“The Windy City” – Chicago (manga) – 4/10 Black Cats

Everything in the universe goes by indirection. There are no straight lines. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mangaka: Yumi Tamura

Genre: Action/Romance/Shoujo

Review Status: Complete (2 Volumes/2 Volumes)

Licensed: Yes, this manga is licensed in the US

Art: This looks more like a rough sketch than a manga. Unfortunately, the messy artwork makes it hard to tell what’s going on, and in some places is downright unattractive. It also seems dated for when the manga ran.

Summary: Rescue workers Rei and her handsome partner Uozumi are looking for survivors after Tokyo’s worst earthquake of the 21st century. But their efforts uncover man-made violence- they are suddenly attacked and their entire squad murdered! Some secret plot is lurking in the ruins of Tokyo Bay District D, and to find it, Rei and Uozumi must join a privately funded hostage rescue organization run out of a Tokyo bar called Chicago. Now, Rei saves the lives of others while she searches for her own salvation. (back cover of 1st volume)

Review: I’d always wondered what a shoujo action title would be like. Now I know! It’s… not that impressive. Rei works in a recovery unit, to help find those who are injured or trapped in the aftermaths of disasters. The first thing she says about herself is that her hair is long because it helps her sense danger. This should give you a clue to the quality of the rest of the series.

Unrequited love, government cover-ups, and terrorist plots pervade these two volumes. Apparently rescue workers are common targets for mad killers, because Rei and Uozumi know how to handle their guns and can detect and dismantle bombs. Their escape from a massacre and the subsequent cover-up lead to their recruitment into a special agency that investigates these issues and deals with kidnappings and murders outside of the jurisdiction of the police.

Rei’s longing for the love of her partner comes to the forefront at the most inconvenient and annoying times. The ‘mysterious third partner’ that she starts being attracted to is the stereotypical tall, dark, and handsome that pervades these types of stories. He’s also flawless, able to assess a situation in a single glance, and find his partners with the barest of hints. The partner? Injured but trying.
The focus is all over the place, story-wise. Everything that occurs is connected in the story, but why they all have those connection is up in the air. Some of the plots bank on kidnappers being really dumb (not double-checking or triple-checking their victim’s identity, for instance, and only going off of one photograph). Apparently their methods of stalking are also incredibly lacking, as they don’t discover his identity over the days they watch him. Others bank on just being outright unbelievable, such as the utopia that was being built, and the people not leaving when the earthquake hit. To boot, they added in a super-dramatic past for Rei.

The end of this was abrupt and an utter letdown… even though the rest of the manga meant I wasn’t expecting much in that regard. There’s no resolution to the plot or the relationships between the characters. The only reason I’m not giving this a ‘3’ is because of one character that has perhaps two lines in the manga and an omake dedicated to him- the doctor. I found him to be utterly hilarious, though the omake will probably only appeal to those who have a darker sense of humor.

Overall, this barely works as an action title, and is barely a romance one. Go for something else.

Recommended: No. Well, if you’re into action and aren’t looking or care about a strong plot. 13+. There is some slight blood- people are shot, explosions happen- but almost no gore to speak of. One guy is outright killed on the page. No nudity, no language.

Other titles you might enjoy:

Yomigaeru Sora: Rescue Wings (anime)
Flag (anime)
Zipang (anime)
Taiyo no Mokushiroku: A Spirit of the Sun (anime)


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