Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ohikkoshi: Takiteasy Comics Complete Works

by Hiroaki Samura, 246 pages

In the main story, "Ohikkoshi," a group of oddball college friends navigate the bumpy road of attachments with music, drinking parties, and silly, sweet awkwardness.  Tono's long been in love with Akagi, whose boyfriend has recently gone to volunteer overseas.  Will this be Tono's chance?  Will fiery little Kobarukawa ever admit that she's been in love with him for years?  Unrequited love and laughs make the rounds.

In "Luncheon of Tears Diary," a young struggling manga-ka's life takes a (more) surreal turn when she follows her masked editor's advice and changes the direction of her story--and gets dropped from the magazine.  As she goes about remaking herself again and again to pay the bills, the lines between fact and fiction get crazily, hilariously, darkly blurred.

The subtitle of this volume is a very silly pun / pseudonym for creator Samura (best known for the dark historical action series Blade of the Immortal), who pretends to hide behind the not very likely name "Takei Teashi" (sounds like "Take it easy"?  *pft*).

One of the goofy ads included for the first story lists the characters with these dramatic descriptions: "In a romantic comedy, the lead must (of course) be a virgin." "The hero's longed-for, nicotine-breathed woman with moles." "The mole woman's former roommate, the puny blonde." "The puny blonde's boyfriend." "The foreigner."  This is probably the safest Samura tale I've ever read.  The humor's silly and mostly harmless, even when there are guns and stalkers involved.  And most everybody's happy and / or well-adjusted at the end (with the exception of the ill-fated foreigner *snort*).  Woo hoo!

The second tale includes a little more of Samura's usual darkness, although it's still pretty funny.  It's just that the guns and other violence are a little more effective (yeek!).  Lose your job as a creator of serial comics?  But of course, you could wind up playing killer mahjong in smoky rooms and going after those who owe you money without mercy.  And that's just one of the many progressively darker possibilities.  Ha ha!  This one's a bit of a shocker, but I still enjoyed it.

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