Apocalypse Meow (aka: Cat Shit One) Vol. #02 - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 142
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0046-1
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Apocalypse Meow (aka: Cat Shit One) Vol. #02

By Megan Lavey     May 16, 2005
Release Date: September 30, 2004

Apocalypse Meow (aka: Cat Shit One) Vol.#02
© ADV Manga

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Motofumi Kobayashi
Translated by:Eiko McGregor
Adapted by:

What They Say
Complete and utter terror...the missions continue in Apocalypse Meow, volume 2, as Perky, Rats and Botaski - the Roadrunners of the Special Operations Group - face imprisonment, collateral damage and death. This time, their latest orders expose them to the tragic brutality of the conflict, but do they possess the gumption to vanquish their enemies?

The Review
ADV keeps up a great trend of keeping the original tankoubon covers with this volume, the only difference being the new logo - an unnecessary chang because the logo is in English to begin with. We get our three rabbit heros here with the Vietnam cats behind them and an airplane roaring overhead. Extras include a couple of side stories that explain the history and some of the training soldiers do, a cute omake and ads for other ADV products. For those of you unfamiliar with this sort of series, I would read the extras pertaining to the history and training first so you can navigate through the rest of the volume easier.

This art style is very realistic, so you're not going to find sparklies, large eyes or breasts with this title. A lot of attention is paid to the little details of war - the jungle that the manga is set in, the weapons, the uniforms and other artillery. There's a lot of death by shooting that takes place here, but it's not graphic.

One of the things I enjoyed about this title is not just the handling of the translation, but the added notes that allow a casual reader like me, who does not have much beyond a fading textbook knowledge of the Vietnam War, to learn about the era this story takes place. These are usually footnotes within the story that make it pretty convenient. The translation appears to be solid.

Content (may contain spoilers):
After going through a rapid nine missions in the first volume, we only get four more with this volume. The first mission deals with the joining of Japanese troops, represented by monkies, with Americans. They head into the field and you get an honest portrayal of the tension between the two sides that were enemies only two decades earlier. Perky is the one who bonds with the Japanese troops, who are there in an unofficial capacity. I like how the Japanese are named for people and events from the Bakumatsu, a civil war that could parallel the current situation in Vietnam.

While the Japanese are helping the Americans, the French are protecting their own interests in communist Vietnam. In the second mission, our main three don civilian clothing and head into Nha Trang to let the CIA know about an ambush and to discover the French role behind it along with the VC headquarters.

The last two missions cover the Americans as they experience some downtime. These are the segments that I like the most because it goes beyond the battles. You see the relationships between the soldiers and the other Vietnamese as well as a glimpse of the home front through Rats, who takes a brief leave and visits his family in New York. It's jarring and sad to see people criticize the war to Rats' face while in Vietnam, Perky and Botaski are cornered by the Vietnamese and captured.

There's a serious handicap for me when reading this story and that's I have very little interest or knowledge about the Vietnam War other than the quick brush with it given in a high school history book. The lingo goes over my head and the fighting confuses me. However, when you take that away, you have a very realistic and moving story about what life was like for soldiers who fought in Vietnam. Motofumi Kobayashi does an excellent job in conveying honest points of view - from the way the Americans treated Japanese to how soldiers were treated on the home front. Any military buff should be delighted to own this series.

I recommend reading through it at least once just to get a good sense of the era and how it changed things for us. The first volume suffered from the events being a little too dry and focused on being in the battlefield. The increased humanization in this second volume and the well-balanced look at life on all sides of the war and how it's integrated with the fights gives this a good grade, however, a lack of complete understanding by a majority of people and the somewhat confusing fights prevent this from being an "A" series. It's very close, though. It would be really easy to make this series seem just about fighting and thankfully, it has turned out not to be that way.


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