Saturday, July 14, 2018

Mugen Shishi, vol. 3 comments

(Image from, used for review purposes only.)

Mugen Shishi (Fantasy Gentleman), vol. 3 by Yousuke Takahashi, Grade A
(Shonen Captain magazine, 1987-88)
Things continue in their silly vein in this volume, with 398 pages, or 13 chapters, of pretty much stand-alone stories. This time though, the chapters do link together chronologically as Mamiya, Atsuko and some of the other Mugen family members try to make their way from Manchuria back to Japan. A few new characters get introduced along the way, and reappear whenever it would be the funniest. The problem is that there's not a lot of point to describing the individual chapters, and I doubt very much that anyone is going to buy a copy just based on my recommendation. Suffice it to say that the character designs are great in a retro sense, the backgrounds are highly detailed, the action sequences are well-drawn, and overall it's a fun, easy read.

Having said that, there is one key chapter here, "Mugen Kyoushirou no Seinen" (The Young Kyoushiro Mugen). While adrift in a rowboat in the ocean between Mongolia and Japan, Yukie decides to tell Atsuko and Mamiya how she and Kyoushiro first met. (The manga plays coy, indicating that the scene is set sometime in the Taisei era (1912-26), but the great Tokyo earthquake that levels Yukie's family home occurred in 1923.) Kyoushiro and his sister, Neko, have been busy trying to find different marks to fleece. Kyou has targeted Yukie's parents, and is in direct competition with a navy man named Katou. Even this early in her life, Yukie is a vicious card player and takes her parents and Katou to the cleaners in a "friendly" poker game. A few days later, the Great Hanshin Earthquake destroys most of Tokyo, and kills both of Yukie's parents. Kyou had promised to appear if she ever needed help and called out his name, but that turns out to be a lie. So, she tracks down the houseboat he, Neko and their manservant Alucard are hiding out in, and quickly proceeds to win all the money in the boat while waiting for Kyou to return from a crime spree. Kyou tries to tell her that he'd only been interested in marrying into the family for the money, and now that she's poor (except for the big bundle of cash in a bag swung over her shoulder) he has no use for her anymore. Yukie isn't willing to give up that easily and challenges Kyou to a round of "Indian Poker" (each player cuts a card from the deck, high card wins) and she gets a Queen to Kyou's 2. Neko and Alucard act as witnesses, and Kyou is now "officially" Yukie's boyfriend.

Kyou, Alucard, Neko and Yukio travel around on a long crime spree, but eventually the girl gets tired of Kyou's constant womanizing. She asks Neko if her brother hates children, and Neko answers "yup." Yukie then runs away and tracks down Katou. The navy man is also in the middle of some serious womanizing, but is quick to say "yes" when she proposes to him. Later, Kyou notices his "girlfriend" is missing, and Neko tells him about the wedding arrangements with Katou. At this time, Katou had given orders to his men on one of the ships in Tokyo Bay to open fire on the houseboat, to kill Kyou and Neko. The men do this thing and the boat is wiped out. Katou tells Yukie what he's done, and she mentions Kyou's name out loud. Kyou immediately pops up from under the floor at the house the wedding is being held in, saying "You called me, so here I am." He punches out Katou, then he and Yukie run outside to where Neko and Alucard are waiting in a hot air balloon. They escape, shooting their way through several air force planes, while Kyou decides to let Yukie stay with him (which she is more than happy to do). Yukie ends her story by showing Atsuko a photo of her and Kyou holding the baby Mamiya (no idea where the photo album came from). Finally, they comment on not having seen any passing ships lately (all of the ships up to this point have avoided trying to rescue them), and they then realize that they've accidentally drifted back to Japan.

I like this series.

No comments: