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Karakuri Odette Vol. #02 Manga Review

4 min read
What does it mean to be truly human?

Will remodeled assassin droid Chris shake up Odette’s quiet high school life? Trouble comes calling when collectors come to retrieve him.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Julietta Suzuki
Translation: Aimi Tokutake
Adaptation: Peter Ahlstrom

What They Say
Odette is now a sophomore at her high school. She still wants to be as close to human as she can, but finds out she still has a long way to go. From wanting to be “cute” by wearing nail polish to making a “tasty” bento that people would be happy to eat and trying to figure out the different kinds of “like,” Odette faces each challenge head-on with the help of her friends Yoko, Chris, Professor and, of course, Asao.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
If someone were to ask me what “moe” was, I would show them a few chapters of Yotsuba&, and then a few chapters of Karakuri Odette. Both feature young girls misunderstanding everyday situations as a source of humor, but the reader’s relationship with the heroine is very different. Yotsuba is cute and moe, while Odette engenders a friendly empathy. This perfectly suits Odette’s target audience, which is girls a little younger than Odette herself.

This volume features six chapters, each a short story loosely related to the others. While it’s clear there is a plot of sorts developing, it’s clearly a slice-of-life series. Two themes connect the chapters. The first is the introduction of the “new” Chris, who has been remodeled to become a nice, sensitive boy rather than a robotic assassin. The second is the introduction of the concept of “love” to Odette.

The tone is set on the first page when Odette asks her creator where her spare battery is. She put a bear sticker on it, so she wants to find that one. After she gets to school, she sees her classmate Yoko acting depressed because she feels she missed her chance to ask her crush out. Yoko’s luck quickly changes when her crush walks into the room, and the two set up a date for the botanical gardens. As Odette walks Yoko to the gardens, it begins to storm. Yoko curses her rotten luck, and begins to cry. Upset, she loses her grip on her date’s handkerchief, and it drops into the river. Odette jumps to grab it and falls into the water. Unfortunately, her body is not waterproof and she begins to sink. Fortunately, Chris arrives to rescue her and bring her home.

The second story takes place at the mall, where Odette and Chris are shopping for clothes with the Professor. Mysterious men in dark suits show up, and begin to follow Chris. It turns out that collectors have come to take Chris back to his original designers. The atmosphere remains light, and it’s obvious that there’s no real risk to Chris or Odette, but the way Odette manages to scare off the pursuers made me smile. The third story appears to resolve this plot thread for the time being, as Odette and Chris hide out at Asao’s house while the Professor lures the collectors away with a decoy. The volume ends with the development of what appears to be a love triangle. Chris has grown closer to Odette and appears to have a crush, or the robotic equivalent, on her. Odette also captures the attention of a delinquent boy who is the rival of Odette’s friend Asao. The next volume looks to continue with the development of Odette’s understanding of love.

In Summary:
Will remodeled assassin droid Chris shake up Odette’s quiet high school life? Well, no. It’s obvious there’s no real risk when Odette and Chris sleepover at a friend’s house in order to avoid menacing men in black. It’s a simple series that’s not too ambitious, but I can’t help being charmed somewhat by Odette. While I’m obviously not in the target demographic, I can definitely see the appeal. It’s harmless fun that I’d recommend for young shojo readers.

Content Grade: C+
Art Grade: C+
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Release Date: February 2nd, 2010
MSRP: $10.99

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