Karakuri Odette, Vol. 1
written by Julietta Suzuki
Odette is a beautiful android created by the young and brilliant Professor Yoshizawa. Whenever she notices a difference between herself and humans, Odette asks Yoshizawa to alter her. The professor reluctantly agrees whenever he can accommodate Odette's requests. Sometimes the requests are obvious things, like the ability to eat. Other times, she asks for the ability to do certain things humans wish they never had to, such as crying.
Out of the blue, Odette sees some school girls on television and asks Yoshizawa to enroll her in school so that she may engage in a more realistic human lifestyle and quickly makes friends with anyone who crosses paths with this special girl. Her best friend Yoko has no idea that she’s a robot yet finds that Odette is the easiest person to confide in. Odette faces her first experience with true fear when the pair fall into a well and Yoko is overcome by her medical condition.
Her enigmatic charm wins over the lone wolf Asao and even another android that has been programmed to murder Yoshizawa, despite both of them figuring out that she is a mere robot. Odette is very swift at recognizing human emotions, noting that Asao is infatuated with Yoko, but she doesn’t seem to notice his unexpected feelings of fondness toward her as well.
Unlike most androids found in pop culture, Odette exudes traces of emotions, most especially fear. When faced with a frightening situation, that is when she has the most human reaction of fight or flight. This take on androids makes the robots in Karakuri Odette a bit unorthodox, but it allows the reader to engage with Odette on a level unobtainable with other emotionless androids.
Karakuri Odette is truly a charming and comforting read that is suitable for young and teen girls, but will also appeal to readers searching for the kind of manga that tugs lightly at the heartstrings as it makes them start to appreciate the little things we take for granted as Odette discovers them. Is this manga likely to turn into an epic drama? Not really. This series is more of a “slice of life” comedy that happens to be about a very different kind of teenage girl.