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Naked ape is the collaboration of artist Tonomi Nakamura and writer Otoh Saki. The two women also design posters, album covers, and phone cards. Their other work includes Black tar and the futuristic crime thriller DOLLS.
Lively art almost makes up for routine storytelling in this cop-buddy serial by the team known collectively as Naked Ape. Writer Otoo Saki's script isn't inept, but it's extremely predictable. When young, innocent-looking rookie cop Kai Eto shows up for duty at the Greater Kanto Narcotics Control Division, readers aren't surprised to see him teamed up with a jaded officer who can't stand the new kid. It's also no surprise that the little boy Kai good-heartedly befriends turns out to be the son of a drug dealer. And when Kai goes undercover, it's certainly no surprise that the junkie he's watching discovers his identity and pulls a gun on him. That's the trouble: there aren't enough new ideas to make the action fresh. Tonomi Nakamura's art, however, is full of surprises. Her layout combines overlapping panels full of oddly angled closeups and long shots, stressing grotesquely forced perspective. Although readers will occasionally struggle with the storytelling, even pages that don't contribute much to the lumbering plot are interesting to look at. By the time they reach the cliffhanger that ends the book, readers may be convinced that there could be potential here to support some distinctive, quirky story that hasn't emerged yet. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.