365 Days of Manga, Day 21: Robot


1271-1.jpgROBOT: SUPER COLOR COMIC • Various Artists • DMP/Udon Entertainment (2005-ongoing) • Wani Magazine Publishing (2004-onging) • 10+ volumes (ongoing) • Underground Science Fiction Fantasy Anthology • 18+ (crude humor, mild language, extreme graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations)
This art book-slash-anthology magazine, spearheaded by video game character designer Range Murata (who also provides the vaguely pedophilic girl art for the covers), brings together numerous manga artists, anime and game designers to do color manga without editorial interference. Essentially, this is an original dôjinshi with fabulous production values, featuring big names such as Sho-u Tajima (who contributes one of the few B&W works), Mami Itou (with a particularly gory piece in volume one), Kei Sanbe and Yoshitoshi Abe. Most of the stories are short science fiction and fantasy pieces with little continuity from volume to volume; there’s also wacky comedies, pin-ups and unabashed drawing exercises, such as Imperial Boy’s “House of Fish,” which looks like a portfolio piece put on deviantart by an extremely talented illustration major. Frequently the simplest stories are the most satisfying; Haccan’s illustrated prose fantasy tales of “Eventyr” and Naruco Hanaharu’s story of girls exploring the overgrown ruins of Tokyo in the far future are breezy showcases for sumptuous computer-colored art, while other works, such as Maeshima Shigeki’s painted “Dragon Fly” and Shin Nagesawa’s “Sedouka,” attempt to cram a little too much action into the limited space. Miggy’s storybook watercolors of cute girls and cute animals are charming, although similar subject matter, in the hands of very different artists like Okama, Yug, and Yasuto Miura, has elements of lolicon exploitation. Primarily for the eyes, an exploration of form and artistic techniques, it’s a showcase of the diversity of Japanese artists. Other artists who appear in Robot (including in the as-yet-untranslated future issues) include Yu Kinutani, pinup artist Ugetsu Hakua, Shuzilow Ha, Kei Toume, Kengo Yonekura and Kamui Fujiwara. The Makoto Kobayashi whose sci-fi short appears here is an anime mechanical designer, a different person from the creator of What’s Michael?. Volumes 1-3 were published in the U.S. by DMP; volumes 4+ were published by Udon Entertainment.
*** 1/2 (three and a half stars)
Today’s winner is Juliana B. of Massachusetts! Congratulations, Juliana!

This is not Juliana B. of Massachusetts. This is Aaron, a previous day’s winner, who has uploaded his photo of himself with the manga he got: volumes 1-5 of Video Girl Ai! Congratulations, Aaron — you have now officially won five more manga, and I’ll send you some more volumes of Video Girl Ai so you can read the rest of the series.
Who will be the next winner….?