YKK Forum

Any idea who long YKK might be?

So, I was wondering, we are at volume 11 of YKK, and it´s been so great (yeah no need to tell you that lol), but I wonder how many volumes there might be in total - I mean, someday it´s gotta end ^^

I like when a manga/anime can keep a good pace and plot for a long time, but all things have a limit point. For instance, I"s is just ok, IMHO, it could use less volumes though. Love Hina the same, some volumes are almost useless T_T. VGAI is near-perfection lenght-wise.

So my fear is, would YKK be ok if it dragged (again, it´s not draggin YET) for, say, 20 volumes? IF they can keep the pace and plot ok, but hey it would take us almost 10 more years :p

Besides, I want some sense of conclusion, the thought of knowing how things might end only in 10 years kinda botters me ^_^


- Caio Lima Netto
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

I could be wrong, but I think we are nearing a peak in the plot. ....

- Steven Robinson
Thursday, June 12, 2003

There's a plot?

And it might just be me, but I'd be perfectly happy to go on reading this for the rest of my life. Reading YKK just makes me feel so laid back, another ten years doesn't seem particularly long......^ ^

- Dace
Thursday, June 12, 2003


I actually read only up to volume 5, as most of you will agree YKK is not something to be rushed for ^^

But I have to disagree with Dace. I already got lots and lots of plots going on by volume 2. We have the Taapon, we have some intersting informationg regarting the past of Alpha as her or other characters memories (sensei's looks like participated on Alpha series creation), all that ESP stuff nd mentioned, and let me tell that I can´t stop thinking that the world and all mankind is really on, as Alpha sais herself, the Twilight of an era.

For some reason I can´t stop looking at the Taapon as some sort of Noa's arch (sorry if misspelled) - there is no sense on that ship never landing, it MUST land someday, or at least have a purpouse at all. So, we have Director Alpha over there ... Director + Alpha, makes you think a lot don´t you?

So, for some strange reason I think that mankind is about to end, not the whole lot, just as we see it. Alpha sometimes "remembers" stuff that owner said her and is sudenly sad, on volume 5 when she watches the lights on the sea with sensei she cryes ... it might be because it´s a beautifull scenery, or is it because she sees it as the end of an era?

So, anyway, that´s what I meant with "I cant wait 10 years for the end", because if I´m already anxious because I have only 6 volumes until I catch up on the reading, and I see that we are still not at an end (Steven mentions a peak on the plot, but that does not means necessarily an ending) so I actually starts being even more anxious :p

P.S.: Is just me or somebody else thinks that there is more about Owner than the eyes meet? something like ... Let´s leave Alpha alone to mature a little and get faster to the twilight of an era?

- Caio Lima Netto
Friday, June 13, 2003

I want to see if you might think differently....

I think mankind already ended. In one of the eps. Fuji San is clearly post eruption. Clearly there is some kind of radiation (the giant plants) and some kind of warming (the high oceans).

I think that Taapon was an attempt by a large section of humanity to flee the Earth when the disaster was at it's peak. The people on earth are the decendants of those left behind.

Yet, the cataclysm turned out to be surmountable, and people are going on with living. Yet, those in Taapon have been in space too long to survive the landing. They must all be as old as Sensei...

- Steven Robinson
Friday, June 13, 2003

Hmmm That's a pretty good point, you actually made me think:p

I still have plenty of reading until getting to the latest volumes (still at vol 6) but one thing already caught enough of my attention: Did "owner" really leave Alpha just ... by chance? or there is actually a plot behind that? I would say that everything points out that there is something behind all that.

I have a comment about the ESP topic (will make it here because it fits the discussion :p) : I dont see alpha's abilities as ESP, just "undocumented features" ... or maybe not undocumented, but she is simply not aware of her importance (anyone have any doubt that she is the center of something bigger?) ... and perhaps someone (owner?) even have a part on making Alpha not remember that - Alpha is always complaying about how the memories of her time with owner are vague.

My 2 cents goes to: Alpha series, with Alpha as the model, is some sort of the new species that will one day prevail, and Sensei and all those involved are just preparing the "twilight" of the new era ... There is even a tale from Isaac Asimov about advanced robots/AI being simply the next step on evolution - the next dominant species, and how humanity would actually rush for that (i.e. not an accident)

Twilight is such a good word. It can mean the beggining of something, or the ending ........ or both.

P.S.: YKK also have some profound topics such as "what are emotions" and "would a human really love a robot?" ... but let´s not discuss it here :p

- Caio Lima Netto
Friday, June 13, 2003

"undocumented features" nice....

Re: owner leaving....

I can't be sure, but in one ep, ayase goes to visit the watergod. A note in his hand is signed by someone with the same last name as Alpha's owner, and that person is referred to was sensei.

Could Ayase have encountered the Owner in his travels, and it was the Owner who sent him to visit Alpha? or is Ayase also some how involved in the great mystery of the owner?

- Steven Robinson
Saturday, June 14, 2003

Hmmm I don´t know, Alpha just bumped into Ayase on one of her walks, and he never actually visited her since (I´m on mid vol 6 now). But since I have a feeling that Hasseno does keep an eye on Alpha, he might just know "where" Ayase should be to meet alpha :p

I noticed that too about the Watergod, and another important note is that apparently only important people can visit the Watergod. So, Hasseno must really be an important and influent people so the monks that care for the watergod could let Ayase see him just because of a letter from Hasseno, right ?

I would even dare to say Hasseno is some important, if not the most important person on Alpha series development ... it sure seams so don´t you think ? He developed the Alpha series, he became somewhat dazzled with Alpha's habilities and so choose to test her ... how? by making her live together as a human, away from any big towns.

I read your posts on the ESP topic and I'll add another reply here (lol) since I just read chapter 44: Director Alpha when looking down says "things only gets worse, towns keep disapearing" ... it adds up to my theory that the world is really comming to an end. Who knows how much the sea levels will rise? Even if all the polar caps melt, I don´t think there would be >>no<< land left, but if nowadays we have about 25% of the earth covered with land, I suppose then we would have 5% or less ... cataclismic huh?

It surprises me that Director Alpha dosen´t know what the purpouse the Tapoon themselves have ... thought I´m pretty sure they have an important role to play.

Kyaaaa I love misteries, I fell I´ll catch up chapter 103 by the next week :p

- Caio Lima Netto
Saturday, June 14, 2003

When I caught the scans i just couldn´t wait. I read until chapter 100 in a weekend. My guess is that YKK has enough breath to give us another one hundred chapters or it might end on the next 50 as well without giving us any deeper answers. If it keeps the GHIBLI feel it generally does (yes... I think it opened too many subplots for that), alpha will meet who she is bound to in the end (Probably the owner or someone with a very important message for her) and we won´t see the conclusion for the humanity"s matter.

- (NGA)
Thursday, June 19, 2003

I'm getting the feeling that it's not half over yet... >_> But that's just me.

- FurrySaint
Sunday, June 29, 2003

I'm guessing that chapter 104 is Ashinano's way of saying that he plans on writing this series for at least another six years. :>

- dn
Sunday, June 29, 2003

I am really sadned to say that you do have a point with the 6 years prediction :/

At least we can be sure that ykk cannot end without Director Alpha meeting Alpha, or at least we learning the objective of Tapoon, and it seams not likely it will happen while it´s on the southern hemisphere -_-

BUT ... maybe it only means something is going on NOW, maybe the goal was exactly to tell us "hey look Tappon will be away for six years" and ... next year... "what the hell is it doing back here!? something is happening!"

... I hope :p Can´t wait six years to find that out, Ashinano is giving us too much misteries and no answers for too much time! he must have some pitty on us lol.

- Caio Lima Netto
Sunday, June 29, 2003

I had the same feeling too - that the story will go on for next six years, at least. But why do you think it would be a depressing news? That puzzles me a bit. If YKK will continue six more years, that's fantastic good news! Six more years of the wonderful timeless world where to sink to, six more years of wandering around in the universe that doesn't resemble anything else in the world of manga - or comics as well. I would be happy and delighted to wander around in this world in many years to come. Six years... I would be 43... I can't imagine what kind of life I would be leading then. But to become older with Alpha would be a honour, if not even a privilege.

- Jari Lehtinen
Tuesday, July 1, 2003

I think that the whole feeling that YKK gives us are great, but maybe we are too carefree to hope for a endless loop of facts. Nothing can last forever, and usually on the world of manga (actually it´s more kinda rule), if you go too much overboard, you will end up loosing rithm. I mean, To have 10 more years, Ashinano would need to double the mistery sub-plot or start lagging it ... both might make YKK loose one of it´s most gracefull points: The sutil, lovely and great plot that is either profound and light.

I am carefree enough to read and delight some 6 more years, but the thought of not having some answers and lingering for 10 or more years without knowing at least some answers kinda botters me ... a lot :p

Ashinano surelly is giving us lots of hints that something is going on, that something important is happening and, more importantly for us fans of Alpha, that all those might end up having something to do with her (more likely the A7's) ... I like Alpha, and I cant see all that around her and not want some answers!

BTW YKK doest not need to end once the plot is complete. We might get one or more years showing us what happens next, time enough to tie all the knots of the plots and relationships that are not entirelly related to the robot-earth-end of the world plot ... that would also be intersting ;)

I think YKK have three types of fans, those who like it for it´s carefree side (which is GREAT) just for the sake of reading, and those who like it for the fantastic mistery and world that the characters are in (which also is GREAT). And there are the fans like me, who loves both.

For me and those who like the mistery, the idea of 10 more years will not be as pleasant as for those who like YKK because of it´s feeling ;)

I don´t think Ashinano will let us down - interested on the plot - neither those who like the carefreeness and sweet pace ...... THEREFORE, I think some 6 more years are just perfect. ^_^v

- Caio Lima Netto
Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Just a little comment to the whole "end of the world" thing.
First, a correction to some "assumptions" I've found on the forum. Guys, study geography well, okay? Even if both polar caps on Earth will completely melt, then overall rise of sea level would be just around 5-6 meters (15-20 feets). It's nowhere near to anything resembling a "cataclysm". A problem, yes, but not a catastrophe.
Another point -- the end of the world itself. Some people mentioned a YKK world as a "postapocalyptic" one. Thats a complete nonsence. If there was even a small bit of a REAL trouble, this world coul never be so kind, relaxed and laidback. Such goodwill, tenderness and calm could be achieved only in a centuries of a peaceful decline, not an abrupt stop.
But there is a problem -- calm and tenderness isn't a main features of a human race. ^_^ Humans really are fighters, full of life energy, that famous Russian historian Lev Gumilyov (a son of famous Russian poet Nikolai Gumilyov, BTW) called "passionarity" -- a will to achieve high goals and strive through a problems, not just to make their time.
So it seems for me that world of YKK could be reality only if such people just leave the Earth, so only carefree and laidback ones left there. And Taapon could be just a watchtower, to look over the motherland left behind...

- Khathi
Monday, July 14, 2003

An "official" explanation of the rising sealevel is given in the margin of YKK (see 104-Page03 of Defiler's scan): it's "warming". As I understand, however, this is written by the editor, not by Ashinano.

Ashinano says in an interview (artbook, p.134):
"What I thought initially was not things like warming or destruction of the nature. I thought it occured in the cycle of the nature... rising and lowering of the sealevel always occur... in such a cycle of the nature, people go up and down like ants. It's not a punishment for what they did. They are simply played with (by the nature)."

But, even this explanation is given "outside" YKK, that means, both Ashinano and we are free to think of other possibilities.

- tamachan
Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Let me just say that I'm so glad I've found this web. I got hooked to the original manga back when I was an AMG fan, and I actually bought Japanese Afternoon on a monthly basis. What I found was that, eventhough I understand very little of it, I was looking forward to YKK every month. I soon purchased several volumes of the tankoubon but all I can do was to flip the pages and appreciate the art. With this page I finally understood fully all of the manga; for that I am eternally grateful.

Here's my take on the background of Alpha's world (I mean, the point wasn't the world, right? It's all about the little things in her life.) The world went through some major or catastrophic changes; some escaped through the "Tappon" and never to land, and a few other people survived this event and went on to rebuild their lives on land. I mean we still have some sort of industry going on, with water/gas/electricity being generated by some central utility (maybe run by robots), International trade is still happening since you can still buy coffee beans in Yokohama. I believe in this world civilization has survived pretty well.

However, why are there robots? Why are they so involved on being human, and are in fact more humane than most human (who doesn't love Alpha to death?). Why does sensei and owner feel the need to develop robots and make them so emotional and human-like? Why is this society so accepting of robots and treat them as equals in every way? And also, why are there reports of towns dissapearing and that there's also seemed to be less and less people as time goes on?

All this was answered in one of the volumes when Kokone said "We are the children of humanity". Here's one problem this post-apocolyptic world can't solve: somehow, human beings can't reproduce properly anymore. I've always wondered, why aren't there more children in the town other than Takahiro and Makki? Why are there always more older people than children during Alpha's year-long sojourn? My theory is that, most of the mankind (maybe due to the high radiation level in this world) somehow lost the ability to reproduce. Maybe some still can (thus we do have some children here), but mankind can't reproduce enough to replenish their own numbers. This means that slowly but surely, mankind is going to be extinct.

So what to do? The smartest people of the days, like sensei, deciced that humanity must carry on, and what they did was create synthetic beings that look and act like human. Yes they are not human, but they ARE organic and I believe, must have the mean of repoduction (Nai confirmed that robots does have reporductive organs). So if one day, however slowly, human being became extinct, the robots, with their advanced biology (doesn't get sick, heals fast) and their ease of sustainability (confirmed by Muroko's questioning of Alpha) would continue on in a world hostile to humans. I would think that the point of Alpha was to create a robot who doesn't pre-occupiy itself with its robot identity and the need to "act human" (Kokone), but a robot who simply ACT human natually. That is the triumph of the owner and sensei, when they know such being will be around to carry on the human legacy when they all die. The sum of "all human emotions"; the Children of Humanity. That is why everyone either loves or respect robots. That is why they are accepted like one of their own everywhere they go. They are the future of humanity and everyone knows it.

This is such a such a beautiful series in terms of art, story-telling style and background philosophy, that I can't help but to fall deeply in love with. I personally that it will last forever. If humanity does indeed die, I would be more than satisfied knowing that beings (I don't like the term 'robot') like Alpha would carry our essence forward.

- Jeffrey Chen
Saturday, July 19, 2003

Just one comment. Nai does confirm that they have the organs, but NOT the functionallity.

Besides, the robots clearly can live forever, so what´s the point of reproduction? Also, they were assembled not born (or, even if they were born, you will agree that at least the first was not), so why bother with all problems and work to reproduction, if one can simply push a button and have a new robot?

If they wanted to create a new species, a "children of the humanity", nothing more natural then creating them as close as we are, but a lot better and more effective.

I don´t think they are all organic. Look at Alpha-sans Skin and hair, Sensei had them replaced and used layers to make her skin, on that chapter it looked a lot that it was some king of sinthetic skin, not organic.

I might agree that YKK is not post-apocaliptic and all things are just a cicle (Fuji will erupt one day, the sea levels might go up and down with the centuries) but take a good look at that "new" nature, those buildings, the waterGod ... that´s certainly NOT natural, manmade? accident? dunno, but not natural.

- Caio Lima Netto
Saturday, July 19, 2003

Well, what's the point of having the organ without the functionality?

I don't believe the manga said they can live forever, just that they can live much longer than humans. As for them being assembled, well, we don't really now how they're born... Nai said something to the effect that the male ones die "young", implying that they have a phase which they're growing. He didn't say NEW, which would have other meanings.

I agree with you that they're not all organic, but I really don't think they are made of metal inside either. I think there are synthetic but biological parts within them.

I would say that the watergods and the building are definately natural, as human's not involved in their design. The may look similar to man-made stuff, but I still won't say they are man-made.

It doesn't matter what they are made of, and how long they live, or if they reproduce at all. It matters that they carry on the civilization created by human beings after human became extinct. I think others are minor detail; sensei and "owner" just wanted to ensure a way that humanity will survive without human.

- Jeffrey Chen
Saturday, July 19, 2003

So I take it this manga is still going...

- Casper
Monday, November 17, 2003


Still being published monthly in Japan in the "Afternoon" comic anthology. A year's worth of strips gets reprinted into volumes annually, roughly in spring.



- dDave
Monday, November 17, 2003

A comment about the sea level rise being not so important: Many, many serious cities around the world are ports or river-abutted. And every such location, big or small, represents eons of social importance as trading centers and culture disbursers. Fifteen meters would take out quite a large amount of culture around the world. And transfigure the land, hugely impacting transportation and agricultural, and isolating communities from each other. Think of California (or America), without the Central Valley, the most productive food source in the world. Well under the fifteen meter level, open to the sea easily through the Golden Gate.

But the evidence seems to suggest the rise happened quickly: the sunken cities are still functioning. Maybe there was a flash-melting of the poles. That would suggest a extraterrestrial source. The survivors would be lucky...and they'd know it. But the surface cities are wrecked. Whole sections of Yokohama are showing grids where buildings once stood. How could the cities underwater be fine, and the ones above be so razed? There isn't even any rubble.

I wonder about Fuji. Obviously, it has a bite out of the top, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a volcanic effect. We still see graceful slopes.

Do we know if the robots pre-date a catastrophy or were a response to a subsequent need? And what if not everyone realized that robots were about? A robotic project could be developed away from the glare of government and business.

Unless we have an answer for the sealevel rise and the decline in population, I don't think we can understand why Alpha and Kokone carry guns.

It's all curious. And done so nicely.

My favorite series, on paper and film.

I hope it just goes on and on.

- seaweb
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

> Unless we have an answer for the sealevel rise and the decline
> in population, I don't think we can understand why Alpha and
> Kokone carry guns.

I don't think the fact of them carrying guns is much related to anything big. (like the sea or population numbers.) I think it is much more basic than that. It is probably the same reason most of the women I know carry pepper spray or mace today. There are just some people out there that will take physical advantage of others. As such, a female walking somewhere alone needs to carry something extra just-in-case.

- tadpol
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Kokone probably carries the gun as part of her job, going by herself on the countryside with valuables. Maruko assumed that she was trained on its use, and wasn surprised that carried one.
Same thing with Alpha, being alone in a remote area.

- Z
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

What about the 'need' to fire the gun once in a while that Alpha has? It's possible she's just programed to practice once in a while, but I think its more than that.

- Thistledown
Monday, December 8, 2003


If you'll read carefully, the need is really to see the light of the "green lightning" from the electric bullets - not necessarily to fire the gun itself.

That may be an echo of when she was struck by lightning. Who knows?



- dDave
Monday, December 8, 2003

a lot of these comments seem to be reading into the story more than is said -- to extrapolate more than is even between the lines -- to let the imagination run loose with the mysteries that are part of the ykk world. this is ok as an amusement, but you have to analyze an artwork on its own terms first.

one of the most basic elements of ykk is its storytelling style -- whose message is reinforced by alpha's personality. we learn about global climate change, incredible technology, and the potential for all kinds of deep plots (why did people build "robots"? why are there so few children? what is happening to the cities and the people who lived in them? etc etc); but that's not what _happens_ in the series. what we see in the series are glimpses into people's every-day lives, like images through alpha's camera -- just pieces of normal life. and the background drama is

- anitra
Wednesday, August 3, 2005

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