Redemption is upon us.
1 volume – Completed
Humanity, on it’s last limb, vanishes from the earth once and for all. The rising oceans bring with them a plague of deadly gas, and no living creature can survive. Nothing awaits from this cold future but death.
And so the story states – “By about the year 2250 A.D., the temperature will reach 100° Celsius and the seas will evaporate. The Earth will be just like Venus. Mankind will go extinct, all organisms on the surface of the earth will vanish, and eternal hell will cover the planet. There’s no going back now, we’ve already pulled the trigger.”
In face of their demise, the DNA of all creatures on earth is left to an incredibly intelligent machine. Hotel is Louis’ [the very machine in question] story, spanning an incredible 27 million years. With no life left on earth, he is left to survive alone, with naught but memories at his side.
A worst-case scenario to say the least. This is the possibility of global warming shown in full.
All fossil fuels have been viciously and foolishly expended, and the human race is left at a loss. The atmosphere is ridden with greenhouse gases, and the ocean has started to release mass amounts of methane. The sea levels have risen excessively with the mass increase in temperature, and all of earth’s cities have either flooded or become entirely submerged. Humanity drowns. The oceans continue to release dangerous gases upon evaporation, such as methane, and the world continues to heat itself. Slowly cooking, the Earth has nothing left. On humanity’s last stride, a massive tower is built, called the “hotel”. Meant to be the manager and sole patron, Louis, a complex learning machine, is built. As the last humans die, he is left to carry out humanity’s legacy.
The legacy carried out accomplishes a strange standpoint. As humans die out [a necessity for the passage of this story], there is only one in which such a story may be shot from. Louis narrates the entire story from his cold and calculative “mind”. And in no way is this your regular machine’s standpoint, meaning a near-human perspective, such as we see in Battle Angel Alita or Chobits. This is exactly what one would expect a machine to think and feel. Drama is somehow brought in through this, as a machine is shown to feel some sort of remorse upon failure [not exactly emotion – something else altogether]. In his mind’s eye, Louis sees himself as any other human. Somewhat jaded upon the loss of his father and mother [his creators, of course], Louis goes through highly complex thought processes during his time on Earth. A stronger standpoint than one would see from any human character, without a doubt.
And from this standpoint comes pathos. One cannot help but feel sorry for Louis, as he is left to such an arduous task. Seeming sad in some strange way himself, feelings are evoked from the reader. The mangaka does a perfect job bringing emotion from the strangest places without turning a machine into a man. Certainly, a correlation is drawn, but nowhere near what one would see in another title. Louis is an extremely complex being, capable of a higher level of thought than any simple human, but a machine he stays. Louis was made in this story to be what humanity would make such a complex machine – human, but without the error of emotions. And therefore, capable of functioning on a much higher level. Although machines do not forget. Without something set up to delete older information, a machine such as Louis would remember unto eternity. And perhaps this is the most paining part of this story. Sufferance is bequeathed upon Louis, as he can do naught but remember. His remorse upon failure, “his sadness” upon his losses. Memories play a massive role in this title.
An interesting choice is made in naming some characters…
Homages are played out when naming characters directly after living and historical figures. Such an homage would include Louis himself, who is named Louis Armstrong at key points in the manga. In fact, a rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” carries out an extremely heavy meaning when strewn across the pages of Hotel. A more serious tone on an already saddening composition. Another would include naming an instrumental character Keira Knightley – an odd choice in my opinion. There’s even a potential homage to the famous Hideaki Anno, the creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion [as he names one character Anno]. While not exactly important to the flow of the story, I find the use of such names intriguing.
The plot is dynamic. With each element explained past full, the reader is brought into Hotel’s apocalyptic world perfectly. From humanity’s downfall, to the time afterwards, all is well defined. No holes in the concept, so even the most critically scientific minds will be terribly pleased with this title. Being mainly science fiction, after all. I would put the conceptual ideas of this manga beyond most of what I’ve been reading [including Boichi’s other works], as it’s so well thought out. As is Boichi’s style of art, the ideas are excessively defined. Fans of drama would love this title as well, as Louis’ story goes so calmly through a cruel fate. A sad ending, at that.
A beautifully cataclysmic story is woven by Boichi in Hotel. Once again around 40 pages, this is a story that must be enjoyed by any avid reader.
[Reviewer: Simon A. Blake]