Long time no talk, Manga fans! It’s been one heck of a time for a lot of us recently. So now more than ever, we could all do with something to put a smile back on our faces. If that’s the case, then do I have the series for you! Me & Roboco is one of the newer titles to appear in the pages of Shōnen Jump. Yes, it’s another comedy to add to the already crowded Gag Manga corner of the magazine. No one knew just what to expect with this one.But does Me & Roboco stand out from the funnies, or is it just one big joke? Read on to find out, is Me And Roboco worth reading?
What is she?
Who can forget the classic, heartwarming tale of a boy and his… Ordermaid? Me & Roboco is set in the not so distant future where AI has progressed to such an extent that Robotic Maids are a staple of the modern household. While other series might use this setup to ponder the philosophical queries of life Bladerunner style. We’re in gag manga territory, so we’re getting jokes about well-toned knees instead. Our protagonist is Bondo Taira, a down on his luck kid with a slightly unhealthy obsession with manga (very relatable!).
Bondo wants to be hip and with it like his Ordermaid-owning buddies. But he gets more than he bargains for when Roboco enters his life. Is she a knock-off? An older model with faulty wiring? Who knows! One thing for sure is that her bizarre, super powerful yet super clumsy nature is a far cry from the cute and composed method of most other Ordermaids. Roboco is quite literally built different, but she’s got laser eyes too, so how could you not love her?
They really are good guys!!
As you can imagine, much of the chapter to chapter events revolve around the wacky shenanigan’s Bondo and Roboco wind up in. Ghostbusting at the local cemetery to entering an all you can eat food contest to protect the local Chinese restaurant’s livelihood. Most of these adventures are all one-shots, so Me & Roboco and it’s Gag Manga format has an excellent appeal to more casual readers. Unlike other Shōnen Jump mainstays, such as Jujutsu Kaisen and Dr Stone, you can pick up nearly any chapter of this series and not have to worry about following current plot threads or recent story developments.
That isn’t to say that there is no meat to chew on these bones, however. Me & Roboco features quite a compelling supporting cast, from Bondo’s unnerving kitchen knife-wielding mother to his loyal friends Motsuo and Gachigorilla (and Gachigorilla’s adorable kid sister Ruri!). Roboco herself even takes in a stray cat that is nearly as weird as she is!
The dynamic duo of Motsuo and Gachigorilla is a particular highlight. Their playful banter and chastising of their good buddy Bondo are rooted in a deep, powerful friendship with him. This often brings just as many laughs as the wild Roboco moments.
Indeed, some of the most memorable chapters are those where the spotlight shifts away from Bondo to focus on them, revealing some surprisingly wholesome backstories. And when their virtuous powers combine, they are unstoppable! Like when they team up to protect Bondo from an embarrassing incident with his love interest Madokaaa.
On A Monday without a Shonen Jump, Bondo’s completely useless!!
If you’re familiar with popular ShōnenJump titles, you might recognize the above panel. It’s a loving homage to the iconic basketball series Slam Dunk that ran in the magazine in the 90’s. It is also just one example of the many parodies, references and homages found in the pages of Me & Roboco. Truly, if you come for the wacky superpowered robot maid antics, you’ll stay for all the manga references. Just how many times can Roboco name dropJujutsuKaisenbefore it gets old? It never gets old!
Whether or not all these nods and 4th wall breaking will stand the test of time when revisiting this series is worth considering. But the humour builds up and is both solid and consistent enough to suggest this series has staying power. Mangaka Miyazaki previously worked on the parody manga for The Promised Neverland. Something they ensured to point out in a chapter filled with references to the series.
I would wager that Miyazaki knows their way around a couple of jokes, then! One could even go so far as to suggest that parody is a core component of Me & Roboco. The concept shares more than a few striking familiarities to the legendary Manga Doraemon. This series also focused on the misadventures of a boy and his robotic companion. One look at the faithfully recreated cover for Me & Roboco’s Japanese release’s first volume indicates they are well aware of the similarities. Doraemon is a beloved cultural icon and popular character worldwide, so it’s not a poor choice of inspiration on Miyazaki’s part. Maybe one day, we’ll see the same level of acclaim attributed to Roboco. Those knees deserve it!
Is Me & Roboco worth reading?
If you’re up for a good time, most definitely! As far as Gag Manga go, I can’t think of a series that has provided this much of a good chuckle on a week to week basis, and amid all the action antics and demon decimating currently in the pages of the Shonen Jump, it has become a welcome respite.
While still being a relative newcomer to the pages of ShōnenJump, the compelling cast combined with the snappy inside jokes seems to be a winning combination for Me & Roboco. Once the volumes see a Western release, it may become easier to gauge the popularity of this series outside of Japan. Still, even now, I’ve seen plenty of folks on Twitter who enjoy the wacky escapades of Bondo and Roboco (you better believe they did a chapter all about Twitter too!).
For now, the series is available to read for those with a Shonen Jump subscription, and on these dull and dreary Winter days, I can’t think of a more fun manga to lighten your mood. Recommended!