Iwatobineko’s science fiction manga series, The Country Without Humans, is an interesting read. The story is both exciting and rather melancholy, as the main characters struggle to discover what happened to all of the humans in a technologically advanced society full of robots that once served them.
A girl wakes up in a strange place with no memories, other than that her name is Shii. When scary looking robots with triangle-shaped heads start chasing her, Shii runs. She finds herself in a city that seems to be entirely populated by robots called golems. These golems carry out various jobs that seem to imply that they once served humans, but there are no other humans anywhere in the city. Most of the golems ignore Shii – which unfortunately means she has no one to turn to for help as she tries to evade her pursuers.
Then, a large golem named Bulb steps in and helps Shii hide, even going so far as to defend her when a triangle head tries to grab her. Now that Shii has a friend to help her, she’s starting to feel more hopeful, but she still can’t remember how she came to this city or why there don’t seem to be any other people around. Can she and Bulb find the answers to these mysteries? Or will the unrelenting triangle-headed golems find them first?!
The Country Without Humans starts off with a bang!
A frightened young girl dashes through an alien-looking city that’s populated entirely by inhuman machines. She dodges this way and that as she tries to escape a menacing-looking pursuer. Just when it looks like she’s going to be caught, one of those strange robots steps in to help. It’s an exciting way to open a series and I was immediately drawn in.
After he helps her, Shii latches onto Bulb immediately and starts following him around like an adorable duckling.
Shii has no idea where she is or why she’s being chased, and she’s completely at a loss as to why there would be no other humans in this city which was so clearly designed to cater to them. All of the golems have jobs, many of which seem to revolve around creating or selling products for humans, and they are continuing to carry out these tasks, despite the fact that no one is around to enjoy the fruits of their labours. There’s a sad emptiness to their actions and to the city as a whole. Things are carrying on smoothly without humans, but there is no purpose to anything that’s being done anymore. Like the soul is gone but the body is still going about its day.
Bulb also has lost his purpose, as he was designed to serve and protect a specific human. Now that this human is gone, he has no function and had been programmed to terminate himself – but then Shii shows up.
As Shii is a human who is clearly in great distress, Bulb is able to circumvent his self-termination programming so that he can devote himself to helping her. After what seems to have been many years without any humans to serve, he is finally able to accomplish what he was made to do!
Unfortunately, Shii and Bulb are in a city filled with golems who are also desperate to serve. Other golems try to kidnap Shii and a sketchy social-use golem named Teefa worms his way into their group as soon as he sees Shii’s a real human. This keeps things exciting, as you never know if the other golems in the city can be trusted to help or if they want to use Shii for their own purposes, but it also emphasizes the sad state of this lonely city.
This manga has plenty of mystery and no shortage of action, but at its heart this is a melancholy story about a civilization that’s collapsed and left behind only structures and ghosts. Shii is going to have to find answers as to what exactly happened to the humans in order to discover her identity and why she’s being hunted, but I don’t imagine that it will be a happy tale. It’s possible that Shii will even regret finding out the truth when she finally learns everything. I’ll have to keep reading to find out!
The Country Without Humans offers an intriguing enigma at the heart of a story that can be both poignant and thrilling. It’s also a manga that has it’s cute moments, as Shii is a sweet girl who quickly becomes very attached to Bulb and wants to be good friends with him. I’m hoping that some kind of happy ending is waiting for her and I’m looking forward to reading more. I’d recommend this sci-fi manga to anyone who loves a good mystery with an edge of tragedy, and also some exciting robot fights!
Final Score: 8 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Seven Seas Entertainment’s website.
What did you think of this manga? Any theories regarding what happened to the citizens of the city? Let me know in the comments!
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This almost sounds like a pre-qual to the anime Somali and the Forest Spirit! Though it was kind of sad, I really loved that series and I can’t wait to read something like a pre-qual. Thanks for the tip! I didn’t even know this manga was out there.
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It does have a bit of a similar vibe to Somali and the Forest Spirit. If you liked that anime you’ll probably enjoy this series too.
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I had the same thought!
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