Brilliant article on Cinephile talking about the sound of Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s “Time of Eve”.
At a crucial reveal halfway through Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s Time of Eve (Evu no jikan, 6-part OVA, 2008-9, compiled into a feature film in 2010), teen Rikuo remembers a past conversation with his best friend, Masaki. Unbeknownst to them at the time, they innocently stand at crossroads. Masaki will continue his studies in law; Rikuo is uncertain, having given up his aspirations to be a concert pianist. Masaki ridicules his decision, for Rikuo has rejected his aspirations after seeing a robot perfectly perform a piece of music on the piano. Rikuo doesn’t mention to Masaki what was most disturbing about the performance: only at this point in Eve’s back-story do we realise that Rikuo was truly ‘moved’ by the robot’s performance. This is not your usual existential dilemma – a field in which teen-oriented anime excels, more than most Western photo-cine attempts at the same. Here in this near future (sardonically tagged as “probably Japan” in a pre-title card), the teen Rikuo has his world inverted because a robot achieved not a technically perfect actualisation of a piece of classical pianoforte music, but because to Rikuo’s advanced listening sensibilities (dedicated to encountering and hopefully generating such moments of actualised perfection) this robot’s performance emotionally ‘moved’ him. Japanese cinema and anime has consistently told stories in manifold genres that evidence this inversion, wherein everyday life is accepted to be ‘existential’ until one day a ‘humanist’ moment occurs and transforms things. Anime’s preponderance of ‘androids with souls’ is thus less likely to be formally motivated by generic machinations of science fiction, and more likely to be culturally determined by philosophical enquiries of dramatic fiction.