April 3, 2011
Kosuke Fujishima – Dark Horse – 1997 – 7 volumes
only two volumes were published in English
I work at a used bookstore, and when I see old stuff come in, I just have to grab it sometimes. I knew full well I wouldn’t enjoy this, but it is old, and it’s by Kosuke Fujishima, who went on to write Oh My Goddess, which I do enjoy. I guess I just had to know.
Dark Horse does me a favor by putting a summary on the back that tells me everything I need to know: “They’re part Cagney and Lacey, part Thelma and Louise, part Barbie and Skipper! They’re BABES with BADGES!” Oh boy.
Dark Horse also didn’t start at the beginning of this series, apparently because Fujishima’s art comes a long way in the first five volumes (I like his art a lot, and he does use a lot of detail and some good/bizarre fashion choices in this series, but this definitely doesn’t look nearly as good as Oh My Goddess). As a result, the wacky madcap hijinx start right up, and we’re not given the buffer of any sort of introductions or the like. Granted, there’s not much to know (there are two female characters, one is outgoing and one is shy, both are policewomen, and both look the same save for the bizarre girl-mullet on one), but we aren’t even really told the girls’ names. There is one panel on the second page where they call each other by name, but that’s all we get save for when they happen to call out to each other.
Anyway, Natsumi is the outgoing girl and Miyuki is the shy one. A chapter about trick-or-treat had me doubting whether or not this took place in Japan (it went out of its way to explain what trick-or-treat was), but I think it does. Otherwise, it’s half car porn and half unfunny over-the-top police comedy. The car porn was something I expected, since Fujishima clearly enjoys going into a lot of detail about motorcycles and stuff in the early volumes of Oh My Goddess, but here it’s even more excruciating. Miyuki and Natsumi discuss engines and whatnot at length in the middle of what should be an action scene, and there is a chapter or two of racing that are like the early race chapters of Oh My Goddess (heavy on technique, light on plot), except without the endearing characters.
Parts that are not car porn usually deal with panty theft across the city, a boyfriend for Miyuki, a co-worker getting re-acquainted with an old classmate, and things like that. Bizarrely, Natsumi and Miyuki seem to work on an all-female police force, and other than the supervisors, there are very few glimpses of male coworkers save for Miyuki’s beau. Most of the jokes play on different character types rather than on character personality, and aren’t funny, so not a whole lot of character development happens. Other than Miyuki’s beau’s father appearing in two consecutive chapters, there’s also no overarching plot to speak of.
The lettering is nice, though. I did appreciate that.
But otherwise, this… isn’t that great. It’s definitely a product of the 80s and early 90s, and if you’re a fan of the buddy cop genre and like a little mindless fun, it might be worth checking out. But really, if it hadn’t been written by Kosuke Fujishima, I think this series would be entirely forgotten.
Actually, I take that back. This has had a mind-blowing number of anime adaptations. Like, three OAVs, a movie, three different anime series (one that ran for over 50 episodes), and a live-action drama series. It’s more-or-less been continually animated since the 80s. This is the type of formula that plays better on TV than on the page, but even so… geez.