Impressive, but not Perfect
This is the second in a series of reviews for the “Anime X-Change Project”. If you don’t know what that is, be sure to check out all the info here from an earlier post. This time we are looking at a six episode ONA series, Time of Eve which was suggested by @nobIemonsters. I’ve been meaning to give this a look for some time now and this was the perfect excuse! With that, let’s dive right into my thoughts.
Imagine a world where robotics technology has advanced to a point where most households have humanoid machines that, without special indicators, are indistinguishable from humans. This is the world that Time of Eve presents, but at it’s core it’s a story about empathy that can be likened to discussions on societal division such as class or race. It’s not exactly a new question and what that has been explored in and out of the animated medium, but that doesn’t diminish the value here by any respect.
Each of the six episodes sees Rikuo following a trail left by his own android, leading him to visit a café where discrimination between robots and humans is not allowed. You see, in this world androids are denoted by this holographic ring that floats above their heads, but in this café it’s disabled. Thus, who among the patrons are human and who are machines?
This forms the basis for the stories Time of Eve tells that are, at their core, very human stories. As more time is spent with each of the individuals in this special location, the less it matters not only to the characters, but also to the viewer who is, or isn’t, an android. To that end the story is very successful in conveying it’s main themes and ideas which I must applaud the show for doing.
When it comes to other aspects of the production, I can’t really say that anything else really stands out. There are some interesting visuals, especially tied to the “ethics committee”, but beyond that it’s nothing special. Which is what leads me to the show’s problems.
In spite of everything Time of Eve manages to accomplish in just 6 short episodes, it bites off more than it can chew. Throughout the entire show the Ethics Committee is constantly referenced, and after awhile a whole subplot their is developed. Each of these segments are brief, save for the final episode, but they distract from the more compelling narrative that takes place in the café.
This isn’t to say that these segments are of no interest, far from it, but they just raise more questions that never see any answer. At the end of the series it’s teases a possible sequel, but no such title ever materialized which makes this element of the story fall extremely flat. I’ve got to say that’s a real shame too, because it’s not hard to read into where or how these ideas would have proceeded, but a conceptual promise isn’t enough to carry this element’s inclusion.
For that reason I struggle to say that the show hits as well as it could have. Without any doubt, Time of Eve is a worthwhile watch but between these little distractions and some stories failing to connect as well as they could have, I can’t say it’s a masterpiece. In fairness to the show a film was released in 2010 which retold the story with a few tweaks and updated production, but it doesn’t address the core flaws present as it was more-or-less a direct copy of the series proper. Full disclosure, I chose not to watch the film after reading into it as this account was fairly consistent over the dozen or so reviews I read.
Still, if you have a chance I would recommend you check out either the series or film. Time of Eve doesn’t outstay it’s welcome and feels like a mostly complete package in spite of the subplot that ultimately doesn’t go very far. Thankfully, the conclusion is lands well and kind of overshadows any little problems I would have otherwise mentioned. It gave me plenty to think about without being obtuse or preachy, and for a series like this that’s certainly the right direction.
The second X-Change review was another great entry for the series. If you want to check out the first, you can read my review of White Album 2 here. Let me know your thoughts on Time of Eve in the comments below as I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you enjoyed this review and/or want to support projects like these than please consider a donation via the buttons below. Thanks for reading and see you again soon!