After narrowly surviving a mysterious cover-up, search-and-rescue workers Rei and Uozumi are recruited by a clandestine rescue organization run out of Chicago, a bar in Shinjuku. A modern-day noir story that throws out mentions of Rwanda and Somalia in an attempt to seem hard-hitting, Chicago shows the influence of Frank Miller’s Sin City, with silhouetted action poses, simply suggested backgrounds, self-aware “cool moments,” and narrow escapes. However, there’s nothing beneath the surface: the series goes nowhere and has no resolution, and the art is so loose that it’s difficult to tell what’s going on.
This absolutely charming manga has the plot of an American family animated movie, such as The Iron Giant or Lilo & Stitch (which, coincidentally, it also visually resembles). Fourteen-year-old Misaki and her father move to her great-grandfather’s house, a mysterious old mansion by a lake said to be inhabited by Hohopo, a Nessie-like creature. Soon, Misaki encounters the legendary Hohopo, who looks like a baby plesiosaur, but whom a kiss transforms into an adorable mute little boy, whose habits include bed-wetting, group snuggling, and running around the house naked. But can she keep his secret safe from criminals and scientists who want to exploit him? The art has a pleasantly organic, hand-drawn look, and the characters’ big-eyed faces reflect Iwahara’s Western cartoon influence. It’s an excellent short manga for young readers, although cautious parents may want to scrutinize it for brief nudity and oblique references to sexuality, mostly between the adult characters.
In a future ravaged by a techno-virus that turns humans into killer robots, a few survivors venture out of their protected shelter to defeat the mad computer that is the cause of it all. Shiori, the dewy-eyed heroine, is taken under the wing of Carol, a shape-shifting, gender-shifting organism. The plot is a fair-to-middling example of its genre until the last volume, at which point Urushihara’s breast fetish goes wild and the series turns into a topless lesbian orgy. The English version divides the original three-volume Japanese release into four volumes.