Flash Review – Hard-Boiled Cop & Dolphin

Boyle Samejima, or Shark, is a BAMFin’ cop who doesn’t play by the rules and will do what it takes to catch bad guys. This roguish attitude, however, lands him in trouble, and the police department outsources him to a peaceful island precinct where he won’t be able to cause trouble. But what should be a quiet life of writing the occasional parking ticket turns out to be pretty abnormal, because fish-people come up to be pests, and his partner in crime for taking care of these ruffians is a literal dolphin.

The Funny:

How else can I say this manga is frickin’ hilarious other than “I had to, on multiple occasions, set this manga down to sew my belly after busting a gut in a fit of laughter”? With a concept as ridiculous as “fish-people are invading our island,” this manga knows how to roll with this setup to make hysterical gags. Its comedic talents extend to dialogue, too, with Samejima referring to abnormalities with either dry remarks or snappy comebacks. Even when the tone shifted to dire circumstances, it managed to slip in a funny line here and there.

The Serious:

The front half of this manga has fun clowning around but buckles down to get serious once it settles into a proper arc, and despite the mood swing, it conducts itself adeptly. The last few chapters even transform this series into a dramedy with the backstory given on Samejima’s partner and what happened that he became a dolphin. I won’t go far as to say it’s compelling and gripping—I did only use the adverb adeptly—but it does know how to sit with its hands folded on its lap and tell you of when life was better in bygone days.

The Missing:

I dubbed this series a dramedy, but the truly dramatic half of that portmanteau is how this series doesn’t cover everything it could’ve. A complete story is told from start to finish, yes, but there’s an oceanful of little things it could’ve expanded upon, like the one-scene wonder sea god or two antagonists’ heel-face turn. Memorable scenes punctuate this manga, but it pops those bubbles before they have the chance to grow.

The Verdict:

I dubbed this series a dramedy, but the true tragedy is how this series was culled when it still had more to give. I really enjoyed this manga. It was one of my favorites in Shonen Jump and for weeks the first I read when new issues released. It was at its best when it was fooling around with the absurd, but it squeezed in moments of badass and tragedy, and though its execution was in of fine-tuning from time to time, it was a hell of a good time.

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