Published: 2007 to ?
Authors: Tsukiji, Nao (Story & Art)
Score: 8.351 (scored by 470 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page.
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Apr 2, 2011
I'll get it out of the way now in case it's an issue for anyone: it's scanlated by a group that does "borderline BL." It has nothing in it where you can say "See, these males are romantically attracted to each other." In fact, our male leads are obviously interested in women. But there's lots of eye candy in there for those yaoi fans who like to make inferences out of everything.
What's most notable on the surface about this series, is that it's so….stylish. Everything about it carries a very distinctive and unique stylishness. I almost feel ashamed to say this, but it's dripping in sexiness. The main characters, and even lots of the side ones, are amazingly hot-looking. And they show a lot of skin. When the summary says it "will have you swooning at its sexiness and leave you more addicted than opium!" they weren't kidding.
But, ahem, lets move on to more worthy topics of discussion.
The storyline plays out as a series of police cases that Yamada comes across. Some crime or incident happens, and Shiro usually ends up helping solve the case. Along the way, we get lots of drama and action, and occasional mild horror, and a little comedy. Despite the genre, there are a lot of female characters. And there are quite a lot of good ones, and they are all drawn well, and have good depth. I have to say this, because it seems so many BL/borderline BL series have poorly done and annoying females.
The art is very unique. It's like a light sketch that was then richly inked. You won't see any of those bishies with cookie-cutter faces drawn from mostly straight lines. And it's not mostly white space like you see in most for-girls manga. This is organic art, sketchy, yet fluid and full of curves. And the guys actually have muscles. They don't have blank chests and arms. There's actual accentuations on the bodies, and they look like they really have ribs. The only beef I have with the anatomy, is that some of the characters (two in particular) have incredible gymnastic abilities, and yet are practically toothpick thin. And Shiro's waist is more of a girl's than a guy's. Can a male seriously jut his hips out like that? But then, this is manga…
The story setting is fascinating. It's a fantastical, quirky, historical setting, perhaps 100 years ago. The town is mostly traditional, with police who wear western uniforms. And then there are the ninja-wannabes who don all kinds of fantastic gear which gives the fighters a slightly sci-fi look. (The setting sort of reminded me of "Mononoke," with it's richly decorated quirkiness.) Shiro is a paper craftsman (or rather, paper artist) who makes umbrellas and all sorts of fantastical things. We tromp over curved bridges, and past tumble-down buildings stacked into the city's hillsides. Even the panels help convey this quirky mood, since lots of them have curved or circular edges.
The characters are fairly good, though the series has only had a few chapters released (yet those chapters are pretty long). We have Yamada and Shiro, who play out their tensions. There's the staff on the police force, which includes Yamada's "blood brother." There is our bad guy of sorts, Botan. And there's the many interesting characters of all ages who show up in the police cases, and contribute a lot of the story's drama.
Shiro is probably the most interesting character so far. Despite all of Yamada's training, he'd still love to fling off all his clothes, and prance about town. Or laze about. Shiro is like a big cat. He does what he wants when he wants with little regard for what others expect of him. And he can flop down on the ground wherever he happens be, and stretch and squirm around, since his back and limbs are so flexible. And Shiro is always revealing something unexpected (in more than one way....). And we get a glimpse of his suitably tragic past.
Yamada of course is a straightforward guy, and pretty ordinary except for his intense passion to do good. But he'll even risk his life for it, and is quite strong in his own right. He likes to have fun, and occasionally takes revenge on Shiro when he's been a bad boy. He has a great fondness for cats, which may help explain his interest in Shiro.
Botan is our nemesis character. Even though he seems like a danger to Shiro, Shiro still feels pity for him. Although we don't know all the connections between them, we know that they were acquaintances in the past. It will be interesting to see what exactly their complicated relationship was. Botan is one of our ninjas, and his getup is quite interesting. He wears various braces to hold several sets of knives, and an arm-guard which can conceal a stabbing knife and a gun. Whew. Steam-punk enthusiasts might be particularly interested in the designs.
This story is ideal for female readers who like a sexy story with a slightly mature atmosphere. There's some mildly horrific things related to the crimes that we come across, but it's nothing too much for an older teen. The drama is engaging. And it's not all about young people. There's lots of older people in the story too, giving it a nice dimensionality. The setting is fascinating and rich, and has lots to look forward to. And lots of hot guys…and their hip thrusts.