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Takaya Miou
Lord of Mechanics 『機械仕掛けの王様』, vol. 1, cover
Japan, 2000
Painting (genga), ink, color, and pastel on paper
Collection of the artist (L.2016-16.02)
© Takaya Miou, 2000

The two-volume graphic novel Lord of Mechanics describes a futuristic society in which the brilliant roboticist Thanatos manufactures a legion of “animated dolls” (androids). Confounded by the existential implications of this new technology, many characters, including the androids themselves, are driven to violent acts of self-destruction.

In the cover illustration for Volume 1, Takaya depicts Thanatos surrounded by the young women he has created, all of whom are overcome by a sense of despair. The scene is fractured by silhouetted branches of a rose bush, and the roses at the extreme ends of the composition bring to mind the themes of Flemish still-life paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries: the impermanence of beauty (vanitas ) and the inevitability of death (momento mori ).