Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

A.I. Revolution vol 1, by Yuu Asami

Second frame (more or less) of third story in original and translation - you must read the text from right to left, of course. Both sentences are spoken by Sui's genius father.

This was one of the works of 20th-century sf set in the year 2021 that I listed a while back, but it took me a while to get hold of the English translation of the first volume. This is manga written for a teenage girls' magazine, which is not a sub-genre that I am at all familiar with; Vermillion the robot is being taught how to be human by his creator's teenage daughter Sui, and Feelings ensue.

I had to get to grips with reading right to left, and with the very fluid approach to frames - the story sometimes flows all over the page; and there's a lot of incidental detail that is hinted at rather than shown or told. But these are five solid enough sf stories with a firmly shared setup; Sui and her father are enmeshed in a society where some have an irrational hatred of robots, some are jealously trying to move in on her father's trade secrets, and Sui herself is trying to be a normal teenager in 2021 with a beautiful boy robot waiting for her at home. (Her mother is not mentioned at any point.)

It did seem to me that Vermillion the robot is a perfect unthreatening boyfriend in that he is good company, helps out with the house work and not a sexual prospect in any way - in the very first story, he calls out a predatory professional contact of Sui's father's; there is genuine physical peril for the characters in most of the stories, which Vermillion is usually able to help them to escape from. I still hate cute anthropomorphic robots as a theme, but this was far enough off my usual beat to keep me interested. I don't think I will bother with any more, though, I don't think that there will be any development of the overall story arc; it's really a case of this month's perilous situation. Still, you can get the first volume here.

I was trying to imagine how a British version of this would have looked, and actually it's not too difficult; scanning the storylines of Bunty over the years shows that a number of them did have robot-based plots. (There were fewer in Mandy, but still more than one.)
Tags: bookblog 2021, comics, set in 2021, world: japan

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