After producing artistic gems like “Your Name” and “Weathering With You,” Genki Kawamura produces another masterpiece, which is directed by Nobutaka Yoda. “Adam by Eve” is a one-of-a-kind live-action movie inspired by the manga “Kara no Kioku” created by E Ve. If you liked “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” then you might just like this different take where they mix live-action with animation and music. “Fantasia,” the original 1940s version, had already set the benchmark for blending animation and music to create a stunning audio-visual masterpiece. Like “Kill Bill,” this movie also had animation mixed in. Mainly the action parts were converted into animation to make it visually more appealing to the audience but it did set the benchmark for future projects to be revealed. “Spiderman Into The Spider verse” was quite a trip, the best kind. This movie had the right blend of different styles of animation that created a symphony of imagination. It has set the path for different styles of art to be mixed and matched for future reference. “Adam by Eve” will probably be set on the mantlepiece with the other gems mentioned here for its visual aesthetic, the blend of imagination and drama, and the songs conspicuously running with the plot, making it more auditory pleasing. Running for just an hour, the movie delves into the depths of consciousness and constantly wows with the layers hidden beneath it.
The story begins with a silent conversation between two friends through doodles. This is where they are introduced as Taki and Aki. Taki and Aki are best friends who love music a lot. Their bonding over music keeps them satisfied with themselves. They don’t socialize with other students at their high school. Whilst sitting in the café and enjoying a tete-a-tete, Taki tells Aki about an eerie dream she had where she had to force herself to wake up. She talked about a one-eyed creature who followed her through the dream, and she had to jump to wake up. After a while, however, Taki never returns after she leaves Aki for a coffee refill. “Adam by Eve” follows Aki through realistically uncanny sequences where she rushes to find Taki to no avail. She encounters this one-eyed figure in a dream-like sequence when she loses consciousness on the road while she is searching for Taki. She defeats the one-eyed creature in her dream, but ends up in the same place without Taki. She then realizes that she is in fact in a dream concocted by her own subconscious. After realizing that she is in a dream, Aki heeds Taki’s advice and rushes off to jump off a building so as to shock herself into waking up. When she does jump off a building, she is startled to find herself in the same position in which Taki had left her to refill their coffee. This time though Taki is sitting right in front of her calling out her name to wake her off. The two friends laugh about their dreams, and the movie ends with an animated video of E Ve’s song.
In the background of “Adam by Eve,” there is always a song by E Ve playing that indicates a lot of the movie’s sequences. The lyrics of these songs, with the occasional E Ve popping up in the sequence with his anime character either singing or playing the instrument, add a theatrical angle to the sequence, making it seem more dreamlike. While Aki is contemplating where Taki could be, or if she has actually disappeared, kidnapped by the one-eyed character, the caricature of an abyss, denoted by the color red, with black scribbles, appears on the walls, proving that she is indeed in an illusion of her own. The songs and the animation add depth to the events occurring. It gives way to an entire animation once she falls unconscious after meeting Hitotsume (One Eye) on the road. E Ve’s song, Bouto, describes the monotony of expectations and ideals that a person has to meet, and that you have to fight back and escape those expectations and accept yourself. Aki kills Hitotsume and escapes. The entire take is animated, and with E Ve’s song, it just has a huge impact. The way the cast and crew pulled off the switching sequences between art styles and live-action is hands-down one of the best.
Unlike the usual Japanese live actions, the up and coming actresses Hanon and Ano have opted for a more subtle approach. Usually, Japanese dramas and live actions include a lot of over-the-top dramatic flairs inspired by the manga and some exaggerated scenes that make sense only in the manga. The live-action kept the exaggerated scenes rooted to the animations and the acting was more natural and relatable. The tidbits of exaggerated comic scenes gave a more humorous lilt to the underlying depth of the sequences. The conversations between the two actresses flowed quite naturally. The montage of their times together made it look as if they belonged with each other. The actors seem to have a promising career with this live-action out and about.
E Ve aka Keitora aka Kurowa is known for his unique boyish voice with nasal undertones. His best-known song is Kakei Kitan, which was the opening song to “Jujutsu Kaisen.” Dramaturgy is the second most popular song of his. A live version of dramaturgy was included in this live-action piece. Hits by E Ve, Nonsense Bangaku, Tokyo Ghetto, Kokoroyohou, Bouto, among others, were an auditory treat to the ears. Aside from E Ve, a piano solo by Christian Grey, Nocturne No.1 in G Minor, Op. 37 by the Royal Festival Orchestra ft. Sarah Ainsworth, and Concentration & Focus by The Relaxation Master, were also played at just the right moments. The soundtrack of this live-action was tremendously well set. The slight Indie Pop records mixed with the classical tunes established the atmosphere of this live-action. Choosing the right soundtrack for the movies can be quite tricky, but the crew did exemplary work in choosing the best soundtracks and their timings.
Not only is E Ve the creator of Japanese sensational hits, he is also the creator of an ongoing manga, “Kara no Kioku.” The animation sequences in the live-action referenced their character designs from this manga. Hitotsume (One Eye) is also introduced in this manga. The art seemed like it was influenced by both the old anime art and the modern webtoon art. It also had the more generic anime style that has been in use since the 2010s. The animation leaned towards the quirky and trippy genre. It slid well into the territory of being hypnotic and illusional. The art style of the animation is quite intricate, and it seemed to have layers of meaning hidden. The perfect use of doodle art mixed with the scribbles on a red palette to denote an abyss, as well as the gradual increase of this abyss, led to the switch of art styles. The animation ties the flow of the dream together with the music. When the animation sequence finishes and Aki rushes to stand on top of the roof, ready to jump after she gains consciousness, while Kakei Kitan plays in the background, the entire scene seems to send a literal shiver down the spine, or in Andy Samberg’s words in Brooklyn 99, “Chills! Literal Chills!”
The live-action “Adam by Eve” is a recommended watch. Quite a lot of thought and work has gone into its creation. All in all, it has definitely paved the way for a different genre of films.
“Adam by Eve: A Live in Animation” is a 2022 Music Animation Video directed by Nobutaka Yoda.