Publisher: Viz Media
Serialized in: Shonen Jump
Story and Art: Ryohei Yamamoto
If I could give one manga a catch phrase to slap on the back of printed editions that I think would sell like hot cakes in English, it would be for the new E-Robot, and that would be: A hysterical time for the perv in every one of us!
Now that I have your attention, you may be asking, what is E-Robot? E-Robot is a new manga from Ryohei Yamamoto that runs in Weekly Shonen Jump. Recently here in our English edition, Viz started what they call Jump Start. This addition runs three or more all-new manga titles that premiere around the same time in the Japanese edition, and runs their first three chapters here in English, then lets readers vote on them for the favorite of the bunch. The winner stays in the English edition of Jump and continues to be published (last round’s winner was Hi-Fi Cluster for the curious), and the losers disappear from our edition (although they obviously continue in Japan, and although Viz says there are no immediate plans with them to further release in English, if they grow in popularity in Japan or have a strong fan movement here for them, they may reappear in something like collected graphic novel editions).
Which brings us back to E-Robot. E-Robot is a hysterical gag manga, but not about poop on a stick jokes like Dr. Slump. It’s all about the sex, the “E” in said title in fact standing for Erotic.
The plot description Viz’s Shonen Jump crew provided is pretty damn accurate: “Yuuki’s got a crush he’s just dying to confess his love to. There’s just one problem, he can’t do it! Every time he tries, he freezes up! But his life really takes a turn when he bumps into, or gets clobbered by, a robotic girl with a most impressive set of “features.” Her name is Ai Roborovskii and she’s the world’s first Erotic Robot! Before you judge, she’s not just here to make men foam at the mouth—she’s here to save the world with her amazing erotic powers!“
That’s the set up, and we go to town with boob jokes ahoy! Yuuki’s Dad, a genius scientist, creates Ai to stop war across the world. However, the weapons industry laughs him off, and so he saddles his son in Japan with the robot to teach her more about humans for the time being, while he goes back to work trying to sell the idea of this new anti-weapon. This leads to Ai’s body being that of a sturdy superwoman with amazing powers, which provides plenty of gags, like her preventing a bus from running over and killing the protagonist by blocking it with her boobs. Blocking bank robbers’ bullets, with her boobs. Shooting out rockets to save the day, said rockets coming from her boobs (and to activate them Yuuki has to first squeeze said boobs). You get the idea.
It’s a concept so mindless, so predictable, and so stupid, yet all presented in a non-skeezy but still obviously pervy manner, that the damn thing works hysterically well and makes it one the best manga comedies for folks to come across in the past few years.
On the art side, Yamamoto’s art is very clean and fits the story style well. His layouts help you zip across the page, and already he’s mastered drawing the embarrassed faces of numerous folks at the butt-end of these butt and boob jokes.
But will it remain despite all the overnight internet fandom it’s already getting? The two titles E-Robot is up against in this round of Jump Start are the absurd ping pong themed comedy Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha, and the grade school set court room mystery comedy Gakkyu Hotai: School Judgment. Now E-Robot easily trumps Takujo no Ageha (although note: Takujo no Ageha is a stellar sports comedy that plays like Prince of Tennis but with sex jokes). The true opponent here is Gakkyu Hotai: School Judgment, that despite having a wacky set up that is basically part Detective Conan meets the Phoenix Wright video game series, but all set in a grade school, it features the art of Takeshi Obata, who has legions of fans from Death Note and Bakuman here in North America, and these fans would probably even buy a drawing of poop if it came from his pen.
So who will die? Who will win? Many fans, including myself, are going for E-Robot this round, but will the Obata-heads ruin our day? Yeah, in a perfect world we’d get both, but that is yet to be seen. E-Robot ends its three chapter run in the December 8th issue, with Gakkyu Hotai: School Judgment ending in the December 15th issue, and then the voting begins!
While we wait to see what happens, if you enjoy truly ridiculous comedy manga, check out these past few weeks of Shonen Jump and enjoy E-Robot.