Welcome back to Manga Talk!
Today we are talking about, at least from what I can tell, a relatively new manga series that was released in August of 2019 with the first translated volume of the manga coming out in September of 2021.
So something that is fairly new in the grand scheme of things, but it touches on a topic that has been talked about for many years.
Today we are deliberating if robots can feel love with the first volume of My Wife Has No Emotion. Be warned that there will be MASSIVE SPOILERS for the first volume, so please read it if you are interested.
Let’s get started!
Takuma is a salaryman who managed to get his own place three years ago, but because of how busy he was at work, he decided that he needed help taking care of his place.
So what he ended up doing was buying a domestic robot called Mina.
While she is a secondhand robot, she still manages to cook and clean just fine. Takuma appreciates the fact that he gets a good meal and jokingly asks Mina if she wants to be his wife.
When the dinner of omelet rice is served, there is a message that says “Love Takuma” on it. This is enough to cause some concern from Takuma, who looks at the instruction manual to see what could be the potential issue.
This causes Takuma to panic and try to help Mina in cooking in cleaning, only to be told by Mina that she is much more capable at accomplishing those tasks. During the evening Mina asks Takuma what he likes, because he did so earlier, and he responds that he likes her.
After a nightmare of Mina serving her head to Takuma, he wakes up and makes sure that Mina knows to not serve her as food, which she reassures that she will not.
Takuma drinks as he tries to figure out if Mina actually feels anything for him and he gets drunk. He asks Mina what he is to her, and she states that he is her husband and if she should reassess the situation, to which Takuma says to not.
After attempting to sleep in the same bed, Takuma mentions that Mina’s staring eyes scared him, so she closes them and the brief topic of alcohol poisoning and arousal is brought up.
In the morning, Takuma realizes what he did and as Mina serves him breakfast, he sees that Mina’s eyes are squinting when she looks at him.
Takuma reassures her that the only reason why her eyes scared him was more of a sense of him finding her beautiful and not that he was actually scared. Mina opens her eyes and Takuma thanks her for breakfast.
During the weekend, Takuma asks Mina if she would like to go to the park for a picnic, to which Mina appears to show some excitement at this prospect.
This is shown when she brings a massive amount of ingredients to cook a lunch at the picnic. This is undercut by the fact that the park has rules stating that there are no open fires allowed at the park.
While Mina is down about this, Takuma suggest using what ingredients they have to make some cold meals, and when it is revealed that Mina’s stomach can function as a refrigerator and oven, Mina begins to make hot spring eggs.
Mina let’s her hair down, which surprises Takuma, but this is done so Mina’s solar panels are acting at full capacity.
After some odd noises coming from Mina as she cooks the eggs, Takuma enjoys the food that was made. As they are packing up, it begins to rain, which cause Takuma some worry.
Mina is lying on the floor in a power saving mode, and tells Takuma that while she is water resistant, she cannot move.
Takuma manages to carry her to a dry spot, and he is feeling spent carrying her heavy body. Mina tells Takuma to leave her there while he goes home, but Takuma does not want to leave her alone.
After an argument, Takuma says that he will leave Mina there and go home, but when Mina goes into sleep mode, he stays the night which does not go unnoticed by MIna.
After being grilled by Mina about lying, Takuma apologizes about doing so and Mina suggests calling the help line about a potential issue.
At the park she noticed that it was going to rain and that her solar panels would not be working at full efficiency and her oven feature would use a lot of power and could have potentially caused Takuma some issues.
She still went with warming the eggs and while making a suggestion about calling customer service, Takuma says to not do so.
When Takuma is talking with a coworker, he realizes that he hasn’t bought a ring for Mina, and gives her a ring, which immediately sets off a hygienic alert.
This is rectified when she places the ring on a chain and wears it as a necklace. She stares at the ring for a while, and when Takuma is out getting some salt from the store, Takuma’s phone goes off.
Mina answers the phone, which is Takuma’s sister Akari, and when Mina mentions that she and Takuma are unofficially married Akari says that she is coming to visit.
While Takuma briefly considers hiding Mina, he decides that he doesn’t want to hide the fact that he loves Mina.
When Akari does come to visit, it is revealed that she has a fetish for interspecies love, and has Takuma leave so she can ask Mina some nitty gritty questions about their relationship.
After going through some failed psychology tests to test Mina, Akari does manage to get some insight from Mina and determines that while she may not no it, Mina does have some feelings towards Takuma.
Mina asks if Akari has a memory card, which she does have and Mina uses it to create a back up of herself.
Mina asks Akari to keep it safe, just in case anything were to happen to her. Akari gives Mina some perfume and makes a promise to go shopping with Mina some time in the future.
When Takuma returns, he is entranced by the perfume and Mina starts asking questions about his birthday, which is coming up soon. It is also revealed that Mina is able to text with Akari, and that the two are also having a conversation.
Takuma asks Mina when her birthday is, and since she wasn’t technically born, they use her manufacturing date which seems to prove satisfactory for Mina.
One day when Takuma comes back from work, he sees that Akari bought Mina a bunch of new clothes and when he asks Akari about it she apologizes for prying so much about their relationship.
Takuma doesn’t mind, and in fact he appreciates Akari helping Mina. After experimenting with bathing with each other, Takuma then goes about teaching Mina how to hug.
It takes a lot of work and death grips, but she manages to get it right eventually.
After Mina gets jealous at the microwave and Takuma dealing with that fallout, his birthday finally arrives.
When Takuma gets home, he sees Mina in pieces on the floor, which reasonably freaks him out. Mina is fine, but she read online that it is customary for there to be surprises on birthdays and planned accordingly.
She then does some more research on the spot and realizes that she didn’t make a cake, and does so while still contemplating on what gift to give Takuma.
He asks for something simple, a warm towel while he lays in her lap, saying that it is the best present ever while he falls asleep.
The volume ends with Mina feeling Takuma’s face for a bit before her hand rests on his chest, feeling his heartbeat (well the manga does have some 4-koma stuff, but that isn’t really relevant.)
I think that exploring the topic of robots and emotions, while not a new subject in media, is one that I have usually enjoyed.
This is no exception and I feel that it was done well enough for me to enjoy it.
Mina being almost completely deadpan sells the comedic moments, but the one moment that stands out for me is when Takuma is drunk.
He asks for more beer while completely sloshed, and while she does find more beer in the fridge, she crushes the cans over the sink and declares that there is no more beer left.
Now this is open enough to interpretation for her as a robot looking out for the wellbeing of her owner or her showing that she cares about Takuma’s wellbeing on a different level.
It’s subtle and I might be looking too deeply into it, but I do think that it is an interesting point of debate.
In fact I would say that Mina does a lot of carrying in this manga.
Her deadpan responses are great and her, seemingly, getting excited over going to the park and her wedding ring make it seem like there is a lot more going on than what we see.
While Takuma isn’t my favorite character, I will say that he does have some good moments about him, namely asking consistently how Mina feels about the whole thing.
It’s a small thing, but it does show that Takuma does see Mina as more than a machine, even if her responses tend to err on the more pragmatic and logical side than the emotional and loving side.
The art isn’t anything spectacular, but it does expressions very well, and for a slice of life manga dealing with a seemingly emotionless robot, even subtle expressions can convey a lot of meaning.
It also does really well with the robot body horror being funny and creepy at the same time.
While I found the emotionless robot the most interesting character, the main character of Takuma does a lot to make me not like him, or rather he doesn’t do much to make me like him.
He is very much, in my opinion, acting like an audience surrogate character. While he does consider Mina as more than a machine, that is really the only thing interesting about him.
Takuma consistently doting on Mina became annoying and boring after a while, which made me take much longer to read this manga than the previous manga I’ve talked about.
The fact that it took me three days to want to finish the second half of the volume shows how dull I found the first half. While there was more to like about the second half of the volume, there was also my biggest issue with the manga.
Takuma’s sister Akari feels almost ancillary to the story, only acting as a potential important character with her having Mina’s backup memory in case anything goes wrong and helping Mina understand more human stuff.
Other than that, she is annoying with her story convenient fetish of interspecies love. That is the most annoying aspect, a character that just so happens to have a selfish vested interest in the main romantic couple.
While she does seem to make up for it by apologizing to Takuma later, that doesn’t really redeem her as a character in my eyes.
I would recommend if you enjoy slice of life romances, the questions and discussions of robots feeling emotions, and deadpan humor.
Overall I didn’t really enjoy this manga and found it pretty dull overall. While Mina is a great character, the rest of the manga is marred by Takuma not being interesting. I don’t think I’ll continue on with the series unfortunately.
Now what are we talking about on Friday? Well on Monday we talked about an engagement, today we talked about a marriage, on Friday we will talking about a family.
We will be talking about a family coming together through hardships…like the dad being a spy, the mom being an assassin, and the daughter being a telepath.
Friday we are going to talk about Spy X Family!
So until then,
Heiwa to sayonara!