Robo Sapiens: Tales of Tomorrow
Creator: Toranosuke Shimada (writer/artist)
Publisher: Seven Seas Release Date: December 7, 2021
Format: Paperback Omnibus Pages: 304 Price (US): $19.95
In the future, robots are more than machines. Autonomous “cyber-persons” with A.I. brains are now part of society, interacting with humans while developing their own culture. In fact, they may be surpassing humans, as biological homo sapiens have begun to die out and give way to robo sapiens. But are humans truly disappearing, or are robots becoming the newest form of humanity? This millennia-spanning, speculative fiction manga of interconnected stories, both human and robotic, was awarded the Division Grand Prize at the 2020 Japan Media Arts Festival and was nominated for a 2022 Eisner Award.
Robo Sapiens is a treasure waiting to be picked up from your local retailer, right now.
As this is sequential art story of stories with heart, and a philosophical odyssey on a sort of second voyage of humanity through automations, evolving and learning. It’s also an imported manga from left to right, yet resistant to the usual norms of most modern manga. There’s a black and white art style all it’s own with storytelling mood that’s more classic and nuanced towards indie sections of comic stores.
The story itself is a wonderous retelling of what makes us human, through artificial constructs that mimicked humanity, replacing their human masters in more ways then one. The time stretches far beyond, giving this a long series of connected fables, observing that artificial intelligence is evolved, into something natural. Many stories have samples of few words telling of commitment, understanding, challenge.
There are heartfelt moments in various chapters, that feel almost like fables. Action and reaction, with heart. One of my favorite little stories is of a robot, learning and observing, experiencing. That gains acceptance…
This is something I deeply appreciate. It’s very show, don’t tell in the approach of storytelling. Robo Sapiens is smart and clever but no need to be pretentious (though some will pass it off as such). There is a long form of storytelling, given that robots are replacing humans in our present, future, and where the human connection will take the generation of robots to their destiny. I love the chapter breaks giving a different times and perspectives, showing often the best in humanity towards a more optimistic view of robotic A.I. independence, as the result of its relations to the better part of us.
The art throughout is beautiful, The visuals are almost minimalist with less words, giving a balance of space, hard inks, often simplistic in style. I am an instant fan of Toranosuke Shimada, through this mastery of blacks and white, mixed with thoughtful shapes and perspectives.
So, that’s what I love about Robo Sapiens: Tales of Tomorrow. For its price, there are plenty of pages of thoughtful content, bonded well with a high quality cover. It’s worthwhile of your time, and to keep and perhaps pass on through another millennia as a timeless classic for our robot ancestors to also enjoy.