#1 Found family with robots
For 30 years, it was believed that all of humanity had died in a cataclysmic war. Earth is now a wasteland inhabited only by robots, many of which live like feral beasts. However, deep within an abandoned facility, a family of robots discover a pod container Haruka; a teenage girl who survived the apocalypse due to being in cryogenic sleep. After awakening her, the robots eagerly welcome Haruka to their dynamic family.
Kurogane Communication chronicles the life of this unusual family as they live together amidst the ruins of civilization. The group consist of the kindly caretaker Reeves, the calm & analytical Cleric, the short-tempered gun drone Trigger, and Spike, who has a crush on Haruka that he expresses by being obsessively protective of her. There’s also the retired warrior android Angela, but she has isolated herself from the rest of the family because she is the only one who objected to taking in a human girl.
There is a cozy atmosphere between these characters that make their daily interactions endearing to watch. Kurogane Communication always reminds you that these guys are robots with pre-programmed AI behavior, but it doesn’t let that fact detract from their characterization or dialogue. One way in which this is made especially clear is in how the characters have little frictions between each other. Cleric sometimes upsets the younger robots because he prefers to be coldly realistic when facing a problem, for example. Or Trigger, whose impatience and unwillingness to learn from mistakes is often the cause behind these problems.
The relationship between Haruka and Angela is also given a lot of focus. Much of the story deals with Haruka trying to sort out why Angela is so distant towards her, so that she can try to mend their relationship. Haruka dearly wants Angela to be part of their family again, but she quickly learns that Angela’s grievances may be too deeply-rooted for her to untangle with just some familial niceties.
#2 The Threat of the post apocalypse
Living happily together as a family is all well and good, but the circumstances in which Haruka and friends have to do so aren’t the best. Humanity didn’t suddenly die out voluntarily, after all.
The post-apocalyptic world presented in Kurogane Communication is rough. The once thriving cities of Humanity are now dilapidated; everything looks like it’s one good push away from total collapse. Utilities and technology are unreliable, and even nature itself has become dry and inhospitable. To make matters even worse, the world is infested with hordes of violent robots. Machines that, unlike Haruka’s family, have no individuality whatsoever. Their only objective is to destroy anyone that isn’t them, particularly when they sight their sights on a Human.
This struggle for survival is made really tangible thanks to the excellent storytelling. How do you keep feeding a teenage girl in a world where nobody is left to farm crops or raise animals? How do you treat her when she gets sick and how much of her freedom do you sacrifice to keep her out of harm’s way?
The action scenes contribute to this as well and expand that threat to the rest of the family as well. Skirmishes with other robots are frequent and often come with high stakes that the story isn’t afraid to deliver on. Some encounters get especially close and leave beloved characters in critical condition.
Core to the story of Kurogane Communication is how, or rather why, Haruka is the only surviving member of her species. She suffers from amnesia and what little she does remember consists of hazy snippets that lack the context she needs to make sense of them. Recalling these memories is also painful to her, giving the audience further reason to suspect that something must have happened.
Another question is whether Haruka truly is the last of her species; an idea that is more concerning than it is hopeful. If Haruka were to reunited with other Humans, their family would cease to have a function. If other Humans yet exist, then the follies of their past may be repeated. Angela especially expresses a strong dislike for Humanity, though her reasons for doing so are yet another mystery to uncover.
Kurogane Communication is full of questions like these. Who made all of these robots and for what purpose? How are more still being made in spite of the world being so thoroughly purged of all life? How does Spike always manage to walk in on Haruka at the worst possible moments? So many mysteries to solve…
More anime & manga like this
Space Family Carlvinson: A young human girl is adopted by an unconventional family.
Girls’ Last Tour: Mystery story set in the ruins of a lost civilization.
Shinzo: The last surviving human girl goes on a journey with a group of outcasts.
For a different opinion, I recommend Iridium Eye’s review on this series. It’s what convinced me to check it out myself.