J-pop artist Eve advertises his new album through an unnecessary, hour-long musical that would have worked better as a handful of visual music videos instead.
This review of the Netflix anime film special Adam by Eve: A Live in Animation does not contain spoilers.
Keen to be seen as the frontrunners of any cutting-edge technology, Netflix have continued to broaden their horizons with new, experimental material. Thanks to Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and this year’s Cat Burglar, they have led the pack with the interactive experience. The gimmick looks set to reach new heights in April with the release of Trivia Quest, an interactive series that promises addictive gameplay. Adam by Eve isn’t as innovative as the aforementioned content but attempts to be just as unique, channeling an off-the-wall style, in an effort to break new ground.
The film special is a conveniently timed release for artist Eve, nicely tying in with his latest album dropping on March 16th. The experimental musical works as a companion piece to the Japanese singer’s third album Kaizin. Mixing elements of anime, live-action, and concert movie footage into one hour-long special, this is an extravagant form of advertisement. The filmmakers throw absolutely everything at this: projections, VHS handheld footage, overlaps, and intercut music videos all against the backdrop of a dreamlike narrative. It all amalgamates into a messy and bland musical.
Eve’s music is categorized as J-pop rock and is inoffensive enough. I might be showing my age, but it reminded me of noughties indie pop such as Two Door Cinema Club mixed with shades of Daft Punk. Eve has a huge following in Japan and I’m sure this tie-in will be just as successful. The musical numbers are interweaved with a live-action plot, which is influenced by the biblical story of Adam and Eve. I saw no tangible connections to this, other than the use of countless apples and a few lyrical suggestions.
The story itself focuses on two inseparable schoolgirls called Aki and Taki. They are the best of friends, who do everything together, including violin practice. Taki mentions a strange dream she keeps having, which involves a one-eyed monster and always ends with her jumping off a building. Other students start to have similar dreams and of course, Aki joins the craze. Things take an anxious turn when Taki goes missing and Aki fervently searches for her BFF.
This subplot fills the main bulk of the running time but offers no drama or atmosphere to the overall movie. Adam by Eve is a repetitive and draining production that will clearly satisfy fans, but it won’t win over any new admirers. However, buried deep within the endless material there are some touches of greatness. One particular anime segment, involving smiley-faced masks and one-eyed monsters in top hats, includes some top-quality imagery, although it is too little too late. An overload of material adds up to nothing in the end.
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