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Manga / A.I. Love You

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A.I. Love You is a manga series by author Ken Akamatsu, which ran from 1994 to 1997 in Weekly Shonen Magazine. An English translation of the series is published by Tokyopop, and a French one by Pika Editions; the first volume came out in North America and France in February and May 2004 respectively.

It tells the tale of Hitoshi Koube, who is neither academically gifted nor good at sports, so he does not do well at school. His true skill is at programming computers, to the point that he can make self-modifying programs — true artificial intelligence. He has created thirty such programs, and the latest one — named Saati — is so advanced that conversation with her is indistinguishable from a normal girl and, thus, would easily pass the Turing test. So he has an intangible girlfriend. Yay.

Things go kind of sideways (as most series of this type tend to do) when a freak lightning strike causes Saati to materialize into the real world...

The basic plotline is derivative of the Kousuke Fujishima manga Ah! My Goddess, with the AI constructs being analogous to the goddess characters of the earlier manga. The setting also bears similarities to the John Hughes film Weird Science. Both feature male protagonists creating their ideal girlfriends on computers and both girls are brought into the real world via lightning, bearing somewhat superhuman powers. Despite these obvious similarities however, Akamatsu claims not to have seen the film prior to creating the series.

This series contains examples of:

  • Accidental Kiss: When Hitoshi is teaching Cindy how to send an e-mail, he leans in to check out her cleavage and Cindy obliviously turns her head as he does so. Saati then catches them kissing on the lips, not knowing it was an accident.
  • Art Evolution: Later volumes in this series resemble early volumes of Love Hina.
  • Attempted Rape: In Chapter 29, Forty-chan and Saati wander into a H-Game where a perverted otaku very nearly has their way with them until Hitoshi saves them by making Forty-chan say "boy" so she switches into Forty-kun and he gets himself and Saati out of the game.
  • Author Appeal: Akamatsu has stated that Saati has such prominent eyebrows because he finds them attractive.
  • Back for the Finale: Hacker Billy-G, the main antagonist during the first part of the series, disappears after creating a back-up copy of Saati in chapter 20. He finally comes back in the last chapter (55), where he uses the back-up to save the real Saati from deletion, unbeknownst to everyone.
  • Beach Episode: Chapter 4, 31.5 and 44 are about the main cast going to have fun at the beach.
  • Beauty Contest: In Volume 8, Hitoshi's sister Yayoi participates in a beauty contest and is declared the winner.
  • Become a Real Boy: In the final arc, it's revealed Saati is in the process of evolving into a true human girl, but it's subverted as she decides to stay an A.I. to defeat Spider-Zero.
  • Betty and Veronica: In the penultimate volume, Saati and Cindy play these roles respectively, with Hitoshi as Archie. Saati is a sweet and modest Magical Girlfriend (Betty) and her love rival Cindy is a sexually alluring and bold actress (Veronica).
  • Christmas Episode: Chapter 23 and 36 take place in Christmas.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Alpha Bitch Kimika Aso was a antagonist of volume 1 and two chapters of volume 2 and after that she is never seen again.
  • Cyberspace: The A.I. girls can literally dive into computers to swim through phone lines and get inside other machines.
  • Do Androids Dream?: A recurrent theme is questioning whether the A.I. girls have real feelings like humans do.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Chapter 50 has Saati and Toeni going through "that time of the month" where they get tired easily and need to spend a whole day resting inside the computer. It's their maintenance day where they need to organize their data and get rid of the waste. To make the subtext even more blatant, when Forty has her first maintenance day, Saati cooks red bean ricenote .
  • Expy: Saati (Thirty) is obviously the Expy of Belldandy. Then, when Keiichi (Hitoshi) gets more girls, Twenty (Saati's big sister) is analoguous to Urd, while Forty (little sister) is analogous to Skuld (though Forty gets a bit of a Gender Bender gimmick like Ranma).
  • From Roommates to Romance: Hitoshi's A.I. girlfriend Saati comes to life and starts living together with him at his house, where he was living alone because his parents and sister moved to America. Soon enough, Saati becomes Hitoshi's real girlfriend. After a while, other two A.I. move in with Hitoshi and Saati, but Saati is still the only love interest.
  • The Glomp: Happens in Chapter 3 when Hitoshi agrees to introduce Saati to all the clubs.
  • Groin Attack: The best example is in Chapter 35, which revolves around this trope. In frustration over Hitoshi's constant perviness, Toeni and Saati challenge him to go an entire day without getting aroused. They do this by placing him in a high tech chastity belt that has a little priest with a paddle over the crotch; if it detects a 'stirring in the loins' so to speak, poor Hitoshi gets whacked, and on the last activation the belt will detonate. Toeni sets it to 30 activations, claiming that nobody's that much of a sex fiend, but Hitoshi proves her wrong in the most painful way; getting whacked 14 times in just the morning. Eventually, he makes it through the day with one activation left... until Toeni challenges him to find the key to the belt hidden somewhere on Saati's body. Predictably, his groin then goes nuclear.
  • Harem Genre: Subverted. The manga has a similar setup to a harem comedy because Hitoshi lives with three A.I. girls, but unlike the works Akamatsu later became known for, only one of the girls living with Hitoshi is a true love interest and the human girls who interact with him rarely stay around for more than one chapter. The only girl who is real romantic competition for the love interest shows up until one of the last volumes.
  • Hollywood Hacking: The lifeblood of this series. Forget everything you know about computers, or you will start crying and never stop.
  • Honest Axe: Hitoshi throws his computer out of the window, and Saati and Twenty fall into the roles of the water sprites, asking him if he dropped an old 286 or a new Pentium. He lies, claiming that it was the Pentium.
  • Kissing Cousins: Hitoshi gets some Ship Tease with his cousin Kikuko, as they made a Childhood Marriage Promise when younger. Toeni even warns Saati that cousins almost always get it on in dramas and manga. It's still subverted because Kikuko just likes to tease Hitoshi to mess with Saati and it's implied she later develops a crush on Forty-kun instead.
  • Lethal Chef: Early in Saati's cooking lessons, her sole experience with food is looking at pictures of the finished product, not realizing that the dishes must be made of edible ingredients. She cooks using things like watercolor paints and dish detergent, not understanding they're inedible for humans.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Computers getting hit by electricity somehow causes A.I. programs to materialize as real people.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: What happens to Toeni and Forty in the final chapter after Spider-Zero destroys their core programs.
  • Magical Computer: Good adherence to the hardware of its time, but that just makes the magic more ridiculous. Although the use of 5-1/4" floppies instead of 3-1/2" is... borderline.
  • Magical Girlfriend: The premise of the manga is the protagonist's A.I. that he modeled as his perfect girlfriend coming to life and becoming his real girlfriend with Technopath powers.
  • Moving Away Ending: The final volume ends with the main cast at the airport, ready to move to the USA.
  • Muggle and Magical Love Triangle: In the penultimate volume, Hitoshi has to choose between his A.I. Magical Girlfriend Saati and the human Hollywood actress Cindy.
  • Multi-Gendered Split Personalities: Before Forty was ready, Saati and Toeni argued about the gender and personality and pressed too many buttons at once. The end result is an A.I. that has two modes: a male personality and a female personality within a female body.
  • Nosebleed: Hitoshi gets a nosebleed in some highly perverted scenes, like seeing Saati naked.
  • One-Note Cook: Once Saati learns how to cook, she can only make curry, no matter how hard she tries to not make curry.
  • Pet Baby Wild Animal: In Chapter 38, Forty-kun looks after an injured wolf cub who he names Poochie. Since many hunters are after the cub because it belongs to an officially extinct species, Forty-kun and his sisters teleport Poochie to a safe place where the cub can join a new pack.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Cindy, the forward, Genki Girl American actress.
  • Piecemeal Funds Transfer: Hitoshi has to correct a bank error himself using an AI program. On his screen, he sees the balance of his account go down several yen at a time. Somewhat justified in that the process of removing the virtual money is represented as his AI avatar entering a house and taking out armfuls of bills and dumping them...
  • P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: Hitoshi is the POV protagonist and Saati is his A.I. Magical Girlfriend who starts the series by coming to life.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Ai" is the Japanese word for "love." In Japanese, "A.I. ga Tomaranai" is pronounced as "Love won't Stop." As for the English title, A.I. is pronounced like the letter I, and the second letter being "I" just completes the phrase "I love you", as well as referring to Artificial Intelligence.
  • Pygmalion Plot: The computer programmer Hitoshi doesn't have any luck with women, so he creates his dream girlfriend in the form of an A.I. named Saati (Program No. 30). On a stormy night, electricity causes Saati to come out of the computer and she becomes Hitoshi's real girlfriend.
  • Raging Stiffie: Hitoshi is the human 'bar' in a beach limbo contest with Saati and the others. When her turn comes round, he's set so low that she's grinding against him - then her boobs get in the way. He lifts up to let her pass, but not before his resultant tentpole nearly wangs (sorry) her in the face. Cue Naru Punch.
  • Robot Girl: In order of creation: Toeni, No.29, Saati, Peter-Saati (A.I. Memory, Please come back!), Forty, Forty-kun/Forty-chan, and No. 31.
  • School Play: Volume 7 has one portraying The Little Mermaid with Hitoshi as the prince, Saati as the mermaid and Cindy as the human princess who marries the prince.
  • Sex Comedy: While it starts out as a comedy of the Unlucky Everydude getting a Magical Girlfriend and asks the questions on What Measure Is a Non-Human?, it eventually devolved mostly into a ton of fanservice, jokes on sex and Flanderization of Hitoshi being turned more into a pervert.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sibling Triangle: Volume 2 has Saati's older sister Toeni trying to steal their creator Hitoshi from her since Toeni was technically Hitoshi's girlfriend first.
  • Siblings Wanted: Chapter 26 has Saati and Toeni asking Hitoshi to create a new A.I. so they can get a younger sibling. The problem is Saati wants a little sister while Toeni wants a little brother. The two end up messing with the new A.I. Hitoshi had under production and create Forty, an A.I. with a case of Multi-Gendered Split Personalities.
  • Sick Episode: Chapter 5 which starts with Hitoshi sick in bed and after he recovers, Saati catches a virus from the internet that soon threatens to erase her completely.
  • Split-Personality Switch Trigger: The third A.I. "sibling" that comes to life has Multi-Gendered Split Personalities. When Forty-kun says "girl", he becomes Forty-chan, when Forty-chan says "boy", she becomes Forty-kun.
  • Spot the Imposter: In Chapter 25, all of Hitoshi's early programs come to life, including a Flawed Prototype of Saati. Hitoshi can figure out which of the two Saatis is the fake one when he rubs their boobs and only the real Saati slaps him.
  • Title Drop: On the last page, but you need to know the Japanese title (A.I. ga Tomaranai — "A.I. Won't Stop") to get it.
  • Unexplained Recovery: At the end of the final chapter, it's shown Hitoshi somehow restored the core programs of Saati, Toeni and Forty after they were erased by Spider-Zero. All explanation we get is Ma-kun calling it a miracle.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In volume 3, the hacker Billy-G gets away with the data to replicate the method to bring A.I. to life and can create his own Saati, yet he never shows up again except to make a Villainous Rescue in the very final chapter. The authour did admit he left this as a Sequel Hook for a potential continuation that never happened.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Subverted. Hitoshi sees and treats his sentient A.I. as real people. When Saati is at risk of being deleted by a virus and tells Hitoshi he can just make another A.I. like her, Hitoshi makes clear there's only one Saati for him and saves her from the virus.
  • Worth It: Hitoshi makes Saati feel herself up with his VR arm controller - beatdowns ensue, but he concludes that it was totally worth it.
  • You Are Number 6: The A.I. characters are all named after the Japanese pronunciation of their program number. "Saati" from Thirty, "Toeni" from Twenty , and Forty/Foti. Their surname, "Namba", come from pronouncing Number.