A solid conclusion, but one that doesn’t quite live up to what came before it.
Writer/Artist: Felipe Smith
What They Say
Milton and Reiko begin to develop their own dialog. Milton has begun to understand that there is much more to appreciate about this culture than he imagined. He also realizes that there was nothing wrong with being who he is as long as he is being earnest. Sure that might isolate him in certain conditions, but it may also prove to be charming; as in the case with his new friend Reiko.
Reiko's views on American people also begin to change. People are who they are no matter where they hail from, and while the media and geo-political issues may influence subcontext it does not change individual personalities. She knows what she wants and she is willing to do whatever possible to achieve her goals in life. Her future might not be in Japan. It might not be in the US. But she will clearly be looking forward to a future where she is judged on her merits and talents with equity and honesty.
Together they have much of that, but they are also very young. The future has many options for these two. So when they part ways at the end of this trip, one has to wonder... Will they ever see each other's home the same way again?
After a short aside in which the events of last volume wrap up, with Gill leaving Morimoto staring on in disbelief, we join Milton and Jody, as Reiko and Miki help them purchase new clothing. Along the way, Reiko starts to understand that Milton may not be such a bad person, Milton learns that even clothing trends in Japan aren’t what he they would be (and trades clothing with an old man), and Miki turns down the advances of a very, very desperate Jody.
From there, we see Gill’s attacks on local crime lords become more public, earning him a reputation as a masked vigilante, and Jody’s sexual desperation continues to grow. This leads causes him to become so irritated that when he unknowingly bumps into Morimoto, he tries to pick a fight. Luckily for Jody, Morimoto mistakes him for a gangster, and the two hit it off, despite not understanding each other one bit.
Over the rest of the volume, Jody obliviously falls deeper and deeper into the Yakuza life style, Milton comes to grips with his love of Japanese culture and corrects his misunderstandings, and Reiko comes to the realization that she may just have a love for cosplay. As things come to an end, we learn that Aniki had actually faked his death, and Gill is sent once again to kill Morimoto, leading to an odd and slightly disturbing ending in which even Gill realizes to accept his “true self.”
This final volume does a good job wrapping up the story, but unfortunately feels like it plays things a little safe compared to the last two volumes. The character match-ups that are focused on here feel a bit flat, but do a good job at least in fleshing out Reiko. Jody also manages to provoke a good number of laughs once more, though nothing too exciting. Most of all though, it just feels like such a missed opportunity that Milton and Morimoto never get any meaning interaction, as the two are so similar and would likely play off each other very well. All in all, a solid conclusion to a fantastic series, but one that unfortunately doesn’t seem to quite live up to its predecessors.