Wednesday, April 26, 2006

FireFighter! Daigo of Fire Company M, v.1

Story and Art by Masahito Soda
Released in the US by Viz

Slugline: A rookie firefighter starts his career ready for action but still yet unready to work.

This is one of those titles that illustrates the wide range of genres in manga. Nothing like a firefighter comic is available through US publishers, except for a single short lived one that I recall in the wake of 9/11. Japan has been respectful to firefighters, seeing as how a common building material is paper.

Daigo is a new firefighter at Company M, a station with little action to his disappointment, though it is located in the neighborhood he grew up in. The young teacher that helped inspire him when he was still a troublemaking teenager is there, and since he was in her first class, she has a soft spot for him. Plus, it doesn't hurt that they are not too far apart in age.

Daigo was rescued by a firefighter when he was young, and starts to suspect that the Captain of his station is the one that rescued him. He soon discovers that the firefighters that he thought were lazy are instead very competent, so competent and relaxed that they felt no need to show it until they were needed. His first few outings are nearly catastrophic and he quickly decides to do better. But an old rivalry with a fellow firefighter trainee assigned to a neighboring fire district leads to the potential for disaster at the end of the first volume.

This is a fun, exciting book whose main flaw is the use of the same basic character types that seem to infect many manga. But the story outside of the main character's arc is fun and different.


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