discovering more of Sammy's behavior, Rikuo changed his view about androids and treat them as friends rather than tools. At the same time, elsewhere in Japan, the Ethics committee is trying to impose policies to reduce the involvement and use of androids in society. (Source: ANN)

Do you like theories about human-robot social relations? Do you wonder what it would be like to have a robot that developed human sensations? Then, Time of EVE might be for you. If you’re looking for something more than that, steer clear. This is more a romantic slice-of-life piece than a sci-fi flick, and even calling it romance might be a bit of a stretch. The concept behind this anime is indeed noteworthy, but unfortunately, most of your curiosity will be satisfied as a byproduct of the film not delivering in the atmosphere it builds off of. In other words, you’ll be left imagining what should or could have happened, rather than being impressed with what actually did transpire.

Let’s look a little closer into why Time of EVE fails to offer an impressive narrative.


Story: 7/10

EVE’s plot is mostly about a pair of high school boys that find a new, fascinating experience in their world, involving androids that could easily pass for humans, were it not for their halo indicators that identify them as artificial. There is also a subplot about how the government (or some company) is trying to rectify this very issue. This subplot is basically abandoned as soon as it is brought up, and it never gains much ground. Instead, the majority of the plot centers around a cafe that the boys find.

It’s a nifty cafe that brings up this very poignant social issue for the boys to understand and come to terms with. There’s also a certain special robot that one of the boys takes a fancy in, and really, every encounter with a robot that they have is unique and compelling.

But here’s the problem: that’s the entire plot. There really isn’t much more, and what the movie sets itself up to discuss never ends up being talked about beyond the chit chat in the cafe. It presents a very dynamic issue, and it relents and instead indulges in how the boys are dealing with their own personal dilemmas, rather than exploring the wider problem that they themselves encounter and recognize. Essentially, EVE gives us a lot to consider and then skirts the issue itself, so that you have to assume the boys’ success in the cafe means the world will be okay with it all. A little bit anti-climactic, to say the least.


Art: 5/10

To me, this is where Time of EVE really disappoints. Most of the backgrounds in this film are of the cafe or the houses of the family. Rarely do we even see the outside world, and when we do, it’s not a very impressive design. There just isn’t much going on at all besides the characters themselves, which are often facially blank (robots) or just simply plain. Granted, there are some careful details to certain parts (one of the boy’s robots come to mind), but I would expect more from an anime that touts a futuristic concept and delves into robots and their evolution.

If you want to watch a visually stunning anime, this is certainly not the one you’re looking for.


Sound: 9/10

The music and sounds in Time of EVE are fitting and often well-designed, helping to create moments of laughter or calmness for the viewer to experience alongside the characters. There isn’t much else to say here. It’s not the best sound design for an anime, but it certainly isn’t lacking. The pace is well-kept and the mood is appropriately enhanced by the aural ambiance, which seems to reflect the soothing nature of the cafe itself.


Character: 7/10

I really wanted to be compelled by the characters in Time of EVE, and you might say that this movie is more about the character development than anything else. However, it simply doesn’t deliver. The behavior of the characters is monotonously predictable, to the point where it dulls the entire gist of the film. Am I supposed to care that the protagonist has decided to take up his talent by the end? You can see it coming a mile away, and there really is no confusion as to how each character will interact with another. A robot that seems human? Well, that may have been exciting, if only that wasn’t the whole point of the cafe’s rules in the first place.

Yes, there are some touching moments, especially with Boy B’s dad and his robot. However, not much ultimately comes of anything, and we are left feeling that the film was merely a recitation of potential issues of human-robot interaction, rather than any resolution or defining wisdom to the dilemma. There just isn’t much going on here, and it’s hard to ignore when the anime sets up so many possible, compelling conclusions.


Enjoyment: 6/10

This shouldn’t be surprising. Time of EVE just doesn’t impress, despite having ample opportunity to do so. That isn’t to say it is a bad film; it has many fine qualities and certain moments are very genuine and heartfelt. However, these moments are muddled within an aimlessly wandering plot and a setting that lacks pizazz or anything other than the catchphrase of the movie being repeated on far too many objects. What could have been a visually-engaging and conceptually deep film ends up falling short and relying on the common cliches of shounen anime and slice-of-life melodrama.


Overall: 6/10

If you are looking for a new sci-fi movie to watch, Time of EVE is not it. If you are interested in seeing the growth of two young guys and their puberty-infused social problems, coupled with an android twist, then Time of EVE will satisfy, amuse, and tease you. Sadly, what Time of EVE won’t do, however, is precisely what it seems set up to do in the first place, and with that in mind, you might enjoy the film more than I did.

In a future where every family is in possession of androids, for which all basic human chores and tasks are delegated to, how does the relationship between humans and their robotic creations pan out when androids seemingly have artificial intelligence? This isn't a new topic in the science fiction genre by any stretch of the imagination, but as a film Time of Eve manages to be a huge breath of fresh air with both its approach and execution to the topic. The setting of the film mostly takes place at a cafe, called Time of Eve, where inside the cafe there is a rule that there will be no discrimination between humans and androids. Because of this rule, the androids which enter the cafe do their best to be like human beings, blending in with all the customers. Normally androids are not allowed to act like humans in the outside world, but the rules of the cafe dictate that they must. It is through this setup that we explore the story of two friends Rikuo and Masakazu, and how they manage to deal with the unsettling notion of androids acting independently of humans and pretending to be humans in a way that makes it impossible to distinguish them as androids. Throughout the story we are constantly shown how androids are put into a demeaning, subservient role for the humans and it really raises some interesting questions to its audience. Can human beings learn to accept artificial intelligence as equals to themselves? As beings worthy of the respect we can give other human beings? Or are they merely to be reduced to mere slaves? I give Time of Eve considerable praise for its spectacular job at expressing these themes and managing to make its audience actually think while watching. While of course the film raises interesting philosophical questions, it also is merely a great drama. Too many scifi works get caught up in trying to show off lots of action rather than just explore interesting aspects of its setting. Time of Eve keeps its focus very simple, a slice of life story about humans and androids in the future, and it is incredibly successful at it. The character interactions and the emotional highs of the film all strike the right notes at the proper times. Everything just feels very genuine and fulfilling. It manages to pass through moments of sadness, laughter, dark moments, light moments, and offer an overall very satisfying experience. In particular, the final moments of the film are very touching. On top of all this is a generally pleasing to the eyes art work and animation. The camera work is absolutely spectacular. There are several shots in the movie that convey so much emotion without even a single word. Even the completely mechanical looking androids shined in moments through mere clever camera focuses. It's hard to not be impressed by the director's techniques throughout the film. If there is any reason why I didn't give this movie a perfect score, it is because there are many questions it leaves unanswered, though this may be on purpose. While the film is great as a standalone, the plot going on the side of all these things was too interesting to just not explore it (Though there are several indications out there that there will one day be a sequel). If some more closure is ever given to this film in the future, I'd have no qualms calling it a master piece.

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