Light Novel Review: Iris on Rainy Days

Reading “for fun” hasn’t been something I’ve done since… well ever. But while searching the net one day I stumbled on this intriguing light novel. I read the synopsis and soon got hooked on the first few chapters. Iris on Rainy Days makes a good read for those with interests in robots, specifically humanities as it applies to robotics.

Title: Iris on Rainy Days

Author: Takeshi Matsuyama

Illustrator: Hirasato

Awards: Ranked 10th in “This Light Novel is Amazing!” rankings for 2012.

Synopsis:

The story is centered around a cute android who initially had a happy life with her master who dearly loved her. But she was then struck by a series of misfortunes and ended up in a robot-equivalent of concentration camp. Through experiencing and witnessing the sufferings towards herself as well as the people/robots around her, she eventually gained a better appreciation of life.

Source: Baka-Tsuki

Partial Summary [Spoilers]:

Iris is a android that undergoes dramatic changes throughout her life. Iris is owned by Professor, a woman studying robotics. Iris is programmed with a high intelligence and is able to think for herself. She works as a maid to her beloved master. But one day Professor is killed by a rampaging robot. Unable to move on, Iris contemplates her future without her master. But she is soon picked up by a robotics governing body and sent to a processing facility. There, she is deemed as junk and sent to be destroyed. Iris chronicles her “death” right to the moment she goes offline. Iris then wakes up and is surprised to be functioning. However, her body has changed to a rickety robot with uneven arms, circular bulbs for eyes and a continuous track for feet. She found out she is now a worker for a junkyard. The facility is run by hundreds of discarded robots. Soon Iris makes two friends named Lilith and Volkov. Lilith is an android and Volkov is a large bipedal type robot. They share stories of their past and read books during offline hours.

The story doesn’t stop there but it’s just enough to get my review started.

[end spoilers]

Review:

Iris in Rainy Days is a good read over all. Despite stories about sentient AI robots are often redundant, following the story of Iris as she experiences change (both figuratively and literally) is an intriguing one.

Sci-Fi elements do not impede much in the development of this story. Concepts such as AI theory aren’t delved into detail here. We get a clear partition in the form of separate chips in the motherboard; a consciousness chip that serves as their mind and a safety chip that is used to present warnings like when “charging is necessary.” Of course this prevents them from killing. But the author turns around the concept by bringing up subjects in humanities. Questions about “how an abandoned robot is to operate” are often brought up. Bringing this complexity makes for a more involved storyline and leaves the reader thinking.

Iris is a lovely robot and her personality is a good compliment to her lifestyle. Albeit a bit too close, her relationship with her master is genuine. There are moments where her enthusiasm brings embarrassment for herself. But that’s admiration at its finest.

[spoiler]

I had empathetic feelings for Iris, especially as she goes through her tribulations. Having her change into a scrap robot made me feel sad. But Iris took it with stride; she didn’t detest her new body as much as I expected her to. Only small complaints like how her vision is grey and grainy comes to her mind, hence the book’s title.

[end spoiler]

The end of this story was fulfilling but kind of predictable too. Things do get dramatic near the end. But we then get a sudden change in narrative that, to me at least, brings intervention in the form of “luck” to Iris. At least this kind of end brings enough closure to overcome the changes. Much of this accumulates to the moral dilemma: Are robots to be treated like humans? A question sci-fi has tried to answer many a time. These anime may have something in mind. I hope, in my lifetime, I get to see this question answered in real life.

Result: Suggested Reading

Hoping for some sort of anime adaptation, OVA or movie should work.

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2 Comments

Filed under Light Novels, Reviews

2 responses to “Light Novel Review: Iris on Rainy Days

  1. zilla_project

    thannks for the review… i think Ill pick up this series for my next 3 days off from work later on…

    • CardinalSan

      I sure hope that this guy (next comment to this one) did not just say that without action, because if he did I hope laser shoots through him.

      Okay, for my own review now that we got over that,

      “Cliche with a hint of depression and sadness”.

      I did not mean it badly by “cliche”, but admitting-ly the plot was going for one of the mostly followed happy-ending tragic stories. You don’t even need to read plenty of light novels to know that.

      However, similar to what other people like watching or reading repeatedly that you don’t understand why, this is a similar example right here. You already know what to expect and to predict, how it’s going to end.

      But what you are curious about is
      a)”How the author conveyed that cliche in his own words”, because every author and story has their own style.
      b)”What really happened”, because you know your predictions can go wrong at one point or another.
      c)”How it ended.” Was it open-ended? Was it a trap, tragic and not what you expected?
      and, d) “What could possibly happen next?” for if you did not read it until the end and proudly know the truth, you can never imagine what is going to happen whole-heartedly as you don’t know if what you know is the real story or not.

      Iris on Rainy Days is actually the first light novel I read using that cliche line, as I am very very picky on what I read (I may have changed that now that I read this). But I heard the cliche from children’s stories to popular soap operas to hollywood productions, just in different ways every time.

      Like how two different songs of similar beat or melody can be connected by your mind when you imagine it, it is hard to get it off your mind.

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