Are You Enjoying The Time of Eve?
It is human nature to fear, destroy, and/or attempt to control that which they cannot understand. Other cultures, races, religions, and ideals are labeled as “the enemy” and destroyed, or ridiculed and made subservient. In the future, probably Japan, robots and humanoid androids have now come to occupy this role. Society has created laws which restrict their rights, ensure that they are not treated as humans, and openly allow them to be discriminated against.
Except at Time of Eve.
Time of Eve is a six-episode web anime created by Yasuhiro Yoshiura about Time of Eve, a café where humans and robots are treated equally. The series carries many of the familiar anti-discrimination tropes seen in similar works like Astro Boy, using imagery and language often seen in times of intense segregation and discrimination. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from time of Eve, but I came out of it rather impressed.
The series follows the lives of two high school boys, Rikuo Sakisaka and Masakazu Masaki, as they stumble upon a café named Time of Eve. Time of Eve has one simple house rule: No discrimination between humans and robots. The two initially struggle to cope with that rule, or even the mere existence of this café, but soon come to appreciate the café and find themselves frequenting it.
Regulars at the café give the audience a look into the relations between humans and robots, and how similar the two truly are. From energetic teens and prostitutes to old men designed to raise children, the cast of Time of Eve is varied and unique. One episode even treats the audience to a look at how much robotics has advanced, introducing an old and beat-up caretaker robot.
While most of the series takes place in Time of Eve itself, with robots and humans receiving equal treatment, scenes set outside of the café offer a look into how the rest of the world views robots. TV ads run by an organization named “The Ethics Committee” try to demonize robots, talk shows call people who treat robots equally “Android-Holic,” and students who are greeted by their androids treat them with disgust. Even Rikuo is seen distancing himself from his android when others are around. The series effectively portrays a world where androids are both seen as necessary and a subject of fear and disgust.
Stylistically, the main strength of the series is its use of pacing. The first 5 episodes of the series are 15 minutes long, not leaving all that much time to work with. Despite this, it manages to intelligently use both quiet, prolonged moments and fast-paced conversations to tell an interesting story. At no point does it feel like it is wasting the audience’s time.
Visually, the animation is neither spectacular nor terrible, simply average. The art is very clean and well-drawn, but never stands out in a major way. Rather, the series uses this average simplicity to create a stylistic shift between the scenes in Time of Eve and those outside of it. The world outside of Time of Eve is seen as advanced and clean, but barren and dismal. Time of Eve itself is shown to have an inviting warmth to it, with bright furniture, calm music, and abundant lighting. In this way, the series uses the simplicity of its art and animation to strike a tonal shift between these two dramatically different environments.
The music is, again, simple but effective. The soundtrack is varied and fits the show at all times, but none of the tracks stand out or feel like they’re worth paying attention to. It fulfills its purpose, but isn’t the sort of thing you’d listen to outside of the context of the show.
Despite its short length, Time of Eve manages to tell an age-old story of discrimination in a unique and charming way. Shows like this can sometimes ring hollow, but Time of Eve manages to convey its message in a fun and genuine manner. I’m almost tempted to say I’d like more of it, but the series does so much in its limited time that further episodes feel somewhat pointless. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed Time of Eve and highly recommend it.
Eva’s Final Ruling: Thumbs Up
Time of Eve can be watched on Crunchyroll, although a premium subscription is required to watch past the first episode. A collected version can be bought on Blu-Ray from Amazon or directly from the official site. Time of Eve: The Movie, a film compilation of the series can also be bought on Blu-Ray from Amazon (Amazon only has the deluxe edition), from Rightstuf (Deluxe Edition) or directly from the official site (Deluxe Edition).
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