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What's the BIG deal? Yoshiura responds!

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32 / F / Winter 2010!
Posted 7/1/09 , edited 7/1/09
I like this series. It is different and unique. Also nice that it is non-violent, more slice of life vibe [even though at the moment no androids of this capabilitiy currently exist]. I identifiy what the director said, that this anime is simply played through the experiences of a high schooler. People at this age begin to question things more instead of accepting things at face value and becoming 'more of their own' person. The boys in this series seems reluctant/resistant to the idea of accepting androids as human... and it seems that the more they interact and observe androids in the non-discriminating cafe, their perspectives are slowly shifting from the ones instilled in them from others all this time. And that corresponds within the society of this anime where robots have only begun to be widely used and people are starting to treat them differently instead of just household objects. The official stance this society believes in is just that: robots are no different from objects: mere pieces of property.

Cybernetics is explored in one anime called "Texhnolyze". It's an ultra-violent, all-round depressing, and not to mention difficult title but definitely worthy one with oodles of issues to ponder over . More so than Time of Eve Please check it out. In the dystopian world of Texhnolyze, prosthetic limbs are expensive but are not an uncommon sight due to the discovery of a botanical called "Rafia" that eradicates the problem of the rejection of foreign material inside the human body. Apparently some people rid themselves of a limb [or two] just to get them because they are not content with "normal" limbs... Rather, these powerful cybernetic extensions are mainly employed for acts of violence and anarchy.
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F / In your fucking h...
Posted 8/2/09 , edited 8/2/09

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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33 / M
Posted 11/13/09 , edited 11/14/09
oh wow, i JUST found this topic and after reading it I feel like all that what I wrote in my entry has been dwarfed by the detail he explored alot of the questions with. Interesting answers
93 cr points
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39 / M / Ohigho
Posted 1/22/10 , edited 1/22/10
Amazing show, the responces of Yoshiura were very insightful as to the motivations and directions that brought us Time of Eve...

Well worth the read, and think that the intimacy things like this bring to the fans is really phenominal
8016 cr points
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M / ロサンゼルス下町, カリフォルニア
Posted 1/29/10 , edited 1/29/10
If at all possible. please express our appriciation to 吉浦さんfor the effort in making this fine program.
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