Sexaroid: Volume I
Sexaroid is the name of Leiji Matsumoto’s first sci-fi manga series (1968-70 not 1974 as I wrote initially!). The series is composed of three very clearly defined arcs: the Kamiyo Plan, the Yayoi Plan, and the Third Plan. I’m reading the Fusosha edition (1996) which comes in four volumes. The first volume covers two-thirds of the Kamiyo arc. The second covers the last third of Kamiyo and the first third of Yayoi. Volume 3 covers the rest of Yayoi, and the fourth covers the Third Plan and a couple of sidestories. This post will deal with volume one.
The year is 2222, the place is Megalopolis Tokyo. The protagonists of Sexaroid are the sexaroid herself, Yuki no.7, and her boyfriend Shima. They both work for Japan’s G Bureau, the national intelligence/counter-intelligence agency. Shima’s codename is G3, and as for Yuki, it’s never really made clear for what purpose she was built; only that she is the most advanced android in existence. The Shima household also includes two robots who speak the Kyushu dialect and spend most of their existence oggling their master and Yuki in bed.
The first arc revolves around the Kamiyo Plan. The scoop that we get in the first few chapters is this:
1 million photon rockets are being built. The goal is to relocate the entire Japanese population of 200 million to a nebula 30,000 parsecs away from the Milky Way. The G Bureau is in charge of dealing with all sorts of problems relating to this strange govt project. The comedy is centered on sex: the male villains are always after Yuki, the female villains always after Shima. As a rule, Yuki manages to escape in time and Shima (much more conflicted, mind you!) manages to resist temptation and reject the villains’ advances.
For example, it turns out that Yaruda Heavy Industries, the company in charge of making the majority of the engine parts for the rockets, has its own devious scheme. Yaruda has only equipped a few of the rockets with super-light-speed capabilities, all of the other ones have very shabby engines. Yaruda is thus receiving lots of public funds and skimping on the costs, so it’s getting very wealthy very fast. They are also kidnapping 5,000 of the most beautiful women in Japan (100 per every male member of the Yaruda family), with the ultimate aim of leaving Earth on the good rockets and creating their own paradise in outer space.
Very clever. When the G Bureau figures this out, the Yaruda clan embark on their rockets and flee. However, one of the kidnapped women, named Kooshika, manages to mess with the controls and the Yaruda end up who knows where… Then the Kamiyo plan has to start from scratch again.
Another story deals with the Mu Federation, a new artificially created country in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, named after a legendary sunken continent [Lemuria, Atlantis?]. The Mu Federation knows about the Kamiyo Plan, but their goal is to invade and conquer all of Japan before its population sets off. The way they go about doing this remind me, oddly enough, of prewar Japan. The beautiful president of Mu, named Baretara, is scheduled for a state visit to Japan. In fact, the woman attending is a double. Mu’s secret service will kill this “president” and blame Japan. Then they will declare war and invade.
The Japanese government gets wind of this and puts the G Bureau up to job of defending this woman, who is willing to sacrifice herself for her country. At one point, one of the assassins sneaks up on Yuki, who is pretending to be the woman pretending to be Baretara (!), and injects her with a shot of super LSD to ease her pain before shooting her. Of course, Yuki being an android, the ploy doesn’t work and the man ends dead.
The trip goes without a hitch and the so-called President Baretara heads home. Her plane is shot down by the angry Mu secret police, but as it’s already over international waters, Japan is spared the complications that could have followed.
Gradually we begin to learn more details of the Kamiyo Plan. Apparently, most countries in the world know about it, and an agreement has been reached for several countries to take over areas of Japan once the Japanese have evacuated! Here’s a map of part of Japan with the names of the occupying nations:
After the Yaruda fiasco, Japan asks the world to allow it more time to implement Kamiyo. Everyone accepts except for the Mu Federation, which demands to take over its area of Japan at the originally agreed time. Mu’s portion happens to be the all-important Kanto region, so the situation is dire.
Of course, Yuki and Shima end up going into Mu, meeting with the president (this time the real one!) and convincing her to sign into the new deal. How they do this is simple: Mu is a society ruled by women, but Baretara is ruled by an evil, Hitlerian fellow named Idaku. Shima kills Idaku [though by this time he has raped Yuki] and it turns out the man has mechanized himself. Baretara reveals that she was being coerced by her lover to press on Japan, so now that she realizes he had gone too far with mechanization and become a brute, she is happy to let Japan be.
Another adventure is entitled “Satelite Fella”. Shima goes into Fourth Reich D, an empire in Africa, to blow up a factory. He is caught, but then saved by resistance fighters led by a beautiful woman named Fella. Fella services Shima in the way you would expect from her name, but later on she ends up being captured by the emperor of the Fourth Reich and turned into a specimen encased in glass. Shima blows up the whole place and sends her off to space. Now Fella is a beautiful satellite orbiting Earth.
By the end of the first volume, the rockets are almost ready to go. Will the Japanese evacuate Earth after all??? Only the second volume will tell!
You might think that it’d be terribly hard to tell the various women in this manga apart, especially considering they tend to be naked all the time. Actually, it isn’t. Every chapter is quite self-contained and it’s always just a matter of distinguishing Sexaroid Yuki from the other main woman in the chapter. You’ll notice Baretara has super eyelashes and an eternal smirk on her face, Fella’s hair seems to be darker, etc.
Matsumoto, in writing about Sexaroid, tells us that it was his first work where he felt like he could draw whatever he wanted and however he wanted. It was a liberating experience. He also reveals that the reason why he started drawing women with super-long hair is so that he could cover the nude bodies that he wanted to draw to please the censors.
The D in the Fourth Reich D obviously stands for Doitsu, which is Japanese for Germany. Also, there is an F Republic whose leader looks eerily like De Gaulle…
Kamiyo, written with the kanji 神代, means the Age of the Gods. This refers to the legendary pre-historical period of Japan, which ended around 660 BC. Yayoi, written with the kanji 弥生, is the archaeological name for the period between 500 BC and 300 AD in Japan.
This is what we know of the partition of Japan. Kyushu will be split three ways: the northern half will go to Tonga, the southwest to Argentina and the southeast to Chile. Monaco will take over the island of Shikoku.
As for the big island of Honshu, we can see that Yamaguchi prefecture will go to Germany, the rest of the Chugoku region will go to China (whose name is Chugoku in Japanese, so this is a pun), America will take the northern coast of Kansai and the western half of Chubu, southern Kansai will go to Norway, the eastern half of Chubu and all of Kanto except the Boso peninsula will go to the Mu Federation, the Boso going to Mexico.
So far the map is clear. We can only see bits of the Tohoku region and Hokkaido: Congo, Pakistan and India have a share of Tohoku; the Soviet Union seems to have the lion’s share of Hokkaido, although England has some land there as well.