Machine Doll Nanami-Chan (機械人形 ナナミちゃん, Kikai Ningyo Nanami-Chan?) is an original science fiction manga series written and illustrated by Mokuseizaiju, published by Micro Magazine's Manga Gocha. The manga has 3 volumes in circulation (plus an R-18 special edition that served as a prequel) but was in hiatus for a time since the author prioritized development of the Dead Or School video game. Before the release of the console ports in 2019, Mokuseizaiju has finally resumed working on the manga from the 44th chapter.
Many characters and elements here serve as integral plot points for the game, since they share the same universe albeit with a large timeframe gap.
"Noriko's house is messier than the garbage dump! You shouldn't be living like this! Just stay in the garbage dump with me."
In the near future, robots with a feminine form known as Machine Dolls were invented. They had a multitude of purposes ranging from housework to healthcare. Even with their advanced AI, Machine Dolls had the default thought patterns of a 9-year old. Moreover, they were programmed with a Robotomy limiter which prevents them from attacking human beings. Machine Dolls were especially popular among men, many of whom modify them for their personal convenience and pleasure.
In less than 5 years, the government has declared ownership of Machine Dolls as illegal due to the various societal problems they triggered: specifically a significant increase in shut-ins, unemployed and unmarried men. Because of this, a widespread cleanup and dismantling movement has started, with owners nationwide getting Red Papers in the mail.
Noriko Takami was born and raised in a troubled family. Her mother just passed away and her father was in jail, getting her in trouble at school since her classmates now tag her as "a criminal's daughter". None of Noriko's relatives wanted to take her in since they consider her a delinquent. Even so, they decided to leave a Type S Medical Model Machine Doll called Nanami to serve as her guardian.
Since she didn't like the idea of getting help from relatives who badmouth her and her parents, Noriko initially throws Nanami out, but almost immediately reconsiders and the two start living together as a new family. Less than a couple of days later, a Red Paper is sent to Noriko's home with Nanami's model number in it, meaning she is also slated to be scrapped. Naturally, Noriko does not adhere to this, trying in vain to hide Nanami from a zealous Cleanup Crew member named Dan Monbetsu. The aforementioned government worker forces his way into Noriko's apartment and is dead set on destroying the Machine Doll as per orders, as well as his own sadistic pleasure. Noriko gets critically injured while trying to protect Nanami.
Nanami is shocked at the sight of a dying Noriko, her first aid program not initializing as if she was "frozen" in terror. She is soon forced by a panicked Monbetsu to go into Medical Mode and performs emergency surgery on Noriko, but declares her inoperable due to the severity of her chest wounds. The Machine Doll ends up forcibly extracting her own core and modifies it to serve as Noriko's artificial heart. With her Robotomy programming destroyed, Nanami attacks Monbetsu in a fit of rage because he was the one responsible for Noriko's life-threatening injury. The Machine Doll attempts to kill him but fails to do so, as she ceases functioning due to her missing core.
Noriko was successfully revived by the modified core, but with two major costs: The loss of Nanami and herself being unwillingly turned into a quarter-Machine Doll due to the core's registry function. She soon takes it upon herself to find a new core for Nanami's sake. Noriko has developed complete empathy with Machine Dolls not only because of life with Nanami but also the fact that she now finds herself constantly being persecuted by a blind law-abiding society as well as lawless elements who use Machine Dolls to fulfill their twisted fantasies. Noriko later forms an uneasy alliance with the boisterous K-Project ranker Yoshitaka Yanagida and his Machine Doll Fou.
The group realizes that obtaining parts for what is now considered a blacklisted "commodity" is more complicated than it seems...
- 01: Machine Doll Nanami-Chan
- 02: Scarlet Paper
- 03: Robotomy
- 04: Robocon Fight 1
- 05: Robocon Fight 2
- 06: Robocon Fight 3
- 07: A New Ally
- 08: Promise
- 09: Machine Doll Graveyard 1
- 10: Machine Doll Graveyard 2
- 11: Machine Doll Graveyard 3
- 12: Noriko
- 13: Say That Again When You Get A Uterus!
- 14: Powerless Girl 1
- 15: Powerless Girl 2
- 16: Powerless Girl 3
- 17: Together Forever
- 18: Noriko's Resolution 1
- 19: Noriko's Resolution 2
- 20: Top Ranker 1
- 21: Top Ranker 2
- 22: Machine Doll Graveyard Revisited 1
- 23: Machine Doll Graveyard Revisited 2
- 24: Pathetic, Yet Strong 1
- 25: Pathetic, Yet Strong 2
- 26: Pathetic, Yet Strong 3
- 27: Fou VS 1
- 28: Fou VS 2
- 29: Say That You Love Me! 1
- 30: Say That You Love Me! 2
- 31: Awakening Feelings 1
- 32: Awakening Feelings 2
- 33: Awakening Feelings 3
- 34: The AI's Whereabouts 1
- 35: The AI's Whereabouts 2
- 36: A Guess From A Guess
- 37: EMG713
- 38: Human Pillar
- 39: Escape From The Dumpsite
- 40: (Special) Fuji TV Coverage
- 41: Sakata
- 42: Self-Destruction
- 43: Jagger
- 44: Escape From The Garbage Dump
- 45: Homecoming of the Scraps
Events leading to Dead Or School
NOTE: Dead Or School serves as a what-if scenario of a possible future in the manga. As such, if the main story resumes, these in-game events may not be considered canon.
As more and more Machine Dolls shed the limitations of their Robotomy programming, they start to rebel against the humans in a bid to survive and free themselves from exploitation and persecution. The confrontation was at a stalemate after 3 years of fighting, with both sides eventually resorting to biological warfare to turn the tide of the conflict.
Humans spread a computer virus that turned the Machine Dolls into berserkers, and another that makes them unable to take in electricity to charge their batteries. Likewise, the Machine Dolls employed an airborne bioweapon that turned majority of humans into Mutants. With the loss of electrical power as an option, the berserker Machine Dolls assimilated many of the Mutants, turning them into a new power source. This unconventional combination also paved the way for Machine-Mutants to come into being.
All throughout the conflict, Yoshitaka and Fou stayed neutral, with Yoshitaka doing everything in his power to protect Fou from other humans who set out to destroy her. Fou in turn, gathered many of the surviving humans to evacuate underground, inoculated them with an antibody for the bioweapon, manipulated their memories and spent the next several decades fighting both the berserker Machine Dolls and the Mutants on her own to prevent a full-scale subterranean invasion.
Yoshitaka was separated with Fou somewhere along the line, later seeking refuge in Asakusa where he built an underground laboratory. He gathered as much functioning equipment and supplies as he can muster to hopefully find a way to end the conflict once and for all. Yoshitaka is the only human to retain memories of the old Japan, and as such also has technical knowledge that exceed those of all others.
Dr. Ami became one of the founders of the Civilization Investigator Council. The purpose of the organization was to salvage lost human knowledge and culture in the process of taking back the surface. The group was involved in several armed encounters with their sworn adversaries, but all their battles ended in miserable failure. Upon finding out the real truth about the war, the Ultimate Underground Plan was established, which will be put into effect as a last resort if certain conditions became severely unfavorable for mankind.
Noriko was among the surviving humans who were evacuated to the underground. The war may have intensified around the time that she was in high school. She settled deep in the Ikebukuro subway tunnels and had a daughter years later as a first-generation underground resident. Though her memories were also wiped by Fou, the uniform she once wore made her recall some things about herself from 78 years ago. The stories of school life that she told to her granddaughter Hisako will trigger the latter's strong desire to ascend to the surface and go to school, setting the stage for the game.
Nanami and Luna's fates however, are unknown.
Notes & Trivia
- The second company logo of Studio Nanafushi features Nanami's profile shot, the hand-drawing process recorded and done in real-time by the artist/director himself.
- The Youtube/Nico Nico Douga videos of the comics feature the scenes with the narrative and spoken lines read aloud.
- Though many of the characters from the manga are part of the game, the books also appear and are part of a sub-objective in Akihabara. Hisako recognizes the silver-haired girl she encountered in Shinjuku as one of the characters there, making the manga a practical narrative of a true story in-universe even though the souvenir description emphasizes the appeal of manga as "containing elements that are improbable in reality".