Netflix’s Adam by EVE

In the past, Eve’s work has referenced uncomfortable topics such as anxiety, constraints within the mind, and societal pressure. The objective when touching upon these scenarios is the race toward freedom across a myriad of mindscapes, landscapes, and soundscapes, stretching across reality and abstraction alike. Adam by EVE illustrates this beautifully. While pursuing Taki, Aki faces the sinister Hitotsume as she runs across the city and apparently her subconscious her itself, while the story ebbs and flows between dream and reality. Eve uses this chase to illustrate the very themes that have continuously been expressed through his work — anxiety, society, consumerism, conformity, and isolation.

In this short, he seems to touch upon more unsavory ideas such as voyeurism through Hitotsume’s design and character, society’s objectification of younger women through their portrayal in media, as can be observed through the dream sequence with the sailor style uniforms, and even the breaking point through which these circumstances are overcome, as Hitotsume is seemingly defeated when the story breaks away from the 2D animation back to live-action and reality.

While the ending does seem to bow-tie the story quite nicely, with the whole metaphysical nightmarish encounter being a dream and product of Aki’s subconscious, it does feel out-of-place in this context. With the entire production being so out there in terms of art, direction, and story, it’s almost comical that it was all “just a dream.” In fact, this conclusion directly negates any urgency, severity, and thrill it has so far built. However, given that Eve’s work is fairly loaded with double-meanings and symbolism, Adam by EVE definitely makes room for alternative, less boring endings. While on the surface Aki and Taki are joyfully reunited in reality with the rest being reduced to an already fading dream, there is an argument to be made for other interpretations.

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For example, did Taki really disappear forever, and is this entire exercise a non-linear narrative exploring grief and loss as Aki deals with the tragedy of losing her only close friend? Is it an exploration of the ideal self vs the reality of the self where Taki represents the ideal that Aki wants to become but she struggles to? Is it touching upon a less-platonic, more-romantic relationship against a metaphor for fear of allowing such emotions to develop? Or is it really a simple story about friendship? There are so many ways to take this, and the beauty of experimental storytelling is that they’re all on equal footing.

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