In Rikuo’s world, robots are commonplace, and “houseroids” – androids who serve families at home, are also coming into everyday use. Houseroids are passive, obedient and generally thought to have no free will, so Rikuo is unnerved one day when looking at his houseroid Sammy’s logs to discover a strange, out of place sentence which reads “Are you enjoying the Time of Eve?”
When Rikuo decides to investigate he happens upon a café called just that. Time of Eve café has only one rule – do not discriminate between humans and robots. To reinforce this rule, every android, who normally has a holographic ring floating over their heads, can turn this ring off when they enter the café. Without prior knowledge of who is a robot, every robot in the café is indistinguishable from humans.
Rikuo and his friend Masaki are perturbed by this philosophy, especially when they discover that Sammy has been visiting the café. Every encounter that follows forces them to question everything they had previously thought – are they talking to a human, or a robot, and does the fact they can’t tell the difference suggest robots aren’t as emotionless and mechanical as they had previously thought?
With interesting interpretations of Asimov’s three laws of robotics, The Time of Eve initially looks like an anime focusing on the nature of the ghost in the machine, but it is Rikuo and Masaki’s own struggle with their relationship with robots and the inadequacies and conflicts it brings that really shapes this story.
At present I have only seen the six episode series of this but I understand there is also a movie which hopefully further develops characters and the mature storylines I have already seen. The Time of Eve handles the ethical and emotional elements of man and technology with grace and intelligence, for a thoughtful science fiction anime, give this one a go.