Today: Asuza Itakura's action/crime manga, GIRL MAY KILL.
But let me back up a little.
The premise of the series is that Aki Gohongi, a second-generation Chinese immigrant in Japan has, after his life has sort of fallen apart, returned "home" to the Chinatown section of a mid-sized, unnamed port city somewhere in western Japan to try and find his roots and recover his sense of self. He gets a job at a video-store, working for Mr. Manome, and living in one of the two apartments over the store (Manome himself lives in the other). He settles into a quiet, basically meaningless, life and just drifts - until the day he gets new roommates. Katsura, a flamboyant and err, affectionate, man and Mei, a young (also apparently Chinese) girl. Manome simply introduces them as friends and says they'll be sharing Gohongi's apartment for a while. It quickly becomes apparent, after a certain incident, that Katsura and Mei are both yakuza enforcers and Manome is their "manager".
While shocking, Gohongi learns to live with it and even like them as people - until he learns that their group, Lovely Hometown, is at war with another, called Dragon's Beard, and Gohongi's other new friend, Tsukasa, is an unwilling member of Dragon's Beard, who has been tasked with killing Katsura and Mei.
Aki is, for obvious reasons, torn.
I'm making this much simpler than the story really is, for reasons of brevity. The way the story unfolds in the series is complex and fascinating as Gohongi goes from revulsion to acceptance to tacit involvement (even if it is against every instinct he has), in the events going on around him. It's a great example of how you can get used to anything, as well as a caution against the same.
One of the things I enjoy about this series is the way Itakura uses dichotomy to make a point about how the world is rarely how we see it and you never realize what's lurking beneath the surface - and how you can never really know what someone else is thinking. Mei is an adorable, junior-high-aged girl who is an efficient and ruthless killer. Katsura is an effeminate homosexual who is a merciless fixer for his gang. Manome is a friendly old man who manages a team of killers.
So the question becomes, beneath his mild exterior, what is Gohongi? I'm curious to find out and eager to read more GIRL MAY KILL.