- Mangaka : Tamura, Ryuuhei
- Publisher : Viz Media
- Genre : Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Shounen
- Published : Jun 2020 - Jun 2021
For you manga fans out there, the name Tamura Ryuuhei may sound familiar to your ears. Well, that is because he’s the author of a manga called "Beelzebub" that was highly popular back in the early 2010s.
Its massive popularity managed to spawn 28 volumes of manga and 60 episodes of anime. After a couple of years of silence and some small series along the way, he is back with a new manga that promises to take you along a zany and hilarious adventure - Hard-Boiled Cop and Dolphin. Here’s our review of the first volume!
Boyle Samejima is the type of police officer who would get closer to a criminal who was holding a hostage by the neck, and punch him straight in the face. This is the kind of reckless behaviour that got him demoted from the prestigious Shinjuku Police Precinct.
Now, Samejima is forced to work as a police officer in the small police precinct in the remote Ogasawara Islands. If that is not depressing enough, he also has to work together with an anthropomorphic dolphin and his daughter, a seemingly normal girl who used to be an oracle for the cult of the sea. Yes, life has just gotten more complicated for the hard-boiled Samejima.
1. Amusing Premise
The premise of this manga is as amusing and as hilarious as it can get. A story about a hardcore police officer who teams up with an anthropomorphic dolphin to solve the mundane crimes on a small island is just the kind of premise that would make everybody chuckle and scratch their head.
The premise alone is enough to hook any passerby and convert them into new readers. Not to mention that the name of Tamura Ryuuhei also brings a reputation for great action and comedy along with it. Just by reading the title, looking at the cover art, and reading the premise, you'll find yourself smiling and amused.
2. Excellent Comedic Timing
Comedy is a central part of Hard-Boiled Cop and Dolphin. As such, you'll find hooks and punchlines in every single moment in this manga. You'll be smiling from reading the dialog between characters, the characters' movement and expressions will make you chuckle, and even the internal monologue boxes are designed to make you laugh.
Tamura-sensei knows when it’s the perfect time to inject jokes into a scene. This effective use of humor is certainly the result of years of experience working on Beelzebub. In comedy, the most important thing is "timing", and this manga nails it perfectly.
3. Great Balance Between Action and Comedy
Hard-Boiled Cop And Dolphin is not a one-trick pony that only relies on comedy to carry the whole story. There are also loads of well-executed action sequences here. The story may begin with an octopus who bombs an old man's house, but it will end up in a fist fight between the main characters and the weird perpetrator.
This perfect blend of action and comedy, with a dash of fantasy and family drama on top, creates a super fun reading experience. In a way, you could even say that this manga manages to achieve the quintessential mix of what makes a great shounen manga.
1. A Recycle of Old Story Elements
As good as this first volume is, there's still a fundamental flaw that could be mentioned, and that is the fact that Tamura-sensei uses so many similar story elements from his previous hit, Beelzebub.
We’ve got a grown up man who has to take care of a small child, battles against non-human entities, the fact that the child is actually more important and powerful than they might seem, and many other similarities.
This sort of thing may not be a problem for those who are not familiar with Beelzebub, but for those who are, it raises the question of whether or not the author is simply trying to regain his long-lost popularity by following the same formula as his last mainstream work.
This first volume of Hard-Boiled Cop and Dolphin is great. There are lots of things to like about this manga: the premise, the execution, the art... all of it is carefully crafted in order to create a fun reading experience.
The use of old story elements is certainly distracting for those who are familiar with the author's early works, but that doesn't take the fun out of the story at all. Sure, it'll be nice if Tamura-sensei adds more unique elements to the story later on, but as far as this first volume goes, this is a fantastic shounen manga. And if you have any thoughts on Hard-Boiled Cop and Dolphin, be sure to leave them in the comments!