Thanks to Andy Leavy for the review copy!
OSAKA MIME is a well executed graphic novel. At first glance, the concept seems complex. Set in a fantasy version of Japan where a paranormal unit of the police solves crimes committed by vampires, werewolves and other fantasy creatures, the story expertly establishes a world that feels realistic while seamlessly integrating the fantastic elements of the world. It’s like MEN IN BLACK with creatures instead of aliens. While the world of OSAKA MINE is rich, what makes the story hum is the simplicity of its core – the dynamic between a grizzled veteran officer and his rookie partner. Many movies and TV shows have found success partnering a frumpy older partner with an uptight rookie, and this title is no exception.
Like MEN IN BLACK, the growing relationship between the two main characters is what makes the story work. The interplay between the two officers is essential to caring about what happens next. In this case, it was so effective I found myself reading the entire 80 page story in one setting. The story itself is a fairly straightforward mystery – the titular Mime is a type of creature that hunts people and then takes the shape of the last person they eat. Normally, Mimes eat to survive, but one seems more bloodthirsty than usual. The search for this Mime forms the basis of the detective story.
As befitting a story that involves a creature that eats people, this is a story for mature readers. There is plenty of violence, but none of it feels gratuitous. This is due in part to the wise decision to use black and white. It allows us to clearly see the action, while minimizing the gore. The menagerie of paranormal characters are well designed, but I especially appreciated the effort taken to differentiate between the two human protagonists in terms of character design, wardrobe, and personalities.
OSAKA MIME manages to build a realistic world with fantastic elements. It has the likeable characters, interesting story, and vibrant action scenes I could see being adapted into a movie. The volume tells a self contained story that you will likely be driven to keep reading once you start. If you like mismatched buddy cop stories, gritty detective work, or MEN IN BLACK, odds are you will like OSAKA MIME.
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