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Hurukaze Bitter Bop

Review

Hurukaze Bitter Bop

Chiyoharu is not having a great day. Or year. Suspended for starting a fire at school with his friends that got out of control, and then only suspended while his friends were expelled, he is now ostracized by students, teachers and his old cohorts. Then, like things often happen in manga, Chiyoharu unwillingly attracts two bizarre companions. First, a hulking man, Souza of the North Wind, who claims Chiyoharu is the key to his amnesia. Then "special female high school detective" Kaede arrives and is more than a bit smitten with the big lug. As Chiyoharu tries to fast talk his way out of classes and disengage from his two new hangers-on, all he really wants is to reconnect with his lost friends and rebuild some kind of life that doesn't suck.

While in many ways this is a traditional manga series for guys, it is also already a lot better than your run-of-the-mill comedy action tale. The dialogue is very fast and full of snark --- this is a manga where it's entirely worth it to read all the characters’ asides and mumbling about the state of the story they're in. Mocking traditional action manga in almost every panel, Court Betten nails the more ridiculous trademarks and character types with visual and textual play. The art springs back and forth from detailed faces to wild exaggeration, which suits the jokes and the action perfectly. Most surprising is how much the mystery behind Souza's supernatural abilities and the slowly revealed truth behind the fire is actually suspenseful rather than just an excuse to keep churning out pages of slapstick.

This series is off to a great start, and while it may not be the deepest story ever, it is entertaining from the get-go and leaves you ready and waiting for the next installment.

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Reviewed by Robin Brenner on October 18, 2011

Hurukaze Bitter Bop
by Court Betten

  • Publication Date: January 8, 2008
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: TokyoPop
  • ISBN-10: 1427803285
  • ISBN-13: 9781427803283