Eve no Jikan is a relatively short ONA series that was released between 2008 and 2009. The story is divided into six acts, but the majority of them are only about 15 minutes long, and you can think of this as the equivalent to a two hour movie. Eve no Jikan takes place is a futuristic setting (probably Japan, says the opening titles) where androids have become commonplace. Our main character, Rikuo, is a young high school student who possesses one of these androids at home and is constantly teased by his sister for being a potential “androholic” (people obsessed with androids who treat them like humans). Television commercials warn against forming bonds with androids, and panelists debate the problems of android encroachment on human life. Where the bulk of the story takes place, however, is in a small cafe where there is only one rule: no discrimination between humans and androids. This is the place that Rikuo and his friend stumble upon one day. As Rikuo spends more time here, he begins to develop a greater understanding and appreciation for androids beyond the common conventions of the outside world.
I think most people would agree that the general themes presented in Eve no Jikan are not entirely new, and I say that even as someone who does not have an extensive knowledge of sci-fi fiction. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be captivating. The presentation of those themes are fresh and strong enough that they stand on their own quite well. The characters are an important part of that – as you may know, forming an attachment to the characters is one of my main prerequisites for enjoying an anime, and Eve no Jikan passes with flying colours. I absolutely loved watching the lead characters interacting with the patrons of the cafe, as well as the way that the background of some of those patrons (who are not revealed as either androids or humans at first glance) was unveiled in a fairly subtle manner. The writing is also exceptional and concise – despite the short running time, it never felt rushed, and perhaps due to it, was able to avoid time-stretching filler scenes and dialogues.
Eve no Jikan is generally a light-hearted series but does contain several poignant moments throughout its six episodes. Many of these moments deal with the nature of discrimination against androids and their roles in human society – again, the general idea is somewhat familiar, but the execution is quite memorable. There is a wonderful and often humorous pacing to the earlier episodes which I found very entertaining, and the understated nature of many of the more dramatic moments was effective. What limits Eve no Jikan’s emotional impact is the time limitation. This is, as I said, a fairly short series, and when the final credits rolled onto the screen, I still wanted more. Both the general story as well as the characters had enough potential to carry a full-length anime. Despite what Eve does so well already, I can’t help but think that there is a great deal of potential that wasn’t fully explored.
The production values of this anime are exceptional – particularly the visuals, which are absolutely stunning. The artwork is very crisp and pleasant, but the director also combines a variety of different visual tricks which lends the series a very unique look. One example is the combination of 2D and 3D elements – particularly in regards to the camera angle, which often moves in three dimensions rather than remaining as a static shot. These visual techniques really make Eve no Jikan stand out – it is probably one of the most visually satisfying anime series I’ve ever seen. The music and sound are also quite enjoyable – the background music feels a little overproduced at times, but is generally very good. All the voice actors deliver fine performances, and the final song which closes the series, though fairly derivative, had its charm as well.
Overall, though Eve no Jikan was an absolute pleasure that I enjoyed every minute of, I still believe that there is a lot of potential for more contained here. Still, I’m glad to see series like this being made at all,free of the more common anime cliches and focused on good storytelling, characters, and atmosphere. Its relative brevity may have harmed the potential for a more lasting emotional impact, but this is definitely one of the higher quality productions of the last few years. Highly recommended.
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