Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: Geobreeders, vol. 10

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Geobreeders, vol. 10, by Akihiro Itou - Grade: A
The first 5 pages are the user manuals for the Hound IrDA TAC weapons developed by Zinguzi.

This is followed by a battle between the were-cats and Kagura plus Hound in a parking garage. Narusawa happens across Taba, almost shooting him with the TAC gun, then helping put out the fire on his pants legs when a nearby car explodes. Yoda and Yuka argue over who's getting in whose way, and Taba and Narusawa promise to call each other. Later, a group leader named Suzuki walks into Yashima's office and sees the infra-red gunman target topple over.

It stands up, and falls over again. Narusawa is seen on a neighboring roof, practicing with the TAC sniper rifle. Still later, Yoda calls a meeting to have the Zinguzi engineering rep explain the new weapons to them, given the problems the Hounds are having using them. The rep says "I'm not your support center - read the manual" and tries to leave. One guy answers that he read the manual and doesn't understand it. The rep says "read it 100 times!"

Narusawa is called up to explain what she knows. She states that the TAC guns are like PCs, using MO disks to store dozens of software viruses. The guns transmit a virus to the target. But, once hit a target develops an immunity to that specific virus, which is why they have so many to choose from. One of the other Hounds says it's like a phaser and the cats are the Borg. Someone else calls him Worf and they do a Star Trek: Next Generation routine. Finally, back with Yashima, Yoda complains that they haven't heard from Kuro-Neko or Irie lately, and it makes him nervous. Yashima replies that their job is to take orders and outside of that to not think so much.

Yuka prepares to make her virgin entrance into the remodeled Kagura offices, and is stunned to find that Maki's been living there rent-free for the last few days. Yu is in the basement, going "who's a cute boy then! Let me see your face!" to K-3. Takami calls her up to the office to drink beer. After the party, Yuka, Eiko and Yu head out to keep drinking, while Takami stays with Taba to clean up the trash.

Taba carries the bags of garbage out, and Takami deliberately leaves her laptop in the office to give her an excuse to come back and keep talking to Taba. She goes out to a bridge over the river near the station to practice acting innocent for Taba. (Note that Taba never did get a new apartment to live in, so he's staying in the new offices.)

(Barracuda 2.)

Maya has been wandering the city, calling out to the other were-cats, but none of her friends respond. She's getting more desperate and forlorn, when one unknown stray tells her to visit a specific abandoned building. There, she finds the bodies of many strays. One particular were-cat, a middle-aged male, has a sliced neck but isn't quite dead yet.

He has a software program that he needs to give to Kuro-Neko, and he transfers it to Maya. Two of the anti-KN faction kill off one remaining target, then notice something's wrong (one of them, the more severe-looking male with a mustache, is later identified as "S"). They go to the killing room and see Maya's footprints. S sees her through a window and shoots her with a rifle. In trying to assimilate the new software, it's taking longer than normal for her to heal herself. She reaches the bridge that Takami is on just as an anti-KN thug shows up. From this point on the story turns into a chase with various people revealing themselves to be anti-KN were-cats, and Takami trying to get Maya to safety. Takami tries calling Taba for help, but the electricity shooting out of Maya's body shorts out any phones they get near, if the thug doesn't destroy them himself first. Taba rushes to the basement to get a push scooter labeled "K-1" and scoots himself to nearby Horihi station. Narusawa tries calling him to set up a date, and he tells her that something's come up and he'll call her payphone back later. Yuka calls as well, and gets the mistaken impression that Taba and Takami are having a date, and she keeps calling him back, jamming up the phone lines.


To avoid the one thug/assassin, Takami carries Maya, in kitten form, onto a train, then sees Taba on the scooter going the wrong way. Maya is breaking up, and is unable to protect herself any longer, so Takami puts a cell phone in her hand at Jinguu-Mae station and races back to Horihi on roller skates. At Horihi, Taba sees the damage from a fight, and Takami's broken glasses, and prepares to defend himself. He runs into the assassin at the time that some cops find him (Yuka wanted to put a stop to whatever Taba and Takami were doing, so she called the police to report a pervert on the platform). The police get wiped out, and Taba suddenly notices blood on the ground. It's his blood. The assassin was talking to a companion who had just shot him in the chest. Taba collapses and the assassin decides to kneel near by him and watch him slowly die. (The companion had been complaining that the assassin has been getting really reckless and bloodthirsty against humans, running the risk that all of them will feel KN's wrath.)

(Transformation from kitten to were-cat.)

Maya is having flashbacks. The first one is of someone looking like Yuka holding a crossbow and smiling. The second was of a very young Taba holding a box outside of an apartment door, crying; his mother sweetly telling him that they don't have any other choice. The third when she was in the box in front of the temple in the rain - Kuro-Neko noticed her and said that if she didn't want to die there that she'd better learn how to stand up on her own. Suddenly Ryuu, the Yuka-like character and a big helicopter marked Kagura K-1 show up and attack KN. Maya gets hit by a couple of crossbow bolts, then she begins her first transition into the school-girl shaped human that we all recognize. (This is a hint that Maya had also encountered Kagura Co., ver. 3.)

Taba is desperate to save Maya and Takami, and he's holding on to life to the assassin's surprise. Taki walks up and the assassin wants to know why he's there, telling Taki to go get him something to drink from a vending machine. Taki attacks, but the assassin easily stops him. They go into a were-cat fight warping through walls and ceilings, grabbing guns along the way and shooting at each other. Taba succeeds at getting one of the machine guns, but his vision is blurred and he just shoots pointlessly into the ceiling. When Taki and the assassin pause from warping around, Taba manages to catch them with a bloodstained protect seal. This gives Taki the opportunity to slash one of the assassin's eyes and then run away. In a flashback, Taki remembers being the kitten that Socks had given to Maya to hold so long ago. He'd bonded to Maya, which is why he'd saved her when Socks had lost her memories, and through Maya feels a certain level of attachment to Taba.

(Remembering that day that Rika first showed up.)

Takami sees the blast from the protect seal and runs up to the platform, but finds Taba's limp body lying across the tracks. She's convinced that she's arrived too late. At another hideout, some of the anti-KN cats had found Maya and have strung her up in an attempt to discover exactly what the software that she's carrying is. The assassin bursts in and starts kicking Maya mercilessly in rage. Another were-cat runs up, saying that "Gebu's" group has been wiped out. There's no radio traffic from Hound or Kagura, so they're left guessing as to who the assailants are. The assassin points to his missing eye and says "who do you think it is?" Another were-cat disagrees; he knows Taki and this isn't Taki's style. (Hint: The mystery assailant shows up in the next volume.)

(Assassin. No other name given. We can call him "Mr. Smith.")

At the scene of an explosion elsewhere in the city, a very laid-back young woman is surveying the damage through binoculars. Irie orders her and her partner back to his hiding place, and to bring some curry bread with them. The woman's name is Kotoi. When they get to a ryokan (Japanese-style hotel), Irie is on the phone to his supervisor, Tsuchida, going on and on about various "accidents" that have been taking place around him lately, which is why he's laying low now. Tsuchida gets off the phone, livid. Next to him in his car is Kazuhiko Nimura, a Hound member. Tsuchida wants Nimura to assassinate Irie, and the fighter asks if he really wants to risk the wrath of the person behind Irie. Tsuchida has had enough and wonders if Nimura is chickening out. Rather the opposite - Nimura's been spying on Irie for several days and has his whereabouts completely mapped out. He says that battles are won based on superior information, then leaves the car with Tsuchida calling him weird. Irie and Kotoi prepare for a shared bath, leaving Kotoi's partner in the room. Nimura and his squad infiltrate the building as cleaning people, then rush into the room thinking that there's only one person in there now. They're right, but it's someone else that had been staying in the ryokan, now taped up with a bomb in his lap and a deadman switch in one hand. Nimura shouts out for the sniper to stop - but it's too late. The victim gets hit and the bomb takes out half the squad. The rest of the squad chase Irie out of the parking lot, killing Kotoi's partner.


Nimura regroups, and converges on Irie in an abandoned building with Kotoi. It's raining, but the umbrella Irie takes out is not to protect him from the water (it's Kevlar-covered). Irie tells Kotoi to move over a step. She does and the sniper bullet meant for her hits the wall instead. Nimura sends in the last of his men and they shoot up Kotoi, causing Irie to grumble that he should have brought more bodyguards. They throw a stun grenade - Irie throws a real one. At the end, Irie gets on the phone to "Tsuchida-sensei", who says "Irie? Irie who?" His answer is "you know, the one you're having killed now." Nimura is standing behind him with a gun to his head. Irie tells Tsuchida to turn on the TV. There's a news report that a bomb's gone off in Shin-Nihon Avionics and the plant's currently on fire. That's several billion dollars worth of damage that Tsuchida is now going to have to explain to the Health Ministry board. If he doesn't back off now, Zinguzi will be next. The line goes dead, and Nimura fires his clip off in complaint next to Irie's head, barely grazing his face. Irie calls Nimura an amateur - a real professional would not have used stun grenades. Irie lists off all of Nimura's personal information, showing that he's known from the start who was after him, adding that in a war superior information wins (that, and he's still listening to the bugs placed on Tsuchida). Nimura leaves and Irie asks what Kotoi is doing still on the floor. She answers that while she's wearing armor, the high-caliber bullets still broke a number of her ribs. He tells her she has it easy - he had bullets flying around his head. He commands her to get M4 ready because he's suddenly become busy.


And finally, it's 2:43 AM and Narusawa's asleep in front of the payphone, waiting for Taba to call. She catches a cold and misses work for a couple of days. When she returns, she sees yesterday's newspaper, reporting that Yoichi Taba was in an incident that resulted in someone's death (the implication is that Taba himself is dead). Narusawa looks grief-stricken.

(Taba riding K-1 as Takami passes by on the train.)


No real comments this time outside of what's in the above summary. Most of the station names are real, but the kanji are different. Although, "Horihi" is actually "Horita". (One line from "ta" - "field" was erased to make "hi - "sun").

In Maya's flashback, the dialog from Taba and his mother is very garbled, with the characters messed up and flipped around. It's almost unreadable. The only person at all intelligible during the flashback is Kuro-Neko.

The bomb that Irie leaves for Nimura is labeled "omiyagi" (a present for you).

Summary: Things are getting very serious for our heroes. Stayed tuned - same were-cat time, same were-cat channel. Highly recommended.

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