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Time of Eve
Reviewer: Aaron Murphy 02/03/2010

In a time when robots are becoming indistinguishable from humans, a strange thing is starting to occur. Even though it goes against all their programming, these androids are starting to have feelings much their own. This interesting set of circumstances has not passed Rikuo by, and he has decided to do a little sleuthing to find out just where his houseroid Sammy is sneaking off to. What he discovers and the people he meets may just enlighten him as to the ever shrinking differences between humans and androids.
Similar to Ghost in the Shell, just without any action, Time of Eve is a very slow moving six part OVA that focuses entirely on the implications of androids gaining their own heart and how they should be treated in society, etc. It’s the usual talk about the blurring of the line between humans and robots and the moral and ethical questions that abound from such a situation. Rather than just having a simple dialogue covering all these various points, Time of Eve takes it all in a slightly different direction. It uses various characters and interactions to accentuate these points as a way to save us from the mind numbing psychobabble that so often plagues titles such as this.
The story mainly focuses on two high school boys, the previously mentioned Rikuo and his friend Masaki, as they investigate just where Sammy is clandestinely going. What starts out as simply tracking down her movement coordinates leads them to a secret little café where there is but one rule, everyone is the same so no discrimination between humans and robots. This is an illegal establishment where robots are able to remove the ring above their head and fit in just like normal people. They find out that Sammy has been coming here to buy a special brew of coffee from the café. Their discovery of this hidden oasis only fuels their curiosity however, and as the OVA continues they keep coming back, meeting new people/androids and learning about them. It’s all about blurring the line between humans and androids, showing that they too have feelings beyond those they are programmed with.
Even though most of the episodes are focused squarely on character interactions there are points of conflict start to crop up. Initially it’s all philosophical conversations and getting to know the people/androids of the café, but then a disagreement between Rikuo and Masaki spells trouble for them all. With his father the head of the Ethics Committee, a group that opposes androids, Masaki is in a prime position to rain down havoc upon the poor café and its eccentric clientele. That is, if they can’t figure out why he so opposes treating androids like they’re human beings. This is really the only point of suspense in the entire OVA, as the rest of it is quite subdued and pointedly measured. While the end isn’t really going to surprise you, it does finish off the second major storyline even if the main Ethics Committee versus Androids plotline is largely unresolved.
While the OVA as a whole is quite enjoyable, there is one episode that shines through all the rest and really adds some frivolity to the title. Episode four gives us a glimpse of an old model robot who has been abandoned by his family, illegally disposed of and has had his memory erased. He happens to find his way to the café in his broken down and dying state as he tries to remember his name and the name of his master, a young boy he used to serve. His plight is heartbreaking to be sure, and you can feel his pain. That’s one of the things Time of Eve does really well. But the other side of the episode is just so funny, with this robot looking like he’s about to explode at any moment and Rikuo and Masaki with a look of abject terror in their eyes at his every movement, could not have been handled any better. It took away the dry conversations and gave us a real situation, and the emotional connection that comes with it. And, of course, the hilarity of it all was just the icing on the cake.
It’s clear that a lot of effort was put into Time of Eve, but it’s also clear that the budget was probably one of scarcity. While the backgrounds are quite striking and surprisingly impressive, the characters themselves come off as rather rough, without the glossy refinement we are so used to in more recent anime titles. Of course, this does little to detract from the release, and the lack of any stunning animation is largely mute given the OVA is mostly focused on people talking to one another. The music is mostly smooth and unobtrusive, giving you that café feel, whereas the voice acting is more than adequate. As Time of Eve has not been licensed in the US, there is no English dub to speak of yet.
There’s something very quaint about the feel and atmosphere in Time of Eve. Even an action lover like myself was captivated enough to enjoy the slow pacing and directed conversations. While the ending doesn’t really resolve the underlying plot, instead telling us that is a story for another time, Time of Eve is a short and very enjoyable little OVA that should keep you entertained throughout. Especially episode four!

Time of Eve
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Review Title:
Time of Eve
Alternative Titles:
Eve no Jikan
110 Minutes
General Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Comedy, Drama, Psychological,
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