W3 – Extra Reading 1: Bokko-chan

I don’t think I’ve told you this yet, but if you didn’t know, the rabbit character in W3, Bokko, has her name taken from one of Shinichi Hoshi’s most famous stories. It was maybe Hoshi’s favorite story he ever wrote. He said most of his stories involve a great deal of time and patience, but Bokko-chan was effortless. It’s a pretty funny story. I’m putting it here and not on Hoshizuru because I didn’t translate it! It was just on some random spam-ridden blog and so I copied it and am putting it here.

Bokko-chan.

The robot was really a work of art. It was a female robot and, being artificial, she was designed to be the perfect beauty. Every element that went to make up a charming girl was taken into consideration. The trouble was that she looked a little prissy, but who can deny that a prissy air is an indispensable prerequisite for a beauty?

Nobody else had ever ventured to build such a robot. Indeed, it was silly to build a robot just to do the work of a man when for an equal amount of expense one could design more efficient machinery or hire suitable workers from among the many whose applications jammed the “Situation Wanted” columns of the classified ads.

However, this robot was made at leisure by the master of a certain bar. A bar-master, in general, will not drink at home at all. For him liquor exists only as his stock-in-trade which should never be consumed for private use. And those haunting drunkards who frequented his bar so willingly helped him to make money with which he was able to spend his off hours in pursuit of a hobby.

It happened that his hobby was the building of a charming robotess.

Since this was his only hobby he spared neither effort nor money in designing her. For instance, she was covered with a skin so smooth that it could hardly be distinguished from that of a real girl. It is no exaggeration to say that she was more enchanting than the genuine beauties around.

Unfortunately, like many great beauties, she was rather empty-headed, since the designing of a complex brain was beyond the capabilities of her inventor. She was able to answer questions of the simplest form and perform simple motions, such as taking a drink.

The bar-master named her “Bokko-chan” and placed her on a chair behind the counter of his bar so that she would not be too close to the customers. He was afraid the robot might show her cloven hoof upon close examination by the patrons of the bar.

So a new girl appeared at the bar and all of the visitors greeted her pleasantly. She behaved satisfactorily until she was asked something other than her name and age. And yet, fortunately enough, nobody noticed she was a robot.

“What’s your name, baby?”

“Bokko-chan.”

“How old are you?”

“I’m still young.”

“Well, how young are you?”

“I’m still young.”

“I say, how young are you?”

“I’m still young.”

Fortunately the patrons of the bar were polite enough not to pursue the question of her age any further.

“Nice dress you wear, huh?”

“Nice dress I wear, don’t I?”

“What do you like best?”

“What do I like best?”

“Will you drink a glass of . . . say gin fizz?”

“I will drink a glass of . . . say gin fizz.”

Bokko-chan never objected to a drink. Nor did she ever become intoxicated.

Charming, young, prissy and smart to chat with. The story of the new girl at the bar spread throughout the neighborhood and the number of visitors to the bar increased. And every visitor enjoyed himself by chatting and drinking with the charming Bokko-chan. Indeed, she seemed to please everyone.

“Whom do you like best among us all?”

“Whom do I like best among you all?”

“Do you like me?”

“I do like you.”

“Well, then, shall we go and see some movies?”

“When shall we go?”

Whenever Bokko-chan was asked a question she could not answer she would signal the bar-master who would immediately rush to her side.

“Hey, mister, it’s not polite to be flirting with such a baby so much.”

The insistent visitor could but grin and retire gracefully under the stern admonition of the bar-master.

The bar-master would sometimes crouch at the foot of Bokko-chan in which a small plastic spout had been installed. From this spout he would drain the cocktails that she had drunk and, being a frugal man, he would serve them again to the customers. However, the patrons of the bar were not aware of this, and they never ceased to praise the female robot. They praised her youth and beauty, her steady character, the fact that she never flattered too much, and that she never lost her senses from drinking. Thus the popularity and fame of Bokko-chan grew and grew as did the number of customers at the bar.

Among the many admirers of Bokko-chan was a young man whose infatuation with her became so great that he visited the bar every evening, Night after night he tried to talk her into going out with him without any success at all. Her lack of response nearly drove him crazy and he spent much more than he could afford in an effort to impress her. His frequent visits to the bar caused him to run up a considerable bill and when the bar-master called him to account he attempted to steal from his father in order to pay his debts.

His father caught him at his attempted theft and a bitter scene followed during which the father agreed to advance the young man enough money to pay his debts provided he would promise never to visit the bar again.

That evening the youth returned to the bar to pay his bill and, knowing that this was his last visit, he drank much and treated Bokko-chan.

“I shan’t come anymore.”

“You won’t come anymore.”

“Are you sad?”

“I am sad.”

“In reality, you are not, are you?”

“In reality, I am not.”

“No other girl is as cold-hearted as you.”

“No other girl is as cold-hearted as I.”

“Shall I kill you?”

“Will you kill me?”

The youth pulled a packet of drugs from his pocket, poured them into his glass then pushed the glass toward Bokko-chan.

“Will you drink this?”

“I will drink this.”

Bokko-chan lifted the glass and drained its contents.

“Go to hell, will you?” the boy said.

“I will go to hell.”

The boy quickly settled his bill with the bar-master and ran out into the night.

It was almost closing time and the bar-master was pleased with having collected such a large debt. He drained the liquor from Bokko-chan and set up drinks for all on the bar.

“Drink up , men,” said the bar-master, “this is my treat.”

The patrons of the bar drank a toast to the bar-master which he acknowledged by draining his own glass.

On that night the lights of the bar were not put out, and the radio continued to play music. Nobody departed and yet nobody spoke.

And the time came when the radio said “Good night”, as the station signed off the air.

“Good night,” said Bokko-chan, waiting with all her prissy air for the next man to call her.

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One Response to W3 – Extra Reading 1: Bokko-chan

  1. Jeffbert says:

    Bokko as a robot interests me, because I own the series on DVD, and note several occasions when she uses super hearing just as Atom does. She also has a hypnotic gaze and a few other powers that her comrades both lack.

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