Title: Eve no Jikan aka Time of Eve
Company: Studio Rikka
Format: 6 ONA
Dates: 1 Aug 2008 – 19 Sep 2009
Synopsis: In the near future, androids have become integrated into the lifestyles of humans. However, there exists a rapidly growing dichotomy between humans and androids as the majority of the human populace regard said androids with contempt and general dislike. Two teenage boys, Rikuo and Masaki, hold similar views. One day, they serendipitously come across a cafe, “The Time of Eve” that makes it a rule not to discriminate between humans and androids within the premises. Whilst they initially oppose that ideology, their cynicism gradually begins to crumble as Rikuo and Masaki come to terms with the fact that humans and androids aren’t all that different.
Art and animation: Combination of 2D and 3D, producing a visually stunning final product.
Characters: Well fleshed out and dynamic.
Story: Well thought out and thoroughly enjoyable.
Science fiction is a genre that often pushes the boundary of believability. Few have opted for a more grounded approach and even fewer have succeeded. In fact, not since Planetes has there been an anime that successfully integrates science fiction into its plot without testing one’s suspension of disbelief too much. Not till Eve no Jikan at least. With a seamless blend of futuristic and slice-of-life elements, Eve no Jikan is relevant, realistic and innovative.
On an ocular level, it is nothing short of spectacular. Director Yoshiura Yasuhiro pushes the envelope of aesthetics by combining 2D characters and 3D backgrounds to produce a polished product that accurately reflects the modernity of near-future Japan. It is not far-fetched to say that its animation almost rivals that of Byousoku 5 Cm. The character designs are also quite different, giving the characters a more chiselled look that is certainly a fresh breath of air from moe designs and saucer eyes which seem to dominate the anime industry these days.
Eve no Jikan’s quality extends much further than its visuals. The characters are the actual driving force behind it. The two main characters, Rikuo and Masaki both are multi-faceted people that have legitimate reasons for their apparent dislike of robots and cyborgs. Their realisation and coming to terms with their misplaced disillusionment is gradual and consistent, and Yoshiura cleverly circumvents the use of any convenient plot devices which would otherwise trivialise this significant turn of events. Additionally, the side characters all have their individual back stories, ensuring that most (if not all) secondary characters are fleshed out properly. As each episode often revolves around one secondary character and the two mains, the forging of relationships between Rikuo and Masaki with the patrons of “Eve no Jikan” becomes a rudimentary segment of character development.
Another exquisite aspect of Eve no Jikan is the cinematography. Whilst mostly shot from the 3rd person point of view, occasionally it switches to 1st person. This, along with quick panning of the camera in a manner not unlike a dating sim, enable viewers to immerse themselves within the world of Eve no Jikan, thus giving them a vicarious experience paralleled by few other anime.
The last aspect of Eve no Jikan that firmly ensures its place in in the higher echelons of anime is its theme(s). It borrows several core elements from the novel, I, Robot such as Asimov’s three laws of robotics. Nevertheless, the similarities end here as Eve no Jikan opts for a more reality-bound approach. It explicates the disparity between humans and androids as a governing theme through the eyes of the aforesaid two young men. There are also several underlying themes that are expounded such as the unwillingness to venture into the unknown, superficialism and various other social stigmata that are littered throughout this ONA.
All in all, it is an unequivocal fact that Eve no Jikan has achieved a transcendent success as both a slice-of-life and sci-fi anime. Its qualities, overt as well as subliminal, give it enough momentum to easily leapfrog the surfeit of mediocre anime in today’s industry, hence landing it in a place reserved for the truly sublime.
The Rating: 9
Reviewed by: Fuu