---------- Post added August 24, 2013 at 10:24 PM ---------- Previous post was August 20, 2013 at 05:36 PM ----------
About Vol 10
The reading just let me a feeling of the passage of time in Caffe Alpha.
In chapter 89 when Takahiro hugs Alpha, he says to her what she said to him back on chapter 6 when she hugged him.
Waiting for more revelations...
---------- Post added August 29, 2013 at 06:14 PM ---------- Previous post was August 24, 2013 at 10:24 PM ----------
My notes on Vol 11
Good bye?Alpha is left alone… Chapter 104 is the good bye of the Tarpon and Director Alpha. Chapters 102, 103 and 107 are the good bye of Kokone, Chapter 110 is a prelude to the good bye of Makki, and Chapters 105 and 109 are the good bye of Takahiro, the saddest one of all good byes. From the old friends around the coffee only remain Sensei, Ojisan. I'm wondering why all those friends are going away, and I can feel the end of a lovely story.
The relationships between Alpha, Kokone and Maruko seems to arrive to a point of concretion. Love at distance is never love, and Kokone and Maruko’s proximity has favour their relationship against Kokone’s wish to be and to live with Alpha. We can see how Kokone feels a bit uncomfortable in their visit to her platonic beloved. And also, how Maruko tries to push and to search into Kokone’s feelings about Alpha. Maruko ends presenting apologizes to Kokone for a rude talk to Kokone’s former platonic beloved, and also taking up with Alpha. Also in the end, (or up to this volume), Alpha keeps talking to Maruko, but not to Kokone.
Alpha’s way of lifeNow, Maruko questions Alpha way of life, and their talk has been very telling to me. Since, in some sense, the background of the story is certain project to create robots with free-will, and the main story is about Alpha, one of these robots. The, an important question is: what life Alpha choose to live? What tells us that life she has chosen to live? Ch 102 give some keys to an answer: "I’m lucky to have a body that doesn't cost much to feed. … I don’t think that’s something I need to worry about all the time. I’ll leave it at that". Those are pretty revelling words. Alpha is different from the common regular robots. They all seems to be worried about work.
Now, in chapter 18, we could read a letter Kokone wrote to Alpha, in which she expressed his worries about behaving human enough, and how she discovers with Alpha that she simply can be herself:
Alpha’s choice of not worring about working as much as others do, is her choice. Alpha doesn’t want to look human: "It’s true that if I weren’t a robot, I probably wouldn’t make enough to live on…." She knows it and it’s her choice to live in a different way. She happily has accept what she is. That should be what Kokone admired in her. That what Alpha taught her.Quote:
Now, that’s a whole topic in Ashinano’s work. Here is also a connection with that kind of a moral dilemma presented by Shirosan in Kabu no Isaki about how to use your time: working or making what you want to do, but also with the meaning of fly or of be free. Isaki works making deliveries with Shirosan’s Cub, and here Shirosan says Isaki her deepest true about the essence of flying that Cup:
"Shirosan: When you fly this cup of mine, the destination and such… they’re of secondary importance, see?
Isaki asnwers: I understand."
It’s the same to Alpha who doesn’t have to worry too much about working, thanks to her design. Using her free-will, she has taken her own choices, and working as much as a human is not one of them, or behaving as a human is not one of them.
Of course about what to use your time, everyone has to provide his/her own truly answer. But Alpha (and Shirosan and Isaki too) is just a beautiful expression of certain wish for a world that is somehow different to our world, a world in which work consumes all our time.
Nature simulates human civilization?Chp 106, those big mushrooms that resemble kids, the trees that resemble lamp-posts, and the squared giant plants that resemble the buildings of the old city… the nature simulates human’s cities… Clearly it gets creepy at night.
---------- Post added at 11:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:14 PM ----------
This manga is to be read slowly. As usual, after posting my notes I read the following vol in a go. Then I wait some days and at the end of the week I read again the same vol once more. Always second reading has been much more delightful and telling. It wouldn't be the same if I read the same vol twice the same day.
Last edited by ukimix; August 29, 2013 at 10:49 PM.
Even though he has done interviews through OVA/radio in 1996 and 1998, it's really hard to find any interviews online by Ashinano-sensei. His Japanese Wikipedia page doesn't say much nor does it have any external links to articles. There's something called "Colour Illustration Technique", which I'm intrigued by since I love how he uses watercolours.
As for the reading we are this week in vol 11, until next Monday.
---------- Post added September 08, 2013 at 06:10 PM ---------- Previous post was August 30, 2013 at 12:29 AM ----------
Ok, I share my notes on Vol 12, tho I feel as alone on this thread as Alpha in her coffee
This is just a lovely chapter. The red earrings, the ribbon, the cups of coffee, the fish weathervane… Those are first Alpha’s decisions, first Alpha’s elements, in her path to define her personality. There is a little help from owner; the earrings, the ribbon, and then Alpha discovers she likes the cups, and the weathervane… and finally, her decision to left the owner and to stay at the coffer. And she talks about what she wants to do…
Owner is really a good father. In this chapter is like if he and us are witnessing the first steps of a little son or daughter. He simply lets her be, and respects Alpha’s choices.
Loneliness is an important concept of this manga. I wonder why. Sensei is the most representative character of it. But, the comparison between Sensei and Alpha is unavoidable, since after having good friends, Alpha is getting as alone as Sensei.
... It’s like if the author would think that given our differences, those differences in what each one chose for each own life, loneliness is a logical result of it. How nostalgic is that concept…
Also, the idea that being alone creates the feeling that you have left something unfinished matches perfectly the idea that when you are truly free, each new path you walk increases the size of your world. That was the very same idea described by Sensei in that chapter about her logo. (Ch 53)
This chapter is just a trully gemstone. It wasn’t a long time ago that Takahiro was there sleeping in the coffee… In present time, Alpha sees how Makki sleeps on the same table, and also she looks her reflex in the window, and cries thinking: "so fast, too fast".
My interpretation is that it's about the pas of time. Or even that childhood is left behind... for humans, not for robots. Misago doesn’t understand it, Alpha understands it and cries...
Likely Alpha cries because time doesn’t pass for her. Like Director Alpha in the Tarpon, she can outlast her friend’s period of life. So when all of them die, she will be there, being the same. That could be why she looks at her in the mirrow and cries: so fast, too fast… That could also explain why loneliness is an important concept in this story. In the end, the robots will be alone, since all their human friends will have died.
Last edited by ukimix; September 20, 2013 at 08:30 PM.
Volume 11 Thoughts
Chapter 101 is the first time (I belive) that Alpha, Kokone and Maruko interacted with each other. Even though I thought Maruko was a bit harsh, I don't blame her because she most likely has had a different life experience than Alpha.
Chapter 104 made me wonder if Alpha will still be where she is six years from now; Takahiro has already decided to move west. Personally I think Alpha will remain where she is while she observes the changes among the people and environment around her.
I got the sense from that the robots have a more attuned sense than humans. The candy was too sweet for Alpha and Maruko whereas Takahiro was fine.
Vol 11 was very revealing to me. In it we can see clearly what Alpha has choose for her life (mainly in her interaction with Maruko and in her answer about his big question about her way of life). Since the whole story is about Alpha's decision and about what she has done with her free-will capability, that conversation, the whole volume and the next vol 12 are making perfect sense to me of the whole plot.
In some sense, I found Alpha much more (how to say it) mature or much more satisfied with her way of life than Kokone, Maruko or even Director Alpha (the one in the Tarpon). That's funny because she's a previous model of all of them. Possibly only Misago (the first model) seems to be as satisfied as Alpha...
I'm glad that we're finally going to see what Alpha decides for herself and her future. She doesn't age so she won't experience the same life milestones as Takahiro has as he's growing into an adult. Maruko brought up a point about how Alpha doesn't have to worry about sustaining herself with food, and it seems as if they don't have to face death as humans do. Since they're "immortal", I think the purpose to the robots is to determine what life means for them.Quote:
I agree. Even though she's the previous model, she's content with living in the present. She doesn't think about the past (as Kokone did during her research) nor does she think about the future (which Maruko questioned her about). Alpha is happy as long as the people around her are happy.
---------- Post added September 19, 2013 at 08:09 PM ---------- Previous post was September 11, 2013 at 10:15 PM ----------
On the series as a whole, I love how a story about robots could be so natural and low tech. Usually when robots come to mind, they're associated with large cities, cyberpunk, flying cars, the Internet, etc. None of those elements present, which makes Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou a refreshing change.
I just ended it now....
I didn't know or image that a manga could be able to make me feel so much things and emotions. I still can feel all the warm feelings in the air or my study... and how these lovely drawings and words touch my face, and my heart... Thanks to all of you for sharing those nice moments you shared and for make possible for me to share my experience...
Possibly I'll write later. Now I'm only smells, sensations, sights, feelings
To me the central concept if the free-will. There is a project to create robots with free will; and the main plot is about how some few of these robots manage their live, and take their decisions making us of their free-will.
So we have there Alpha, Kokone, Misago, Maruko and Director Alpha (the one aboard the Tarpon in the sky). On the conceptual side it's quite interesting because it's like Alpha is out of our contemporary time and habits. During most of the time we saw them, Kokone and Maruko chose a different way. They chose a human modern way of life, work, hurries, meeting people in the middle of big cities. But in the end they seem to be happier with a simpler way of life, more rural, less urban. But that was Alpha's choice from the beginning. Alpha chose a life of sensations, and what she makes most of the time and in most of the panels is just that: to feel the world around her. (Not to talk about Misago, who is happy living as a happy beast in the middle of wild nature.)
I'm still amazed by the contrast with our ways of life nowadays, with all that speed, all that work, all that amount of images and sounds. Pretty much the contrary than what she made of her life. (I wonder if all of it doesn't have to do something with Japanese Zen).
But the manga is a masterpiece not because of its simple and very touching plot, but mainly because of its narrative. When I read it I was like captivated by a spell; I mean, now I can sum up the whole plot in some few lines; but when I was reading is like if I were living there, in that shore, in that bay, with those people... I remember how I was sad when Alpha cried seeing how fast her human friends age and leave her behind fast. I wrote about it, and it could be some kind of gooey posts, but... Ey! sure I was there.
Last edited by ukimix; October 05, 2013 at 09:03 PM.