May 3, 2010
TheLlama (All reviews)
Imagine a world where artificial intelligence exists in the form of robots, and, eventually, androids. They obey their master's every whim; helping out with chores at home, storing status of household members; everything dutifully and without hesitation. They are totally soulless; mere machines in the shape of humans.

Or are they?

What if these androids had a soul of their own? A feeling, curious mind capable of receiving sensations, learning them, recognizing them, adapting to them? That is the thought Eve no Jikan tries to bring forth, and boy, is it a provoking one! While not really permeating the series in a very visible manner, it does raise the question of what it means to be conscious, and why we humans possess the ability of awareness and freedom do do what we choose. And what makes us different from robots in this sense? We are constructs of (mostly) organic matter driven by electric signals, robots are constructs of non-organic matter driven by electric signals. What is it that would make them aware and not us?

Granted, Eve no Jikan focuses mostly on the 'what?' of the situation, and not the 'why?' And it doesn't necessarily hand out any answers on a silver platter, if at all, leaving room for the viewer to reflect on the situation; what it really means and how it affects its surroundings.

Eve no Jikan is a short series; the episodes are short in length, and there are only six of them in total. Even so, ther has been excellent effort put into the characters; both making them interesting, deep and natural from the starting point, all the while expanding on that throughout the show; how they change their views on androids, or not, what their circumstances and how these affect their choices. The result is characters with whom I could sympathisize as far as their choices went, and qutie honestly, I was torn at the start as to who was the most right; those thinking of the robots as, well, robots, and those who treat them as equal humans. A question which answer is both subjective and circumstantial; landing much on the fact whether or not a robot can develop feelings and awareness to the extent way we humans possess it.

As if that was not enough, EnJ has some rather striking visuals. While I am not a big fan of CG or the like in anime; here it rather mixed in; and at times it felt more like 2,5D than 2D or 3D. The lights were well-placed, creating a nice balance to the scenes; the character designs were simple yet impressive, and backgrounds were astounding. What really makes the animation stand out however; is the astounding camerawork. Yes, camerawork. It isn't the most touched-upon element of animation style in anime, unfortunate as that may be. It really makes a difference to see different angles than what you would expect, different techniques; and in the case of EnJ; what at times well-simulated handheld camera; one of my favourite camera methods, be it live-action or animation (though in the latter EnJ is a first for me!). It creates avery special experience, and combined with the "2,5D"-feel it struck home with me.

To top it off, EnJ had a stunning soundtrack. While not featuring many tracks, those that were present set the atmosphere for the show, and did its proper job as a soundtrack. It had no distinct opening or ending themes (an instrumental tune for the latter, during the credits, however); save for the final episode's ending theme, which quite personally I loved. Might not be your taste though.

In all, EnJ is quite the unique experience, and, if you're open for it, rather thought-provoking. It definitely swayed me, and this was the first time I ever felt bad for a robot, which looked like a robot.