Odette Yoshizawa can be best described by her classmate’s reaction: “She looks like a doll.” In one sense, Odette is very beautiful. However, in another sense, she literally looks like a doll. This is because she is an android.
Created by the renown Professor Yoshizawa, Odette is the closest thing machines have ever become to humans. She can express all human behaviors and movements, is intelligent, and has great physical prowess. To an untrained eye she is the perfect human. But there is something that Odette is missing. To find out what is different between her and human girls she convinces the Professor to let her go to school. In school she makes friends, develops a sense of right and wrong, learns about human society, and slowly becomes more like a human.
As an outsider to society, Odette has a refreshingly naive and innocent view on the world. This is not a story of self-learning and realization for just Odette. No. This is a story that questions what makes humans human and what is really different between humans and machines. As one human character remarks, “If she is a robot what am I?” Perhaps what makes Odette human is that she doesn’t hide beside masks and fake personalities. At least, that is what some characters end up thinking.
(Above: An example of the humor present in Karakuri Odette)
The rapid development of emotions in Odette makes her an interesting character. However, sometimes she simply doesn’t know what to do with her emotions. Conversely, Chris, her “cousin”, who is also an android, doesn’t have emotions. Although he slowly develops emotions, he is still doll-like for the entire series. It takes him multiple chapters to finally make a choice for himself. He decides he Odette and hates Asao Kurose, a friend of Odette.
As a slice of life, this manga follows the every day school life of Odette and eventually follows Chris too. However, this manga also incorporates humor and romance. I find the humor witty and chuckle-inducing. The romance aspects of this manga are unique as most of the romance present in the series does not include the protagonist. It is heart wrenching to see how hard Odette tries to love but can’t. Although she can feel a range of other emotions, love is the one she has the most trouble with. Is this what separates robots from humans? The ability to love?
GO Rating: 4/5