Review: Iris on Rainy Days

Iris on Rainy Days
(art by Hirasato)

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Iris on Rainy Days
Iris on Rainy Days

Iris on Rainy Days is a standalone light novel by Takeshi Matsuyama (with art by Hirasato), released in May 2011. Overall I found it an interesting read. I've generally liked the sorts of robot stories I've seen in anime, such as those offered by the films Time of Eve (a personal favorite of mine) and the more recent Hal. I'd say if you liked either of those, you would also likely appreciate the story Iris on Rainy Days manages to tell.

What stands out most in this story is how it is told from the point of view of a robot. The eponymous Iris is a robot that a professor created in the likeness of her deceased little sister, and the two care for each other very much. Obviously when an android ends up feeling the entire spectrum of emotion the line between human and machine is blurred, and the story uses this to its advantage to create a surprisingly harrowing series of events.

The plot begins quite reminiscent of a relatively conflict-free slice-of-life, as Iris goes about her days as a maid in the professor's mansion. But the carefree days for Iris end suddenly when a number of tragedies strike, and the tone of the novel turns quite bleak. I was surprised by some of the dark plot twists the story was willing to pull off–and though it will come off as melodramatic for some readers, I overall appreciated the way Iris's character developed.

I also quite liked the character arcs for a couple of the other robots she ends up interacting with for a good chunk of the novel: Lilith (pictured left in the header image) was once an android girl created for a human couple who couldn't have a child, and Volkov (pictured right) was once a robot designed to kill people on the battlefield. How Iris meets them and what ends up happening to each of them, I'll leave it to you to find out in the story itself. It's a pretty quick read, and works well as a self-contained single-volume story.

Cho’s Rating: Recommended

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