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Manga / Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou

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''The once festive world has gradually wound down.
Allow me to take you through these latter, languid days;
the so-called Age of Evening Calm.
Let us sit on the warm concrete before Night falls.''

Robot Girl Alpha Hatsuseno runs a cafe outside Yokohama, nearly deserted after a catastrophic flood, implied to have been part of a longer chain of disasters. Soon, another robot comes with a delivery of a camera, beginning... well, not much, really. Don't let her gun fool you; it's a pretty laid-back series. Perhaps very little happens, but then it's not about things happening. This is a manga series that gives you something to think about, and time in which to do it. After all, there's all the time in the world.

Written and illustrated by Hitoshi Ashinano, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (Record of a Yokohama Shopping Trip) is a slow, quiet vision of the peaceful decline of humanity. The manga was serialized from 1994 to 2006 in the Seinen magazine Afternoon. It was also adapted into four OVA episodes by Ajia-Do; the first two were released in 1998, and the second two (subtitled as Quiet Country Cafe) were released in December 2002 and March 2003.


Occasionally compared to ARIA, which it predates by some six years, for ARIA's similar Science Fiction setting, heavy use of Scenery Porn, and clear parallels and similarities between the cast of characters and their relationships.

A bit of advice: If you try to speed read through the manga, you'll probably find it very boring and pointless. The story is told through the visuals, not the words. Sit back and stare at the artwork.

A French publisher, Meian, is releasing the volumes in French under the name Escale à Yokohama (Stop at Yokohama). While the manga had no official English translation for many years, Seven Seas Entertainment announced that they licensed the series in 2022, and are releasing the manga as five omnibus volumes.


Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou contains examples of:

  • Arcadia: The setting is pretty much this, with its quiet countryside, good-hearted people and peace all around. The fact that it is this after a Cosy Catastrophe has occurred makes it more notable.
  • After the End: The story is taking place long after some kind of unspecified upheaval that has basically undone human civilization. All the violence and noise that typically signifies "The End" has long since passed, but the story's not done yet.
  • Apocalypse How: Don't expect an answer, just some vague hints.
  • Art Evolution: Character designs change noticeably throughout the volumes.
  • Artifact Title: Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou translates to "Record of a Yokohama Shopping Trip". The first chapter is about just that — a shopping trip to Yokohama — but the place is only visited occasionally through the rest of the series. Like as not, the "first chapter" was actually produced as a one-shot stand-alone which was then optioned into a series, carrying along its now mostly vestigial title.
  • Beach Episode: One chapter, a swimming trip with Alpha, Kokone, Maruko, and Makki. It's the closest the entire series comes to Fanservice (unless you count the "data transfers"), but as with all the other chapters, character interaction is the overwhelming focus.
  • Beautiful Void: The beauty of the setting contrasts heavily with how human contact is infrequent, and how many places once inhabited have been abandoned. The underwater city Alpha encounters exemplifies this.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Alpha is doing just fine, and is even living together with Kokone, but most of the other people she loves either moved away or died, and the world around her is still gradually deteriorating.
  • Bookends: The first and last chapters are shopping trips to Yokohama.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Alpha, by her own admission. In one chapter, she makes herself a single drink and wakes up the next morning in front of a gas station a couple of kilometers away.
  • Cat Smile: Alpha often has this expression.
  • Character Development: Over the years, Maruko's attitude towards Alpha changes from hostile to neutral to friendly.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The four OVA episodes cover 18 of the manga's 141 chapters.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Sort of. The tone is often philosophical, but no actual philosophy is ever mentioned outright. It's just sort of... implied.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: Very much so, it'd be hard to guess the age of humanity is ending if you weren't told as much.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: By the truckload. See the Wild Mass Guessing page for just a few.
  • The Cutie: Each of the robots display this when they're first introduced, and Alpha and Kokone occasionally lapse back into this trope.
  • Decompressed Comic: Long stretches of the manga go without any dialogue, relying purely upon the graphic elements.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: In one of the last chapters, a now-teenaged Takahiro is heavily implied to have spent the night in Alpha's company just before leaving town for good. Whether this even happened, and whether anything happened if it did, is just one more mystery.
  • Distant Finale: Throughout the last volume, there's a couple years between chapters, with the final chapter taking place at least a decade after the one before and an epilogue whose placement on the timeline can only be guessed.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: "Ojisan" and "Sensei", major characters for most of the series, vanish without fanfare midway through the final volume. Even Alpha doesn't seem to notice, which didn't sit well with some readers. Although, since this happens right after a Time Skip, and we're shown his gas station overgrown with two unmarked graves beside it, it's likely that they both died of old age quite some time ago and she had already had enough time to grieve for them.
    • Ojisan and Sensei each got an Obi-Wan Moment chapter before the final chapters happen as well, knowing that they haven't gotten much longer to live.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Ojisan, even as a young man. Kokone's delivery partner Shiba also falls into this trope.
  • Fanservice: Almost completed averted, despite the prominently cute, female cast. The OVAs cut loose a bit, but are still notably restrained.
  • Fantastic Arousal: In an early chapter, Kokone tells Alpha how she gets a little "charge" out of her scooter whenever she starts the ignition. Later, she takes it in to a mechanic who mentions off-hand that her android body shares some parts with that model... and then immediately apologizes for getting "too personal".
  • Flight: A recurring theme in the story. Nai's plane, the model engine plane that Alpha repairs, the Taapon (the gigantic airship that endlessly flies overhead), and Alpha's dream-like visions of flying which she may or may not actually be doing... yet another unanswered question.
  • Flooded Future World: Due to an environmental shift whose details are largely unrevealed, sea levels have risen dramatically, submerging a great many coastal cities completely.
  • Flying Dutchman: The Taapon, an orbital craft stuck circling the Earth because everywhere it could have landed has either been destroyed or swallowed by the rising sea levels. It circles the globe, switching north-south hemispheres every 6 years. Its overall purpose has either been lost to time or classified to only a few certain people still alive.
  • Foreshadowing: In Volume 1, Alpha has a short stay in hospital. The doctor (known as Sensei in later appearances) says that it has been a long time since she had a robot patient, and that Alpha is like a daughter to her. We find out later that Sensei was involved in the early days of the robot development program.
  • Friend to All Children: The Misago. In a twist, she apparently doesn't understand the concept of aging, which means she makes friends and then wonders where they went when they grow up.
  • Furo Scene: In one chapter, Alpha and Takahiro share a hot bath after both get soaked in a storm. It's an awkward moment for both. Later, Alpha enjoys a nice, relaxing bath after a few days wandering in the wild.
  • Gaia's Lament: Played with; no-one seems to be in any danger of starvation, but while Alpha is once paid for an odd job with a persimmon bigger than her head, another character later freaks out over being given a handful of rice, claiming it's more than he's ever seen in his entire life.
    • Apprently, while agriculture in general is still healthy, the changes wrought by the apocalypse have made it extremely difficult to grow rice anywhere in Japan, which, considering rice's cultural importance there, has inevitably made a deep impression on people.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Maruko is jealous of Alpha and Kokone's relationship and is rather catty to Alpha when they first meet.
    • Until she gets to know Alpha, Maki is jealous of Alpha and Takahiro's relationship.
  • I Have the High Ground: At one point, Alpha spends some time sitting on a power pole that's just above the water's surface and playing a guitar.
  • I Will Wait for You: Alpha maintains that she's waiting for the return of her owner. Much later in the manga, she eventually moves on with her life and comes to terms with the possibility of her owner never coming back.
  • Idiot Hair: The Misago. In the OVAs the first we see of her is this, though replace "idiot" with "wild" for her behavior.
  • Just Before the End: This is as equally valid an interpretation of the setting and story as After the End; while human civilization hasn't been completely erased, it is definitely on the downward slide.
  • The Magic Comes Back: As human civilization recedes, hints of the supernatural appear in the world — although (as befits the story) none of them are flashy or overly dramatic.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Subverted; Alpha and Takahiro have an obvious romantic connection, but neither of them pursue their mutual feelings because Takahiro will eventually age and die and Alpha will not. Alpha also sees Takahiro as a brother figure, and refers to him as such several times.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: Alpha and the other robots seem to be artificial lifeforms rather than mere human-shaped machines: they sleep and dream, and they need the same food as humans (although they're suggested to be much lower maintenance than normal humans—Maruko points out that a human person wouldn't be able to make a living out of Alpha's little business.)
  • Middle-of-Nowhere Street: Justified; most of the city is dead.
  • Mono no Aware: One of the most notable examples of this aesthetic in manga. The reason why things are fading away is generally left unaddressed because it is unimportant. All things fade away. What is important is that we appreciate the beauty of the impermanent world and that is remembered when it has passed.
  • Monumental Damage: Mount Fuji now has a bit missing from the top. The cause is one of many things which go unexplained.
  • Mood Whiplash: Most of the stories are light-hearted or gently melancholic, but there are exceptions:
    • Maruko is really jealous and spiteful toward Alpha at first.
    • There are some bleak moments when the older human characters talk about their impending deaths.
  • Motorcycle on the Coast Road: The main character has a scooter, and lives on the coast. It's to be expected.
  • Older Than They Look: Inverted; although never explicitly stated, in the beginning of the series Alpha may be quite a bit younger than her adult-looking form suggests. Played straight by the end of the series.
  • One-Gender Race: Subverted - there were male androids, but almost all of them died out due to an unidentified design flaw. Throughout the series, we only ever even hear of one survivor.
  • OVA: Adapted not as a television series but as a pair of two-episode video releases with the title Quiet Country Cafe.
  • Pastoral Science Fiction: A Slice of Life science fiction story set in the countryside.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Ojisan's permanent facial expression is a huge grin, although as he ages it seems to shrink somewhat.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The deserted town of Yokosuka still lights up every night, even though it is now underwater.
  • Real-Place Background: A lot of places Alpha visits exist for real, even though they are now largely reclaimed by the sea or otherwise highly run-down. Special mention goes to Yokohama (of course), Miura and Kamakura.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Alpha and her kind are basically human, except for the fact that they never age — and probably can't reproduce either, although they seem to have the necessary equipment. It's possible that the only reason they can't reproduce is because there's only one male robot left and he just isn't interested. Just another one of the series' many Epileptic Trees.
  • Robosexual: A consequence of the above. Kokone and Alpha both have their fair share of admirers. The owner of the tea shop, in particular, has a really obvious unrequited crush on Kokone. Everyone treats this as a perfectly normal thing; even Kokone's coworker is merely jealous that Kokone is more popular with the guys than she is.
  • Scenery Porn: Entire chapters may go by with hardly a word spoken.
  • Schizo Tech: On the one hand you've got some sort of giant orbital airplane-thingy and Ridiculously Human Robots and direct-to-brain cameras, and on the other you have standard mid-to-late 20th-century fare. Even two-way radios, cellphones and landline telephones, which should exist, are never shown; all other forms of communication (other than in-person) are by surface mail or radio broadcasts.
  • Shown Their Work: For the most part the geography is very well researched (not surprising since Ashinano is from Yokohama) right down to the specific building identified as Cafe Alpha having been located in real life, right where the manga said it would be (it's currently a private home).
  • Silent Scenery Panel: A large part of the manga, which helps the atmosphere tremendously. There is at least an entire chapter of the manga without a single line of dialogue.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Firmly on the Idealism side of the scale, despite being After the End and all.
  • Static Stun Gun: Kokone has a pistol which fires "9mm electroshock rounds". She understands that they leave a scar, but we never see her fire it. It's not that sort of series.
  • Sunken City: A great many due to the rising oceans, but Yokosuka is particularly prominent in the story.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Averted. Alpha (and, one assumes, the other robot people) don't have super strength or built-in weapons. (In one chapter, Alpha has all she can do to lift a large snowball while building a snowman, implying she has no more strength than an average adult human woman.) Being able to interface with electronics by sticking a cable in your mouth is a neat trick, though.
  • Time Skip: For most of the series time passes at about the same rate as the real-time of initial serialization, but during the final volume, more time passes between chapters, sometimes years between. Each skip is another sucker punch in the gut as human "ships" pass on, leaving Alpha behind — just as she warned they would all through the series.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: Very much so, throughout the entirety of the manga we are only given hints and tidbits of informations about what happened to start the Age of the Calm Evening that is causing humanity to gradually disappear, fitting considering that the characters themselves don't ponder much in what caused it as much as the effects it has on their lives, and this is hinted to have been going on for years now and the main setting is a faraway settlement where such things are hardly talked about.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Admittedly, this is a big reason why the manga even works in the first place.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Not just subverted, but outright kicked to the curb: humans treat robots like humans, it's heavily implied that male humans are quite willing to lust after any available female robots, and even the robots themselves have trouble telling other robots and humans apart.
  • Who's on First?: The lone male android is named "Nai", Japanese for "nothing," which causes some confusion when Alpha asks for his name.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Largely averted, but hinted at in chapters 45 and 93 as the obvious reason why robots wouldn't want any romantic involvement with humans. Which, together with the fact that nearly all surviving robots are female, makes for a rather limited range of options...
  • Wild Child: Misago, probably — we don't know how she grew up, but she is a wild-woman. She lives around the bays, she is naked, mute, and catches fish using only her inhuman speed, which she then eats raw. She is gentle to the children, however.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: Human characters have normal hair colors, but robots have hair in more unusual shades. This seems to be a distinguishing characteristic of robots, at least the female ones. Alpha has green hair and Kokone's is light purple; Maruko's is reddish brown, which wouldn't be out of place elsewhere but stands out in Japan. It's implied to be an in-universe case of Colour-Coded for Your Convenience; it's highly likely that robots were designed like that on purpose to distinguish them from humans.