Sunday, 5 October 2008

EVE no Jikan - Episode 2

The first episode of EVE no Jikan was one of those things that I couldn't help but fall in love with instantly - It presented itself in a visually good-looking package, but otherwise excelled in presenting itself in a simple and neutral way while posing some extremely interesting questions - Questions which were simply presented to the viewer subtly, rather than hammering them into you or answering those questions for you. In short, anime that lets you think for yourself is a good thing.

Thankfully, episode two of this six-part series takes that concept and simply carried it on. Visually, the quite extensive use of CG in places is growing on me, and makes for some quite modern usage of camera movement which is occasionally distracting, but also pretty well used at times. As far as the actual story goes, after discovering EVE Rikou becomes more than a little suspicious that his own android, Sammy, is visiting the cafe, and so he pays a second visit himself (along with his friend Masaki) to attempt to find out.

The core point of debate surrounding this episode basically refers to Asimov's infamous three laws of robotics (which he never meant to be quite so widely used as a de facto set of rules for androids, but I digress), and in particular how those laws tie in to lying to a human. As Masaki points out, there isn't any explicit rule against lying, but then again there is a rule about obeying human instructions. As another patron of the cafe points out, keeping secrets could actually be required as part of the first law, if telling the truth could cause a human harm (albeit emotionally).

All of this begins to skirt a wider point regarding when an android could be considered to have feelings - Surely to understand the capacity to cause a human mental anguish, an android would need to be able to suffer from those same emotions itself? Certainly, the androids who visit EVE are clearly capable of such feelings, and this development hasn't gone unnoticed by certain people...

So, once again EVE no Jikan proves to be brilliant in its simplicity - It isn't action packed or highly charged, preferring to be a simple story of relatively ordinary people (and androids) and their relationships, while opening up enough salient points during the course of an episode to allow you to write a copious number of philosophical essays on a number of related subjects - If watching something thought-provoking is your thing, then you simply must watch this series.

On a final note, I also got a kick out of the mention of Blade Runner in the episode, for the simple reason that it's no absolutely appropriate to this story, never mind the fact that I always get a kick out of such pop culture references.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I spotted the Blade Runner reference too, and my inner SF fanboy grinned with glee. Whether Sammy is dreaming of electric sheep or her family I don't know, but the way in which it effortlessly touches on so many pertinent questions really appeals to me. The fact that it's in turns touching and hilarious makes the whole production hard to fault.

Incidentally, I caught one of those James May's Big Ideas episodes on TV this evening, which surprised me at how far robotic technology has come in recent years; I honestly wouldn't be surprised if we are living in the Time of Eve within the next few decades...