robot Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Pages: 160
  • ISBN: 1-56970-891-6
  • Size: A4
  • Orientation: Right to Left

robot Vol. #03

By Matthew Alexander     February 06, 2007
Release Date: November 01, 2006

robot Vol.#03
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Range Murata
Translated by:Duane Johnson
Adapted by:

What They Say
In Pez & Dr. Thunder Land we get an inside look to the background of these characters, including how Idjit came to be a cyborg in the first place. Wasteland Â--- with the creature eating it's away at Tatalia's body, it's assimilating her head onto its own and after consuming more of her body coming to possess her memories. Now Giselle believes it really is Tatalia and Zeum is skeptical at least, but more truthfully hostile. Suzume Robo comes back once again, this time with a story about the hapless girl's origins and why she possesses her unusual trait. Hemohemo is back, with more cute adventures. This time it's outdoors in the snow. Dragon Fly delves into its back-story this time along with some more exploration of the relationship between Sara and Padre. In Sedouka , we see Sasara's first dealings with Juujirou and the beginning of their mutual relationship with one another. A fresh new story in this volume, involves a little girl who gets lost in a marketplace and the dreamseller merchant who helps her find her father... for a price.

The Review
Each story in this book has different strengths and weaknesses, but the grades for each category are an overall grade for the entire book. Contains nudity.

This volume has a wraparound cover depicting a school girl leaning against a super old school tractor. There is also an older guy holding a beer and looking out towards the farm land in the background. Similar to the first two volumes, book three has a dust jacket and the 'Parental Advisory' sticker continues to be a sticker instead of being printed over the art like some other publishers have resorted to of late. DMP continues to show the love for this book with great paper and reprint quality.

ROBOT has multiple artists contributing chapters from a longer story and others presenting one-shot stories and even a few giving only a couple pages of pictures and no text. The amazing variety of style and method from the assembled artists continues to amaze me. I really like the beautiful, full-lipped character designs and dull colors Shigeki Maeshima uses in the continuing 'Dragon Fly' story. The blood-splattering fight scenes of 'Sedouka' by Shin Nagasawa are just plain awesome, now I want to search out the 'Wolverine: Soul Taker' series he did for Marvel. Kei Sanbe continues with great shorts and Yoshitoshi Abe's 'Wasteland' may be, panel for panel, the bloodiest story I've ever seen.

Not every story in this volume has SFX, but for those that do, the Japanese SFX remains with a smaller translation positioned nearby. The translation reads well, especially considering how many different authors contributed to this book. In the Table of Contents each author has a small comments section next to their name where they provide their thoughts for Robot or to promote one of their own projects. The author's comments read well and I would like to give the English translator a big thumbs up for giving this section the attention it deserves. Personally, I get annoyed with translators that do a good job with the manga itself but then just kind of throw together a poorly translated letter from the author at the end of the book, making it torture to read.

Contents: (Spoiler Xing)
A few one-shots in this volume include 'Batch Twins', a tale about a demon with a sadistic twin sister. 'Sensuality' is a story about high school boy/boy love with an ending that I never saw coming and the artist only uses three colors. 'Voice of Garden' is a very short story about the wants of a batgirl and catboy. Kei Sanbe's 'Voice of the Shrine' is a creepy circle of life tale.

In the table of contents, Shin Nagasawa apologizes for the slow pace of his story entitled 'Sedouka', but I'm enjoying it. Shin's use of vibrant reds in every panel for this installment adds to the high energy level of this story. Private guards from the palace have arrived to retrieve the Princess. Before the Princess could give any orders, Juujirou dispatches the guards with ease. The Princess is so upset at his lack of compassion that she lashes out, and the resulting image of a tiny girl slapping and chastising a massive killer like Juujirou is quite impressive.

Shigeki Maeshima's 'Dragon Fly' receives the royal treatment in this volume with thirty total pages. The first page has a bio on the four main characters and an outline of the story to this point. This installment examines more of Sara's background and her relationship with Padre. Even with these things the story still doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but quite honestly I don't care. Shigeki's artwork is simply gorgeous and that's enough for me.

The situation for the two surviving characters of Yoshitoshi Abe's 'Wasteland' goes from being dire to confusing. The monster that ate Giselle and Zeum's female companion Tatalia, has somehow absorbed her memories. The monster begins to plead for her life. Zeum is not convinced, but Giselle wants to believe it truly is Tatalia that I'm left wondering if how this is going to end. Will Zeum and Giselle be forced to fight each other for what they believe? Or will the monster kill both of them when it has the chance?

ROBOT volume two was quite possibly my favorite manga release of 2006. Not because of great storytelling, but the fact that so many great Japanese artists are placed in one book and the full color format is just amazing. Although volume three was also released last year I didn't care for the stories and artist compilation quite as much. Don't get me wrong, I still love this series and many of the continuing stories just get more interesting as the characters get fleshed out. However, this third volume was less boobalicious, which is a plus for some readers, but I didn't care for the one-shot stories as much as I did in the previous two volumes. This in no way changes my love affair for this series, which leads to my next topic.

There has been some discussions floating around in the blogosphere about ROBOT's life span with DMP. The Japanese releases have reached volume seven, but there is no mention of volume four on DMP's website. So this has lead to the blogging theory that DMP may not have acquired the rights for any ROBOT books past volume three. The truth behind this is all heresy until DMP makes any official comment, but considering the publisher has gone almost entirely BL at this point, the idea that ROBOT 3 is the last in this series from DMP does seem plausible. Perhaps the bottom line for production cost versus sales just isn't financially feasible. This is sad news for American fans, especially since some of the better artists missing from volume three return along with a few new artists in volume four. I can understand that the $24.95 price tag can turn some people off, but it is still cheaper than buying the import version and you can find the DMP release for under $20 at online stores. Plus, DMP's ROBOT is still cheaper than many or most of the imported art books, which don't even come with a translation.

So all in all, ROBOT fans should probably go out and pick up this title to show DMP that the fans still want it. Otherwise, I guess myself and many of you out there will have to order the Japanese releases and grumble about how we're going to learn to read Japanese one of these days.


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