|Like a Nice Cup of Coffee|
Welcome back, it’s M again this time reviewing a short piece right off the heels of Black rock shooter. This time I jumped into an anime for lack of a better word miniseries called Time of Eve. A reported “Dry robotic-morality” series that I’ve been meaning to get around to since tech support suggested it to me after the M-cast months ago. Published by Directions Inc I really had no notion towards the quality of the final piece just that it came with good recommendations from some in my circle and rather distinct negatives from anime vices own Tom. Either way I was interested in finding out exactly what Time of Eve is.
Time of Eve is, as it turns out, a series of six short fifteen minute episodes surrounding a small café called Time of Eve. Set in unspecific future where androids have become not only common place, but also indistinguishable from humans aside of their mandatory holographic halos above their heads. In this world a young man named Rikuo discovers that his android without orders has been going to a café known as Time of Eve. Rikuo and his friend, an expert in the laws of robotics named Masaki, leave to investigate Time of Eve. There he discovers that in this cafe it is against rules to discriminate or acknowledge a difference between androids and humans. This includes turning off the hologram halos above all androids heads, practically making humans and androids in the café completely indistinguishable.
Time of Eve from there follows an episodic format as the two learn more about each patron; who he or she is, why they’re there, their lives, and lastly, if at all, whether or not he or she was an android or human all along. In the end it’s all an exploration in base robotic philosophy of whether androids can be human, considered equal to humans, or are just glorified toasters with pretty faces. This is a concept and kind of stuff that was extremely popular back in the late 90s, but with the decline in sci-fi has been kind of just tossed aside as something not worth looking at. (Partially due to people learning how computers work and realizing it’s not running on magic and fairy dust) But it is my firmest belief that this is completely an area worth exploring in anime as well as media in general. I can talk more and more about what it is, but the importance is whether it’s good correct?
Time of Eve is excellent. I have no qualms about saying that. It’s got excellent philosophic underpinnings along with a good sound moral argument and plausible counter arguments within its own arguments, but you know what makes this actually good? Just having these things says nothing about execution. Here Time of Eve shines, understanding as media of the visual format it has the opportunity to do something more than just spit long strings of inorganic lines about how life is like a rainbow and just visually show the message. To make the audience feel the message and experience the internal philosophic underpinnings within the series. Instead of say like Casshern Sins where you can’t go ten minutes without character sitting down to explain why this scene has more meaning then it really does, instead time of eve builds a scene where your organically feel the willingness for humans to discriminate and demonize people who ignore social norms. Build scenes where the audience can examine and question exactly how “human” These androids are or if it’s all just fake replication of emotion we, the audience, wish was the real thing.
I’m not going to try and claim Time of Eve is the first or best at this kind of story or message, but I feel pretty confident in saying it’s the first in a while to do so while still pulling together a narrative around characters I like, can laugh with and at, want to be happy, and feel connected to, instead of just being mouth pieces for the writers personal opinions. That being said Time of Eve isn’t perfect. There are moments, especially at the very start and towards the end, that are flat out cheesy, but in comparison to the entire genre of robot-morality narrative it’s very tame in terms of cheesy moments. It’s cursed with being extremely short and because of how it’s paced not much really “happens” in the show, but that’s not really a negative more a creative choice.
It’s a series that inspires me to talk to someone. To discuss if those Androids were really feeling those emotions, or maybe it’s simply following the rules of the bar, masking feelings and actions to match humans like the old robot in episode three, or maybe their emotions (being fairly distinct from ours, but seem just as powerful) are due to natural advancements in their understanding of the three laws just in the same way human emotion might be due to the two natural laws of man (to survive and to propagate). That’s pretty impressive a drive for media to build in me, not only that, but earnest care about what happens to Sammy and her master. I want them to be happy. That’s something impressive for a series in my eyes.
All in all I rather love Time of Eve. Although short it knew exactly what it wanted to be, it used every shot to its advantage wasting nothing, but most importantly it told the story it could, restraining itself when necessary, and executing effectively everything it tried. Something the last anime I watch black rock shooter couldn’t do in three times the time. Time of Eve, although barely the length of an anime movie, I give 4.5 robots that can’t walk up stairs out of 5. I hope you guys check it out, it’s on crunchy roll. Later vice.