Friday, September 25, 2015

Area 51, vol. 3 review

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Area 51, vol. 3, by Masato Hisa. Grade: A

(Kirimaru tells Kisihrou to kill McCoy.)

H9) You Just Looked Like It.
Kirimaru makes his way around the brothels of Little Tokyo, asking about McCoy and trying to find leads to the fabled sword of the kappa people, Kusanagi. He gets to the Four Legged clinic, and steals the x-rays showing the blade embedded in McCoy's chest. He then returns to Kishirou's place and demands that McCoy's partner kill her when she's got her back turned on him. Kishirou goes into a flashback, remembering how he first came to Area 51 in search of Kusanagi. A few thugs had tried to extort money from him, but they ran away when they saw McCoy drinking coffee nearby. Later, he had to make a phone call back to the village, and the American soldiers cut the turtle shell off his back to sell as "payment" for using their base's phone. Kishirou then took a series of odd jobs to raise money to hire McCoy to kill the soldiers, and slept in the sewers at night while waiting for his wounds to heal. One day, he noticed a water plant growing in the sewer, called a "dangosou".

(Kishirou remembers when he and Kirimaru tried to pick the delicious dangosou as kids.)

He went into a second flashback 15 years earlier, when he and Kirimaru had gone swimming in Ooi river in Real Tokyo, to fight the strong river current to get some dangosou, which is a kappa delicacy. The dangosou in the sewer is a reminder of those better days, and Kishirou follows the sewer upstream to see where the plant could have come from. Unfortunately, the business tycoon, Ganesha, owns the land nearby, and is planning on rerouting the water from the city's reservoir to create a home for his latest acquisition, a big fish named Bahamut. The rerouting would kill the dangosou, so Kishirou tries begging Ganesha to change his plans. Ganesha refuses and has his bodyguard beat the kappa to a pulp. Kishirou then tries to use his money to hire McCoy to save the dangosou. The chapter ends with Kishirou remembering McCoy facing Ganesha's bodyguard for free, and then snapping out of the reverie to tell Kirimaru that he won't kill his boss. Kirimaru then threatens to shoot his friend in the head. There's a gun shot.

(Note that in the flashback, Kishirou is tempted to use his money to buy Mothman hamburgers, but he wants his revenge too badly. Mothman has the same yellow arches as McDonald's.)

(McCoy shows Kirimaru how she'd been cut in two, and says that Kusanagi is the only thing keeping her alive.)

H10) Did You Shake Hands?
McCoy receives a letter from Kirimaru, demanding she meet him, accompanied by Kishirou's hat, which has a bullet hole in the front. McCoy gets very angry and arrives at the bridge the other kappa had chosen. There's a brief firefight as McCoy demands to know why Kirimaru killed his friend. There's a pause as the kappa says that Kusanagi is important to his tribe, and he shows her the x-ray he'd taken from the Four-Legged clinic proving that it's in her chest. Attached to the x-ray is the monster Ittomen (paper sheet), and it attacks, slicing her hand open. Kirimaru blows up the bridge, sending McCoy into the river, where she's vulnerable to the kappa's water-blood attacks. McCoy gets cut up and reduced to a pulp. Kirimaru drags her back to the remnant of the bridge and drops her next to his car. As he's leaning over her, she opens her hand to reveal Ittomen trapped in her fist. It slices Kirimaru almost in two, and she pulls her jacket back to show the scar where Kusanagi had chopped her in half. The sword is what's keeping her alive as she tries to track down the enemy that did this to her. Kirimaru is dying slowly, so he prepares a final blood attack to take McCoy with him. Kishirou had been locked in the trunk of the car (Kirimaru couldn't bring himself to actually kill his friend) and he breaks out in time to save McCoy, forcing Kirimaru to abort the strike. Kishirou carries Kirimaru to the sewers to show him all of the Dangosou plants living there now, recalling how McCoy had defeated Ganesha's bodyguard for him for free, because it seemed like a fun thing to do. Kirimaru dies in Kishirou's arms, while McCoy sits next to the river by the bridge and thinks.

(McCoy suddenly realizes who her client is.)

H11) Merry Christmas, Garcia!
A naked geezer shows up at McCoy's office to ask her to help him find his clothes. He can't remember anything, and she suspects an alien abduction. They go to the alien district, where McCoy lays out a tower of canned chili sauce, saying that the original UFO found in New Nevada had been driven by a drunk alien, and was really just a regular (space) traffic accident. The little gray men here are capricious, but go insane when they confront the color red. The aliens pop in, slurp up all the chili sauce, then pop back out, leaving the geezer's bright red suit behind them on the ground. The geezer gets dressed in the car and McCoy realizes in horror that this is Santa. Claus had tried going down the chimney of a house in Area 51 for a guy named Garcia, gotten caught by the U.S. military and arrested. The aliens abducted him later. He wants to hide out for a while, but Pike insists that Santa return to the outside world to continue delivering toys for the kids who are still waiting for him. McCoy then visits some yakuza friends that would rather sell the old man on the organ black market than help him escape out. Until they discover that this is Santa, and start yelling "Why didn't you say so sooner?" Along with Santa, one of the other prisoners in the yakuza camp is the shape-changing sea monster, Krakken, who can't afford to pay off his gambling debts. McCoy comes up with a plan where the U.S. military think that the U.S. ambassador is at risk of being assassinated by her. The Army orders the ambassador to a helicopter to fly him out to an aircraft carrier in open waters, and is surprised to find that the "car" is actually Krakken, and the "ambassador" is Santa (the real ambassador is still at the landing strip, wondering where everyone went.) Santa leaps out of the helicopter and returns to the North Pole, with the voices of little children filling his head (children carrying alien dolls and reading the Necronomicon). Meanwhile, the yakuza boss and McCoy are being chased by angry helicopters firing missiles at them. McCoy yells out, "Merry Christmas, Garcia!"

(Note that when Santa first shows up, McCoy throws her truck keys over to where Kishirou's desk had been, but he's not there anymore.)

(McCoy meets someone that wants to be her next client.)

H12) Complain to Mister Newton
McCoy is reading at her desk on an abandoned subway platform when Pickman, a dead ghoul package deliveryman rides up on a Mongolian Deathworm to give McCoy a letter from some unnamed prisoner at the Herbert West Prison. She goes to visit, and is taken to the highest security wing, where the prisoner says that he wants out. McCoy demands to know why he wrote her, and he comments about knowing where "that guy" (her sworn enemy) is. She rushes the cell, and the ceiling opens up to reveal 20 armed guards prepared to gun her down. She leaves, and finds her "sister", the Japanese goddess Amaterasu, waiting for her in her office. Amaterasu says that the Council of 10 Gods wants her to stay away from the prisoner. There's no other details. McCoy doesn't care, and contacts the machinist Cyclops to do some work for her. She asks Zeus to borrow his lightning bolt weapon and gives it to Cyclops to create two artifacts - a bullet, and a tooth - before having him return the weapon back to Zeus. McCoy then practices a little dance, saying that it's going to take 5 minutes from start to finish. Pike informs her that he's not going to be able to control this bullet - once it's fired, she's on her own. Which is fine by her.

A couple days later, McCoy returns to the prison. She uses Pike to shoot the lightning bullet in the air, then enters the prison. The little dance she'd done before consists of going through security and leaving Pike at the visitor's desk. She's brought to the prisoner, but instead of sitting in the chair like she's ordered to, she walks right up to the prisoner's cage. The ceiling trap opens up, and one of the other guards grabs McCoy and smashes her in the face with his rifle butt, knocking out the lightning tooth. With the ceiling open, the lightning bullet strikes the prisoner in the chest, almost killing him. The combined effects of the two Zeus weapon artifacts, though, is to stop time. McCoy and the prisoner walk out of the room, with McCoy telling the guy that it's his turn to start talking.

(Note that the title is a translation of something McCoy tells the guards as she escapes. "Don't blame me. If you have any complaints about the prisoner getting shot, complain to Mister Newton". (I.e. - blame gravity.)

There's a short story, Who Knows His Type.
Deltro is a Pan-like goat creature that runs McCoy's favorite street-side coffee shop. He narrates the story, where the centaur Keiron (McCoy's doctor) has been stopping by at the same time every Wednesday to order a banana shake. Keiron always sits at the same table to watch the street. A few minutes later, Deltro's second steady customer comes running by - Turbo Baba. She's in training for next year's Little Tokyo marathon, and she orders a banana shake smoothie for energy on her run. Keiron is in love with her, but this is the closest he can bring himself to get to her. On one particular Wednesday, just before Baba arrives, McCoy shows up in the middle of a battle with something that looks like Godzilla. One of her bullets goes stray and shatters the glass Deltro was about to hand to Baba. Turbo collapses in shock, and Keiron is preparing to go into a screaming rage at his patient. Then, Baba steps over, takes the glass from Keiron's table and gulps his banana shake before running off. Keiron stares at the lip prints on the rim of the glass. The next day, McCoy wants to know why Keiron is giving her a free checkup this time.

And a second short story: Hot Cola is Not So Bad, Isn't It?
Old man Zeus (who runs an antique electronics products shop) wants to buy a can of Coke from a vending machine, but he's out of change. After checking that no one else is around, he pulls the electric plug out of the wall and touches a prong with his finger to zap the machine with his lightning. The machine explodes and kicks out cans of soda. Zeus opens one, and the contents are so super-heated that he's showered with boiling pop. He then decides that Hot Cola is actually not that bad.

Summary: Who is "the guy" that McCoy wants to find so badly? What's the real story behind Kusanagi? Will the Council of 10 Gods order McCoy's death for going against their wishes and freeing this prisoner? Highly recommended.

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