Mania Grade: A-
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- Art Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: B-
- Text/Translatin Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Released By: Be Beautiful
- MSRP: 15.99
- Pages: 186
- ISBN: 193344001-5
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
Finder Series: Cage in the Finder (Finder no Keeji) Vol. #01
By Eduardo M. Chavez
April 16, 2006
Release Date: November 07, 2005
Finder Series: Cage in the Finder (Finder no Keeji) Vol.#01
© Be Beautiful
Translated by:Melanie Shoen
Adapted by:What They Say
Freelance photographer Akihito Takaba thought he left the cutthroat dangers of the Underworld behind after barely escaping his last adventure alive. However, he soon finds himself reunited with the mysterious and powerful crime lord Asami, and before long he is once again thrust into an unseemly world of decadence and bloodshed. Will Akihito be lucky enough to escape a deadly fate twice in a row, or are Asami's plans for him of a more amorous nature? Meanwhile, Fei Long, the beautiful criminal mastermind, reflects upon his rise to power and the passionate secret he held in check for too many years.The ReviewPackaging:
CPM shows off how good they can get with the Finder Series. First, they use the original cover art, which features the leads of the title property - Cage in the Finder. This piece has Takaba, Asami and Long amongst the mums. The image is actually larger than the one used by Biblos giving readers more of Yamane's clean great looking character art. And as a warning for parents and children, CPM clearly labels this title mature right on the front with a magenta warning message. The opposite cover features another image of Takaba and Asami. This time they are sharing a cigarette.
Now I cannot confirm this myself, but I have been told by reliable sources that the printing is a little off (though better than what was done for the first title in this series). If I had any concerns, they mainly came from the cropping. I noticed more than a share of alignment issues that made me wonder if the bleed was really supposed to be this tight throughout the manga. Luckily, CPM keeps all of the chapter headers with the original logos. Very nice. This volume includes a character introduction at the very start of the GN, a long afterthought from the Yamane, bumper art (for Skyscraper Blossom) and part of an interview with the mangaka. Artwork:
Yamane's art has always been among my favorites. She seems to have an ideal form she likes - stereotypical manly man! Her leads are very top heavy: strong chins, broad shoulders, bare chests and lean stomachs. Characters tend to be on the long side, but they seem to be to scale with their surroundings. Yamane's eyes tend to show a lot of emotion. They are not very big and Yamane mixes up expressions and angles to get maximum effect from them. Strong line work and good inking gives Yamane's characters a very clean look even when she does SD.
Background art really varies. Sometimes she can put quite a bit of detail, but for the most part, it is simply there. Considering the type of stories that are in this volume, I wish she would be a little more consistent in regards to backgrounds, because I would like to get a better feeling of where the stories were set in. There is a tremendous amount of diversity with the panel sizes and placement, so the layout is very impressive. This helps control the pacing of these short stories (sometimes to the betterment of some chapters and sometimes to their determent). SFX/Text:
I love the way CPM handles SFX. They sub theirs and with most titles, this is a great compromise for those who want to see the original FX and those who cannot read kana.
The translation itself is solid. Some of slang used seemed to work for the context and the personalities seemed to stand out very well. One of the things I did notice though was that CPM was using an old favorite of adult manga/anime - calling specific characters "college students". You know what I am talking about (look at the uniforms and you can figure it out if you do not).Contents:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When you are a freelance journalist one of the first things you learn is to not trust many people. You might be able to trust your informants, sources are critical in that business, but even those need to be backed up and checked or else your credibility is on the line. Your editor might be trust-worthy, but then again who knows if they would print something that could jeopardize their job or their circulation. You definitely do not trust those you are researching. Those people might seem to be oblivious but there is always something else going on and that is why you are working their beat. So who do you trust?
You might have thought Takaba Akihiro would have learned not to trust after going through multiple versions of hell while working on a couple jobs recently. He has been kidnapped, raped and even found himself in gunfire a few times. Whatever he did, he always seemed to have been under the watch of the eyes of someone he really did not want to be associated with - regional crime lord and man's man Asami! Well he is caught up in some work with the local police. He has not been clued in on the details, but they are looking for a connection with the same Asami and the man's dealings with the underworld. And apparently he is still being watched. Seems, Asami does not like to lose track of what he deems his property!
You see Asami has always been a possessive man. You can go back seven years when he was working the illegal small arms trade through Hong Kong, Asami kept his business close to him and his business partners even closer. Everything he wanted he watched over closely protecting it with his whole life on the line. Maybe his motivations were much more sinister than he lead on, but Asami never let go of anything he felt was of value to him. Yet despite his deep connections to his "possessions", none of it is very emotional. No, that would compromise his business. But that is what makes him even more dangerous and Takaba is just starting to understand that.Comments
First off a big change in the format of how this series is written end up immediately making an impact and changed this from good series changed into a great one. What started off as a few shorts, turned into a full-fledged series with a continuous plot and a full cast. Yamane describes the transition a bit in her interview at the end of this volume. The change actually came due to the popularity of the Finder stories and the hot/cold dynamic of the two male leads. This ends up changing the flow of the entire series as a whole right from the start of this volume. By essentially turning this volume into a long arc revolving around a reoccurring character, Yamane was able to really dig deep and work on her character development and pound out a plot. This gave her a chance to properly create some history for her cast. Moreover, along the way she was able to make some interesting connections.
Fei-long, seen occasionally through the first volume, is given more than half a volume to shine. As the character that has so far been the most impressive of Asami's rivals, seeing him as a young up-and-coming Mafioso really gave a good impression of how much of an influence Asami had on his life. Readers should already be able to see what Asami has done for Takaba in their short time together. Asami and Fei-long have a long history they share and the roots are deep. There is plenty of love literally lost there and when you see them together in the present it is obvious that they have plenty to work out. The way Yamane presents all this shows a different side of Asami as well. After seeing him from this perspective (told from Fei-long's memories), I was left wondering what side of Asami Yamane is trying to show here. Is there a sensitive side of Asami lost somewhere in the past seven years; or is she being coy by making her lead become even more sinister as he uses everyone and everything in his reach. His personality is such where both could work, but the mystery behind Asami's motivations continues to be what keeps me coming back for more (great character).
The Finder Series was already fun reading because of the great interactions between its lead males. The two together were always a source of passion - positive or negative there was this energy they made together that really commanded attention. Yamane has now been given the freedom to make their lives more significant. She can work on their rivals with more detail. She can work on their twisted "romance" in more graphic ways. Best of all she can think up even more excuses to get Takaba caught in Asami's web. More of those special moments is a good thing in my book!