A.I. Revolution 3 by Yuu Asami: B

From the back cover:
A trip to America turns dangerous when the plane is hijacked! Luckily, everyone’s favorite robots are on board to help out, and they make it to their destination unhindered. All is well until Sui decides to vacation in Hawaii… leaving her robot friends behind!

Now that I’ve read three volumes of A.I. Revolution, I’ve begun to notice some patterns. First is a prevalence of sickly teenagers. So far, three chapters have featured such characters, from a girl in need of a heart transplant to a teen genius with five years to live to a boy whose father had genetically experimented upon him. The second trend, more all-encompassing than the first, is a glut of motherless teens. I haven’t counted, but maybe six or seven different teen characters have been introduced so far, and though we’ve seen a smattering of dads accompanying them, no mothers have been seen at all. I’m not sure what to make of that.

The stories in this volume are entertaining enough, though I wouldn’t say I loved any of them. I thought it was weird that Sui, the nominal protagonist, played such an insignificant role, though. She appears a little in the first and last chapters, but only long enough to get her purse stolen (leading Vermillion to fall into the trap of a thief) or suffer from a fever while on vacation (leading Vermillion to go on the fritz and make many zany mistakes), and is completely absent from the middle two. Probably this is because Asami, the mangaka, realizes that the robots are far more interesting and compelling characters than Sui is, but it’s worrisome nonetheless. I’d rather the main character receive some development than read about the backstory of the thief who swiped her purse!

A bonus story, “Make-Believe Reality,” is also included in this volume. In it, an arcade owner, tortured by dreams of his suicidal father’s attempts to kill his family, takes an enthusiastic patron, the son of the man responsible for his father’s business failure, hostage in the belief that by exacting revenge, his nightmares will stop. The story is full of metaphors between video games and real life like, “Once you do something irreversible you can’t ever hit the reset button.” Unsurprisingly, it really isn’t very good.

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