A.I. Love You (Volume 1) Manga | My Reviews 28 FEB 2009

AI Love YouBehind every great man is a great artificial intelligence.

Hitoshi Kobe is a poor student, a bad athlete and may be the unluckiest man alive… though he does have a knack for creating Artificial Intelligences. Number Thirty is Hitoshi’s favorite A.I. And the only girl he can talk to. If a freak accident can turn Thirty into a real girl, can Thirty turn Hitoshi into a real man?

A bit of a geek, a bit of a loser, Hitoshi Kobe doesn’t exactly have all that much going for him, apart from his skill behind a computer keyboard. Creating artificial intelligences is his passion and he is surprisingly good at it… though even he didn’t realise just how good that actually is!

A freak electrical mishap and his favourite A.I. out of them all comes to life and the relationship they shared in the digital world now spills over to the real world – and often with the most comedic of results! The time is now to learn and teach about life, love and all the good things in life…

Thus starts the very unconventional pairing of a girl who talks to machines and who shouldn’t even exist in this world and a boy who already struggles to interact with society but who now has to learn how to deal with a woman – even if she isn’t quite so real to the rest of us.

Most manga fans by now would have heard the name Ken Akamatsu, the man behind the hugely popular Love Hina franchise and now more recently the Negima! phenomenon, but most people haven’t really come into contact with his earlier work, work done before Western fame struck him as hard as it did. A.I. Love You is one of his best known earlier works and thanks to Tokyopop, a whole new generation can get to grip with the output that started it all.

First off, it must be said that A.I. Love You has most certainly NOT dated well at all, in the most part thanks to the rapid advance in computer technology that we have experienced over the last couple of years. To read this book you have to pretend you know nothing of computers or even the technical world for that matter, that’s how bad it seriously is.

However, that said, stripping the technology out of the equation leaves us with a fairly bog standard young romance comedy scenario about a unexperienced, naiïve boy and his interactions with a beautiful, willing girl. The writing isn’t particularly clever and the humour and situations quite often come off more forced than natural, making A.I. Love You quite the chore to read through at times. The drama is a little overdone at times as well and while the book will have you giggling every now and then, the lack of a fun flow really pulls the story down just that little.

It’s not bad per say, but it certainly isn’t particularly good which means that average seems about the best way to describe both the story and writing ability on this one then.

Artistically, it is very interesting to see where Akamatsu was before he developed his cute, ultra effective style that won him over so many fans for Love Hina, and although A.I. Love You doesn’t look overly bad, one can see that this is very much Akamatsu’s earlier, more unrefined work. There is however certainly a lot of good background detail stuffed into his panels and the trademark, little bit on the naughty side, female form outlines for which he is so famous for makes a strong appearance as well.

Overall, A.I. Love You is certainly nothing special and can quite comfortably be skipped by the more discerning manga readers out there, but if you are a big fan of Akamatsu then this is a very good peek into what the man was doing before he reached his current point of expertise – and that in itself makes A.I. Love You worth looking into then.

(But remember. Pretend you know nothing about computers at all. Seriously. I mean it!)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.I._Love_You

About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.