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Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou follows the life of an android named Alpha. Although she looks like an ordinary woman, she’s actually an android who runs a small-town cafe. The story follows her daily endeavors and the friends she makes along the way. And although this may seem like your typical slice-of-life anime, something sets it apart. It takes place in a near-apocalyptic world where androids are commonplace and modern-day Japan is a thing of the past.
This sci-fi manga by Hitoshi Ashinano is unlike any other. Not only does it deal with a mysterious near-dystopian setting, but it balances it out with a slice-of-life perspective. It was intriguing to learn bits and pieces of the world along with Alpha’s story.
The manga never had an English translation after its initial run ended in 2006. But as of August 2022, volumes 1-5 are now available in English as a deluxe omnibus.
The subtle sci-fi elements and slowly paced, feel-good atmosphere is what make Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou so appealing. The characters mention here and there that the world has changed. You don’t get a lot of context to this or what it entails, but you slowly gain a better understanding of what is happening. This keeps the reader’s interest piqued, as many questions pull you further along into the plot. All while still enjoying its cozy side.
Although the manga is set in a near-apocalyptic time, it doesn’t have a dreary feel to it. This gives the story a spin on what could have been a dystopian tale. It’s as if, as the end approaches, those living in this futuristic era are savoring every moment and living in peace. “A quiet cup of coffee as the world winds down,” as the manga puts it.
Overall, I really enjoyed Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou and am interested in reading more volumes and finding out what happens next in Alpha’s story.
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: Deluxe Edition, Vol. 1 is available now on Amazon.
Four more volume releases are planned to complete the English translation of all 140 chapters. Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: Deluxe Edition Vol. 2 comes out on May 23, 2023.
Synopsis: In a future Japan, long after an environmental catastrophe, Alpha the android runs a small cafe in a seaside town. As she wonders if her absent owner will ever return, she stands witness to the twilight of humanity with coffee, a slice of watermelon, and the sound of her moon guitar. Alpha and her neighbors enjoy the melancholy beauty of life, even as the end approaches.
Disclaimer: There is mild nudity in this manga, so it is recommended for older readers and not children. It is in the seinen demographic.