Fake 5

July 16, 2010

Sanami Matoh – Tokyopop – 2004 – 7 volumes

You know, I was hooked on this series enough to power through the last three volumes without stopping, so that says something about… well, I don’t know. It’s addictive for sure, but I’m still a little embarrassed I fell for it so hard. It’s cheese in its purest form.

This volume mostly involves digging up Ryo’s past and investigating a case that shares many similarities with the death of Ryo’s parents. The story is several chapters long and takes a relatively serious path with all the usual twists: Ryo starts investigating on his own, he and Dee are taken off the case, Ryo refuses to share his feelings on things with Dee, and Ryo then ends up in a face-off with the man who killed his parents and left them with the reputation of being drug smugglers. It’s a solid story and a fun read, and Fake offers the additional twist of the torrid love affair between Ryo and Dee to keep it interesting for the ladies. There is an unexpected twist as far as that goes here, but Dee, being the gentleman that he is, refuses to step things up until Ryo is really ready. Until then, Bikky will keep showing up at inopportune times.

Another story is surprisingly JJ-centric, with JJ meeting up with one of his old partners and finding out that the man isn’t nearly as good a guy as JJ thought. This cop’s name: Max Fork.

It’s interesting that Ryo and Dee are both armed, and there’s evidence that they’ve both used their guns, but firing them is often skipped in the images themselves. That’s probably a Japanese censorship thing, but I didn’t really notice or think about it until I was reading this volume. Odd.

There’s also the usual Bikky & Carol chapter, set slightly ahead of the normal series’ storyline. Their friends Lai and Lass are also in this story. Bikky and Lai get kidnapped due to Lai’s family connections, so Lass and Carol have to find him before the kidnappers kill them in front of Lai’s older brother. It’s revealed that Lai and Lass have psychic powers, which is horribly out of character for this series (and apparently it was revealed in one of the other stories, too? I didn’t notice). But their story carries over into Ra-I, also published by Tokyopop. I don’t think I’m going to be reading it.

Anyway. The action is good, the romance is good, the jokes are now tolerable and expected. I never thought in a hundred years I would grow so addicted to this series, but here we are.

3 Responses to “Fake 5”


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  2. Marfisa Says:

    I don’t know if the depiction of guns actually firing is skipped over because of censorship or some sort of “implied violence has more impact than if it’s explicitly shown” artistic philosophy. But I’ve noticed that at least in shoujo–and sometimes yaoi–manga, the artist almost never actually depicts things like a slap in the face on panel. Sometimes there’s a sort of blurred-motion effect of somebody raising their hand to slap someone else, although it’s usually not obvious to me that that’s what they’re doing until the follow-up reaction shot. But often there seems to be nothing more than a panel that effectively shows nothing but a sound effect (which, in the case of publishers who don’t translate sound effects on the page, if at all, is pretty uninformative for those who don’t read Japanese), followed by a panel of the slappee with one cheek reddened, or the pen and ink equivalent thereof. Sometimes this is done so indirectly that a Western reader, at least, could remain pretty much in the dark about what just happened until the recipient of the slap actually says something like “You didn’t have to hit me!”

    This not-quite-showing-the-main-event approach is sometimes applied to kissing, too. Although Sanami Matoh is known for romantic kissing scenes, and there is usually no doubt that Dee is kissing Ryo until his head swims, there is one scene I recall even in FAKE where Ryo hesitantly moves in as if to kiss Dee and is next seen pulling away as if he’d lost his nerve and shied away at the last minute. At least, that was what it looked like to me. Apparently most other readers assumed that Ryo actually did kiss Dee in between panels. I think there may even have been some allusion in the manga to that particular kiss having taken place. But since I haven’t re-read the series for several years, my memory of certain details may not be that reliable.

  3. Connie Says:

    I never really thought about it, but you’re right about those various slapping scenes often missing a panel. I wonder if the mid-slap illustration would just be too awkward to show in that case (given that action is often not a romance artist’s forte), but thinking about it with those gun scenes in mind, I wonder if it is just an omission for impact. I thought censorship when it came to the guns since I know Japan is quite strict about gun enforcement, and perhaps showing gun violence in a romance manga in the 90s just wasn’t done, but maybe it’s meant to be more striking because it’s not shown. Now that I think of it, maybe it also has something to do with not showing the heroes committing ugly acts of violence or murder, even if they do happen in the line of duty.

    I think I remember the scene you’re talking about, the almost-kiss in Fake. I assumed Dee had hesitated and pulled away, not kissing Ryo, since Matoh isn’t all that shy about showing kisses. But I could see the other interpretation being valid, too.


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