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Geobreeders #1: Learning to Love the New Job
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Written by maehara   
Thursday, 13 May 2004 00:00
Geobreeders - Volume 1The Geobreeders anime is one of my favourite shows, so when I came across the first few volumes of the manga at a local bookshop, it was a must-buy. Now to see how the two compare...

1 - The Enemy Downstairs
It's Yoichi Taba's first day at his new job, and he's learning the importance of finding out what a job's about before accepting it. His new employers are Kagura Security, a company the specialises in taking care of some unusual characters - Phantom Cats, beings with the ability to assume human form or to control electronics. His arrival at his new office coincides with a running battle between company President Yuka Kikushima and a particularly stubborn Phantom Cat. Taba finds himself very quickly wishing he'd never taken this job...

2 - Runaway Train
Taba's on his way home, thinking about how best to pack in his job with Kagura, when the train he's on is seized by a Phanton Cat... Fortunately, he doesn't have to handle the Cat on his own - fellow Kagura employee Maki Umezaki is also on the train, but her methods of handling the Cats are just a touch over-the-top...

3 - The Third Employee
Taba meets another of Kagura's dedicated employees, kawaii computer whiz Takami Sakuragi. Under normal circumstances there'd be nothing better than a day at an amusement park with Takami-chan, but on this occasion it's got more to do with Phantom Cats than any budding romance, even if they do end up spending 'quality time' on the giant wheel together. Meanwhile, Irie from the Ministry of Welfare seems to have an interest in Kagura's work, while a young girl seems to be tracking Taba...

4 - Underground
The introductions for the Kagura staff continue - this time it's company accountant Eiko Rando's turn. Not just good with figures, she's pretty impressive in a fight, too. Rando ropes Taba into another Cat-hunting expedition (he's just back from the bookshop after buying 'How to Resign from your Job') - this time down in the sewers. There's enough electrical cabling & gear down there to make it near impossible to track down a Cat alone, so while Rando & Taba are down below, Takami & Yuka are up above tracking the Cat's progress - but as usual things don't go entirely according to plan...

5 - Emperor of the Cat Kingdom
With the Cat from the sewers still on the loose, the chase shifts above ground. Takami's lost what little nerve she had & is in her own little world, leaving Yuka to take charge of the tracking gear - which is not really her thing. Even Maki gets in on the act, although resisting arrest when she's nailed by a policeman may not be the smartest of her ideas. After the Cat is finally sealed away, the young girl from Chapter 3 appears again & leads Taba to another Phantom Cat - except this one isn't like the Cats he's used to dealing with, and needs Taba to do him a favour...

6 - Crash!
Introducing the final Kagura employee, Yuu Himehagi - company driver who can usually be found sleeping down in the garage. Hauled out on a job alone with Yuka & Taba, they're attacked by a Phantom Cat while driving down the highway. Since they're not under contract to anyone there & would have to pay for whatever they damage, it's time to come up with an escape or capture plan that's going to cause as little damage as possible. No such luck - especially after special forces from the Ministry of Welfare arrive to take matters into their own hands...

7 - A Visitor in the Rain
Taba's at home, recovering from the injuries he picked up in the last chapter. Outside his flat is the yound girl he's met previously - she seems to be keeping a close watch on him, and it's making him nervous, so he calls Takami (the only one of the Kagura girls he feels he can even remotely rely on) to come around & give him some advice on what to do. Her solution's simple - bring her into the flat, to make it easier for Taba to keep an eye on her... One problem, though - Irie's around, and has planted a bug on Takami, giving him the opportunity to hopefully learn what plans Kagura & the Black Cat have up their sleeves...

One of the problems with the OVA series was being dumped into the middle of the setting without any real explanation of who was who & what was going on - it's one of those 'treat for the fans' shows that expects you to know the background already. Obviously, the manga takes care of at least some of those aspects - but the details behind the origins & purpose of the Phantom Cats are still a mystery to me. Even this early in the story, though, there are indications of conspiracies & maneuvering behind the scenes which serve to keep the interest up through all the battle scenes - and there are a lot of them.

At its heart, the Geobreeders manga is a fairly mindless action comic, with a large dose of fanservice thrown in - and it does what it sets out to do in that respect quite well. The graphcal style is clear and easy-to-follow, too, which makes it a lot easier to read compared to some other manga I've seen. Add in the political side of things, which are almost an undercurrent to the main story (they're there, but not dwelt on to any great extent), and you get a well-balanced story that should please most people in at least some way.

Overall, then, nothing hugely breathtaking (and not quite as much fun as the anime spin-off), but well worth a read. Only really big downside is that it's been fully localised (flipped to left-to-right format & with all effects / wording translated) - if you're used to the modern 'authentic manga' style, this may not seem quite Japanese enough. Otherwise, no problems...


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