May 20, 2011

, ,   |  

Karakuri Odette Volume 3

Written by Julietta Suzuki
Illustrated by Julietta Suzuki
Tokyopop

Want yet another piece of evidence that Tokopop had quite a few things wrong with it? Check out this blurb from the back cover of Karkuri Odette: "She's a hot robot in high school." Anyone who has read the first two volumes is probably shaking their heads in both disbelief and disappointment, because as we all know this manga is about as far away from a boy's robot fantasy comic as you can get. With bad marketing like that, who needs enemies?

For those new to the series, Karakuri Odette is the story of an android who wants to be human, and opts to experience life as a real high school girl. She's got a lot to learn while trying to keep her existence a secret, with only a few select people and a fellow android knowing the truth. Odette soon finds that living life as a real person is a painful process, with everything from lunchroom etiquette to the concept of "like" being almost as hard to grasp as the idea of dreaming, which she clearly cannot do. Despite great strength, Odette is learning she has many, many weaknesses.

The solid storytelling and art continue here in this midpoint volume, with Odettte maturing nicely as a character while Suzuki makes it clear she's got so much to learn it could take hundreds of stories to tell them all. It doesn't prevent the manga from having quite a bit of appeal. Far from it, in fact. This story works because we know that Odette will never be perfect. There's no happy ever after story when you're part of the human race. We can see that again and again, especially in the opening story, which is downright heartbreaking. I also love Suzuki's ability to capture the angst involved in young romance. Don't we all know the pain of not being liked back?

It's this idea of living that is lacking from the usual girl robot stories, and I hate that Tokyopop was marketing Odette in that way. It was a total mistake that may have hurt sales. Of course, the whole thing is moot now, anyway.

You might still be able to find Karakuri Odette, and if you do, I highly recommend it. It's great storytelling about a difficult time, through the eyes of one who just longs to be accepted and probably never will. This is a really great comic, and I recommend it without reservation.