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Anime / Time of Eve

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Within this establishment, there shall be no distinction between humans and robots
"Are you enjoying the Time of Eve?"

Time of Eve (イヴの時間 — Eve no Jikan) was created by Yasuhiro Yoshiura, who previously worked on Pale Cocoon, and released as six web-streamed episodes over the course of 2008 and 2009.

Robots and androids have become commonplace in Japan during the near future. Their prevalence have led humans to accept robots as a part of life, although some organisations run an anti-robot media campaign and a popular news item involves individuals that have abandoned normal social interactions for the company of obedient androids; being nigh-indistinguishable from their human counterparts, save the holographic status rings hovering over their heads. The events in Eve No Jikan focus on Rikuo, a young man who comes across something unusual whilst examining the debug logs of his android, Sammy. He finds that she has been making unscheduled trips to an unknown location that only leaves a cryptic note in the log reading, "Are you enjoying the time of EVE?" Heading to the coordinates in question, Rikuo and his friend, Masaki, discover an odd cafe with an odd rule, that "Within this establishment, there shall be no distinction between humans and robots."

Time of Eve was also released as a feature film (Time of Eve: The Movie) with a new ending and additional scenes linking the six episodes together. The six episodes are streamed on Crunchyroll, and the feature film is available for purchase and rental on the iTunes Store (as of January 2012 in the US, Canada, Australia, NZ, and Japan). The film and episodes were released as a Blu-ray and DVD in Japan (with English subtitles). The subbed version was also put on the iTunes store for the US, UK, and Canada.

A Kickstarter campaign was made to fund the release of an international version of the movie on Blu-ray. It made its funding goal of $ 18 000 in less than a day. The surprised campaign hastily announced a stretch goal of $ 50 000 to produce an English, and this goal was reached a few hours later.

Time of Eve provides examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The robots develop emotions over the course of their lifespan. While those depicted have remained Three Laws-Compliant and genuinely good-natured, the Ethics Committee becomes fearful about the issues that emotional robots might raise.
  • Android Identifier: humanoid robots are required by law to wear a holographic ring over their head resembling a halo to distinguish them from humans. The titular cafe is a place where no distinction between humans and robots is made, therefore, robot patrons turn their halos off to blend in.
  • Artificial Limbs: Nagi's father has a mechanical arm as a result of having been involved in an anti-robot riot years previously, and Nagi also has a mechanical arm covered in synthetic skin.
  • Beneath the Mask: About half of the main characters, as robots, have to pretend to be emotionless appliances in public.
  • Bland-Name Product: Pakka Coffee is one of the coffee brands found in the show.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Sammy casually denies visiting the cafe, despite having served Rikuo the same brand of coffee from the cafe mere moments earlier.
    • Katoran follows the cafe's rule about not acting like a robot despite the fact that he is evidently a malfunctioning robot.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Rikuo is near-sighted to the point where he cannot recognise Sammy from two feet away without his glasses.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: Rikuo is easily flustered by girls, even when he knows they're androids.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Robots are Three Laws-Compliant, but an aversion exists when Masaki notes that none of the three laws forbid them from lying to humans.
  • Catchphrase: Chie is fond of declaring "I'm a cat."
  • Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: Attempted but averted in episode five by Nagi.
  • Creative Sterility: Much of Rikuo's prejudice against robots is a consequence of his musical background. A classically trained pianist, he believes that the capacity to appreciate and comprehend music is a distinctly human trait. As such, the release of a robot capable of acting as a convincing pianist initially shakes him so hard he gives up on playing, although he later overcomes his mistrust for such robots and regains his passion for music in the process.
  • Creator Provincialism: The introduction says "probably Japan", despite clear indicators that the series has all the attributes of a Japanese setting. Moreover, all of the characters, save Sammy, have Japanese names.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Nagi embraces Katoran in the latter's final moments.
  • Emotionless Girl: In public, Sammy and Akiko are stoic beings, but undergo dramatic personality changes when they're in the cafe, being considerably more forward.
  • Extreme Doormat: The robots are programmed in this manner, being designed to serve humans without question.
  • Fantastic Racism: Despite using robots as automated servants, humans nonetheless hold extreme prejudice against robots: a large number of the humans in the show, among them the protagonists, exhibit strong anti-robot sentiments. Moreover, anti-robot propaganda ads are prevalent in their society, and plenty of human owners are depicted to abuse/mistreat their robots.
  • Genki Girl: Akiko is an excitable girl who speaks with great gusto at the cafe, sharply contrasting her personality as an unemotional android who is oft-abused by her owner.
  • Gratuitous English: The phrase LOGIC CIRCUIT IS ERROR is seen in one of the diagnostic screens.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Despite having created them to assist with various functions, humans treat their robots very poorly, and an Ethics Council continuously reminds its audience to be wary of robots, despite the revelation that robots are capable of human emotion.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The TV series titles the episodes in the following manner: "[Name]: The [Blank] of Eve".
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Koji's master prefers him to human company.
    • Sammy appears to have strong feelings for Rikuo.
    • An in-series television commercial fielded by the Ethics Committee suggests that some humans treat robots like romantic partners, and aims to drive home the point that this behaviour is unhealthy.
  • Jerkass: Most humans are portrayed as being indifferent at best or hostile at worst towards their own androids. Some genuinely have issues with robots while others give in to peer pressure or risk being branded a "robo-freak".
  • Jitter Cam: The general camera-work gives the impression of being filmed with a hand-held device, despite this being an animation.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Katoran remembers what he used to do, but not who he did it for. This is a consequence of the family he worked for deliberately deleting all his memories that linked him to them, so they could get rid of him without paying the disposal fee.
  • Male Gaze: Rikuo is found staring at Rina's low-cut dress a handful of times.
  • The Mole: Setoro is a quiet man who sits in the cafe's corner reading a book and appears to be secretly working for an organisation that is less hostile to androids than the Ethics Committee. He initially suspects Masaki of being a mole for the Ethics Committee, but later concludes that no one could be that obvious.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Masaki and Tex reconcile in the finale, and begin making their way to the door. The scene sets up for an emotional moment, but it turns out Tex cannot use the stairs.
    • It's fun and games when Rikuo and Masaki panick about Katoran potentially exploding the whole time, but the mood becomes more subdued after his backstory is revealed and he shuts down permanently.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: As a result of the of the Three Laws of Robotics, TEX is unable to speak to Masaki.
  • Pick Your Human Half: In public, androids have holographic rings over their heads, act quite unemotional, and tend to only follow commands. The Time of Eve cafe provides the robots an environment to truly be themselves, making it impossible to differentiate between human and robot.
  • Prosthetic Limb Reveal: While Nagi places her hand on her father's obvious prosthetic arm, her own skin become translucent enough to see she has more advanced mechanical digits.
  • Odd Name Out: Sammy is the only character who doesn't have a Japanese name.
  • Regional Bonus: The international release of the movie includes Yoshiura's previous OVAs Aquatic Language and Pale Cocoon. It also comes with no less than 20 subtitle tracks (ten for the movie, ten for the director's commentary).
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Appearing indistinguishable from humans save their holographic rings, Androids become nigh-impossible to tell apart from humans in the Time of Eve Cafe.
  • Robot Buddy: Some robots, such as Tex, are manufactured to fulfil this purpose. The entire plot is driven by the question of to what extent can robots and humans may interact with one another as they become increasingly advanced and self-aware.
  • Robot Girl: Sammy and Akiko are androids modelled after females; such models are common in Time of Eve.
  • Robotic Reveal:
    • Rikuo and Masakazu see Akiko waiting for a classmate of theirs with her halo turned on.
    • Rina has a damaged leg that twitches unnaturally and, while examining her old injury, a panel opens that reveals her internals.
    • Koji admits that he comes to the cafe to learn how to communicate with humans so he can help his emotionally dependent master.
    • Masaki finds plans for Shimei, an experimental android that hasn't been released to the public yet, online.
  • Robot Maid: Despite not bearing a maid's uniform, Sammy's role as a household android sets her in this category.
  • Rule #1: The Time of Eve Cafe's only rule is that
    Within this establishment, there shall be no distinction between humans and robots
  • Scenery Porn: Throughout the anime, all of the settings are beautifully rendered, from the clean, no-nonsense public streets to the ornate and comforting environment evoked by the cafe.
  • Ship Tease: Akiko gets a reaction with a remark involving Rikuo with Sammy and Nagi.
  • Shout-Out: A large number of science fiction texts are mentioned, especially Asimov's I Robot series. The films Blade Runner and THX 1138 are also noted at several points.
    • Episodes one and three briefly show Pale Cocoon playing on a screen in the city and the family's home TV, respectively.
    • Episode four features an older-model android equipped with full-color Terminator vision. Its appearance in the cafe is met with consternation by the usual patrons.
    • An older-model android is shown in episode four. Its relationship with the child it was nursemaid to is similar to the story of "Robbie", one of the first I Robot short stories written by Isaac Asimov.
    • Episode six shows "Myst" on a display below the article showing a child's death, as well as the ages - Mechanical, Channelwood, Stoneship, Selentic.
    • The original robot story, R.U.R., has shout-out in the movie, where it is listed as a type of CPU used in an android.
  • Shrinking Violet: At the cafe, Sammy illustrates that her genuine personality is a shy one.
  • The Speechless: TEX does not speak as a consequence of an order by Masaki's father until the First Law trumps it in the finale.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The cafe's resident couple act as human couples do. Despite believing the other to be human, they are both robots.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Akiko acts the way robots are expected to in public, but she's very sweet and friendly in the Time of Eve cafe to those familiar with her.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics are discussed and scrutinised at length in the series and movie. The original laws are addressed in the same manner as presented in Asimov's I, Robot, down to the phrases being examined frequently to explain odd robot behavior. The Laws begin to reveal loopholes as the differences between humans and robots becomes smaller, resulting in some unusual situations, such as the robots interpreting the sign at the front of the cafe as an order.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Aside from the human-like robots featuring 2.4 petabytes of RAM, holographic computer interfaces, and camera phones with gigapixel resolutions, the world remains reasonably familiar.
  • Uncanny Valley: Human-like robots are a source of discomfort for society, given that they are similar in appearance to human beings but not of human origins and as such, are not expected to be regarded in the same manner as humans.
  • Uncanny Valley Girl: While Rina feels that she is the least "human" of the cafe's regulars, this is subverted, since the cafe's patrons regard her as a emotionally developed and sympathetic character.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: All of the tables in the cafe feature a built-in holographic projector.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Out of a concern for him, Masaki's father felt that Masaki was becoming too attached to TEX and so, ordered TEX to never speak, traumatizing Masaki.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Koji initially entered a relationship with Rina to learn how to better please his master, who enjoys his "company". He later struggles to understand his own developing feelings for Rina, who is also quite confused.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: One of the core tenets in the series, the difference between humans and robots eventually become nigh-impossible to differentiate, leading to the Ethics Council's misconceptions and policies.
  • You Didn't Ask: In the second episode, Nagi participated in a prank by Chie, holding onto Rikuo's glasses until he came to ask for them, and using this excuse verbatim.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Robots are discarded with the same frequency as outdated electronics, given that most humans don't consider them living to begin with.
  • Younger Than They Look: As he is an experimental android in the beta-testing stage, Shimei is probably the youngest character at Time of Eve, despite appearing to be the oldest.

Alternative Title(s): Eve No Jikan