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Time of EVE: Another Act Paperback – 2015
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Time of EVE: Another Act explores wrenching emotional conflicts of high schooler Rikuo as he tries to make sense of a world in which androids match humans in terms of intelligence and emotions, and yet they are barred from forming relationships with humans. A mysterious strand of data in the activity log of Sammy, his family’s android, leads Rikuo and his pal Masaki to a cafe called “Time of EVE,” which blatantly challenges social mores by requiring that humans and androids be treated equally. Initially suspicious of the cafe, Rikuo and Masaki soon become regulars as they are charmed by the charismatic proprietress Nagi and get to know the other patrons. In this new environment, Rikuo comes to see to that androids are different from, but not inferior to, humans. And, he is challenged to confront a traumatic experience from his past... This novel is based on Yoshiura Yasuhiro’s classic anime ONA and movie Time of EVE, and became available for overseas licensing thanks to the 2013 Kickstarter campaign to fund the international Blu-ray release of the movie.
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It's slightly more light hearted than the popular anime web series it mirrors. With the removal of two arcs but a new final story for the protagonist, its tone is a bit more focused and I think it makes for a richer character development for the protagonist. (I recommend you read/watch both forms of media none the less) The characters are quite real, if you'll excuse the irony, and with a nice pacing that makes you feel for their changing interactions with each other.
The topic of AI interacting with humans is not a new concept or story, but I believe this one puts a rather interesting angle with how it describes the characters thoughts and the androids themselves. What makes someone human? Can something not human provide empathy? Does just being human mean you're flawed and warm or being a robot mean you are perfect and cold? The novel lets your ponder with the protagonist, as he enjoys his Time of EVE.
Have a read, you won't regret it.