A few weeks ago Shounen Jump bid farewell to the long-running Katekyo Hitman Reborn series. I was sad to see it go, but I’ve got much more complicated feelings about the series that’s taken its place.
I was astonished when I read that the newest addition to the Shounen Jump lineup was going to have a female titular character. I mean, the magazine has “shounen”, which means “boy”, in the title, so it seemed pretty cool that they would have a story about a lady hero.
Now, having actually read the first two chapters, I have every sort of mixed feeling about New Policewoman Kiruko-san.
The premise of the story is that Kiruko, formerly a deadly mercenary, has decided to turn over a new leaf and join the police force. She is assigned to a tiny squad in a podunk town, however, and her methods of subduing the town’s small-stakes and silly criminals are like bringing an atom bomb to a knife fight—she takes out panty thieves with giant tonfa swords and leaves massive collateral damage in the wake of her arrests. Although she is portrayed as kind of ditzy and stupid and incapable of gauging when using excessive force is necessary, she is a refreshing change from the sort of shounen genre female we usually see in Jump—namely, weak, helpless damsels in distress. I’d still rather she was a more three-dimensional character with more realistic motivations, though. Like, she could have a really cool backstory and be like the female Rurouni Kenshin or something, rather than a wackily sexy killing machine. But we are only two chapters in, so I suppose I can bear with it while it finds its footing. I also was pleasantly surprised that, although her physical attractiveness is commented upon pretty often, she wears a proper policewoman uniform with a calf-length skirt and a fully buttoned shirt.
There is a reason I have mixed feelings, though, and that is her partner Haruki. Haruki is the lowest of the low obnoxious stereotype of the perverted, objectifying, sexual-harassment-happy anime guy. He is excited that a girl is transferring to their department specifically because he heard she had big boobs, and he wants to squeeze them. His boss’s response to this is less of a ‘ugh you are a disgusting person; have you ever actually met a female before’ and more of an amused “oh, you” reaction. Haruki is sad that Kiruko is so crazy-powerful, because he knows that if he tries to molest her he will get his ass kicked. He literally feels cheated that they sent their department a girl who is essentially a super-saiyan, rather than some sort of delicate flower girl, because he feels he was owed a pair of breasts to grope. And the worst thing about it is that it’s told from Haruki’s point of view. He’s the real ‘hero’ here, not the titular Kiruko. This is disgusting and obnoxious and the sort of thing I’d expect from a C-grade ecchi manga, but not from a Jump title. It’s 2012, for chrissakes.
I’m going to stick with this manga just a little bit longer, to see if it gets better. But I don’t know how much longer I can bear it being told from the point of view of Mr. Sexual Harassment himself, especially since the absolute lack of other main characters suggests that he and Kiruko’ll end up as romantic interests. Haruki doesn’t deserve to get the girl; he deserves to be impaled on one of Kiruko’s tonfa swords.