Even though I watch quite a lot of anime, I very rarely review it. While I do hope to eventually review every series and movie I’ve watched, by the time one series has ended – which is when I prefer to write a review – at least five new ones are waiting for me to watch them. That being said, right now, I only review what I’ve watched only if it is truly deserving of a review. This is the fourth time I’ve done an official review of a series (you can see the other three at Crunchyroll) – and Time of Eve easily deserves to be the fourth one.
While Time of Eve came out in 2008, I had never heard of it until a few weeks ago, when it was spotlighted in Crunchyroll’s monthly newsletter. I originally became interested in the series after reading that it was one of Crunchyroll’s first simulcasts and it didn’t follow the usual 30ish minutes, 12 episode run for an anime series. Instead, Time of Eve is only six episodes long (or, alternatively, a 109 minutes long movie), with each episode lasting between 15 to 27 minutes, the last episode being the longest. While episode one may have been on the shorter end of runtime, it was long enough to get me hooked. Warning: there may be slight spoilers below.
Time of Eve takes place in the close future in Japan. Androids and robots are both in use, with androids, denoted only by a ring above their head, being the most common. The series has only a few characters, with the main characters being arguable. It essentially focuses on four key characters: Rikuo Sakisaka, a high school student and piano wiz who has mixed feelings about androids, Masakazu Masaki, Rikuo’s friend who has a strong distrust of androids, Sammy, Rikuo and his family’s android, and Nagi, owner of the cafe Time of Eve.
How Time of Eve starts is dependent on if you are watching it by the episode or if you are watching the movie. In the movie version, which I purchased from iTunes after watching episode three and doing some research on Time of Eve, there is an extra bit to the opening that results in Sammy and Rikuo not being the first characters introduced and provides a couple extra minutes of story. Personally, I recommend watching it both ways, as the movie goes a bit deeper into the story, especially with its extremely important extended ending. Nonetheless, Time of Eve essentially begins with Rikuo downloading a log of Sammy’s whereabouts to his cellphone. In the log is a line that catches his attention: “Are you enjoying the Time of Eve?” Curious to discover its meaning, he sets off with Masakazu (or as Rikuo calls him, Masaki) to trace Sammy’s steps. The two of them end up in an alleyway in front of an inconspicuous door, debating if they should go inside. After an android gently pushes through them to go in, they follow behind, entering a small cafe with just one rule: No discrimination of humans and androids. Immediately they notice the android they followed inside no longer has its ring above its head, which means they have no way of knowing which of the cafe’s occupants are human and which are not.
In an attempt to keep this review mostly spoiler-free, I’ll refrain from detailing what happens in the rest of the series. In a nutshell, the cafe’s one rule concerns both Rikuo and Masaki, resulting in constant debates between the two on how it still manages to conform with robot law. As the series goes on, Rikuo begins to understand and sympathize with androids more while Masaki remains distrusting of them – SPOILER! – until the final episode. If you watch the series by episode, each episode tells the story of a different character who visits the cafe. If you watch the movie version, the series appears to be more of Rikuo’s story of the time he spends at the cafe than individual stories. That being said, I highly recommend watching it in both formats – again, especially for the extra story bits in the movie.
In terms of viewing formats, you can watch the entire series for free in episode format on Crunchyroll, you can purchase it on DVD and Blu-ray from the official site, and buy the movie on iTunes. While Crunchyroll does have the series for free, it unfortunately only offers the series in 480p format. In addition, the subtitles on Crunchyroll are slightly different from those in the movie, which do have a few typos in them (I can’t say if that is iTunes’ fault or not as I don’t own the Blu-ray release of the episodes). That said, again, I highly recommend the movie, which is available in absolutely beautiful 1080p. Whichever route you choose, Time of Eve is a fantastic short series that is certainly deserving of a second season. Luckily, the official website does make several references to the six episodes and movie being the “first season” and there are more than a few loose ends that could definitely be expanded on. Hopefully, there will be a second season relatively soon. Given how long it took for Eureka Seven to receive sequel, I am hopeful that it will be soon.