is a science fiction humor/adventure series featuring android girls. It has been produced in the form of anime, manga, and light novels. It was created by Satoru Akahori. Beginning with a short story published in the October 1994 issue of Gekkan Dragon Magazine, twelve volumes of serialized light novels were produced. A long-running manga series illustrated by Yumisuke Kotoyoshi titled Saber Marionette Z was later adapted into an anime series which first aired on TV Tokyo in October 1996.
In January 1995 a twelve-episode audio drama series called SM Girls Saber Marionette R aired on the radio show Nowanchatte Say You. The audio drama concluded in April 1995 and the story was continued one month later with the release of the first episode of the Saber Marionette R OVA. Episode two was released in late July 1995, and in September 1995, the final episode was released.
In October 1995 the SM Girls Saber Marionette J audio drama series premiered on Nowanchatte Say You and ran until January 1996. In October 1996 the Saber Marionette J anime series aired. The series ran through March of 1997 with 25 episodes.
In October 1997, a sequel arrived on video, the Saber Marionette J Again OVA. In June 1998, the sixth and final episodes of the OVA were released. In October 1998, the Saber Marionette J to X TV series was first broadcast. The series ran for 26 episodes, concluding in March 1999.
The Saber Marionette R OVA is currently licensed by Media Blasters. The Saber Marionette J TV series, the Saber Marionette J Again OVA, and the Saber Marionette J to X TV series are currently licensed by Bandai Entertainment. The English language Saber Marionette J manga is currently licensed by TOKYOPOP. The American translation is imported to Australia by Madman Entertainment.
The original novels, audio dramas, SMJ radio show, and the Saber Marionette Z manga are not licensed.
On a world with no women, the surviving men have reintroduced the female in the form of an android. Called Marionettes, they are built to serve men and are limited in their interactions with humans. That is until a poor boy named Otaru Mamiya encounters a Marionette named Lime. Lime is a Saber model with a special circuit that gives her emotions. When Otaru awakens two more Saber Marionettes, his life as an 'average' man quickly becomes as extraordinary as the lives of his eager, busty new friends.
Meanwhile, planet Terra II is beginning to experiance a plasmatic crisis. The key to save the planet lies within a new marionette, which will bear the name Marine. The mystery behind Marine lies in her triple maiden circuit, and is not unveiled until episode four. She matures faster than the other marionettes, and is stronger than Bloodberry and Panther combined.
In contrast to the care-free lifestyle of the marionettes, Lorelei begins to feel stifled by her over-protected existence within the walls of Japoness Castle, and begs Otaru to help her escape for a day. Otaru and the marionettes manage to succeed in smuggling Lorelei out of the castle, but their act of goodwill backfires when she is kidnapped, apparently by former members of the Gartland regime. When Otaru attempts to free her, he confronted by a power-mad Faust once again bent on conquest, accompanied by the Saber Dolls, who seem disturbed by Faust’s return to his dark past. When another Faust appears, everyone soon realizes that the Faust responsible for the kidnapping is actually a clone being manipulated by Doctor Hess. While Otaru and the marionettes were preoccupied with Faust, Doctor Hess and a member of the Xian government had used the opportunity to scan Lorelei's brain for information, although they escape without revealing their true purpose.
The second half of the series takes place in Xian, where Otaru and the girls go on a holiday trip won through a lottery. At this time, Otaru's relationship with the girls becomes more complicated, as he experiences growing pressure from the girls to choose one of them to marry. Instead, he chooses to try to show affection to them equally, without singling any of them out. While the girls feel sorry for Otaru and appreciate his attempt to be considerate, they begin to feel that they are emotionally mature enough to handle the situation, whoever he might choose.
Upon reaching Xian, Otaru comes down with a serious fever called the “sleeping fever,” which the marionettes are told can only be cured by a rare moss that grows in the mountains. In the process of looking for the moss, the girls become separated and are attacked by mysterious robot assailants, which turn out to be working for Doctor Hess and his Xian associate. This time, instead of Lorelei, it is the marionettes’ brains they attempt to scan, but a security measure within the maiden circuits kicks in and creates feedback within Doctor Hess’ machine, causing a tremendous explosion.
When Otaru wakes up five days later, he finds only Hanagata in his room; the marionettes never returned, although a bag belonging to Lime and containing the medicine that saved Otaru was somehow left on the table in his room. Otaru begins a desperate search for the girls, greatly hampered by the fact that he has been accused of causing the explosion in Doctor Hess’s lab and branded a terrorist. He eventually discovers the whereabouts of the three girls: Lime is now working as a nurse, Cherry at a temple orphanage, and Bloodberry in the circus. Otaru manages to rescue the girls and restore their memories, but is severely hurt in the process. He begins to believe that their lives in Xian are much better than the one they shared with him in Japoness, and that if he can’t decide among them, they would be better off without him. It is with this conclusion that he decides to return to Japoness alone.
The marionettes are crushed by Otaru’s sudden, unannounced departure. Not knowing why he chose to abandon them, they begin to doubt their own value as people and whether or not they will be forever separated from humanity because of their machine bodies. Doctor Hess appears to them in a dream and promises them that he can make them human, if they are willing to give him what he wants in return. Lime, convinced that becoming human will finally allow her to fulfill her dream of marrying Otaru, goes to meet Hess, while Cherry and Bloodberry follow her to try to convince her that Hess cannot be trusted. Lime is shocked when Doctor Hess admits that he never had the intention of making her human, and that all he really wanted was to get the three girls together so that he could finish copying their data. It turns out that only the marionettes have the power to communicate with the Mesopotamia’s computer systems, which he needs in order to gain access to the wormhole charts in its memory that will allow him to return to Earth on board his new ship, The Neo-Mesopotamia.
Hess reveals that he is over 400 years old, a feat he has achieved by turning himself into a cyborg, with all of his body except for his brain having been converted from flesh to metal. He was on Terra 2 a century before the Mesapotamia’s arrival, part of an even earlier scouting mission called the Frontier Project, whose purpose was to find a habitable planet to ease Earth's pollution and over-population problems. He was the first to go down to the planet's surface, but only barely survived the landing due to Terra 2's violent plasma storms. His shipmates, unable to follow, were left with little choice but to return to Earth, swearing before they left that they would return to rescue him. He waited for years but nobody ever returned for him; as a result, he was forever separated from his family on Earth, who were left to believe that he had died in space. His rage and grief at his abandonment drove him to build a ship powerful enough to weather the plasma storms and return to Earth on his own, where he plans on exacting his revenge. Firmly believing that humanity as a whole is an irredeemable species, he feels no regret for the countless thousands of people on Terra 2 who have suffered as a result of his plans for revenge.
Having taken what he needs from the marionettes, he allows them to escape from his ship as he prepares for launch. However, the massive energies released by the Neo-Mesopotamia cause an earthquake that starts to rip apart the surface of Terra 2. The marionettes decide that they cannot allow Doctor Hess to get away, both for the sakes of the lives he has destroyed on Terra 2, and for the sakes of those on Earth who will die if he succeeds. They manage to re board the ship and confront Doctor Hess, only to discover that it does not matter if they defeat him: the Neo-Mesopotamia has been rigged with a massive nuclear device, capable of wiping out an entire planet. The undaunted marionettes continue to fight against Doctor Hess, but are interrupted as the ship leaves the wormhole’s exit to the solar system and are struck by the massive chunks of icy debris that make up the rings of Saturn. In the near distance, they see the derelict of another ship, which Doctor Hess is shocked to realize is all that remains of the original Frontier Project ship. Doctor Hess is overcome with the horrifying realization that all of his plans for revenge were based on a misunderstanding: instead of being abandoned as he had thought, it turns out he was the only survivor.
Realizing the tragedy of his existence, Doctor Hess gives up control of his ship. His body is finally giving out; wavering on the brink of death, Doctor Hess relents and thanks the marionettes for helping him to see the truth, then passes away. The girls return the ship to the wormhole, hoping to put as much distance as possible between themselves and Earth before the ship detonates. From Terra 2, the massive shock wave caused by the ship’s destruction registers on the sensors in Faust’s ship, and everyone realizes what the marionettes have done. The wormhole itself, destabilized by the explosion, begins to close, but not before three beams of light shoot out of it and streak towards Terra 2. In his last moments, Doctor Hess, realizing that he had doomed the marionettes to die with him, managed to transfer the essences of the marionettes into the memory of the ship, which were then broadcast back to Terra 2 when the ship was destroyed. Otaru, crushed by his failure to protect his marionettes, is discovered by Lorelei and Faust, who take him to a hidden cave where the first three female clones have finally awakened. The essences of the marionettes have been transferred into the three babies, and the marionettes fulfill their wish to become human.
Peace returns to Terra 2 and Otaru takes the girls as his daughters, determined to use his second chance with the girls to finally return the love and happiness they had given him. Hanagata goes on to write a novel about Otaru and the girls’ adventures; the Saber Dolls find jobs to help Faust fund research into the mysteries of Terra 2, so that mankind may some day truly make the planet their own. Panther becomes Hanagata's editor; Luchs, a television lifestyle reporter; and Tiger goes in search of supplies to help Faust in his work. When we last see Otaru and the girls, we see a determined father who will stop at nothing to protect and care for his girls. For the girls’ part, they are now normal human girls with no recollection of their past, although there are some signs that perhaps their plans for Otaru have not been changed by their death and rebirth, but merely postponed.
The SMZ story takes place 100 years after the SMR (Saber Marionette R) time line, it is the time when all marionettes were created with otome kairos, but the otome kairos were all incomplete, many marionettes never reach maturity and some even went berserk. A scientist, called Professor Kitajima tried to solve this problem, but he died and left his research unfinished. Now, his daughter (also called Professor Kitajima) continued the research and sets off to find the "Inheritance of Face", which will supposedly help resolve the situation.
This story is named after a new Saber Marionette. Her name is Zero, a rather advanced and powerful prototype model. She also has the capability of fusing or combining with other marionettes by using the tentacles on the back of her head.