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Cover of the first volume of Geobreeders
|Genre||Action, Comedy, Supernatural|
|Written by||Akihiro Ito|
|Published by||Shōnen Gahōsha|
|Magazine||Young King OURs|
|Original run||1995 – 2009|
|Written by||Isamu Imakake|
|Published by||Shōnen Gahosha|
|Original run||2000 – 2001|
|Original video animation|
|Get Back the Kitty|
|Directed by||Yuji Moriyama|
|Produced by||Hoko Enomoto|
|Written by||Yōsuke Kuroda|
|Music by||Kotaro Nakagawa|
|Original video animation|
|Produced by||Shigeru Kitayama|
|Music by||Motoyoshi Iwasaki|
Geobreeders (Japanese: ジオブリーダーズ Hepburn: Jioburīdāzu) is a manga series by Akihiro Ito. Two anime OVAs (the three-part "Get Back the Kitty" and the four-part "Breakthrough") were also produced to tell part of the story, with "Kitty" taking place during the timeline between volumes 5 and 6 of the manga, and "Breakthrough" acting as an introduction to volume 8. The OAVs were distributed in Japan by Shōnen Gaho-sha and JVC and in North America by U.S. Manga Corps under a single title. The manga was partially translated by CPM Manga. A sidestory, drawn by Isamu Imakake (running in Monthly OURsLITE from December 2000 to June 2001) was released as Geobreeders Atomic Attack (ジオブリーダーズアトミックアタック). Also known as AA, Atomic Attack relates how the female were-cat Vashuka went to Russia to get the warhead that gets featured in "Get Back the Kitty". The main storyline in Geobreeders parts 1 and 2 ended with volume 16 of the manga. Itou attempted to start part 3, with only Taba reappearing three years later, but only three known chapters ran in Young King Ours in 2009 before Itou fell ill and stopped drawing altogether. Geobreeders is currently on hiatus.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Setting
- 3 Kagura Total Security Company
- 4 Hound
- 5 Were-Cats
- 6 Kagura Containment System
- 7 Weapons in the Geobreeders World
- 8 Underworld Characters
- 9 Media
- 10 Cast of Main Characters
- 11 Reception
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Ayagane City has a phantom cat (also called "bake neko" and "were-cat") problem. A young and overzealous group of entrepreneurs called Kagura Total Security can be hired to combat this problem for the right price when Hound, the official government arm, isn't enough. However, there are plots and subplots floating beneath the surface, both involving Kagura, and the were-cats, led by Kuro-Neko, themselves. Both the manga and the OVAs are heavily action-driven, with gunfights appearing every few chapters.
Geobreeders is set in the fictional Ayagane City, which is based on modern-day Nagoya. Many of the train station names are either alternative spellings to those in Nagoya, or have identical names with parts of the kanji whited out. The action is set in "Shōwa era" 73 and 74 (1998 and 1999), keeping in mind that the Shōwa ended in 1989.
Kagura Total Security Company
Currently led by Yuka Kikushima, Kagura actually has a very dark past, with three previous incarnations. Initially created as a regular security company by Hiroyuki Kagura in the 1960s, the original company was approached by a member of the Japanese spy world, with the alias "Mori" to start fighting against an, at the time, emerging menace only known as the ghost spy, Kuro-Neko. Hiroyuki left his own company to partner with Kuro-Neko on a small island off of the Japan mainland to create Kagura, version 2. Hiroyuki was killed in the fighting with Mori in the early 1970s, and his wife, Chieko, was left on the island to care for some young female were-cats. Chieko had 2 daughters with Hiroyuki - Yuma and Rika. Both girls were taken from the island, and later surface as members of Kagura Co., ver. 3. Yuma is later revealed as being the one that determines Kagura's job function, at one time to just keep the were-cats under control, but later to simply wipe them all out.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare (厚生省) has several arms that secretly help keep the peace in modern-day Japan. One of those is Hounds (ハウンド), a paramilitary force that, by charter, can only get involved in a battle if were-cats are clearly present. When deployed, Hound members are transported in vehicles disguised as garbage trucks. Hound is led by Captain Hirokuni Yajima, and Squad Leader Kaoru Yoda is a commonly recurring supporting character. Hounds are issued with advanced weapons to help them combat the increasingly well-armed were-cats. Some of their advanced weapons come from Shin-Nihon Avionics and Zinguzi Heavy Industries, which is why these two companies are sometimes the targets of the were-cats. A second group within the Ministry is Department 2, the Black Ops division. The public face of Dept. 2 is Shozou Irie, the 3rd, (fake name). Behind him operating in the shadows is Yuma Kikushima. When Yuma doesn't want Hound to get involved in an operation, she has Irie hire Kagura Co. to step in.
Called "Phantoms" in the CPM Manga translations, the enemy in the Geobreeders universe are the "bake-neko", lit. "changing cats" or "ghost cats". The origins of the were-cats are unknown. In volume 14 of the manga, it's revealed that Kuro-Neko had first surfaced as a "ghost spy" during the Cold War, possibly as early as the 1960s. He's clearly present when Viktor Belenko defects to Japan with a MiG in 1976. Kuro-Neko's intentions are never explicitly given, but it's implied that he wants to create a position of power to force humans to allow were-cats to live unhindered. His right-hand assistant is Vashuka, but eventually the rest of his group defects to the anti-KN faction because his methods are too slow and difficult to fathom, or killed outright. The number of were-cats in Ayagane City seems to escalate quickly at the end of the 1990s, with most of them joining the anti-KN faction. As for what were-cats are, one option is shown through Maya, who had been a discarded stray near death. Her desire to keep living resulted in her turning into a were-cat. Later, Yuma says it's better to think of Peter Pan, where the audience applauds to keep Tinkerbell alive. What is known is that were-cats are data, with the ability to control electronics, learn new software skills (like transmitting over cell phones) and flow through concrete. Their physical forms are that of cats, and their humanoid forms are just empty shells created by flowing data. They can be affected by software viruses (only once per virus though), and can be killed if their data is disrupted enough or if another were-cat slices their jugular. Were-cats generally refer to themselves by number, but can take on nicknames given to them by humans.
Kagura Containment System
Being data, were-cats can be captured electronically and saved to data disks. After being captured, they can not be copied, but can be transferred to another drive. Yuka says that her father created the original containment system, which consists of using 4 seals connected to a laptop. Pressing the Enter key on the laptop causes the seals to explode, and if set properly, the were-cat to be captured. Both Hound and Yuka Kikushima work to upgrade the software and anti-were-cat weapons over time, adding functions like a timer and Bluetooth interfaces. In volume 12, Kagura Co. employee Takami learns that all of their captured were-cat disks are empty. The reason for this is that Yuka had transferred the prisoners to a mainframe server, which acts as a virtual world prison. In volume 15, Irie states that the prison was created under an agreement with Kuro-Neko to keep his enemies under wraps. While in the virtual prison, were-cats slowly lose their memories and can be used by the Ministry of Health and Welfare as were-cat assassins, as shown by the examples given by Socks (vol. 2) and Arnold (vol. 12).
In volume 5, Taba explains that the reason they yell "Delete" when hitting the Enter key is that capturing the were-cats is a "killing move", and killing moves need their name shouted out.
Weapons in the Geobreeders World
Akihiro Itou is fond of using a variety of weapons in his stories. In the "150 Tons of Dynamite" arc (vol. 8 and 9 of the manga, and the Breakthrough OVA), some of the guns include the Tokarev, the Nambu and the Luger P08. In addition, the Ministry of Health and Welfare contracts with two fictional companies, Shin-Nihon Avionics and Zinguzi Heavy Industries to build new anti-were-cat weapons, such as the Barracuda VTOL aircraft, the PROWLER tank, the DAX magnetic field generator and the IrDA TAC laser rifles which deliver software viruses to immobilize the targets temporarily.
Prior to joining Kagura Co. ver. 3, its leader, Ryuu, was a yakuza gun-for-hire, as was his former girlfriend and current Kagura Co. ver. 4 member, Maki Umezaki. Volume 3 of the manga has Maki returning to the underworld to help guard a diamonds for cash exchange, and she's coerced into doing so again in the "150 Tons of Dynamite" arc in volumes 8 and 9, and the Breakthrough OAV. Maki tries to stay away from the underworld by telling her former contacts that she's an office lady now at a regular security company. Few of the yakuza members reappear very often, with the main exceptions being Chan, a Chinese diamonds broker, and "Blue Shooting Star", a hired gun that challenges Maki for the title of "Shooting Star". One running gag is that all hired guns in the underworld have nicknames, such as "Luger Ryuu" and "Tokarev Masa", which consists of the weapon name followed by an alias.
The majority of the story is told in the 16 volumes of the Geobreeders manga, which is broken up into parts 1 and 2. Itou attempted to start up Part 3 in 2009, but reportedly fell ill after 3 chapters appeared in Monthly OURsLITE, and stopped writing entirely. However, a sidestory set between volumes 5 and 6, Atomic Attack, describes how Vashuka gets the warhead that is featured in volume 6. And the OAV Get Back the Kitty tells the battle between Hound, Kagura, the CIA and the two were-cat factions as Kuro-Neko attempts to smuggle the warhead into Japan, and the anti-KN faction tries to take it for itself. The 4-part Breakthrough OAV is a sidestory used to introduce Blue Shooting Star, and chronologically occurs some time prior to volume 8. In addition, 4 soundtrack drama CDs were produced as enactments of the first chapters of the manga.
Cast of Main Characters
Kagura Total Security
- Yuka Kikushima (菊島 雄佳 Kikushima Yuka)
- Looking younger than she really is, Yuka, CEO of Kagura Total Security (神楽総合警備 Kagura Sōsei Keibi or "Kagura Synthesis Guard") comes across as a flighty, childish girl. However, commenting on having seen a TV show that had aired in Japan in the late 70s, she accidentally dates herself as being at least 20 years old. Her primary weapon is a crossbow, and she usually wears tight-fitting clothing and a bandanna. In flashbacks, she's revealed to have worked under the name "Rika Kikushima" in Kagura Co. ver. 3 along with her real-life older sister, Yuma, and Luger Ryuu. At the end of volume 16, she assists Yuma in setting up Kagura Co. ver. 5.
- Maki Umezaki (梅崎 真紀 Umezaki Maki)
- Maki considers herself to be the "mysterious gun person," of the cast, often quoting from Akira Kobayashi and Keiichirou Akagi films. She's a firearm expert, and her favorite pistol is a Colt revolver, although she's also an excellent sniper. As a high school girl, she had fallen in love with "Luger" Ryuu and trained under him to become a marksman. In the underworld, she's known as "Crimson Shooting Star", and is either the fastest, or second fastest draw after Ryuu. She is last seen in volume 16 when fighting members of Irie's black ops squad.
- Eiko Randou (蘭東 栄子 Randō Eiko)
- Eiko is the more elegant, sophisticated member of Kagura Co. She handles financing, accounting and day-to-day operations. She's also a master hand-to-hand fighter, preferring to use a pair of brass knuckles. She has one known nephew, Yuuki. In volume 9 she's shown to have extra-bushy eyebrows that need to be plucked constantly, and a dangerous pyromaniac streak, threatening to burn down everything when she gets impatient. She mentions at one point that she came to Kagura to avoid office sexual harassment. Last seen in volume 16, when the Kagura offices are blown up.
- Takami Sakuragi (桜木 高見 Sakuragi Takami)
- Cute, short and with glasses, Takami is the primary computer hacker, working with Yuka to upgrade the containment software system. She uses rollerblades to get around at speeds close to 30 miles an hour (rivaling the speeds of cars on city streets), and favors butterfly knives with grenades attached. She gets her grenades from Maki's gun supplier. Is strongly attracted to Taba but too shy to come right out and say it, although she gets close in volume 11. She'll often collapse into a quivering pile when panicked. She's also an otaku, occasionally taking breaks from the company to help her friends produce doujinshii. Takami is last seen in the clutches of Irie's black ops group, being forced to delete all of the Kagura company servers.
- Yuu Himehagi (姫萩 夕 Himehagi Yū)
- Voiced by: Narumi Hidaka (Japanese); Mina Sands (English)
- Yu is Kagura's primary driver, although that job will go to Taba if Yu is passed out or unavailable. She can steer anything with a wheel, but when not actually driving will fall heavily asleep. She mentions at one point that she sees herself as the wheel of a car - if she's not moving, then she's not accomplishing anything. In volume 3, she's shown to have one older brother and 5 sisters, who like to torment her when she's asleep. She's also a chain smoker, preferring "Lucky Strike Ultra Milds". Yu is last seen in volume 16 trying to drive away from Irie in an open jeep.
- Yoichi Taba (田波 洋一 Taba Yoichi)
- Voiced by: Shinichiro Miki (Japanese); Scott Cargle (English)
- Yoichi starts out as an unemployed salaryman responding to a job wanted ad from Kagura Co. Then, for the next several volumes, he focuses on trying to quit. He turns out to be a good strategist and capable with a crossbow and the Kagura protect seals. In volume 6, he states that his job is to do all of the falling for the other members. He becomes attracted to Ayumi Narusawa, the female sniper for Hound, and the two of them have sex in volume 15. Taba is asked by both Irie to join Hound, and by Kuro-Neko to act as a go-between for Kagura and the were-cats, although he turns down both of them. When he was about 5, Taba had a pet kitten but was forced by his mother to abandon it at a nearby shrine. The kitten later turns out be Maya. Yoichi is the only surviving member of Kagura Co. ver. 4, other than Yuka, at the end of Part 2. He resurfaces 3 years later as a salaryman at a company that supplies Shin-Nihon Avionics and Zinguzi with third-party manifolds. At that time, he has a scar on his left ear from a bullet.
- Kuro-Neko (黒猫)
- Voiced by: Katsunosuke Hori
- Also known as Black Cat, KN is the informal leader of the were-cats trying to establish a safe place for them. He's always working in the shadows, wearing a trench coat and hat. He first appears on the CIA's radar as a "ghost spy" in the 1960s for his tendency to disappear quickly. He's connected to the defecting Russian spies Yuri Rastvorov and Viktor Belenko, and works to get his hands on a submarine and a nuclear warhead. He convinced Hiroyuki Kagura of the original Kagura Company to join forces with him against the Japanese government, and tries to do the same with Yoichi Taba. Eventually, though, his comrades turn against him because his plans are too slow and hard to understand, and he's forced to leave Ayagane City for a while. He returns later with about 20 young female were-cats trained in electronic espionage and "encourages" Taba to run for his life away from Hound. KN also likes to relax watching Trigun episodes on TV.
- Maya (まや)
- A female were-cat, Maya looks like a young school girl in human form. Abandoned by Taba as a kitten, she was caught in a crossfire between Kuro-Neko and Kagura Co. ver. 3. Already miserable and near starving to death, she then took a couple of crossbow bolts from Rika Kikushima. KN told her to stand up for herself, and that's when she made the transition to were-cat. From that point, she became one of KN's assistants, turning into a spy against Kagura Co. ver. 4. But, she's still bonded to Taba, and becomes friends with most of the Kagura staff. She's capable of transferring over telephone lines, taking over computers and infiltrating guarded mansions. Generally she doesn't speak in human form, breaking character once to ask Maki and Eiko to save Taba. She is fiercely protective of Taba, and will sleep with him in kitten form. Maya likes "Genki Neko" ("happy cat", or "Lulu" in the U.S. version) brand cat food. She's last seen inside the containment system when Takami is forced to delete all the servers in volume 16.
- Vashuka (ヴァシュカ)
- Also, possibly "Vashka". Vashuka is Kuro-Neko's right-hand woman, carrying out various tasks as required, such as slaughtering guards at the Shin-Nihon Avionics plant, or going to Russia to obtain a nuclear warhead. In human form she is a tall, thin, athletic woman with long wavy blond hair, usually wearing light-colored suits and dark sunglasses. She's a vicious unarmed fighter and cool under pressure. Her name was given to her by Hiroyuki Kagura, who said that it was a popular name for cats in the U.S.S.R.
- Socks (ソックス)
- Socks is a tall, blonde, gentle woman in human form that cares for kittens abandoned at the shrine near Taba's old apartment, and seems to have helped raise for Maya at some point. She gets captured by Hound early on in the series, but is released after her memories have been wiped and attempts to kill both Maya and Taba. She's finally defeated by Taki.
- Taki (タキ)
- A scruffy guy with glasses in human form, Taki initially is one of KN's minions, carrying out various armed assaults against humans. He does switch over to the anti-KN faction after becoming disillusioned, but when one of the anti-KN assassins tries to kill Taba, he leaves them as well. Taki had been one of the abandoned cats that Socks had given Maya to care for, and he's bonded to Maya as a result, and to Taba by association.
- Captain Hirokuni Yajima (矢島 宏國)
- Yajima is the typical grizzled veteran combat leader with the buzz cut and lean, muscled body. Equally at home flying a helicopter as when launching a TOW. When not in the battlefield, he's shown living in the Hounds barracks.
- Squad Leader Kaoru Yoda (依田 薫)
- Voiced by: Tooru Ookawa (Japanese); Tristan Goddard (English)
- Yoda is a big, beefy guy with a scraggly mustache. He's often seen leading his men into various fights, or when arguing with Yuka Kikushima over who is getting into whose way. Like Yajima, Yoda apparently lives in the Hounds barracks and has no personal life outside it.
- Ayumi Narusawa (成沢 あゆみ)
- Ayumi is the only woman shown within the otherwise all-male forces. She's medium height, trim, with long black hair. Initially, she's very clumsy and does poorly in calisthenics. After meeting Taba and going on a couple of dates, she gains confidence and turns into a master-class sniper. She also lives within the Hounds grounds and has little personal life outside it. However, she apparently does has an off-premises apartment. She falls in love with Taba and they do have sex in volume 15. In vol. 16 she's shown secretly providing covering fire for Taba as he runs for his life from Irie's black ops squad.
- Within the Welfare Ministry, there's a "black ops" division that is staffed by drones, monitoring were-cat activity, listening to other Ministry members on wiretaps, and quietly carrying out assassinations all in the name of protecting "the public good". D2's origins are unclear, but they may be related to the "Mori" that joins Hiroyuki Kagura's company when he started hunting Kuro-Neko in the 1970s. "Mori" may have taken Hiroyuki's daughters, Yuma and Rika, for training after Hiroyuki was killed.
- Yuma Kikushima (菊島 雄麻)
- Older daughter of Hiroyuki Kagura and Chieko Kikushima. Tall, thin, dark haired, and a big fan of horror novels, Yuma is the secret leader of Dept. 2, and the person that determines the fate of each instance of Kagura Company. She gives Irie his marching orders, and has been known to supply Yuka with newer versions of the containment software. She and Rika (i.e.- Yuka) were members of Kagura Co. ver. 3, along with Luger Ryuu and 2 unnamed women. When Ryuu got too close to Kuro-Neko, Yuma had the two women killed, and told Ryuu to stay away from Maki once Umezaki joined ver. 4. When Ryuu broke that agreement, Yuma had the plane he was on blown up in mid-air. When Taba, Maki and Eiko discover the island that Chieko is still living on with a number of young female were-cats, Yuma orders the island bombed, and Kagura Co. ver. 4 to be framed for killing a cop and kidnapping a young girl (i,e, - Maya). Yuma does allow Yuka to be a member of Kagura ver. 5 if she forgets everyone that she had been working with, and then focuses on deciding how to create the next variant of the company.
- Shozou Irie, the 3rd (入江 省三)
- Voiced by: Kouichi Yamadera (Japanese); Alvaro J. Gonzalez (English)
- As with all members of Dept. 2, "Irie" is a fake name. There have been 2 others before him that served his function of carrying out Yuma Kikushima's commands. In the first few volumes, he mostly just sits in a car and observes Hound, the were-cats and Kagura Co. for Yuma. Later, he commands the Hounds forces himself from a control center in the basement of the Ministry building, as well as calling up Yuka to hire Kagura Co. to assist in recovering the stolen Russian nuke. Finally, he and 4 other goons are the ones sent out to erase Kagura Co. ver. 4 for having reached the were-cat island and learning the truth of the Kagura secrets.
- Kotoi (箏井)
- A thin, dour-faced, reserved woman with black hair, Kotoi finds herself assigned to bodyguard Irie against an assassination commissioned by a Hounds manager that is tired of Irie's insubordination. After successfully protecting her assignment, and receiving several broken ribs because of it, Kotoi continues to follow Irie around from volumes 12 to 15. While she won't go against her orders, she does not hide the fact that she really doesn't like him.