Chicago 2

March 25, 2007

Chicago was contained in 2 volumes, but it felt like it could’ve gone on a little longer. It ended with the wimpy kid that they saved getting a career in photojournalism like Robert Capa, but didn’t resolve things like the relationship between Rei and Shin. Oh well.

There were two main cases in this volume, one with a heartless kid murderer that serves to tell the story about Rei’s past, and another that shows what was going on in Bay District D. The two stories wind up being connected, and the main culprit escapes, but the story about Rei going on a murder revenge spree with her grandpa was still awesome. Bay District D was only okay. We get to find out that the Chicago bar was named after a drink, called Shi Kago, or cradle of death, which also seems to fit somehow.

The true gem in these volumes are the stories that involve Thunder Sanders, the bald doctor that Tamura draws in the image of the self-portrait she does. Sanders plays no role in the story other than to crack dumb jokes, and I felt like he was included just so she could put in these older stories she did. The older stories are really twisted and really funny, and there’s one each at the end of the Chicago volumes. They’re short though, only a handful of pages between them.

I wonder if this series is still in print, and I’ve never seen anyone else talk about it except me (I even made a website about it back in the day, I LOVED it when I read it through the first time). It is quite good though, and would serve well as a random action fix for anyone looking for a really good short series.

Chicago 1

March 25, 2007

Much like Utena, I’ve read this series before as it ran in Animerica Extra.  Having just moved to Chicago, I was disappointed at the time that it turned out to be an action series about a bar of the same name, but it was cool all the same.  A bit too short, though.   I bought this series and Wild Com. in a fit of restraint when I was trying to convince myself once again that Basara was too long for me right now and I need to finish up some of my other series first.

Yumi Tamura’s art is quite lovely.  I remember being blown away by the image on the cover of this one when it was printed as an Animerica Extra cover.  The art inside is no less lovely, though it suffers somewhat sometimes by being a bit too abstract in the middle of a fall or something.  The story is about these two partners, no romantic relation, who grew up together (sorta) and are trying to investigate an incident at Bay District D where they were nearly killed along with all the other members of their rescue squad.  They do this by investigating kidnappings et al.

I get the impression that all Tamura heroines are sort of these kick-ass ladies that can be awesome without also reverting into men, my only basis for comparison being Rei and Sarasa (who, to be fair, does “become” her brother).  Rei can knife and shoot people in the most awesome ways imaginable and still weep over the fact that her partner doesn’t love her back.  There are lots of hints between the two throughout, but Uozumi, being gay, will never love Rei, and Rei will angst about this a lot.  Thankfully Shin, the tall dark stranger who works just as well as Uozumi as Rei’s partner, does seem to do something for the poor girl.

Really though, you should buy this volume purely for the scene where Uozumi randomly decides to break out of prison, is chased into a sewer that dead-ends into a 150 foot dropoff, and right when Uozumi gets to this pit, Rei shoots out of a pipe on a huge motorcycle and vaults the sewer, allowing Uozumi to jump on the back while she is in midair and landing expertly in another pipe embedded in the wall on the other side of the dropoff and driving off down it.

Also good: there’s a scene with Rei explaining why she can’t cut her hair, where the dialogue goes something like “it’s part of my body, and it FEELS things.   Temperature, humidity, static electricity, and DANGER.”  I feel a little cheated, my hair is just as long as hers, and it doesn’t feel danger.