Japanese
Yuria 100 Shiki
Medium: comic
Year: 2006
Writer: Shigemitsu Harada
Artist: Nobuto Hagio
Language: Japanese
Keywords: manga, boobs
Format: 12 volumes and 101 chapters, each 20+ pages long
Website category: Manga
Review date: 21 April 2021
It might be the ultimate sex comedy. Admittedly, it has serious problems with credibility, taste and oh my God, just ban this manga now. (Kanagawa Prefecture classified the book as harmful to minors per its prefectural youth protection laws. Quite right too.)
When it hits its stride, though, it can be agonisingly funny. (It's by the writer of My Balls, incidentally.)
It's about sexbots. (They call themselves Dutch Wives, but let's not split hairs about terminology.) There's a scientist in Japan who can create androids with human-level intelligence that eat, sleep and heal from injuries. They look, sound and feel indistinguishable from people. It's possible to live with one for months without realising that she's not human. If you were this scientist, what would you do? Accept a Nobel prize? Publish about your discoveries and become fabulously rich? Well, this chap uses his genius to create sexbots that always run away from him at the first opportunity, because he's the kind of loser who builds sexbots.
Furthermore, the sexbots he builds will last for a century, but can only have one master. They're programmed to imprint on the first man who enters them, regardless of what kind of person he is or whether he's liable to leave them out for recycling. This is creepy as hell.
Anyway, our main heroine is a Type 100 called Yuria. She runs away from Dr Akiba and ends up living with a boy called Shunsuke, for unexplained reasons that the manga avoids examining. Shunsuke has a long-distance fiancee called Maria and is determined not to be unfaithful to her. Whenever Yuria's done something screamingly inappropriate (which is always), he'll body-slam her unconscious for slapstick comedy. (He does pro wrestling. Had Yuria been human, you'd be having Shunsuke arrested.) Despite all this, though, he keeps letting her live in his flat and thinks nothing of behaving like a couple with her in every way that's platonic. He's kind and considerate. He treats her like a girlfriend. They go on dates.
Oi, Shunsuke. Mixed messages or what? Even if Yuria hadn't been falling in sexbot-love with Shunsuke, this is a girl constantly trying to have sex with the boy she's living with... and the boy keeps being ultra-violent with her, then behaving as if nothing's happened and everything's normal.
That's a shipping container's worth of implausibility. I couldn't believe in it... but it's also killingly funny. Yuria eventually realises that she shouldn't be having sex with Shunsuke and is genuinely trying to be good, especially when she realises about Maria. Unfortunately, her brain's inclined to run in inappropriate directions and she never gets a handle on what humans regard as acceptable behaviour.
Then we have the other sexbots.
Juria Type 105 ends up with a seventeen-year-old boy called Yoshio. Sexbots are strictly 18-rated, so Juria knows he's off-limits. Furthermore, Yoshio lives with his mother, who has a habit of walking into his room and NO NO NO NO, KILL ME NOW. I'm amazed that she didn't die of accumulated shock, frankly. (She does get hospitalised for stress in one chapter, though, which isn't surprising.)
Yurin Type 108 is a child. Yes, that's right. Maybe ten or eleven years old, physically. Yeah, she's really a robot and her apparent age is as meaningful as a toaster's, but even so. Welcome to "ban this book" territory. This can be terrifyingly funny... but with the emphasis on "terrifying".
She finds human playmates her own age. For sanity's sake, let's stop discussing Yurin.
Lucy Mark II is an American model. Someone makes the catastrophic decision to employ her as a squeaky clean idol, in which capacity she mustn't attract even a breath of scandal.
Louie Mark 3.5 is only female from the waist up. (S)he ends up living with Kaoru, who's chaste and yet one of this manga's sleaziest characters. Kaoru's a Boys Love fanatic. She has no sexuality that involves herself, having replaced it with burning-eyed fantasies about men doing it together. Kaoru and Louie arguably have a better and more natural relationship than anyone else in the manga, since sex is off the table and they can just hang out. Kaoru will think nothing of seeing Louie's manhood protruding mightily from his/her shorts, for instance. I was disappointed that they never became a couple, but that had been wishful thinking on my part since that wouldn't have fitted either character's preferences.
Put all this together and the results are explosive. People having sex isn't inherently funny. This lot genuinely trying to be well-behaved, though... good grief. Charmingly, the girls soon stop seeing each other as rivals and will happily hang out together and even ask each other for advice. THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA. The only thing more misguided than the thought processes of a sexbot is the combined brainpower of three of them.
One of the manga's more amusing features, incidentally, is regular extracts from the sexbots' user manuals.
There's a 2009 live-action movie adaptation. A polite word for it might be "obscure". (Guess what kind of films its star and director normally make. The trailer makes it look painful.)
This manga is brilliant. I'm not exaggerating. It killed me. I'd regularly be picking my own corpse up off the floor. To put it mildly, sex comedies don't usually go this far. (Not only does Yoshio have sex with a cup of ramen, but the chapter in question even gives diagrams and instructions on how to do it yourself.) However, it's also capable of deeper emotional moments, e.g. the girls seeing themselves as merchandise and expecting to be recycled. I found myself liking the characters and wanting everything to work out for them, which is something of a miracle.
However, it can also be wipe-your-hard-drive terrifying.