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Thursday, December 4, 2008

A. I. Revolution

Manga complete at 17 volumes, English at 5 volumes - release schedule at Go!Comi. I've recommended Vol. 5 to the library and have also bought it and the review of that particular volume is here.

Summary: A talented scientist has developed an android for fun and passes it to his daughter to teach it. Although she has respect for his work and understands robots, this new robot is something entirely different, being indistinguishable from humans.

I realise I do like Robot stories a lot. I have probably read nearly all of Isaac Asimov's Robot stories (a few times), and "I, Robot" at least twice. But actually, personally, I think the premise of an A.I. android that takes the place (I mean in terms of love, family, etc.) of humans is a bit morally disturbing. The ending of Absolute Boyfriend, another popular shojo robot manga, seems to point to this as well (though I haven't read it in entirety. Felt it wasn't for me after I knew the ending). Despite this, I was once again attracted to this robot series.

Overall, reminds me a bit of Pet Shop of Horrors, not for anything in the storyline at all, but in the format the story is laid out. It seems to be episodic in nature, with each chapter exploring a different angle/aspect of the science-human interaction, whether it be the androids or biotechnology, etc. It shows the different motivations of people with regards to technology and their feelings and thoughts towards the androids. e.g. some would like to dominate and order their robots but others feel that they are equal to them. For this, there are quite a few characters introduced and their relations to robots or technology.

Because of the above regarding the many different plotlines, the story tends to get a bit scattered and we're looking at a lot of different characters, such that the main story gets a bit lost. This is ok up to a certain extent but if you're like me, after a while you'd like to have some development with the main protags, especially the first ones that were introduced, Sui and Vermillion (also see my recent review of Vol. 5).

The art is a bit simplistic. Although I wasn't expecting anything in the likes of VK, the lack of intrinsic detail was probably the low point of this series. The girl is pretty enough most times but I can't really say the guys were bishi. And in some panels, their eyes were not even drawn in! The guys didn't have eye detail in any of the panels. Hey, the eyes are important! ;p OK, perhaps it's because it was written in 1993 and the style is rather different now. However, perhaps the storyline makes up for it. At least one other person has told me they like this better than some of the popular shojo titles as it probably seems to have some depth and meaning.

Can't find that many comments on this series. Have a feeling that it wasn't that popular somehow.

As for romance, if you're looking for it, this series may not satisfy, at least up to Vol. 5 where I am at.

More information (possible spoiler)
I think this topic is very complex, as I hinted above. It is almost as if making a real human being, and power like that is dangerous to say the least. In any case, one thing that struck me in this series was when Vermillon, one of the robots said that Sui, the human girl he lives with, means a lot to him but not exactly like a sister nor a lover - he has no 'label' for her.

My Rating:
Story: B
Art: C
Recommended: The storyline is engaging so far and there are parts that may even be thought provoking. Overall, it is a good treatment of this subject matter and the parts of "love" (I put in quotations because perhaps it's not the exact word to describe what a robot has for another or a human?) is well thought out and not overly dramatic or unrealistic (as far as I've read). Of course, there is a lot of the usual expected shojo elements plus the usual plot devices and concerns of robot-human interactions we have seen elsewhere, like in Isaac Asimov's robot stories or in more recent robot stories (such as Chobits, which probably is different compared to this, probably as it was attracting the male audience with some slight fanservice, but I'm side tracking...) and shows. I'm curious and wondering where this will head and will probably keep looking out for future releases.

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Successfully recommended to the Library

  • Skip Beat Vol. 17

Ins and outs

Would like:
Ultimate Venus Vol.5
A.I Revolution Vols 5 and upwards
Possibly Skip Beat Vol. 16 and upwards

On offer:

1. Pet Shop of Horrors Vol. 4
2. Pet Shop of Horrors Vol. 9
3. Tokyo Pet Shop of Horrors Vol.1
4. Tokyo Pet Shop of Horrors Vol. 2
5. Godchild Vol. 2
6. Godchild Vol. 3
7. Dazzle Vol. 1
8. Dazzle Vol. 2
9. Dazzle Vol. 8
10. Dazzle Vol. 9
11. Special A Vol.5
12. La Corda D'Ore Vol. 6
13. Tail of the Moon Vol. 11 and 13
14. Her Majesty's Dog Vol. 11
15. Mugen Spiral Vol. 1
16. Your and my secret

Email me at mangaobsess(at)simplypeaceable.com if you are interested