Time of Eve: Another Act Light Novel Review

Can androids have actual feelings and move beyond being “appliances”? High school student Rikuo Sakisaka will begin to wonder after he finds a curious reference in his “homebot’s” activity log about some place called Time of Eve.

timeofeve

Another Act is an interesting light novel, as this is one of the rare cases where the anime came first. I watched the movie version of the anime, and it was incredible. I kind of expected the LN to be either a spin off or prequel, but it does something more ambitious: it parallels and retells a good chunk of the anime trying to add insight and depth, but expands on the story near the end exploring entirely new aspects and plot threads.

It works wonderfully.  The writing and translation is fluid and gets right to the heart of things pretty quickly without feeling rushed at all. The entire book is excellently paced and expertly captures the same feeling and atmosphere of the anime. The key to the adapted scenes is how the author embraces the added nuance a book can add and really pushes the philosophical questions from the anime to new levels. As Rikuo starts to ponder the possibility of androids as more than just machines and what that might mean for both them and humans, so does the reader.

Near the end a new angle is introduced that was not in the anime at all, and it is a fantastic addition. It plays off of established elements and backstory and fits perfectly. I won’t go into detail to avoid spoilers, but it achieves the exact goal the writer was aiming for: it enhances the narrative of the Time of Eve anime in a way that compliments it immensely.

There are a couple of major parts from the anime that aren’t adapted. The author comments in the afterward that he wishes he had cut less, but what’s here really works as a complete story as is and I like the fact that while largely parallel the anime and light novel each offer something distinct and important.
I loved the Time of Eve anime, and I love Another Act just as much. Neither is a replacement for the other, but both could stand alone quite well. Of course I highly recommend experiencing both to get the whole story. Phenomenal adaptation / companion that’s perhaps even more thought provoking than its source material.

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