Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review: Geobreeders, vol. 06

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Geobreeders, vol. 6, by Akihiro Itou - Grade: A
(Published Dec. 1, 2000, first printing.) The first 7 pages are ads for the "File.X Rescue the Kitten" OAVs, where Kagura gets attacked by a vegetable salesman, a package deliveryman, a postal employee, and a helicopter owned by Asahi Shimbun.

Then we get a prologue, which takes place about the time of the end of the Atomic Attack story, with the Hounds cleaning up the aftermath of the battle, and some other were-cats getting orders to use a tank to attack DAX-1. Kagura comes up to the hide-out in K-3, and the tank destroys the vehicle as the gang runs away.

Three weeks later, Irie is giving a status report to his superiors in the Ministry of Welfare, Labor and Health. His superiors dislike his attitude, and the fact that he's not actually telling them anything. The primary message is that the mission by the were-cats in AA was to obtain a nuclear warhead from the Russians. Also involved (apparently from the File.X OAVs) was someone named Descartes from the CIA, but they know nothing about him beyond that. The most important fact is that the warhead is still missing, but believed to be in Ayagane City. At the same time, Kagura Company has set up camp in the Akie's family restaurant until they can find new offices. During Yuka's mission speech, Maya stares at the security camera in the ceiling (which stares back at her) and Eiko tries recruiting new employees from the waitstaff. Seems that they're shorthanded (Takami had to go back home to assist her friends in selling their doujinshii at the comic fair) and are looking for temporary help.

(Hmph. One of Irie's immediate supervisors.)

Kagura finds a new building which is already falling apart before they can get in. There's no parking (that's ok, they have no vehicles left) and no weapons lockers (they can expand the offices after a year). As one cabinet falls through the floor, a young woman from Akie's enters the offices to apply for the job. Her name is Miharu Hiiragi, and she passes the interview test primarily because she doesn't run out screaming when Taba tells her to save herself. Meanwhile, Hound is in the process of ordering a new assault vehicle, called Barracuda, and Irie is going down into the sub-basements of the Ministry building to the new mission control center there. Narusawa is being run ragged during her military training, then the call goes out for Hound to descend on a were-cat hideout that is believed to be connected to the warhead. But, when Narusawa reports for duty, she's given a floppy disk to review and orders to stay in the dorms out of the way.

A band of were-cats load a crate with Russian warning labels on it into one semi. Then, they rush out of their warehouse in two semis, one being a dummy. They crash through a police roadblock and split up. Yoda arrives with one squad and he sees the first semi. Irie tells his control room personnel to label the various objects on the display map. Yoda's squad becomes H1, and it's after semitrailer T1. H3 joins him. H2 chases after trailer T2, with helicopter Seaboy 3 (S3) in aerial pursuit. The police enter the warehouse to find out what the enemy's objective is, and the place blows up and destroys everything. Yoda manages to stop T1 on a bridge and there's a massive shootout. One of the were-cats makes a dive for the box in the trailer, and Yoda fires a protect seal bullet at the trailer to stop him. The trailer is destroyed and the crate falls into the river.

("Hello, I've come for the job?")

Over at the Kagura offices, Taba is complaining that the new employee is getting a welcoming party dinner with drinks and entertainment, which he didn't get when he first arrived. Everyone is supposed to either sing, dance or otherwise tell jokes, but none of them are very good at it. Yu tries to show that she can "skip rope" using her bra and Yuka stops her to keep Taba from seeing it.

(The new girl gets on well with cats.)

The crate is found to just contain ordinary high explosives, meaning the warhead is in T2. Reports start coming in that the police are in pursuit of T2, which is heavily guarded, and that the criminals have RPGs. Maya goes up to the roof of the new office building to adjust the TV antenna and sees the smoke from the assaults a kilometer or so away. The phone rings (it's Irie calling) and the new employee answers "Thank you for calling Akie's Restaurant!" She relays the work request to the others as "track down a truck and recover the package", and is bawled out for treating it like a pizza order. However, Eiko needs the money so some of them pack up and move out. Unfortunately, Yu was forced to use a real rope for skipping and made herself sick, so Taba has to drive while she sleeps in the back of the truck. Miharu gets to tag along on her own scooter. However, their battered pickup is blocking all of the patrol cars trying to pass them, so they pull over to the side to watch the plumes of smoke grow on the horizon, and Mihara gets some canned drinks from a vending machine.

("Get me a coffee.")

The were-cats are demolishing the city's best, and slowly working their way along the freeway. At Hound headquarters, Narusawa gets an urgent order to report to Yashima's office, but Yashima and a technician are pouring over a computer monitor and the technician asks Narusawa to go out to get coffee for Yashima. Realizing that her continued mistakes have cost her her position, she meekly says "yes, sir".

(As explained to the new girl by Taba in the new employee briefing, the competition is "Suit and Glasses" and "Old Man Mustache".)

Rudo is in the passenger seat of T2, and he recognizes Kagura as they pull onto the freeway right ahead of him. The were-cats open fire, as Yuka asks who they are. They try to slow down, but the pack of patrol cars have caught up to them and block off the retreat route. There is now much fighting and screaming and shooting and stuff. H2 and H4 move to pursue, then a strange unknown van with armed passengers joins in on the chase. Yuka tries to get protect seals on the truck, but they need Maki, who remained in the office with Eiko. When Yuka tries to call the office, Maki shoots up the phone, saying "Shooting Star is busy!" The were-cats try to shoot up "unknown", but it's windows are bulletproof. Irie orders H2 to stop and stay put, and tells his crew to start up the H System (it's been 30 minutes since the start of the chase). The top of "unknown" opens to reveal 4 special forces operatives, who fire on the trailer, threatening the lives of Yuka, Taba and Mihara on the other side. The semi slows down, allowing Taba and Yuka to see who's driving "unknown" - it's the vegetable seller from File.X. Seems that "unknown" is made up of American Navy SEALs (including the delivery guy and the postal worker, all out of disguise this time). The van is then joined by the "Asahi Newspaper" chopper.


Someone on the American side calls Irie and says that they want the warhead. Irie sees this as a direct challenge, and he's eager to respond, snarling that the SEALs won't make it out of the country alive. And, Taba and Yuka are giving the new girl a chance to come up with ideas to save them - most of which she tries to remember from old movies. The SEAL helicopter fires missiles at the freeway ahead to block off the semi, causing it and the pickup to take different routes at the exit ramps. The pickup stops at another vending machine, and finally Yu wakes up and can take over the driving. The pickup speeds off after the semi again. Unfortunately for the SEALs, the were-cats surprise them with a grenade attack, and then disappear in the rats nest of streets under the freeway. The were-cats ditch the SEALs helicopter and truck.

Yu gets the pickup ahead of the other vehicles and Yuka has them set up the remaining protect seals (two are already on the were-cat's trailer). Suddenly 2 trucks of were-cats and 2 trucks of Hounds converge on Kagura, and now we get the classic Mexican stand-off as 4 of the 5 trucks empty out and shoot toe-to-toe against each other. When semi T2 approaches, both sides brace themselves to shoot at the common target (Hounds at the trailer, were-cats at the SEAL's Cobra attacking the trailer again) (mostly; while waiting they still occasionally shoot at each other). Taba uses the laptop to get an IR connection to the seals. The semi slowly approaches.

(Asashi Shimbun uses hi-tech delivery methods these days.)

Back at Hound HQ, Yashima and the technician are listening to the radio. Then there's a call over the PA to meet someone from Zinguzi Heavy Construction at the heliport. Narusawa sits and watches the other two leave, then is startled when one of the men yells at her "what are you doing? We got work! Grab the case there and move!" At the heliport, a Zinguzi rep has Yashima sign off on the receipt of the MH-1C Barracuda assault helicopter. Yashima wants the guy to be the one manning the guns, but that's outside of his skill set. (The case Narusawa has looks like it holds a sniper rifle.)

Miscellaneous Notes:

Miharu Hiiragi can recite Roy Scheider's "Sorcerer" script, all 121 minutes of it, from memory. She also knows all 104 minutes of Bogart's "Maltese Falcon".

During the new employee welcoming party, as everyone shows off their hidden talents, Yuka pulls her hair back to look like Misaki from Excel Saga. (Yu can "skip rope" using her bra, but the rest of the group doesn't want her to do that in front of Taba.)

As part of the new employee orientation, Taba uses a white board to explain the protect seals to Mihara (they yell "Delete" when hitting the enter button because it's a "killing move" and you have to shout out the names of your "killing moves"). He also talks about Kuro-Neko's group in comparison with the regular were-cats, and describes Hound as kind of their business rivals. Notice at the bottom of the whiteboard that most of their vehicles have been destroyed, leaving the pickup truck, K-4 (not to be confused with roller skates).

In the command center, Irie tells one of the operators to get him a drink from the vending machine in the hallway. She tells him to give her 120 yen first.


Summary: Lots of fan service this time, and some extremely heavy foreshadowing. Much great action and character art. Plus funny jokes. Funny jokes are nice. A Moose once bit my sister. Highly recommended.


James said...

Reading Vol. 6 and Wilderness, I'm beginning to wonder if Itou-sensei really hate cops...

The Aichi prefecture cops here and the LAPD officers and Mexican cops in Wilderness all showed poor judgement and suffered heavy casualities without taking down any of the bad guys...(as much as I love Itou-sensei's work, I gotta say LAPD SWAT would NOT be dumb enough to charge bank robbers armed with heavy maching gun with shields...)

Of course, in typical John Woo movies and other Asian hero cinemas that may have inspired Itou-sensei's work, there's generally a lack of respect for average street cops and tactical officers, so I guess that's to be somewhat expected...

TSOTE said...

The Dr. McNinja webcomic says it best - a single ninja (or police officer) is invincible; a mob of ninja (or police officers) are simple cannon fodder.

I think it's the other way around - Itou loves cops. That's why he puts so many of them in his stories. ;-)

Look at it this way, though. If the LAPD SWAT didn't storm the bank robbers, there'd be no scene to draw. In storytelling, a good shootout trumps logic every time.

James said...

Just watched the anime again, I believe the kanji on the fake news chopper is pronounced Maicho Newspaper. LOL