I believe that a lot of sci-fi simply feeds on and off of our
fears about the future. Viewed in a certain light anime like the
Ghost in the Shell movie and Serial Experiments Lain are more
like scaremongering about the dangers of technology than a
sincere attempt at predicting the future.
They read like the prophesies of doom and gloom made by those
who secretly wish that that doom and gloom would come true. For
example a lot of the cyberpunk genre is warning about the future
while at the same time revelling in how cool and aesthetic
such a future would be.
The premise of Eve is that androids, human-looking robots, have become widespread in use. There also exists a cafe in the city called the Time of Eve where humans and androids are treated the same. This is a very familar premise but the difference here is that there is no robot-human war or anything of the sort.
In this genre where fear and cowardice towards the future is
often mistaken for realism, it is nice to see a down to earth
sci-fi series like Tme of Eve. For example, something like Chobits
may also be said to have a positive vision of technology and
robotics but it is not supposed to be realistic or a plausible
rendition of the future, only a dream come true.
The setting of Eve is limited to two or three locations
rendered in CGI with 2D characters superimposed on them. The CGI
backgrounds did not bother me, in fact I did not notice that
they were 3D until it was pointed out to me, but the
first-person camera shaking so as to regain its balance
sometimes was a bit annoying. I understand that the reason for
these effects was to give some movement to dialogue scenes.
The main locations are few; The Time of Eve cafe
itself is where most of the stories take place. Some might say
that these locations are overused but it didn't bother me and I
do not understand how pointlessly changing the location
backgrounds would have helped. A window into the outside world
of these main locations is provided through television
advertisements and news casts.
After watching the film I felt like some questions were left
unanswered, fortunately some guys at the wiki put together the
hints dropped throughout the series explaining the Character
Backstory of a few characters and the setting.
I keep referring to Time of Eve as a series but it is
both a six episode series and a compilation movie as well. I
liked both, and the movie has some scenes the film does not
have, but obiously the series has better pacing since it is the
There are many characters for a 6 episode anime, but maybe
there isn't much more to them that their "story" which they
reveal to us during the duration of the episode about them.
Still they do a good job of getting the feel of a comfy cafe,
though maybe it is too homely and silent to be realistic. Then
again it is a special kind of cafe.
Issues such as automation and low birthrates due to robots are
touched upon but fall into the background of the individual
stories of the characters while making those who care only about
the larger picture seem selfish.
The story does not want to go to dark places like masters
abusing their androids because it would ruin the mood. I am not
sure whether it is something worth exploring since obviously it
is wrong and there is nothing more to it.
The story just ends, none of the "big problems" are really
resolved or answered. We are not told what is the ultimate fate
of humans and androids. It doesn't really address the obvious
stuff about why human beings should exist if machines make them
redundant. I suppose it may be uncharitably said that the whole
point of the story is "anti-discrimination" and since it got
that across there is nothing else more for it.
You could say that Eve indirectly provides an answer
by ignoring these issues implying that a. If
androids are really superior to human beings it doesn't really
matter that human beings will go extinct, so let's only make
sure it is a peaceful and gentle extinction, or b.
If androids and human beings really understand each
other, then it doesn't really matter who is the very best
because being the best is not the only reason to live or to be
allowed to live or to do stuff. c. Bionics and
the likes may even the playing field.
There is little evidence for a, as for c
there are bionics introduced at the very end but again they
don't really say anything about it other than as a way to
provide prostethics for people. b probably is
the answer, or at least it can be extrapolated from the
highschooler protagonist's backstory a bit. He used to be a good
piano player a few years ago but then a robot was able to beat
him in a music competition whereby he lost all interest in
music. He then later decides to say fuck it and decides
to play the piano again because he loves to do so even if there
are machines who are better than him.
Maybe the reason that I am indifferent to the prospect of
machines being better at doing stuff than human beings is that
most likely there are already other human beings who are more
talented than you are or that you could ever be but that is not
a reason not to do something if you actually like it. I think
that most people already have to live with the fact that they
are not the very best at something, that they are not prodigies
I also think it is a modern notion that your life's purpose is
to work - and so that if a machine robs you of your work that
then your life is worthless. Like if you read Charles Dickens
novels, the "happy ending" is not a life of ambition, drama and
strife but rather a quiet retreat into semi-idleness with your
loved ones. The purpose of work is simply to give you some money
to be idle with your loved ones.
Maybe I don't like human beings enough to be bothered that much.
Or perhaps it's just that I have too much faith in human
ingenuity, that even amongst beings superior than us in every
way human beings will find a way to shine like a shining star. I
think the point that I am trying to get across is that already
in a world without AI, your life's work probably won't amount to
anything special. It already feels like certain things like
music and books are produced at such a rate and scale (as it
were "on a conveyor belt") that your contribution will be but a
drop in the ocean.
I was at a bookstore a few days ago, perusing the books, of
course I have wanted to and struggled to write a novel for a
long time, the first thing that I noticed was how disinteresting
those novels there were to me (because there were no anime book
covers) and the second thing was how carelessly they were all
stacked together losing any sort of individual value... And yet
the authors of these novels must each individually care deeply
about there work and even feel pride even though I could not
tell apart the value of any of those young adult fantasy-ish
novels - even Tolkien there looked interchangeable - just a big
name attached to another book cover to sell more copies.
During the duration of the story despite the fact that androids
have emotions they never really question that their purpose is
to serve humans. This may sound strange and yet for relatively
large stretches of time in history, a lot of groups of human
beings did not question too deeply that their purpose was to
serve another human being. For example is it not said that
womanhood just consisted in just this? Or a knight towards his
lord. True there were many ugly stories but there were also many
beautiful stories of devotion too. And yet these devoted people
had free will too.
It is not implausible to imagine beings with emotions who see
their purpose is to serve and make someone else happy. Maybe it
is the wish for such a thing that you see in stories like this.
Or in other words the machines are not just superior because
they are better at their ability to accomplish tasks but also in
their selflessness - and yet that the ability to accomplish
tasks or self-lessness means superiority are just our ideas
based on our wellbeing.
Anyhow I don't want to give the impression that Time of Eve
is deeper than what it is. For its part, it doesn't really
pretend to, though they did try hard enough on their camera work
that it is not difficult to laugh at it sometimes. It's just a
slice of life robot-human story with a sad story or two thrown
in there for good measure plus the usual situational humour as
well. The first time I watched it maybe a decade ago now, I
honestly wanted to see more of the characters, in particular I
wanted to where the romance between the protagonist and Sammy
(his cute house robot), both of whom you can see in the picture
with this article, go somewhere but now that I am older it
doesn't really bother me that the romance is not explored.
I give this anime a 7/10. Sammy is best girl.
By Otaking, or [The