A review of “Future Delivery: Small Asimov and Green Thing Left Behind”

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So on Saturday I made the trek to Koriyama to help a friend celebrate her birthday. While she and our other female group members when to get some relaxing back massages or some silliness I walked over to the station and went to Animate to see if I could pick up some Vocaloid things without ordering them off Amazon to kill some time. I found and bought the new Vocaloid-theme SF manga未来デリバリー ちいさなアシモフと緑の忘れ物 (Future Delivery: Small Asimov and Green Thing Left Behind) as well as two of the more recent Utata-P/wogura/toriihitsuji novels and a Kagerou Project mug. Since this manga can be bought on Amazon and people might be interested in it, I just wanted to write a short summary (no major spoilers), review, and my opinions on it.

Some summary and my thoughts here:

Basically our main character Asumi is a young girl lost on a certain planet who lacks memories, not even knowing her name. All she remembers is that she is looking for a person from her brief, flickering recollections of the past which looks vaguely like a certain green-haired virtual idol we all know. On this planet she meets another loner, an older, worn-down, but earnest robot named Asimov who is carrying on the delivery work of his beloved master who has passed on. When he meets Asumi (not yet named Asumi at this point), she asks him to take her to the person from her memories, only providing Asimov with a single hand-drawn sketch of who she is looking for. Never the less Asimov agrees to take on the job and even gives her her new name.

A few samples, first is an opening scene from the story where Asimov promises to “deliver” Asumi to the one she is looking for.

A few samples, first is an opening scene from the story where Asimov promises to “deliver” Asumi to the one she is looking for.

Together they begin to travel across the galaxy, searching for the “Miku” from Asumi’s memories. Each chapter of the manga is set on a different planet with a different setting and/or culture. As they travel along they begin to meet many people who share a very intriguing resemblance to the girl Asumi is looking for. Though none of them turn out to be the one they seek (the phrase 人違い、”mistaken identity”” is one you will master when reading this), during each encounter we are given a glimpse into the different lives of each “Miku” and in most cases Asumi and Asimov wind up getting entangled with them somehow and sharing in their adventures and lives for a while. While Asumi is busy looking for the one from her past, it is kind of heartwarming how during their meetings with the Mikus, Asumi and Asimov’s persistence and kind hearts often lead to them helping the Mikus in some way and changing things for the better.

The first Miku we meet. A young girl entering a singing contest who also happens to be searching for her long-lost, beloved mother.

The first Miku we meet. A young girl entering a singing contest who also happens to be searching for her long-lost, beloved mother.

As mentioned in the comments on the pictures, the Mikus from the story have a diverse set of backgrounds: one is an aspiring idol in a futuristic metropolis, another is a serious scientist working towards a medical breakthrough, next we meet a Miku from an advanced civilization who married the prince from a medieval, low-technology planet and became a princess through an arranged (but happy) marriage and eventually a righteous knight. Finally we meet a more hippy-ish, otaku-looking Miku who is an aspiring manga artist trying to sell her works at “Cosmic Market” while admiring her personal idol, the famous mangaka Lukaluka-sensei.

Miku #2, a smart, scientific-minded girl working to save her brother.

Miku #2, a smart, scientific-minded girl working to save her brother.

All is not fun and games however, and during the course of the story we see that a mysterious boy known only as フオル is given the task of hunting down Asumi for reasons unknown. His background quest to find the traveling pair of robot and cute girl eventually leads to a big reveal at the end of the first volume which will likely play a big part in unraveling the mystery of Asumi’s past and the person she is searching for…

In Miku #2’s flashback we see her and her two very familiar looking siblings…

In Miku #2’s flashback we see her and her two very familiar looking siblings…

Unfortunately depending on your Japanese level, it will be a bit difficult because there is no furigana. However the language level is not daunting. Using my own Japanese level as an example, I had to maybe look up 2 or 3 works per chapter, mostly due to not being able to read a kanji compound or two, and maybe a few more during the medieval chapter where they were using some “old style” speech and fancier language. (I’ll tell you one word I didn’t need to look up, and that was 宣戦布告 (declaration of war), thanks to a certain Honeyworks song I translated recently). But even with having to look up a few things, I still finished the book during the 40ish minute train ride from Koriyama to Fukushima City last night. Even if you are a bit of a beginner, if you are dedicated, and know how to look up characters easily, you can probably get through it yourself.

Miku #3, on a world with no modern technology this Miku is both a princess and a heroic rogue knight fighting for peace and reconciliation.

Miku #3, on a world with no modern technology this Miku is both a princess and a heroic rogue knight fighting for peace and reconciliation.

I don’t know when or if an English translation is coming, but perhaps if the opportunity presents itself and no English version looks to be in the words, then some anonymous person on some anonymous place completely unrelated to me might help people with that.

Miku No. 4 an aspiring manga artist hoping to sell her works at “Cosmic Market”. Here we also meet “Lukaluka” a famous mangaka and one of several Luka iterations in the series.

Miku No. 4 an aspiring manga artist hoping to sell her works at “Cosmic Market”. Here we also meet “Lukaluka” a famous mangaka and one of several Luka iterations in the series.

I don’t really know what I am basing these numbers on lol, but in my personal opinion:

Story: 8 (The concept is great, the universe is interesting, but for such a great sci-fi setting it really is more of just a personal drama and the sci-fi doesn’t come into play much at all. It’s always there but not a used in the actual developments often)

Art: 9 (The art is beautiful, cute, and very clean.)

Japanese difficulty: 6 (you have to know Japanese to some extent obviously, but the language is generally gentle, the story easy to follow, and the only thing keeping it from being a 5 or less is the lack of furigana that means you have to look up everything you don’t know from the kanji rather than the reading)

But definitely a solid BUY IT from me. This was a fun read and I can’t wait for the next one!

So as for the other things I picked up:

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A cool looking silhouette style Kagerou Project mug and,

new 55Some of the recent novels from Utata-P/wogura/torihitsuji. With all the other things I’m reading and doing I’ve only been able to read about 70% of the first book in the series, and I’m probably gonna keep slacking off cause I really want to read “An Earnest Unrequited Love…”. I read the first few pages on the 2nd leg of my ride home last night and in places it’s as messed up as I was hoping for. The references to whipping up some drug cocktails starts on page one ftw. It also looks like we get to meet a psychotic looking senpai character who might or might not be the one who teachers Mayu all of her deranged tricks.

I do like the hattips to small details from the song. The very first page of the novel has Mayu admiring Nijou-kun(the boy not named in the song)’s bangs as she ominously stands above him. Something that might make you recall a certain line from the lyrics…

The newest part of the Happiness Series can basically be translated roughly as “It’s Summer! It’s the ocean! It’s a bomb!” heh heh

Look for more later this week and if I can ever find I big block of time I’ll do that detailed review of the Snow festival for those who might want to work it into their travel plans at some point.

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