Recently I’ve been checking out a few new anime on the online streaming service Crunchyroll while I take part in my free trial there.
I think I’ve written about this in a past post or two, but after watching anime for 5 or 10 years (or even longer) I started to get tired of the same old tropes used again and again. While there may be creative ideas here and there, the way the story progresses and how the characters look doesn’t vary as much as I would prefer. Not to say that everything is bad, it’s just that I’ve become a bit jaded and extra picky about anime, and dramas as well to a certain extent. So when it comes to spending my time watching anime vs reading a Japanese novel, or doing some hobby translations, I’ll generally end up not choosing anime.
Anyway, the good news is that after a bit of searching around I actually found a series that is pretty awesome. It’s called “Time of Eve” (イブの時間) and it is set in a world where robots have advanced to the point where they look nearly identical to humans, and can even act pretty similar. While I’ll admit I do have a soft spot for robot stories, I can’t deny that this setting on it’s own is pretty generic and isn’t enough on it’s own to guarantee a good story or watching experience.
However, “Time of Eve” gets more interesting when you find out about a special place, where robots and humans can… let’s just say get along on equal grounds. Rather than rely on run-of-the-mill action and slapstick found in much anime, this series gets into deeper issues like whether robots have feelings and how humans should interact with them. These are themes that have been done many times before, but I think they really did a great treatment of them.
I especially like the storytelling style employed, which for some reason reminds me some of the great anime series I watched back in the 90s when I was first getting into anime seriously. To me, this series should be classified in the “literature” of anime, in the sense that it treats important topics in a deep and meaningful way.
Another thing I like about this series is how they integrate CG very seamlessly. In other anime, you can find 3D pans at random times, but usually the scene has a crispness or artificialness which is not found here at all. The drawing style stays roughly the same even when 3D is being used (at least when I think it was being used). I’m not sure if this was due to a lack of budget, good direction, or both.
Linguistically, this series is a mix of some normal conversational talk, and a bit of more complex language, but overall I’d classify it “intermediate”. I couldn’t figure out how to shut off the subtitles on Crunchyroll, so I instead took the opportunity to compare some of the translations and see how good of a job they did. For the parts I was paying attention do, the translations were done pretty well, though quite non-literal in a few areas (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
Interestingly, the director of this series, Yasuhiro Yoshiura(吉浦 康裕), also did the movie Patema Invented which I reviewed here, and enjoyed much less.
I have only one serious complaint about Time of Eve, which is that it’s way too short. I think it fa’s are eager for a second season, but since this series is a few years old I am not sure what the odds of one coming out are.