Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book-A-Day 2014 #253: Triage X, Vol. 7 by Shouji Sato

Another day, another manga with a lot of bouncing boobies in it. Those of you with a burning desire to know how we got here will be pleased to learn that I covered Triage X's first five volumes as Day 92, and then the sixth as Day 155.

For those who would rather wing it, the touchpoints here are: nurses, guns, explosions, boobs, motorcycles, swords, dramatic dialogue, and incredibly evil gangsters.

I did the "if crime is a disease" joke last time, so I won't repeat that -- but Black Label, the secret vigilante group that operates out of Mochizuki General Hospital to "triage" (kill) "black labels" (generally gangsters, though in a pinch it can be anyone standing dramatically in their way and monologuing) is back in the flashy and violent Triage X, Vol. 7 by Shouji Sato.

Because of the size requirements of Japanese tankobon -- I'm in publishing, so I'm very familiar with the "doing it this way all of the time doesn't entirely make sense, but we always do it this way" mindset -- this volume presents chapters three through eight of the fifth major Triage X story, "Steelheart." And that story clearly isn't done here, either, so this is a big slab of middle. So we begin in the middle of a fight scene, when things look dark for Ampoule Zero, the senior team from Black Label, made up of female medical professionals (surgeon, nurse, and anesthesiologist) with remarkably revealing costumes for killer vigilantes. They're fighting the twin redheads on the cover, and the requisite Big Mute Guy -- though he's bare-chested, which I suppose counts as equal treatment in this context.

So there's a big fight, and we learn a bit about Syringe, the group that the redhead twins and their friends belong to -- though not a whole lot; I think they're a criminal organization, but they could also be a rival bunch of vigilantes with different ideas -- at the end of which there are injuries but no deaths, and no one has gotten exactly what they wanted. Some relatively quiet character stuff follows -- manga requires as much attention to emotions as to breasts and blood, even in stories for teenage boys -- and then one of the heroes goes nutty for reasons we don't quite understand yet, but will definitely lead to more teary character scenes once everyone else manages to keep her from killing them or herself.

And that's where this volume ends -- it begins in a fight scene and ends in one, with all of the major concerns of this storyline still up in the air. There's a continuing lack of fan-service this time out compared to the first few volumes, which could be mildly disappointing to some readers. But Sato still draws all of his female characters in skimpy outfits and from revealing angles -- and most of his important characters are female. Triage X is still rated M for Mature, but it's the kind of mature you find in a slasher movie: the kind that appeals to teen boys who want to think they're older than they are. There's nothing wrong with that: it's stylish and looks great and has a lot of kinetic, exciting action. But it's not what I'd like to call "mature."

Book-A-Day 2014 Introduction and Index

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