Time of Eve Review (Movie/ONA)

Director – Yasuhiro Yoshiura

Animation Production – Studio Rikka

Time of Eve is a movie compilation of the 6 episode ONA, original net animation, which originally aired online at Yahoo Japan (Crunchyroll in the US). It was done by Studio Rikka, a small animation studio that specialises in science fiction stories and directed by the head of the studio Yasuhiro Yoshiura. Yasuhiro is relatively young, 30 years old, and like past Studio Rikka works his handles a bit of everything. He is the director, script writer and an animator and one of the few young upcoming talents of the industry. Go watch it on crunchyroll to support more original work like this as the movie hasn’t yet been release on DVD/Bluray outside of Japan.

The premise of Time of Eve is in the near future androids are commonplace and humankind are faced with the problem of the increasing complexity of these androids. The androids are there to serve humans and are bound by three laws:

  • First Law: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harmed.
  • Second Law: A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the first law.
  • Third Law: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first and second law.

These are Asimov’s three laws of robotics and for the society in Time of Eve it has served them well without incident. However the androids are complex to the point that underneath their robotic nature they have human like emotions and personalities. The story of Time of Eve surrounds this premise. The main character is a high school kid, Rikuo, who is noticing strange movements in the log of his family’s android, Sammy. Going to the coordinates of the strange place his android is visiting he and his friend Masaki find a café which has a rule that there is no discrimination between human and robot. Androids normally have a red ring around their head but this café is in a grey zone where this disappears and androids can act human.

Time of Eve is about the relationships between androids and humans and the fact that most humans in this world treat androids like trash. It is not cool to treat them as human and is actively discouraged by the android ethics committee. This ethics committee is not so much an official government organisation but a professional society whose goal is to limit society’s dependence on robots. On the other hand there is an android promotion committee who have been secretly testing new advance forms of androids with more complex jobs and human qualities.

If I have to compare this show it would be like the more philosophical parts of Ghost in the Shell but instead of a military focus it is more about the aspect of androids becoming more human. It is about what androids might act like when not being ordered around and the problems they would face if they wanted to act like humans. Every science fiction story is a metaphor for something and here it is discrimination and slavery.

This is definitely not an action packed show and is basically just a series of conversations. The animation is of a very high quality and includes what I always like to see when watching SF shows, an interesting depiction of a future that is not too far off. Those who have read a lot of science fiction novels will get a kick out of seeing a fully realised world filled with androids that is not on the verge of war.

Rating – A- (Highly Recommended)

Genre – Science Fiction Length – 106 Minutes Year – 2010

Classic Anime Review – Gunbuster

Animation ProductionGAINAX

Director Hideaki Anno

Released in 1988 Gunbuster is a science fiction classic directed by Hiedeaki Anno. Gunbuster was the directorial début for Anno who later became famous for one the defining Japanese animation of the 90’s, Evangelion. The hard sci-fi elements of the plot and beautiful high budget animation has made this OAV a fondly remembered classic in anime history.

The basic plot, which involved aliens coming to attack Earth, while being one that has been depicted many times before was simple yet elegant in its execution. Many questions that we usually just let go in SF anime are dealt with and form a fascinating backbone to the plot. In particular the handling of time dilation are space warfare.

The main character Noriko Takaya is the daughter of a famous admiral that has fought during the war. She follows his footsteps but her talents are not immediately recognisable. Despite this she  become one of the pilots for the military’s key weapons Gunbuster. The full name Aim for the Top! Gunbuster, points out the direct inspiration from the anime/manga Aim for the Ace! which Gunbuster shares similar themes and scenes with, in particular the relationships and school aspects.

Gunbuster ends in a very interesting way and its last episode is almost entirely in black and white still images. It is similar in concept to Anno’s later work in Evangelion but in Gunbuster the ending actually makes complete sense.

Rating – A (Highly recommended)

Genres – Action, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction Length – 6 Episode OAV series Year – 1988