Well, it’s time for me to read the last of Ms.Tamura‘s manga that got published in English. This was the first of her works that got released in English and unfortunately, Viz didn’t give it a reprint, so it is only available in their older bigger format. As unfortunate as that is, (because it means the manga didn’t sell enough to warrant being reprinted under their newer branding), the older format has nicer paper quality and the pages are bigger, so it isn’t all bad. Also, a heads up for those who want to read this. While this is only the first volume, I do discuss spoilers.

Summary


After a powerful earthquake hits Japan, a rescue squad is sent to one of the places hit hardest to look for survivors. Unfortunately, it seems there is more to this job than meets the eye as the squad becomes targeted by a fighter plane and only Rei and Uozumi manage to survive. Rei’s suspicions are confirmed when the deaths of her squad mates are hushed up as collateral damage from a fire started by after-quakes. With nothing to do, Rei works as a delivery girl until a mysterious man asks her and Uozumi to come by a bar named Chicago.

At the bar they meet a man named JJ, who asks them to rescue a boy named Billy. This boy has been mistaken for his friend (who happens to be from a very rich family) and kidnapped in order to extort money from the friend’s family. While Rei and Uozumi are at first very suspicious of JJ and the job; when both start becoming targeted, they decide to take JJ’s offer and by doing so to discover the link between the kidnapping and what happened to them during their rescue mission. Joining them is a man named Shin, who is very skilled as well. While the three do manage to rescue Billy, they do not find any answers. In fact, a strange revelation only leads to even more questions.

My Thoughts


As expected, a manga by Ms.Tamura does not disappoint! Although I am sort of curious how it is going to be tied together given that there is only 1 more volume left and none of the mysteries have been solved. In fact, I still don’t get the connection between the kidnapping and the squad massacre. And the revelation about Billy, while intriguing, I’m not sure how it will fit into the grand scheme of things. This only makes me even more intrigued about the story and I am really looking forward to reading the second volume~

Also as usual, I really love Ms.Tamura’s female lead. Rei has just the right amount of toughness and vulnerability that makes her really sympathetic. I’ve said it before, but it is like I’m on the same wavelength as Ms.Tamura because Rei is just the kind of protagonists I want to see. She’s not helpless and can take care of herself, but deep down she hides a part of herself that she doesn’t want the world to see. The way she deals with her unrequited love for Uozumi is very realistic and reinforces both her strength and her vulnerability. Her strength because she doesn’t break down when she can’t have the man she loves; and her vulnerability because she cannot move past where she stands right now. She cannot take that step to move beyond her feelings for Uozumi. I find these sorts of protagonist the most poignant and the ones I can easily get attached too.

The two leading male characters are also likeable. Uozumi, while he seems like a goof-ball, is actually very resourceful. It would be easy to cast him in a negative light because he “ignores” the heroine’s feelings, but I never really felt negatively about him because Ms.Tamura makes sure that the readers know he isn’t doing it intentionally, and that part of the problem is Rei (who cannot bring herself to say anything one way or the other). Shin is definitely the dark and mysterious man, but what makes him different is that he readily acknowledges Rei. When the two first meet, Shin seems to have come to save Rei (by JJ’s orders most likely), but Rei stands her own and takes care of the assassins along with him. She tells him that he’s good and he likewise returns the complement. There is no out right romance between them, but Rei admits to feeling like they work really well together and that he excites her. Shin, likewise, seems to be always there for her, in place of Uozumi, and there are moments he does things that hint he may have a thing for her. I’m really curious how their relationship is going to be resolved next volume.

The one thing that sort of detracts from Chicago is the fact that Ms.Tamura has a problem with making very similar looking characters. While Rei and Uozumi look different enough, Shin is a dead ringer for Shuri (from Basara). Not a big problem, especially since I always thought Shuri was quite handsome, but it is a little funny seeing him with a totally different personality. xD Likewise, Billy looks very similar to Asagi (also from Basara) and has a totally different personality from him, which makes it a tad bit strange. Nevertheless, this is only a minor problem and overall, I really enjoyed the first volume of Chicago.

–SW

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