I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
I keep not picking up volume 2, although I really, really want to own it! I was intrigued by the description of this manga, and yeah, just picked it up within like fifteen minutes of hearing about it. No regrets. I blew through this seven hundred page monster in no time. I just needed to know what happened!
I was warned about potential squicky parts. Chi looks like a young girl, and more disturbingly acts like one. And this is disturbing because she is sexualized in a couple scenes - particularly the one where she's groped to try and turn her on or when she's hired to do a strip show - but her owner, and her potential romantic interest, treats her with respect and is both turned on and horrified when she unknowingly shows her ass or something.
Because, y'know, it's not respectable and she knows she doesn't know what she's doing. Still, Chi is charming: portrayed as young, but cheerful, optimistic, and curious about the world. She's a little too subservient in some ways, but has no trouble asserting her rights when push comes to shove, too. A little bit of a enigma, and her amnesia is not helping that at all! Still, amnesia is a favorite trope of mine, because it tends to either lead to hurt/comfort, angst, or humor, or a mixture of those three elements in some form. And I kinda like all three of those, although it all depends on my mood at the time. This was humorous and I kind of needed that. I was anxious and needed something to take my mind of that.
It's a little uncomfortable, but not so much so that I had to put this down, or not finish. And that doesn't take away from the fact that there's an intriguing mystery component, or that it's genuinely funny and charming, and that Chi has enough people looking out for her that I'm not as anxious for her as I could be.
Overall, I was disturbed by some parts of this, but Iv'e come to believe that disturbing fiction can be a way to process those things, even if it's not the main point, or a main plot point. It was pointed out to me that CLAMP is made of women writers, artists, or writer/artists. I think that may be why this never felt like it was cheering on the disturbing parts: they were presented as either boys will be boys - with a little frustration thrown in sometimes - or if anything neutrally. As in, 'look, this is how it is sometimes.' And it wasn't a full on condemnation, but neither was it approval. Approval of the sexualization of Chi would have made me stop. (The stripping scene where she asserts her rights to her own body come the closest to condemnation of those who would abuse her, but it was vague enough for me not to call it a full on condemnation, further muddied by the fact that said scene, and the aftermath, turned into a focus on what Chi was capable of that other persocoms weren't. In other words, another plot point superseded that.)
I can, however, fully love and even five star problematic art. This is problematic for me in some ways, but not so much so that I feel uncomfortable five starring this series.
I will get and read the next volume at some point. And if anyone wants to do a reread/BR with me in the future, I'd be happy to do so. I want to wait for at least six months after I finish volume two - in a week or so I'm guessing - and process. I find that time apart makes me more fully able to see what I missed the first time. Transformers comics - Barber, Scott, or Roberts - or Vision seem to be the exception to that rule.