by CLAMP; adaptation by Jake Forbes
published by Tokyopop; $9.99 US
Not only is there a summation at the beginning of this volume (cleverly fitting in with the computer theme by being framed as an email), but the first scene with Chi captures her basic conflict without seeming repetitive or familiar. As her experience with emotion grows, she continues to have questions about herself and her world.
The thing I like best about this book, though, is Plum, the adorable miniature computer. When she’s awakened by a phone call, she goes into a frenzy of activity, awakening another tiny, more traditional character. When she finishes her duties, Plum demands applause, causing the other computer to remark “and I thought Chi was as nutty as they come…all Hideki’s coms are insane!”
These little “laptops” provide a nice playful touch that lightens the major plotlines. In another setting, they’d be fairies or magical toys. I like that they’re allowed to be themselves, quirky and unusual, yet still get their jobs done.
After rescuing Chi from a kidnapper, Hideki has to deal with a friend’s emotional fallout. Both Hideki and Yumi worked for a baker who went so far as to marry his girl computer. After the computer died, the baker and Yumi fell in love, but Yumi is torn apart by the idea that she could never live up to an artificial being’s perfection.
The idea of never being able to compare to the beloved memory of a departed loved one is here given an updated twist by making the departed a computer. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a true love, yet humans are able to move on and build new lives without giving up their memories.
It’s odd to see Hideki so skilled at giving romantic advice. He seems to be the prototypical nerd guy, interested in computers and porn, but he somehow manages to say the right things, even if he’s not aware that he’s doing so. I think it’s his good heart shining through, demonstrating his caring for his friends.
Book 6 is the most significant of the series so far, with various revelations finally making sense to the participants. I previously reviewed Book 3.