REVIEW: Inspector Kurokouchi Vol. 1 (2012)

A Manga by Nagasaki, Takashi (Story), Kouno, Kouji (Art)

I occasionally go to Manga scan websites (Japanese comics) and look for things that have not been released in the West in any way, and see some “under the radar” titles that strike my fancy. Being a fan of seinen (adult market) manga, means that not a ton of it gets put out over here, shelves and release lists are usually packed with shounen (for boy’s) stuff that I usually don’t get into. I randomly came across a police drama book called Inspector Kurokouchi (クロコーチ) that I immediately fell in love with. Yeah, the title character is a terrible person, and horrible cop, but man is he smart. He’s almost like a twisted version of Sherlock Holmes or something. Reading this volume of Inspector Kurokouchi, I came to the realization – This guy’s playing 4-D chess and everyone else is playing checkers.

“Kurokouchi Keita is the black sheep of the police force. He works alone, and doesn’t think twice about extorting money from the dirty politicians by getting hold of their achilles heels. Using the money and whatever bits of information acquired through underhanded means, he gets closer and closer to the ultimate unresolved crime of the Showa era (1968); the 300 million bank heist.”

The overall premise of this series is that Kurokouchi is such a bad cop that he gets saddled with the literal opposite of himself, a super “by-the-book” super-cop seemingly destined for greatness named Seike Mayo. Kurokouchi takes bribes, sets people up, forges evidence, and even lines his own pockets, all things that infuriate Seike. As the story goes, Seike goes from trying to get evidence together to get Kurokouchi fired, to being an accomplice to his antics. The reason? Kurokouchi is actually a “good guy” that does bad things to punish white collar career criminals that exist in all levels of governance, even the police force. In a similar way to infamous TV character Dexter Morgan being a serial killer that kills serial killers, Kurokouchi is a bad cop that exposes other bad cops.

I’m not normally one for procedural police dramas in any way whatsoever, however, the plot in this is so crazy I just kept reading it until I burned through the couple of volumes that had been translated into English. I really hope this gets picked up and released legitimately here in the United States, as I would definitely plop some money down to support it. The book somewhat reminds me of GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka), in that Kurokouchi’s facial expressions are sometimes crazy, he’s very lecherous, and it could be seen as a comedy at times mixed with heavy drama. I honestly think that’s why I enjoy it so much, seeing that GTO is one of my favorite books.

Currently, this can only be read “by other means”, and with no anime to market off of, I don’t see this being brought out over here unless some random publishing house tosses it onto Amazon Kindle or something. There is apparently a lice action TV show in Japan that ought to be interesting, perhaps I will try to find that at some point! All-in-all this was quite the surprise and I can’t wait to read more.

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