You know, I’m a fan of Iwatobineko‘s imagery. Not necessarily the art style in itself, although it’s quite nice as well, no complaints, but the composition. The elements that are brought together and how they fit into the image.
Granted, I have only seen two covers by Iwatobineko but I really liked both of them!
Why I Picked up The Country Without Humans
I was really looking forward to reading this manga as soon as I ordered it. The description made it sound like classic science fiction, I already mentioned that I loved the cover and the title is fantastic. Actually, the title also sounds like it could be a Heinlein book or something.
Shii is the only human left in a city inhabited by nothing but machines. As she flees through the eerie streets, hunted by the sinister Triangle Heads, she encounters a golem named Bulb. Can Shii survive long enough to form a friendship with this strange golem—and perhaps even discover what happened to her fellow humans?
My First Impression
Oh, this is Somali and the Forest Spirit…
Volume 1 Review
This is going to go in both the good and bad sections but A Country Without Humans really is a slight resetting of Somali and the Forest Spirit, so if you liked that…
Of course, this isn’t surprising. Both are written by the same author. What was surprising, to me at least, was finding out that the Somali manga had been cancelled. I know that happens all the time but I was under the impression that it was rather successful. It got an anime that did decently well. And looked like it had a good budget, it was a very pretty show.
What’s more, after reading A Country Without Humans, I’m left under the impression that the author wasn’t ready to let the story go, because they are retelling it.
So it gives me the impression that a Country Without Humans is a passion project, that’s a plus for me. And I have to admit, I am way more invested in the mystery of the missing humans this time around.
The golems of this story are actually androids. They are metal and electronic components. They have operating systems and memory chips. And importantly, they are programmed. Specifically, programmed to serve humans in some way or other, and most of them seem at their happiest when they can do so. So why aren’t there humans around? This place seems like a paradise. And why is there a child here now? When is now…
Potential spoiler for volume 1…
One character does read an old news article that seems to explain a few things. Well, one. It mentions that humanity reached the singularity. They don’t go on about it but that would explain the missing humans.
Just in case anyone is unfamiliar with the term, the technological singularity is a theoretical point in time at which technological advances become uncontrollable by humans and therefore unpredictable. Affecting the way we live and potentially our very nature.
Science fiction authors have long had a field day imagining the singularity taking the form of human consciousness being transferred to a machine body, giving us a form of immortality but also in a way, leading to the extinction of the species. But there are other ways as well. The Matrix is a singularity story. There is a lot to explore in this idea.
As you can imagine though, in volume one, we barely scratched the surface. And It does seem like the author is more interested in exploring the impact and feelings of his individual characters than the existential questions raised by the concept of the singularity.
And it should be said, in case you didn’t pick up on it already, this story really is so far extremely similar in effect to Somali and the Forest Spirit. I do like this universe a bit better and I think I like Bulb more but I definitely prefer Somali as a character so it’s honestly difficult to recommend one over the other. And to recommend both seems redundant.
I am curious about what happens next but in a general sense. I haven’t formed enough of a bond with the characters to specifically care about their fate, I’m more interested in the puzzle of the universe. What did happen to humans and why is there one here all of a sudden. As such, I probably will continue the series but I’m not in a rush to do so.
This said, I definitely see the potential for an epic sci fi here and I do think it would make a great anime.