Sunday, January 11, 2015

Anime Review: Time of Eve the Movie

You know, I some times review something other than a video game. If only I could remember what it was that I also review.... Oh well, I'm sure I will remember it eventually. In the mean time here is a review about a movie that uses the Japanese style of animation. What was that called again? Japanimation? Anyway, Time of Eve was a ONA (Original Net Animation) or a series broadcasted exclusively on video streaming websites. All six episodes of this mini series was simulcasted over on Crunchyroll with English subtitles and was the subject of one of my first Japanimation reviews back when I had a blog over on Now, years later, the series has been adapted into a movie format and with thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, an English dub release has hit US shores. So how is this movie? Read on to find out.

Still more believable than Chobits.
In the near future, probably Japan, commercially available humanoid robots, aka Androids, are common enough to be found in nearly every household. Though the most recent androids are so human-like that they are indistinguishable from humans on the outside (with the exception of their holographic ring above their heads that must be on at all times), they still act very robot like that mistaking them for human beings is unthinkable. Or at least Rikuo once thought. After noticing his android, Sammy, having come home later than usual for several days, he checks her movement record and notice a detour during her daily errands and a single message, "Are you Enjoying the Time of Eve?" Rikuo, along with his best friend Misaki, decide to follow these movement records and find themselves in a hidden cafe called Time of Eve in the middle of nowhere which has only one rule: No discrimination between Humans and Androids. Upon realizing that without their holographic rings, any android will look identicial to a human, Rikuo and Misaki being navigating this strange cafe and it's regular customers, and maybe Androids are not as different from Humans as one would think.

It's not segregation, it's product placement!
Time of Eve, in both it's series form and movie form, is largely a collection of short stories, each one focusing on one of the patrons of the cafe and how both humans and androids view each other in such a society. Despite it's sci-fi elements, the movie is very much a slice of life with a heavy emphasis on the characters that frequent Time of Eve, it just so happens that several of these characters are robots. It's incredibly charming with great characters and really funny sequences that add to the overall interpersonal drama that goes on in each story. And though the movie is an adaptation of a series, the series itself was almost perfect movie length if all episodes where viewed in sequence. Thus, there is nothing edited out or condensed to fit a feature length. On the contrary several scenes where added, mainly to help transition what use to be one episode into another, and several of these scenes not only add to the overall tone of the movie, but also give greater depth to some of the other characters, most notably Sammy. In terms of adaptation, it is ALMOST the same as watching the series, but with a few extra scenes.

Adorable levels: Increasing.
In terms of negative aspects there are very few. For one the episodic nature of the original series is very present in the movie as the segues between the end of one episode and the beginning of the next is the cinematic equivalent of using scotch tape. Not that these transitions are bad or out of place, it's just not making the illusion of a single storyline that well. Also, much like the series, the movie still ends with a relative grey zone. In terms of character development, the movie ends well with both Rikuo and Misaki completing their personal character arcs and ready to grow from there, but in terms of overall narrative there is a LOT that is left unresolved, though with the new scenes we have a lot less plot threads just hanging out. But like I said with the original series, this felt less like and incomplete ending, and more like "That is a story for another time" resolution.

Much like the original series, Time of Eve has something that makes it excel: it has heart. As cheesy and uninformative as that term may be, it is still the best way to describe both the series and the movie. It captures the best of humanity and makes you hopeful for the future. It makes me want the invention of humanoid robots to happen sooner and maybe by treating them just like you would another human being, they won't become Skynet and hunt down humanity, but instead just want to sit down with you, have fun, and just be human. For anyone who has a heart, the Time of Eve is a MUST WATCH!

Until Next Time.

-Crescent, Did someone just say "This statement is a lie"?

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