A.I. Revolution Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Go! Comi
  • MSRP: 10.99
  • Pages: 216
  • ISBN: 978-1-933617-64-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: A.I. Revolution

A.I. Revolution Vol. #01

By Sakura Eries     March 20, 2008
Release Date: November 30, 2007

A.I. Revolution Vol.#01
© Go! Comi

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yuu Asami
Translated by:Christine Schilling
Adapted by:N/A

What They Say
Like everyone else in the future, Sui's used to having useful robots around... until her father brings one home that looks like a hot guy! Sui names him Vermillion and sets about teaching him all she knows about humans and their lives. Robot-hating girls, jealous guys, amnesia, lost jewels, a fire and a fall from a cliff are just the beginning!

The Review
The cover design features Sui and Vermillion back to back with their heads turned to face front. Vermillion wears a white shirt, and Sui has a pinkish top. A green scarf wraps around them if symbolizing their connection. The background is a hazy blue, and the colors of the illustration in general have a faded look. The title logo, which is placed at the bottom, is a combination of metallic silver and whimsical red lettering with a red heart to give it a final touch. Just below the title to the right is the author's name in plain white text.

The colors of the back cover are much more vibrant. Against a background of lavender vertical stripes is a colorized sketch of Kira, who looks almost seductive in an unzipped black-and-white top. The title logo is placed at the very top followed by the story summary in white font. At the bottom are age and publisher icons and the ISBN code.

This title also includes a humorous three-page afterword from the author, translator notes, and ads for other Go! Comi titles. The materials are satisfactory, but the some of the printing is so faint it's difficult to see some of the finer screentones and shadings.

Asami uses a thin, wispy style for her illustrations. While the character designs are pleasant, there isn't much differentiating the female cast except for hair, which makes things a little confusing as Sui changes her hairstyle a lot. Asami is somewhat lax on details, which leaves her drawings looking somewhat incomplete. Characters' pupils are often left undarkened, and especially in the second chapter, faces and bodies are outlined but not shaded, giving the illustrations a flat, sketchy look. In the fifth chapter, Shingo is drawn twice in profile without his nose and upper lip, which looks a bit strange. In addition, action scenes are somewhat hard to follow -- it wasn't instantly obvious how Sakaki's ring was used as a weapon or how exactly he got so badly injured he'd lose an eye and an arm.

Go! Comi keeps some of the original Japanese sound effects with translations placed beside them, and in other places, the Japanese is replaced with English overlays. They've done a thorough job translating the sound effects; the lettering styles are easy to read and match that of the originals. The dialogue text is varied to clearly differentiate between computer speech, regular conversations, and transmitted conversations, but the size of the text used for the embedded author's remarks and a few other places is extremely small.

The translation maintains Japanese honorifics. I caught a typo in the credits, and a couple of grammar glitches in the dialogue. In general, Vermillion's dialogue is a mix of android-speak (think Data from Star Trek the Next Generation) and relatively formal speech. Interestingly enough, his "brother" Kira's speech is relatively natural in comparison.

He cooks, he cleans, he deflects falling chunks of concrete with a single hand!

Could this be the next generation of domestically minded superheroes? Well, not exactly...

Since 2020, robots in the home have been commonplace. The array of house-helper robots has included humanoid-type models, but none actually resembled a human -- until now. Professor Makihara, one of the top engineers at the leading MG Company has just achieved his dream of designing the first absolutely artificial life-like human. Now, the only thing left for Robot Model X-1001 is the life experience test and fine tuning, and the professor has picked his teenage daughter Sui for the job!

Sui gives Robot Model X-1001 the name Vermillion because of his reddish eyes, and Vermillion moves in with the Makihara family. Although Vermillion is an artificial creation, he was designed to observe his surroundings like any human child and learn to judge things for himself. So while he has access to plenty of hard facts, it's up to Sui to encourage him to develop his own opinions and learn social skills, and under her tutelage, he develops a gentle and sensitive personality.

However, there's much more to Vermillion than meets the eye -- like superhuman strength and the ability to synchronize with any computer. Unfortunately, those abilities lead to all sorts of trouble for him and his mistress. Between power crazed scientists, friends with grudges against robots, and the appearance of Kira, a second human-type robot, Sui is about to learn just how complex life gets when robots become a part of the family.

There's no shortage of artificial intelligence stories in science fiction or manga, for that matter. However, unlike Chobits or Absolute Boyfriend, there's nothing blatantly sexual about A.I. Revolution (although Asami does expose a lot of skin in the scenes where our hot robots are getting their maintenance performed). The time period covered by Volume 1 spans at least a year, and while Sui and Vermillion develop a deep affection for one another, it's not exactly what you would call romantic. The bond between them is more akin the one between a boy and his dog, except in this case it's a girl and her...um, hot robot.

The story is presented in a very episodic fashion. Volume 1 contains five chapters, each of which introduces a conflict or dilemma which is resolved by the end of the chapter. The plot is more about the use/misuse of the level of technology that created Vermillion and less about the relationship between Sui and Vermillion. Except for the first chapter, the story focuses mainly on Vermillion's impact on others or Sui's relationship with family/friends. In fact, the relationship between Vermillion and Sui is so stable and unchanging that it's not much of a plot driver.

While it is hard to dislike our main characters, they're not very compelling. Sui comes off as bland, and Vermillion, while noble and valiant, is hardly an original take on the AI persona. Without any relational challenges to be resolved or conflicts of any sort looming in the distance, it's difficult to become invested in the characters and in this manga in general.

Rated older teen for violence and near nudity.


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