Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Harukaze Bitter Bop, vol. 1

By Court Betten
Released in the
US by TokyoPop

Slugline: Craziness that seems phony, but underneath the phoniness is a crazy truth

On the way to school Chiyoharu meets Souza of the North Wind, an amnesiac martial artist that seems indestructible and Kaede, a high school aged undercover detective, who decide to follow him. Chiyoharu has enough problems already in school, being considered a delinquent because he and his friends accidentally set a fire at the school that spread beyond their control. While his friends were caught, he wasn’t though it was suspected that he was involved, and so he continues to attend the school under a cloud of distrust. So Chiyoharu is left trying to put his life back together with the assistance of characters that seem to have to wandered in from another genre and what is worse, they start proving all their craziness seems to be true.

Not quite sure how to take the series, whether at it’s heart it is a serious or parody title, and for the moment it seems like a parody title’s set-up being taken seriously. That usually means things are going to go bad very quickly, because parodies are funny because they are extreme, and if you tried to live that way it would be dangerous. It is the combination of the pettiness of the extreme characters, parody and the attempt to deal with it that makes the story interesting. The art is nice and plain, and that is meant in the best way, because if you are going to convince readers of the intrusion of parody into reality, one has to believe the world is real. I like this title, but I am not sure whether or not they will be able to continue to balance the serious and the absurd.

Harukaze Bitter Bop, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.



Lazesummerstone said...

I say, don't doubt the power of Betten Court! Seriously something by this author should have come out years and years ago, so Tokyopop did us all good by publishing this manga.

Prospero's Manga said...

Yes, I do hope some of his other works make it over, I especially like the descriptions I have read of it. What I am saying in the review is that these sort of stories tend to be either the creation of throwing everything against and seeing what sticks, or a bit of careful planning and choice necessary to balance the absurd and the realistic. Since this is my first title that I actually read by him, I am really hoping it will be the second but feel I have to warn people it may be the first...