Originally posted: Monday, August 24, 2009 on Blogger

When I noticed that Wild Com. was done by Basara’s mangaka, Yumi Tamura-san, I knew it would be good even through it was a one-shot. I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint.

Summary


Wild Com. is a one-shot with three unrelated stories from varying genres. The stories are: Wild Com., The Beasts of June, and The Eye of the Needle. The front cover features three characters from the first story, the one-shot is also titled after the first story.

The first story revolves around Michiru Ozeki, a psychic with power over flames. However, Ozeki wants nothing to do with her powers and fears that they only bring death to those around her. She is recruited by Wild Com., an organization that recruits psychics and uses their powers to help save people from disasters. However, even when Wild Com. asks her to put her powers to good use, Ozeki believes that her powers can only bring death, and is unable to use them properly. Eventually she learns the true nature of her powers and is able to put the past behind her and use her power to help those in need.

The second story is about two teenagers, Aki and Akane, who both work for the same gang. Aki is an assassin and Akane is the boss’s girl. When the two meet, Aki marks Akane, and she is strangely drawn to him. The two bear names of dragonflies, and both wish to grown wings and soar into the sky. They fall in love, but the boss has other plans.

The third story stars Shiki Haibara, a raising celebrity. Shiki has a girlfriend he has known since middle school, but when his career takes off, Uiko, his girlfriend, becomes a obstacle to his image. When he finally tells her to leave him alone, he begins to experience harassment and Uiko keeps showing up at all his shootings. Annoyed by her staking and harassment, he eventually punches her, telling her that he has had enough of her staking. Yet the harassment doesn’t stop, and Shiki discovers a little too late that the culprit may not be Uiko after all.

My Thoughts


The longest and the best story was definitely The Eye of the Needle; the other two were also good, just not as good as the last story. Wild Com. was mostly well done, and its best aspect was the two leading characters Ozeki and Amano, although Ozeki was more fleshed out making her a bit better than Amano. Both characters are slightly emotionally tortured; Ozeki because of an incident involving her powers and Amano because of his mentally distraught mother. Although again, we don’t really learn the nature of Amano’s relationship with his mother. What we do learn is more hinted at, leaving it up to the reader to decide the impact his mother had on him. Ozeki’s emotional state is the main focus of the story, so we learn a lot about her character. The interactions between Ozeki and Amano were also entertaining, because like their powers, fire and water, the two don’t seem to get along well, but they eventually do become friends. The only aspect that I did not like was the resolution; it happened too smoothly and felt like a deus ex machina was given to Ozeki so she could resolve her fears involving her powers. I was really hoping she would pull through the hardships, but I was disappointed when the fireman explained to her what had really happened at the house of her bully that burned down, and thus resolving the main conflict; especially since Ozeki’s fear and character development played such an important role in the whole story. Still overall it was a good story about ESPers, and the Tam-Tam extra detailing the inspiration for Wild Com. was funny.

Next, Beasts of June. It basically had the same problem as Wild Com., the main characters were not developed enough. However unlike Wild Com., because of the way Beasts of June was written and done, I wasn’t too angry at this one minus. Beasts was written to be a poetic tale of love, and it does that very well. I really enjoyed it. There was one minor annoyance though; Aki and Akane state that animal love is equal, that animals don’t control and aren’t controlled. This actually isn’t true. I used to be a biology major, so I learned quite a bit about mating rituals. There is a sizable amount of animal rituals involving power, either the males fight it out between themselves for a whole harem of females (seen in lions, or walruses) or they use a variety of methods to prevent the female from having sexual intercourse with other males of the same species. And these are just two examples. Basically all I wanted to point out was that power relations between the sexes during and in the aim toward intercourse exist in most animal species, hence the statement that animals don’t control or aren’t controlled isn’t very accurate. But this does not take away from the message, which was beautiful and I ended up really enjoying The Beasts of June, even with this little blooper.

Finally, The Eye of the Needle was very very well written. Being a horror story, it was well executed and I never once expected the “harasser” to be who they were. Like a good horror tale, all the signs were there to point one subtlety in the direction of the real “harasser”, but it was not until the reader was shown who it really was that I even suspected the real culprit. Just as Tamura-san wanted, all my suspicion was thrown on Uiko, the girlfriend, until the very end. Character-wise, only Shiki was developed, and although he is rather mean to Uiko, all his motives seem very human, if only because humans tend to be weak. Not that character development really matters, because this is one of those rare stories where the characters don’t really matter. What matters is pacing and mood, and both of these were well done. Everything was so well done that anyone, regardless if they like shoujo or not, would enjoy this story.

This one-shot is definitely recommended. All three stories are entertaining enough, and even someone who doesn’t like shoujo in particular, may find that Wild Com. is delightfully engrossing. The third story is the best, and leaves the reader ending the collection on a high note. But of course the other two are still very enjoyable, only minor problems prevent them from being just as good as the last story. Actually, I feel that only the first story has something concrete that could have been done better, mainly the resolution. Nonetheless, a solid short story collection by one of my favourite mangaka, Yumi Tamura, and one of the few I have come across that really felt just as good as any manga spanning more then jut one volume. I cannot wait to pick up Tamura-san’s Chicago, she is a remarkable story teller. I just wish more of her works were licensed in English.

–SW

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