Title: HOTEL Genres: Seinen, Sci-fi, Drama, Tragedy Author/Artist: Boichi (Sun-Ken Rock, Present, Diadem, Lovers In Winter) Publication: Morning Magazine Start Date: 2006 End Date: 2006 Number of chapters at review: One Shot Number of chapters read by reviewer: One Shot - Read
Hotel brings us into two worlds. One is a world where humanity is on the brink of destruction, caused by their own hands. A world where everything is only a step from total annihilation. The twist turns more when they realized that there is nothing stopping the mother nature to cast its wrath upon all life. As they're facing the calamity and devised a project called "Ark", as the last mean of survival, one man came forward with a plan for salvation on earth. But not a salvation for survival, but as a symbolic stand, to bear the responsibilities upon humanity own sins. It is named "Hotel".
The second part of the story brings us slowly into the future. It's nothing short from an epic struggle of an advanced AI system, protecting Hotel from the wrath of the violent earth for 27 million years since the end of the first part. A noble struggle of a machine to protect the little flick of fire in a storm, the what is left as hope for all life which once walked on the face of the earth.
After 27 million years, is there still a hope for humanity?
Despite being a one shot, Boichi really did an excellent job capturing the moments and the feelings throughout the 42 pages. A title full of emotions, and it brings us closer to remind ourselves, what values do we have to offer for ourselves and the things around us. It reminds us of what a life is - a struggle for the things we're responsible for. And yes, you'll find the names of the characters sound familiar indeed, including the "insert song".
Art Rating: 9/10
Hotel represents a beautiful art indeed. The drawings are not just drawings. They really captured the emotions in the panels, with brilliant flashes of events connecting the story together. My rating is just not representing the technical aspects of the art, but also how the drawings being put together to bring life into the story.
Granted, on face value, some might say the art is not as great to bear the rating of 9 from me, but really, the art is not just as simple as drawings of faces and buildings. The art serves as the link between the story to the eyes. The art on every page dictates us slowly into Louis' world (and the world prior to his), making us feel the in depth story.
Plot Rating: 9/10
The plot is arranged properly, without any confusing twists. The story itself, started with a straight highlight of the calamity faced by humanity. From there, the story brings us closer and closer to what the fear is. It's the end of part one at this point.
A few "connector pages" featuring a real life song as "insert", connects the two parts of the story. From here on, it's a total story of what might be the longest struggle in any manga I've ever read. The plot shifted from one part to the other fluently, without leaving anything behind.
If I may say, it's one of the better plot I've read. The plot is not just telling us the story, but also able to make us think "Will it happen someday?"
Character Rating: 8/10
If I have to name the least thing I like about the story, it's in fact in this category. While the characters themselves are well made and bring meaning and life into the story, I personally not really fond of the real life reference here. But not as in lifestyle or anything, just the names.
One of the main attraction (in terms of characters) in the story, is the main character of the story. The main character itself is a self sustaining AI, made to protect the mission of humanity. While being a computer system, it's interesting to see that his memories always revolved around human, and it even evolves itself throughout time until the end.
Theme Rating: 8.5/10
Hotel brings us the nature theme throughout the story as the staple background of the story. It revolves around how far had human pulled the trigger on mother nature, that a cataclysmic future is unavoidable. It's one of the things you would say "You spelled your own doom". While it may not be the only manga that presents us with nature theme, the story here shows us what might have been if we stepped that far.
However, that's only the visible theme.
The message brought by this manga, is related to everyone. The message of striving the hardship and never give up. It shows us an epic struggle to fulfill a task, a responsibility that is given upon us. Despite the story is brought through the eyes (not really it has real eyes) of a machine, Louis shows us to never give up in life. That's the message underneath the images you see and the texts you read in this one shot.
Originality Rating: 8.5/10
While not being the first to bring out either "versus nature" story or "going into the future theme", but the elements are well put together, making such normal base themes a splendid story, grasping every detail into it.
However, the little minus is here probably the design of the robotics being at the end. I'm pretty sure I saw something similar somewhere, but hey, it's really unnoticed. Unless you're reading to look for "faults" or anything.
"May redemption be our salvation"
To wrap up things, Hotel is one of the must read one shots out there, seriously. The story builds up perfectly, the emotions shown are great and the message intended to be sent together with the story is well reached. In a glance, there's nothing eye catching or spectacular, but once you read, try to get into the story, feel the story and reflect on the turns of events.
If I would summarize it in a word, I would choose "beautiful" as the word. Overall Rating: 9/10
I've read HOTEL a while ago, and it's the ONLY one-shot manga I haven't deleted after reading.
Despite being an AI, the main character get the reader to sympathise with him...and it's a really exceptional feeling.
I'm sorry, I intended to write a LOT in this post, but I can't put my feelings towards this manga into words. All I can say is that these 42 pages will not make you regret for time it took you to read them. It's worth it.