Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin has gotten off to a fantastic start! Ryuhei Tamura has wasted no time in quickly establishing this fascinating and bizarre world for this manga and getting the reader completely invested in the characters and this world. I am confident that Tamura will have another fun and action-packed story in store for us with Hard Boiled and Dolphin Chapter 3. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Words: Ryuhei Tamura
Art: Ryuhei Tamura
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Boyle Samejima aka Shark: Samejima is the hard-boiled cop. He does things like a cop from an old pulp detective story. Unfortunately, Samejima’s old school ways land him in constant trouble. The result is that Samejima finds himself kicked off the Tokyo police force and transferred to Ogasawara. Samejima is the co-star of this manga. Samejima is given the nickname “Shark” since the kanji for his name is “shark.”
Orpheus aka Orfie: Orpheus is the Dolphin. In fact, Orpheus is a large anthropomorphic dolphin. Who is also a cop. Yeah, it makes no sense to Samejima, either. Orpheus becomes Samejima’s partner when he gets transferred to Ogasawara. Orpheus is the co-star of this manga.
Umi Nanase: Umi is the well-endowed police officer in the Anegadhima Police department in Ogasawara. Umi is the first officer to meet Samejima upon his arrival in Ogasawara. Umi is spunky and by the rules officer.
Princess Otsukoto aka Chako: Chako is a five-year-old girl who was raised by Dolphins. We know little about her other than Orpheus rescued her, and she calls him her “Papa.”
Synopsis: We begin with Orpheus telling Samejima how the second you step foot in the ocean you have left the land of human jurisdiction. We then cut to the human/octopus hybrid whipping his tentacles around as Samejima stands there stunned. The human/octopus wraps its tentacles around its body like a cocoon. The human/octopus then says that he is not here.
Suddenly, the human/octopus begins playing a game of hide-and-seek with Chako. The human/octopus uses the game as a distraction to get closer to Samejima, Umi, and Chako. However, Samejima does not get distracted and spin kicks the human/octopus in the face.
The human/octopus stands back up and his tentacles start spinning around even faster. Orpheus swims toward shore since he was thrown in the ocean in the last chapter. Orpheus warns Samejima that the human/octopus’ tentacles can break off and then explode like bombs.
Suddenly, the human/octopus fires a piece of its tentacle at Chako. Samejima jumps in the way and punches the tentacle fragment away from Chako. The tentacle piece then explodes. Samejima tells Chako to run to safety. Samejima says this is a job for the police officers.
Samejima pulls out his metal baton and says it is time to turn the human/octopus into grilled octopus. The human/octopus attacks Samejima with its tentacles. Samejima uses his baton and launches into an ultra-fast attack smashing the tentacles into pieces. Orpheus is stunned by Samejima’s speed. Chako cheers for Samejima.
Samejima stops his attack, and we see that the human/octopus’ tentacles have been destroyed. Orpheus then yells to Samejima that the human/octopus is an exploding octopus ball-man. That all the various bits of the destroyed tentacles could be explosive. Samejima is stunned.
Orpheus then blasts out of the ocean like a missile and flies through the air. Orpheus grabs the human/octopus by the face and smashes the human/octopus’ head into the ground. The impact causes all the pieces of the human/octopus’ tentacles to fly into the air where they all explode.
We cut to a view of the ocean and see all the maritime life swimming around. The narration states that 90% of all species are primarily aquatic in nature. That humanity has only observed 5% of all aquatic life. Therefore, the remaining 95% of aquatic life is unknown.
We shift to the police station where the Exploding Octopus Ball-Man admits that he attacked the old man’s house because the old man lets trash from his house float out to the sea all the time. And today he just could not take it anymore. That it makes a mess in front of the Exploding Octopus Ball-Man’s house.
The police decide to let the Exploding Octopus Ball-Man free. We hop over to the beach. The Exploding Octopus Ball-Man apologizes to Orpheus and Samejima for what he did today. The Exploding Octopus Ball-Man walks into the ocean and swims away.
Orpheus and Samejima sit and stare at the ocean. Samejima is still trying to process all that has just happened. Orpheus says that this island is the front line of the war against ocean crime. Chako rushes onto the scene and kicks Samejima in the face. Samejima asks why she kicked him. Chako exclaims that Shark did a great job and that he gets a pat on the head.
Umi appears and says that she never handled a case like this one before. Samejima is stunned at how none of his co-workers seemed fazed at all by what happened. Orpheus gets jealous and tells Chako that he was the one who actually caught the bad guy. Chako pats Orpheus and tells him better luck next time.
Samejima asks what Chako means by “next time.” The narration says that eventually just mentioning Shark and Dolphin would be enough to send the toughest ocean gang running. But, that is yet in the future. End of chapter.
The Good: Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin Chapter 3 is a kick-ass read! Ryuhei Tamura continues to impress me with this new manga. Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin is quickly establishing itself as a fun action-packed manga that is sure to put a smile on the reader’s face with each chapter.
There is so much to praise with Tamura’s work on Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin. This manga offers a diverse read that is a delightful blend of excellent character work, comedy, action, and impressive world-building. Tamura is creating a manga that should appeal to a wide cross-section of readers.
Chapter 3 is all about the action. Tamura loads up the most fighting that we have gotten so far in this new manga. The action is wonderfully constructed. There is so much incredible energy that crackles off the page during the fight scenes.
I love that Tamura employs fantastic psychology with the fighting in this issue. Tamura understands that it is necessary in an action manga to highlight the abilities of the main characters. It is important to quickly establish the main characters’ fighting prowess through cool hero spots. Tamura gives both Samejima and Orpheus their critical hero spots in Chapter 3.
Samejiima’s hero spot is when he whips out his police baton and destroys the Exploding Octopus Ball-Man’s tentacles at an inhuman speed. Tamura even purposefully has Orpheus specifically state how amazed he is by Samejima’s skill. This is an incredibly effective hero spot. The reader clearly understands Samejima’s special abilities.
Tamura then gives Orpheus his hero spot with his dramatic takedown of the Exploding Octopus Ball-Man. This is an effective and cool moment that clearly conveys to the reader Orpheus’ speed and power. It is crucial that both heroes get a chance to shine to quickly establish credibility with the reader.
Of course, Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin Chapter 3 is so much more than just quality action. Tamura continues to deliver great character work. What is so impressive is that Tamura understands that you can use action scenes to deliver excellent character work. So many writers just view action scenes as brainless moments of the story. Not Tamura. Tamura understands that fight scenes can be an excellent vehicle to highlight a character’s personality and their impact on the other characters in the story.
Tamura can do that with both Samejima and Orpheus. The fight scene allows Tamura to show the naturally heroic and fearless nature of both Samejima and Orpheus. The fight scene also provides an opportunity for Samejima and Orpheus to impress each other. This is vitally important since Tamura is giving us a “buddy” adventure where the two “buddies” are still feeling each other out.
At this point, neither man particularly likes the other man. There is still some tension and definitely a rivalry between the two. The action scene allows Tamura to show how Samejima and Orpheus try to one-up each other. This is all crucial character work as Tamura tells the story of two rivals to grow and evolve into two friends who realize they are stronger as a whole than they are on their own.
This rivalry is further emphasized at the end of Chapter 3 when Tamura has Orpheus act jealous over how Chako reacts to Samejima. Chako praises Samejima and credits him with the victory. Orpheus immediately getting jealous moves along with this ever-evolving feud between these two partners. Chako is an effective plot tool that Tamura is using to stoke Orpheus’ jealousy. What makes this even better is that poor Samejima is simply annoyed by Chako. It is not at all the case that Samejima is looking to be a father figure for Chako. Orpheus being unable to see this is what makes his jealous behavior even more laughable.
The final aspect of Tamura’s writing that makes Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin so enjoyable is Tamura’s excellent world-building and his strong plotting and pacing. Make no mistake, Chapter 3 is technically well constructed. Tamura continues to flesh out this unusual world of ocean crime and establish the rules of this world.
Chapter 3 is the end of the opening story arc on this manga. In this tightly plotted and well-paced story arc, Tamura clearly conveys the world of this manga, the mission statement of this manga, and the main theme and gimmick of the unknown world of the ocean and the creatures that it harbors. At the end of Chapter 3, Tamura brilliantly loops right back to where he was at the beginning of Chapter 1. By bookending the opening story arc with the mysterious world of the ocean and its unusual and mysterious species effectively establishes the unique theme of this manga with readers. This is just excellent story construction for a new manga. The reader has such an excellent sense of this new manga’s character and its direction.
Speaking of the 95% of undiscovered marine life, I absolutely love the Exploding Octopus Ball-Man. What a crazy character with just a fantastic name! This is the kind of wildly imaginative characters that we can expect to get from Tamura as this manga progresses forward. This is just a fun character!
I liked Tamura’s excuse for why the Exploding Octopus Ball-Man blew up the old man’s house. The fact that the old man was putting garbage into the ocean helps to make the Exploding Octopus Ball-Man a more sympathetic character. I like this as it makes the story more nuanced and not a simple black and white conflict.
Once again, Tamura treats the reader to his usual fantastic artwork. Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin is a wonderful looking manga. Tamura can whip up some dynamic fight scenes. Tamura’s art has such excellent energy. I continue to be impressed with Tamura’s attention to detail. The character’s all have well crafted facial expressions. And the panels all have excellent background detail.
The Bad: Chako continues to grate on the nerves. She is way too precocious. Her “cute” and “spunky” actions are too over the top. I will admit that I just want Samejima to drop-kick her out of the scene.
Overall: Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin Chapter 3 is another excellent read and a fantastic conclusion to the opening story arc. Tamura has a hit on his hands with this new manga. I highly recommend giving Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin a try. This manga will certainly appeal to a wide range of readers.
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