Blik-0 1946 begins near the end of WWII. Germany is on its heels and an allied victory is inevitable. In the midst of this world-changing event, a scientist named Dr. Mabuse goes into hiding with his robot creation. Originally designed as a weapon of war, Dr. Mabuse decides his creation, Blik-0, should have a greater purpose – peace.
The doctor strips Blik-0 of his weapons and war-focused software, replacing them with the ability to possess and develop human emotions. Without spoiling too much of the story, Blik-0 sets out into the world and attempts to make sense of his newly-programmed emotions in a less-than-perfect world.
Blik-0 is a short read and rather enjoyable, even if it treads well-worn storytelling paths. There are shades of Frankenstein, Pinocchio, and even Edward Scissorhands scattered though the story, though Uematsu manages to take these concepts and weave a well-told story about a little robot who is instantly relatable.
That isn’t to say the story is without its flaws. I had to re-read a few parts two or three times, not because I enjoyed them, but just to figure out what was happening. The overall story is understandable, but the narrative flow hits a lot of bumps. The rockier parts usually involved dialogue sequences, which are hard to follow.
Still, Blik-0 manages to push forward through rough narrative waters and present a few incredibly memorable scenes. Though a better structure would obviously help out, Blik-0’s journey through learning about his emotions – both the good ones and bad ones – is enjoyable and smart.
Blik-0 1946 is accompanied by a three song soundtrack, allowing Uematsu to show off his other creative outlet. The soundtrack is available for download if you want to listen to it separately, though the tracks are also integrated into the iPad version. At certain points in the book you can tap a play icon and read the printed lyrics alongside the music. I thought the approach was interesting and works well, though the idea got my thinking about iPad apps like Moonbot's The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore and how it integrates music and a bit of interactivity combined with a traditional storybook. I think Blik-0 1946 would benefit from a similar treatment.
Blik-0 1946 is a short, but enjoyable, story and is recommended.