Sunday, August 15, 2004

Story by Seimaru Amagi
Art by Tetsuya Koshiba
TokyoPop August 3, 2004
$9.95 224 Pages

I don't in general like to cover consecutive issues or volumes of series, unless there is a big change in quality up or down. I thought I had said everything I had to say in my review of the first volume. Yet this series just continues to puzzle me, because I like it a little more with each volume despite seeing things in it that I shouldn't.

In the previous volume Kurumi Ayaki, a young female meter maid, has found herself working for a mysterious detective who never leaves his room. Yet uses her as his eyes and ears on the street, investigating the special crimes that pop up in the city that the regular cops can't handle.

The book has a lot of "fan service" elements that I like to think I'm above enjoying. As we get a shower shot of Kurumi, as well as teasing shots of her undercover as a student in uniform. Yet while I can't say I enjoy them, they seem more playful teasing that doesn't bother me and thus hurt my opinion of the overall work.

Especially when you have Kurumi being more active in reaction to them. Such as when her sleazy boss tries to grope her, and she "accidentally" breaks his nose with her elbow while answering her cell phone.

If I had a real complaint about the series, it is that it never finishes a story in one volume. Vol. 1's story of a series of murders wraps up in the first chapter of volume 2. Which then starts, but doesn't finish, a storyline with a bomb threat at a local high school.

It seems designed to force the reader to continue reading each consecutive volume to get the whole story, and the two months inbetween can make one forgetful exactly where the story left off. Still that seems a minor quibble, in a format such as this were the design of the books makes for a longer shelf life.

The stories are a sort of cross between Ally Mcbeal, if they were cops rather than lawyers, and a sexier early Scarecrow & Mrs. King. The comedy and light heartiness keeps the dangerous elements from seeming too overwhelmingly fearful. Yet still compelling enough, that leaves me hanging on the edge of my seat waiting to see what will happen to Kurumi next.

Which given my rather jaded nature as a reader these days, I've read too much so rarely get pulled in or surprised, is something I don't say too often.

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