Sexaroid: Volume IV
The second chapter in this final volume gives us another sample of Leiji Matsumoto’s career-long engagement with World War II and the evaluation of the different combatants. Here the subject is Italy vs. Japan.
The setup is simple: Al Capone accidentally steps through a time hole and shows up at Shima’s apartment. Shima tells him they’re in Japan, and Capone says:
“Ah, I thought you looked yellow, yeah. Are you related to monkeys?”
“Don’t get too cocky. Your ancestors…wait, your descendants or whoever fought with the Allied armies, lost every single battle and became known as the biggest bunch of cowards the world has ever known. Compared to that, we [the Japanese] did pretty well.”
Capone is not at all bothered by this and he starts talking about something else.
Since Capone states that he stepped through the hole while he was being chased by Eliot Ness, we’re talking sometime between 1929 and 1931 (Capone died in 1947). So the dates are right, as at this point World War II was far from getting started. Of course, Capone was Italian-American (not Italian) and the manga makes this clear, but Shima assumes the gangster will be hurt if he puts Italians down.
I wonder how close Capone was to Italy?? I don’t know much about him at all… Also, I wonder what Italians in general would think of this little dialogue in Sexaroid.
Far more shocking to a Japanese audience might be the fourth chapter, in which Shima ends up in a prison full of great figures from history (including Capone again, Nero, Columbus, Hitler, de Gaulle, Castro etc). Wartime Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo is seen discussing with an American general:
“Japan lost the war solely for lack of material resources.”
“No, I don’t think so,” replies the American with confidence.
I don’t remember ever seeing Tojo show up in Japanese pop media anywhere; he is one of the main figures that people blame the most for the War. Clearly then, Leiji is prepared to make fun of his own side as well as others.
The day is saved when Einstein figures out that they’ve been captured by a time-traveling woman and she is defeated.
Halfway through the volume we finally get told what the Third Plan is all about: a massive land reclamation project off the coast of the island of Honshu. The idea is to extend Japanese territory by creating a floating island so that communities will be able to live and develop below the new land as well as above it. Looking at the map, the project seems to involve giving Japan a large new phallus!
Alas, in the last 30 pages of the manga we find out the reclamation project is a decoy. The real Third Plan involves splitting Earth in half!!! More specifically, the planet will be split north to south with the line cutting South Africa in half (judging from the maps given). The idea is to give one half of the planet to Humanity (who have gotten sick of technology) and the other half to the Robots (who have gotten sick of humans). For the protagonist Shima this is a great tragedy since he lives with 3 robots: a Sexaroid and two funny bots from Kyushu.
In order to split the planet in half a great number of levers must be pulled at exactly the same time. Shima is in charge of one of the levers, so is his Boss. Both of them, as well as many others, are upset with the Third Plan and end up getting drunk and not pulling the levers. The plan is cancelled. There is a major one-day war between nations and then everything is calm. Yuki is reunited with Shima. She asks him to feel her belly. Something stirs. She is pregnant with the first bot-baby hybrid. The couple hopes that this will lead to a new, better world and closer relations between humans and robots. The End.