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This Week in Anime
Spotlighting Eve's Big Netlix Debut

by Jean-Karlo Lemus & Monique Thomas,

Fan-favorite music artist Eve has his own extended music video narrative on Netflix. The 60-minute feature compiles many of Eve's best songs with indie animators to create a loose, over-arching narrative featuring a one-eyed shadow man whose motives are a mystery.

This series is streaming on Netflix

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network.
Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.

@Lossthief @mouse_inhouse @NickyEnchilada @vestenet

Alright, Nicky. Start on "one, two." "One, two" is the signal.
Alright, hope you don't mind if I just let this scary guy clapping keep time for me.
You've been seeing him too? He's all over the city lately!
Maybe he's the new internet sensation trying to give The Babadook a run for his money, ha ha. You know the kids love those cryptid-types!

Or maybe we're just here to talk about the new thing from Netflix! This is Adam by Eve: A Live in Animation.
This one is a fun concept. Eve's music has been featured in Jujutsu Kaisen and the recent Dororo adaptation, but I never saw those⁠—and I'd never heard of Eve. And this film is an attempt at reworking several of his animated music videos into a longer narrative. It reminds me a lot of INTERSTELLA 5555: 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem in that regard, only the songs are chosen after the fact instead of being an album-long music video.
I've seen both of those and I loved them very much enough to put the young up and coming singer onto my and many other likeminded anime fans' radar. I also loved his songs from the movie Josee, The Tiger and the Fish. But before Eve became big or associated with anime, he actually got his start doing covers singing VOCALOID songs on Niconico. Then in the 2010s he started producing songs using the beloved voice of Hatsune Miku and quickly became popular. Even some of the songs in Adam by Eve are new renditions of songs originally made with the help of dear Miku.
Man, how about that Miku, kickstarting people's careers. Not bad for the little green girl. What will she make next?
It's great to see someone transition from an unknown internet indie to the pro world of singing and writing their own songs and it seems like he hasn't forgotten his roots. He even got commissioned to make the original song "Gunjo Sanka" for the 1st anniversary of Project SEKAI: COLORFUL STAGE! feat. Hatsune Miku.

And it's nostalgic for me. I used to be obsessed with Vocaloid videos re-uploaded to YouTube from Niconico as a middle-schooler because I thought it was super cool that people could just make their own songs and other people could just draw their own music videos, even if you didn't have any singing talent or money. It was great not just for songwriters but for artists and animators too. Some of the best animated music videos have come from the power of the internet.
I watched Niconico stuff too, but uh... it was sort-of Vocaloid-related?
Both are worthy. It was a great time for internet creativity, and not all of it as gone away. Every once in a while you might see someone like Ado become popular.

Or at least enough to scare a PTA when their teens keep passionately singing at people to shut up.
Good times, to be sure. But enough about the classic era of YouTube Poops and deep♂dark♂fantasies. Adam by Eve starts us off with two high school girls: Aki and Taki. The two are the best of friends, and also very similar: besides their names, they have most of the same interests, both play violin (and dropped out of the school orchestra), and both have been having dreams of a tall man with one eye.
One day, they're sitting at a diner and then Taki completely disappears into thin air. Aki mourns, ponders, and questions her reality without her best friend in it. The plot here isn't detailed, but it's emotional enough to carry weight throughout the different song segments.

Adam by Eve has some interesting anime creatives tied to it. The direction, script, and editing were all done by Nobutaka Yoda who's done quite a bit of work as an animator, most notably for anime OPs/EDs. He directed all the OPs for Dr. Stone and one of my fav EDs for the recent adaptation Kōji Kumeta's manga Kakushigoto.
A thing that surprises me is how restrained the use of animation is; many of the music video sequences are of Eve himself singing in silhouette while tiny figments from the videos pop in and out. "Tokyo Ghetto" is a really good example: while it had a fully-animated music video, much of what we get in Adam by Eve is the masked figure doing his little dance from the chorus. It's less the music video and more of a re-take on the video, recycling certain details from the video while focusing on Eve's performance.
Yeah, I found it more helpful after I had seen some of the existing videos where animation was recycled. Some of it is still super effective in being creepy, trippy, or cool. Eve himself is often shrouded in lights and special effects in a way that shows that the focus really isn't on him, but the art and the music, but it can be hard to distinguish at points.

It's also more meaningful when you can pick out those highlights of new cool and unique additions. Most of Eve's music video collaborators are small time indie artists or animators and he brought them back for this. The opening song "Literary Nonsense" was animated by MAH, and the "Tokyo Ghetto" portion by the artist Waboku. Both were originally VOCALOID songs, and it shows with their eclectic cadence and lyrics.
Discussing these music videos is a little hard because many flow into each other and it's hard to know what their titles are if you don't already know the songs. Or if you can't read Japanese, because Netflix can't be bothered to translate the credits. Because of course not.
It's also very much simply about the Experience like you would for a live concert. It's a nice feeling to simply dim your lights, jam out for an hour, and even sing a little. Many of the segments have a mesmerizing quality. Even the live action segments more closely resemble dreams or memories as Aki reminisces about her relationship with her bestie.
There also isn't much in the way of actual development for Aki or Taki. Aki spends some time reminiscing about Taki and her violin playing. She runs around the city looking for Taki. Then she wakes up and it turns out to have all been a dream. It sounds far more disappointing than it really is, the music videos add a lot to the whole thing and Aki's racing through the city does a lot to punctuate Eve's performances. This just isn't a thing you can watch as a concrete narrative.

A bit of trivia is that the song "Heart Forecast" included during the karaoke bit is another animated music video directed by Nobutaka Yoda.
Clocking in at just under 60 minutes, it would have been nice to have one more music video tossed in.
Yeah, but it definitely nails the feeling of youth of having your very first friend. The young adult ennui or the creeping feeling of something gnawing at you. The song "As You Like It" captures that energetic but cynical picture of youth identity crisis, complete with these images of tired eyed characters by Waboku again.

I like how one of the guys reminds me of Shin from Dorohedoro with his hand mask with eyes shoddily punched out in them and full suit. Even the more upbeat songs have their own monsters in them. lol.
I like all these creepy dudes. Yeah, even Hitotsume-san. He's such a dapper fellow. I feel like he'd make for a good mascot character of some sort—and he appears in music videos outside of Adam by Eve too, so it's not even like he was exclusively made for the film! They have him showing up occasionally in the IRL scenes as a guy in a costume, it's a charming look albeit one not seen terribly often (or in full light).
And I really like the occasional horror vibes of some of the segments. Like for the next segment "How to Eat Life," which starts off with images of girls eating at a long table eating all sorts of things while Aki walks zombily through a hallway blindfolded. It has a high critter quotient and even a bit of body horror from the original animation directed by Mariyasu.

"Why are a gaggle of high schoolers committing cannibalism?", you may ask.

I didn't say I had an answer, I just wanted to recognize a question you might have had.

The answer is because only Cool Girls commit cannibalism. And it's rad as hell.
It's a really cool visual, helped by Aki wandering the school with a bloodstain on her shirt. Was she an escaped victim? Who knows? Or maybe the visuals of people feasting on another person is meant to symbolize Aki's inner pain at Taki's disappearance.
They even do this Satanic dance while the music riffs before dropping back into full boogie. This film does a good job of blending music genres, just like Eve. It's something I really enjoy about listening to JPop compared to the Top 40 radio hits. Eve's music always feels fun and passionate.
There's also a running theme of shadows taking over the windows in the city while Aki wanders in search of Taki. The shadows are possibly connected to Hitotsume-san, given that they're also covered in eyes.

It's a really nice bit of recurring imagery, and it ties in with the phantasmagoria Eve uses in his own segments.

As Aki is filled with doubt the world slowly becomes more psychedelic and unreal. It's uncertain whether the one-eyed man is actually malicious, but it is a creepy otherworldly change. This transition is marked by the song "YORUWA HONOKA (Night is Faint)" with original animation by Zemyata.
Again, it's a really good example of Eve using his silhouette. You can see him dancing within it.
Then as Aki sinks deeper into melancholy, the song "Dark Night" plays, some may recognize this from the Dororo anime. Definitely a song on the softer side.

Definitely some of my fav bits in this one! I'm always a sucker for sad songs.
See, I had no idea this one was from Dororo! There isn't much else to say about this song, it's another one interspersed with clips of Aki with Taki. Once it ends it segues right into the next song, which is more of Aki racing through the city while Eve sings. This is where more of Hitotsume-san's influence comes around—and where he finally appears before Aki...
The song that plays here is a remix of "Draumaturgy," which started as one of his most popular VOCALOID songs.
You know what else was really popular? "ME!ME!ME!"
Hell yeah it is! Some may know Hibiki Yoshizaki's music video reputation for his extremely evocative Animator Expo short "ME!MEME!" which is so sexual that it can't even keep an official upload on YouTube without being shut down. But those of you who haven't seen that should believe me, it's a trip and a half. "Mob," also directed by Yoshizaki at Hideaki Anno-founded Studio Khara, is pretty much the pièce de résistance of Adam by Eve for me. The music video is completely new and original. "Mob" is no less engaging.
You could easily consider "Mob" a sequel to "ME!ME!ME!" Sure, it has cheeky callbacks, like the mob of girls doing the sexy hip-waving dance, or a streamer playing its shooter sequence on TV, but it's also a good answer to "ME!ME!ME!'s" sexually-charged trip. Where "ME!ME!ME!" has a guy trying to shoot down a mob of oversexed predators, "Mob" has the titular mob of girls in schoolgirl outfits arm themselves and riot against the horde of men that try to force them into being the same template girl doing the hip-dance.

This is all predicated by a misfit girl (who lives with Hitotsume-san) being very unhappy with being forced to fit the mold. Inspired by a streamer (and priced out of becoming a streamer herself due to the outrageous costs of PCs—the plight of would-be VTubers everywhere), she falls into despair before a payload comes from above.

I've heard someone describe this one as a bit of allegory for "transgender agony" and I get that. Those are the exact two words. Our titular mob wakes up everyday to get dressed by their doting one-eyed parent only to feel out of place and repressed in a completely binary world of monster men and school girls.
There's definitely some trans-allegory going on here. The main figure is pretty androgynous and could be wearing a binder under their shirt. I know a lot of trans VTubers who find freedom in presenting with the avatar of their choosing, so using streaming as an allegory is also pretty on-point. It doesn't help that so much of the binary world is one-eyed monsters leering at the dancing girls. Maybe the schoolgirls are right to gun the creeps down.
And it's not subtle, we literally see our lil mob character magical girl transform into shackles of oppression. It doesn't hold back.

How much this binary world is Hitotsume-san's fault isn't clear, but the central figure sure blames them plenty (and hey, he's at least guilty of forcing them into the uniform every day). Once she puts one into his ribcage, the world changes to a much brighter place with people of all ages, races and body types. Also, the central figure's face is revealed!

Some absolutely stunning CG work as well. If anything, I'd say the whole film is worth sitting through just for this one alone.
For sure, it's the climax and the highlight of the whole film. Hitotsume-san is used to great effect; where he was spooky and ominous in the live-action segments, he's a lot more charming here. Sure, he's forcing someone into a mold they're uncomfortable with, but look at him. He's a little character. He's got a top-hat and a scarf.
Yeah, though I think the segment after is pretty sick too. It will be recognizable to most anime fans, and it's deserved. "Kaikai Kitan" just fucking slaps and this version is definitely channeling Jujutsu Kaisen's hellish vibes.
There's a great emphasis on eyes while Eve wears a creepy mask that resembles a red eye, as if to show the lingering remnants of Hitotsume-san's influence.
Complete with this massive CG cosmic deity version of the one-eyed man and cryptic incomprehensible text that look like both sutras and graffiti.

It's gritty and urban before it all gets destroyed in an apocalyptic takeover by nature. This lovely CG-fest is directed by Yūichirō Saeki, who recently directed the OP and ED on Muteking the Dancing Hero and was animated by khaki studio.
The world healed from... a forced gender-binary from a one-eyed guy who's horny for Teddyloid? Hey, it's a good of a reading as any other.

With that, Aki finds herself back where she was at the beginning of the film: at the rooftop where she and Taki used to play violin together. Remembering that Taki leaped from the roof in her dream, Aki steps off with a "one, two"...

...and it was all a dream. (I told ya!)
But it was a good dream. Credits roll and the original music video for "Don't replay the boredom" plays. Once again, directed by Waboku.
It amuses me that of all the songs in Adam by Eve, it's this one that is recreated in its entirety. Not sure what makes this one worthy of the honor, but it's cool enough to stand toe-to-toe with "Mob" even though "Mob" is still the centerpiece of this film.
I think most of the original MVs are actually super cool and people should seek them out on the official YouTube channel if they have time. Some of them have interesting narratives of their own. It's a great way for animators to work without the creative or scheduling restrictions of something like a series or within a studio. I'm really happy Eve lets them make cool videos.
The new remixed versions definitely help the music videos fit into the narrative of Adam by Eve, and as I said earlier, it's cool that you get to see bits and pieces recontextualized. But it's very much worth tracking down the original videos—they're stunners, all of them. As for Adam by Eve, I'm happy to have seen it and I strongly encourage folks to check it out. It's a quick affair, barely an hour long, and at the very least the music is extremely catchy. If nothing else, it's worth it for the "Mob" sequence—but the rest of the music videos are no slouches either.

The music video is billed a bit misleadingly—I expected a Roger Rabbit affair where live-action characters interacted with animated characters, but this works just as well. The costume work and miniature narratives offered by the music videos are an art unto themselves.

Not to mention Eve's singing is wonderful. I'm no music critic but his high notes are inhumanly good and his bars are always tight. All the songs are incredibly well produced and I know there are people dying to hear more of his music. Anisongs and JPop hasn't always had easy distribution stateside, so even if there wasn't any cool animation tied to it, I probably would've still checked this out just to listen.
I'd never heard of Eve before Adam by Eve, but I'll be keep an eye out for the guy now that I've seen just how good he is at this stuff.

Anyway, Nicky, wanna go for some omurice? There's a new place downtown that just opened up. It's called.... heeeeeey...

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