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Post Reply What's the BIG deal? Yoshiura responds!
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Posted 9/27/08
Greetings,

This post is from Directions, Inc., producer of Yasuhiro Yoshiura's Time of Eve. Yoshiura and the production crew are pouring heart & soul into this series. The responses from fans make it all worth it. Thank you, one and all.

The forum posts by fans have been, in a word, fascinating. We translated the posts into Japanese, and sat down with Yoshiura to get his thoughts on the themes, questions, and issues that have been raised so far.

The interview was conducted in Japanese on September 20, 2008 at Studio Rikka, Yoshiura's production company.

Here is the first part of the interview (more to come). Enjoy!

Question: A lot of people bring up ethical issues about androids (Are people creating people? Are people acting like God?). How do these ethical questions play out in Time of Eve?

Yoshiura: Why were androids created? In fact, it started with machines handling agricultural work and manufacturing other machines. Then, people started to demand machines capable of doing housework. Since these robots are going to work among human beings, it's desirable for them to have feet and legs and a human-looking face, and a human body so they can use the water faucet and a vacuum cleaner like a person. Moreover, a lump of metal the size of a person would be scary, and just looking at it would be stressful. So, robots have been styled to look as human as possible. The result is a human-shaped robot that helps people with housework.

So, in this world, androids were created basically as a development of household appliances. As it says in the opening text, the setting is Japan. A lot of people might disagree with this scenario, but I think this situation could conceivably happen in Japan. The assumption is that these androids are household appliances, and at least in terms of external appearances, this society advocates that people treat them as appliances. And the result is the depiction that you see.

After the household androids take root in society, a question arises: How should people treat these robots? Perhaps society as a whole needs some guidelines. In response, society advocates that people treat robots differently from humans. This stance is a practical one, and stands apart from issues like human dignity or bioethics.

In this story, humans have made robots that resemble humans very closely. However, the idea that humans have created humans – in other words, the keyword “God” – doesn’t really come into play in Japan. It’s not unusual for someone to want to simply recreate the robots and humans in anime/manga that they’ve seen before, like Atom Boy, without thinking about bioethics or God. And in fact, that’s why I stated in the opening text that the story takes place in Japan. People have created androids as an extension of household appliances; and since these androids resemble humans, when they proliferate throughout society unexpected problems arise. So, what should people do?

Question: What do you think about human evolution? Does the existence of androids require that humans evolve in some way?

Yoshiura: Yes, I think so. I mean, I think this is already happening right now. We take things that previously people had done on their own, and substitute in work done by machines. That’s actually happening, right? I input my upcoming schedule in my mobile phone, right? A portion of the memory in my brain has been interrupted. We all do things like enhance human physical capability or brain capability with machines. I think the important question is this: at that moment, are we doing it consciously or not? Right now, I'm enhancing my memory. This course of naturally leads to my using an android and making it work for me.

So regardless of whether or not we create androids in the future, in fact we're already halfway there when it comes to substituting in machines for our own work. I think human evolution - spiritual evolution - is in part being conscious of using machines to substitute for human activities, and being aware that robots/androids are an extension of that substitution process.

To be honest, personally I can't go along with the idea of making androids the same as human beings. Not at all. Of course, I'm not saying that androids should be treated horribly as slaves or anything like that. My ideal is that both androids and humans are aware that they are different, and based on this awareness, they meet halfway to improve their mutual relationship. That's the most necessary thing, and I think that idea is most important for building ideal relations between humans and robots.

Question: But, that ideal relationship hasn’t been realized yet in the Time of Eve . . .

Yoshiura: That's right. As it says in the opening text, androids have just come into common use; they aren't humans, but they look like humans. In this world, a lot of people are at a loss, both in terms of society at large and as individuals. How to interact with androids? That's the issue.

One thing I can say is that Time of Eve doesn't deal with this issue abstractly in terms of society or bioethics. Rather, it is about problems seen through the eyes of a high school student, and his confusion and excitement. For better or worse, the relationship between humans and robots is still in flux, and that’s the most dramatic situation, right?

Question: Some people comment on the difficulty of watching, for example, high school students roughly tossing their school bags at their androids.

Yoshiura: I understand that scene being difficult to watch, but I think that in reality, that kind of thing definitely happens. My intention is not to portray such-and-such as good or bad, but to take a neutral, flat perspective and show that this could happen. In a situation where there are actually robots and androids, some people accept them as a matter of course and treat them like it's no big deal; some people treat them completely like household appliances; other people treat them very much like humans; and some people would like to treat them kind of like humans, but can't because they're self-conscious other people's opinions. That scene was the result of my attempt to portray lots of different types of people. So, I have zero opinion about whether various responses to the scene are correct or incorrect. But, I don't think that action is particularly good, nor do I see it as being particularly bad. I'm going with a flat perspective.

to be continued . . .



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Posted 9/28/08
oh wow!!! the producer responded!! thank you very much!! im expecting more of it in the anime, those ideas of yours Do your best!
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Posted 9/28/08 , edited 9/28/08
The producer actually responded to the fans' responses XD Thx for posting this !
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23 / M / New York
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Posted 9/28/08
hmm interesting responses to the questions. glad that the producer actually cares about the fans. Can't wait for the next episode~!
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22 / M / Sleepy Land
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Posted 9/28/08
Wow thats a surprise. Its kinda nice for the producer to make a neutral stand during the making of this anime~
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74 / M / Philippines
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Posted 9/29/08
yeah W0w they actually responded to the fans
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Posted 9/29/08
This is very exciting to get a response like this, the anime is very awesome and I have been looking forward to the next episode ever since I saw the first. Keep up the good work!
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Posted 9/29/08
wow! I can't believe you guys actually shared what the fans were discussing! That's really cool!
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Posted 10/2/08
o.0 nice response
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Posted 10/2/08
does the whole story revolve on the cafe itself or in the world or centered on the characters mainly?

very intresting work of art, the time of eve surely keeps me thinking about the possibilities.
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Posted 10/2/08
Im just kinda curious but does anyone know if this anime was created in the exact same world as aquatic language, where the cafe girl is like 100% industrial style robot or is this like an alternate reality thing ? By the way i really love the way crunchyroll is prgressing forward into the future hand in hand with various companys hopefully things can stay the way they are at this moment and im really intrigued that a producer actually took the time to awnser his english speaking fans which is like a miracle injh itself and all thatnks to crunchyroll!
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Posted 10/2/08
yea, a really good response
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Posted 10/2/08
that was awesome i wish all producers would take a little time to give us their thoughts on what they want us to see and understand especially with the complicated stuff (Serial Experiments Lain/Evangelion)
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Posted 10/3/08 , edited 10/3/08
It sounds like Yoshiura is exploring a similar question as Isaac Asimov's Robot City stories did, which was how should humans treat robots? Perhaps they shouldn't be given (unreasonable) orders? Allow them to be as free as their Three Laws of Robotics will allow?

But I'm glad that Yoshiura recognises the fact that humans & robots will always be different kinds of beings. Trying to think of robots as exactly like humans (as in Chobits) is flawed, and in reality will lead to all sorts of misunderstandings. But this is exactly the sort of material that can be used for an interesting intelligent story, and I'm glad to see Asmiov's Three Laws finally getting used properly.

If Asimov were alive, I'm sure that he would approve. (The Bicentennial Man film was a travesty, while iRobot only tacked the Three Laws onto a good story as an afterthought.)
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Posted 10/3/08 , edited 10/3/08
Eve is the epitome of excellence
its a visual delicacy
it is it literally makes my mouth drool (well not drool but you get the idea)
its just great
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