Time of Eve, aka Eve no Jikan. Honestly, this review this week was almost the newest Final Fantasy game, but with all the time spent on the demo and still not managing to achieve everything, as well as some other events that ended up with me reading through the archives of another blog and stunbmling across a mention of Eve no Jikan, this reiew ended up being Eve no Jikan. If that confused you, you understand how my entire week has been. Consider yourself welcome.
Eve no Jikan is a show released by a rather small animation studio, hence the two month and above release times between episodes. If yu don’t recall having seen the show on tv, that would be because it was apparently netcast. I can better explain that by saying it was shown for free online instead of broadcast, which gives you an idea how big the budget of the show was.
The main story revolves at first around a boy and what seems to be his robot. To be more accurate, as it has a human form it would be an android. To be pedantic, as it has a female form, it would by a gynoid. It is never really clear if the robot is his directly, or a possession of his family.
Either way, she has been going to an area she was never ordered to go to, so he and his friend go there to find a cafe, where the one rule is there will be no discrimination between humans and androids. To that effect, all androids there shut off their glowing halo rings that advertise that they are not, in fact, human. The name of the cafe? No other than Eve no Jikan (Time of Eve.) Even the items in the cafe, as well as when it shows up in a movement log on a robot all say ‘Are you enjoying the time of eve?’
Each episode from then on concentrates on the main characters and each of the other people who frequent the cafe. Each episode then ends up fleshing out some specific characters, and the overall effect ends up being a greater understanding of the main characters, as well as evolution of the main characters. The one boy who owns Sammy (the robot initially mentioned) opens up a bit more, and starts to emerge a bit. To betetr explain it, we find out from Sammy that he had quit a bunch of the things he loved, but as the episodes progress, he starts to go back to the things he enjoys, as well as make more friends at the cafe.
In the last episode, we find out the relationship between the second main character and his father, as well as with his robot. We also find out a bunch of details about his past that he had buried due to the emotional trauma it had caused him at the time.
I honestly do not want to give out spoilers, but I will say that each episode is genuinely interesting, and really served to further the story and develop the characters.
Even more impressive is that Eve no Jikan tells an interesting and compelling story almost solely through the characters discussions at the cafe. Other locations that appear include the home (main room only) of the main character, the bedroom of his friend, their room at the school they attend, the city and outside of Eve no Jikan cafe (no more than twice, I believe) and the cafe itself. Almost all of the time is spent at the cafe and is spent talking with other patrons, visitors, or the owner.
The one theme that is repeated is that machines are not anywhere near human, and that is shown by their stiff and steryotypical manner when interacted with outside of Eve no Jikan. If you want to ask a question, you state ‘Question’ at which point the robot will acknowledge you, then you may ask a question. This reeks of the old-fashioned idea of what communication with machines would be like, as in the old ‘Computer, beam us down’ commands. If they wanted machines to be like interacting with a computer, asking a question would be a command more like:
10 start program
The use of the specific method of communication seems only to be a throwback to how older science fiction thought computers would be, and seems like an unnecessary addition to the not human aspect, seeing as the robots have glowing halos. Not only that, but when they appear at the cafe, each is capable of full annunciation, comprehension, and human speech. All of the commands and short sentences of the public interactons just vanish, which means the robots can communicate in a way that is easy for the people using them, which would be ideal in a product that is voice controlled, which is why it makes no sense that they respond to such archaic-sounding commands.
To spoil a bit of the end, what happens is the main antagonist (I don’t want to spoil it all) sends an adroid to investigate Eve no Jikan, but they find out it is an android and send it away (not too many spoilers) and the main antagonist lists Eve no Jikan as a place that is pending further investigation before being closed or allowed to continue business.
And that is all. The story ends there. The Eve no Jikan website apparently hinted at a second season, which would be nice. As it stands, Eve no Jikan introduces the characters, fleshes them out, and introduces a central conflict. The central conflict here can serve to band together the people and robots in the cafe to fight for the cafe against the antagonists. In short, Eve no Jikan is currently only the introduction and rising action of a story.
While it is very good, and very interesting, it still is not a complete story. Just saying ‘The End’ does not end your story, a conclusion ends your story.
Depending on who you ask, introducing the central conflict is either part of the rising action or part of the exposition. Notice where they land on the chart. For those who don’t ant to look, they fall at the part OPPOSITE OF THE ENDING.
Eve no Jikan is amazing. The characters are amazingly well done. The central conflict adds interest. The whole interactions that show the robots as to be similar to humans with similar thoughts and desires is interesting. The whole message of maybe they aren’t so different is compelling.
And as good as I think Eve no Jikan is, it still is only half or less than half of a complete story. Sadly, that is why I will reserve a reccommendation.
Just for the fun of it, while people use creativity to separate people from robots, robots have already started being creative. For instance, one classical composer is a computer. Eve no Jikan must have heard of this, as they show robots to be essentially people (as they could very well be in personality) with the only difference being that we are biological and think with a lump of flesh, while they are metal, and think with silicon and other exotic materials.
The reason I am being hard about the story is that Eve no Jikan comes across as being more about the story than about the show. It forgoes things like opening songs and flashy opening animations in favor of a few lines of text that introduce the background, then the episode starts up right after that. The only real songs are over the end credits, and a short soundtrack that plays almost every time the Even no Jikan cafe sign appears on camera. As the elements in the show push it more heavily towards the story side of story vs entertainment, it should have a full story that matches what it wants us to take away.
anyways, final score: 4/5 good. A great story set off by not being a complete story
Pros: utterly amazing. I wish I had words to describe how good it is.
Cons: It is yet to be a complete story. In fact, just when we begin to have total interest in the conflict is when they choose to say ‘we have done enough for now. Maybe we will make more episodes some other time.’
Eve no Jikan still is making it on my list of favorite series (in fact, it is likely making it on as my second favorite series of all time), but that lack of a real ending and climax and most of the rising action really puts a horsefly in that ointment. Not just a housefly or gnat, but a full-on horsefly.
Sites of information and links:
I found out about the series from this website: http://www.kuroneko-chan.com/echoes/?p=643
The website for Eve no Jikan can be found here: http://timeofeve.com/e/
And that’s almost all for today, except that I do suggest watching it. I can’t yet fully recommend it, as it feels incomplete, but I do suggest watching it. It is available on crunchyroll but requires the free trial or premium to watch, sadly.