Robot x Laserbeam 005-007 – Manga Review
Reviewed by: Tom
Synopsis: Robato Hatohara is a strange young man who seems to show almost no emotion or care. But when Tomoya, his only friend, takes an interest in Golf, Robato begins to show his own interest and quite significant skill as he can do what most pros have a difficult time mastering: He can hit the ball perfectly straight with incredible range. Golf is about to get a whole lot more interesting.
Warning: Spoilers to Follow:
I’ve actually really come around on Robot x Laserbeam thanks to these three chapters. Chapter 005 primarily focuses on Robo easily matching Yozan’s golfing ability on their second hole. As we then move onto the third and final hole in their challenge the manga introduces the idea that Robo isn’t quite as brilliant as we’ve thought. I worried early on that the manga might be forced to ‘dumb’ Robo down. To retcon his ability and surprising intelligence at playing Golf.
However, the manga begins to tease that Robo is decidedly narrow minded in his approach to the sport, and hasn’t put much thought into external factors. This chapter firsts brings it up with Robo failing to notice the wind affecting the direction of his ball on several occasions, before really hammering home that point when Robo fails to get his ball out of the rough.
And I’ll fully admit this is an aspect to his character I hadn’t really considered or focused on. Robo is indeed quite narrow minded, as evidenced by his complete inability to understand what’s appealing about competitive sports until he’s confronted with a competition head on by facing Yozan. So Robo failing to realize that external factors could affect his ability to send the ball where he wants it makes perfect sense and adds a lot of depth and potential growth for his character.
Chapter 006 continues the revelations in Robo’s narrowed minded focus. Yozan finally pieces it together and learns the truth about Robo. He ultimately declares the match a loss for himself and urges Robo to learn Golf so they can have a proper rematch in the future.
As Yozan declares that he has a rival no one has ever heard of, someone who doesn’t exist in the pro golf world, Robo begins asking Tomoya what the Golf Club is like. I feel this is an excellent chapter that sets the stage for Robo turning around and now actively seeking out a chance to enter the sport properly.
I do perhaps feel like we could’ve gotten to this moment faster, maybe even saved a chapter if things had played just a bit different, but overall this continues to suck me into the story and really make me do a 180 on my interest in this manga. Chapter 007 ultimately is what finally sold me on keeping up with this manga long term.
This chapter mostly focuses on Robo going around and asking about the golf club, or thinking to himself whether he really wishes to pursue this venture. During this we’re introduced to Gen Kuroda, Vice Captain of the Golf Club, who refuses to believe Yozan has any kind of secret, non-pro rival. We also meet Sota Karasuma one of the four top players for the school’s Golf Club, and an individual that ultimately convinces Robo to join the club, as he explains to him that the top players get to compete in tournaments.
The chapter ends with Robo seeking to not only join the club, but for the four mains to play against him so he can knock one of them out of the top spot and become a regular tournament goer.
What I love about the final pages to this chapter are how palpable the tension is when Robo is asking such an outlandish, arrogant question like that. I’m fully hooked on the series at this point and eager to see which of the four will get taken out by Robo, or if Robo actually isn’t quite good enough to challenge them yet. I’m also hoping we’ll see a proper full golf game, as the series continues to depict golf with a surprising amount of flare.
Let me know your thoughts on Robot x Laserbeam in the comments below!
Robot x Laserbeam can be found in Shonen Jump and will be available to read for free at Viz.com.