A/N: Welcome to my newest Comic Party fanfic! This is a rip/blend on two of my favorite things: Comic Party and Law & Order. Since I know anime fans aren't necessarily Law & Order fans by association, I'm trying to satirize, rather than capture, the spirit of L&O by using Comic Party characters by association. If you're curious as to what Law & Order is, it's on TV quite a lot. Check your local listings and watch an episode. If you like cop shows, it's good stuff. If you like smart shows, it's good stuff. It's about the only thing I watch, besides Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and The Simpsons, on TV at all these days.
If you're an L&O fan, I hope you'll find the characters I picked do decent justice to the original characters. I have no intention of cameoing in anyone from the TV series. Hopefully I won't be in a position to make that call. - I'm already feeling the urge to just put in DOINK DOINK between scene changes just to L&O it up amongst the hardcore, but oh well.
For authenticity purposes, I've moved Comic Party to New York. I know that this is what some may consider a big jump, but I had some issues trying to localize areas in Tokyo. I only know of the bigger areas—Odaiba, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Akihabara, Shibuya, and all the like—and this simply isn't an accurate portrayal of Tokyo. More knowledgeable geographers are more than welcome to correct me and help re-release this fic if you know the comparable areas to the New York metro area. However, all areas in NYC are 100 authentic. I'll even try and base them on my own experiences and travels, so you can even go to visit them!
This fanfic is based in the manga universe. I've found that Sekihiko Inui's take on ComiPa allows for some really good madcapness and expands on the characters. I just got volume 3 of the manga yesterday (Waldenbooks rocks my socks for getting manga in two weeks early on average! ) and I figure it'll work best this way, even though the characters aren't in school in this fanfic.
For those who don't have the manga, Kazuki and Mizuki are in college and are boyfriend/girlfriend; they go to the same school as Reiko. Minami is, as far as I know, also in university and still high up on the ComiPa Preparatory Committee. Yuu goes to college in Kobe, but comes to Tokyo and crashes in a hotel or with friends for Comic Party. Aya, Chisa, and Eimi are still in high school.
And now, the necessary legalese...
Comic Party is the trademark of Leaf/Aquaplus as licensed in the United States by Right Stuf International, Central Park Media, and Tokyopop Entertainment. All rights belong to the copyright holders. This is a work of parody/homage.
That's all for necessary opener notes. Commentary, reviews, etc. are more than welcome. Enjoy!
Patrol Sgt. Ikumi Tachikawa
Detective Sgt. Reiko Haga
Detective Sgt. Asahi Sakurai
Precinct Lieutenant Yuu Inagawa
Manhattan District Attorney Subaru Mikage
Assistant District Attorney Taishi Kuhonbutsu
Assistant District Attorney Chisa Tsukamoto
Justice Minami Makimura
Aya Hasebe, Attorney at Law
Cat or Fish?!: Eimi Oba
Brother 2: Kazuki Sendoh, Mizuki Takase
Jamming Book Store: Aya Hasebe
Yoko Horizontal. AKA "Horizontal Guy"
Tate Vertical, AKA "Vertical Guy"
"In the dojinshi justice system, the otaku are represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups. The police, who investigate dojin crimes, and the district attorneys, who prosecute yellow cards on the offenders. These are their stories."
COMIC & PARTY: SPECIAL DOJINSHI UNIT
Chapter 1: Complaint
Spring Comic Party, Javits Convention Center
Lower West Side, Manhattan
2:25 PM, April 16th, 2005
"I don't care what you say, the fighting maid genre is making a comeback," Vertical said to Horizontal angrily, adjusting his glasses.
"But look at the resurgence of the sexy warrior dojinshi just coming out," Horizontal replied, wiping beads of sweat off his Yankee cap-clad brow. "The spread and breadth of the comics from the new press, led as always by Cat Or Fish?!, is spurring on a renewed interest of the fighting cute girl genre. Why, this Card Master Peach volume I have here showcases that entire resurgence in full fathom."
"Let me see," Vertical Guy demanded in his normal high-pitched voice, accepting his close friend's proffered dojinshi.
"This is remarkable," Vertical grudgingly admitted, flipping to the back of the small-press comic. "Oh! No wonder. This is the Cat or Fish?! release that I just mentioned. But how did you get it so early in the afternoon? The line for Oba-sama's table must be miles long."
"Oh, they had a few issues that were being sold at a table we passed. I got it there on our way."
"We should get this autographed by Oba-sama. Her technique and artistry will bring new vitality to the genre."Booth 14-A
"Oh my! Such a crowd, I hope my autograph hand doesn't cramp up!" the green-haired dojinshi artist exclaimed with an excited laugh. "You're all just super-wonderful for waiting for me, the Great Cute Eimi Oba! Thank you, come on back again soon!" Eimi grinned madly at the next two people who came up into line. "What would you liiike? An autograph? A doodle? Or maybe just the latest wonderfully amazing Cat or Fish?! release?"
"Just an autograph, Oba-sama," Horizontal Guy humbly asked, holding out the dojinshi and bowing.
"An autograph? Oh, but of course!" Eimi exclaimed, accepting the book. "I'm always happy to—"
Her voice cut off in mid-exclamation as she realized something wasn't right.
"Hey, how did you get this? I haven't seen you two yet today and this is a new release! You snuck up and stole this, didn't you!?"
"I knew it! You were so desperate that somehow you executed an elaborately planned infiltration involving stealth camouflage, a transceiver set to 120.86, and eight separate keycards that form a map once you flip them all over!"
"Wait! Oba-sama, we didn't steal this from you! We got it at another booth!"
"So when did you say you were approached by Mr. Vertical and Mr. Horizontal?" Detective Sergeant Reiko Haga asked Eimi, writing notes in her flip-top notepad, an age-old detectives' staple.
"It was mid-afternoon that the super-lame crooks came up and started harassing me," Eimi exclaimed, stomping her foot angrily. "They said that they'd gotten a copy of my dojinshi from someone else's booth, when that's simply super-untrue!"
"Can you provide receipts indicating that you are the sole producer of this dojinshi?" Detective Sergeant Asahi Sakurai asked, holding up the copy of Momo Master, emblazoned on the back with the Cat or Fish?! logo, now sealed in an NYPD evidence bag.
"Of course I can provide receipts! The great Eimi Oba always leaves a paper trail in case someone's trying to assassinate her!"
Reiko and Asahi traded a look and a sigh. "I'm sure that nobody will attempt to assassinate you over a counterfeit dojinshi, Ms. Oba. However, should you have any suspicions, or if you might have any idea of who would do this, please don't hesitate to contact us." Reiko handed over her business card.
"Hmph! Of course, any other dojin circle would want to usurp the inherent wonderfulness that is Cat or Fish?! I'm only the greatest-selling, most talented, cutest..."
Reiko and Asahi walked away from the curbside of the Javits Center entrance towards the Hudson River. "So we've got ourselves the Queen of ComiPa wanting to rub out some unwanted competition," Asahi remarked to her partner.
"Yeah, but there's too much competition to rub out to appease her ego," Asahi replied, reaching into her pocket for change as they came up on a Nuts about Nuts cart. "Gimme a bag of honey cashews."
She handed over two bucks to the nut man. "Well, let's get right to the source. Tachikawa! You around here?" Reiko yelled over her shoulder.
"Right here, ma'am," patrolwoman Ikumi Tachikawa said, walking up, her right hand holding her pistol down as she jogged up. "Want the breakdown?"
"Let's hear it."
"Okay, the shorter one is one Yoko Horizontal, age twenty-seven. Lives with his parents in Westchester. Works in a comic book store, of all things. He was the one who allegedly purchased the book in question. It took four of us to restrain him. Guy needs to lose some weight. No wants, no warrants. Name doesn't hit in the system. Seems to be clean."
"Right, and his Bill Gates-looking friend?" Asahi asked, extending the bag of roasted cashews to Ikumi.
"No, thanks. Tatei Vertical, also twenty-seven, also lives with his parents in Westchester. He's unemployed, totally clean as well, but his name came up in the system under a citation for creating a disturbance. That was at ComiNext out in Secaucus last August. He's been out of trouble 'til now."
"What're we booking 'em under?" Asahi asked, popping a cashew into her mouth and chewing thoughtfully.
"Well, Horizontal is the one who actually made the purchase, so we've got him under receiving stolen goods in the third degree in case this is the real thing. Vertical is in under willing accessory, and we can probably hang on to them for a while under conspiracy to commit a felony."
"How d'you figure?"
"Well, they probably talked about how great it'd be to have a Cat or Fish?! release without having to wait in line."
"Sold. Give 'em the royal suites, Tachikawa. We'll be a few minutes behind you."
The two detectives walked to the street corner, again towards the river. "We ought to start narrowing it down to the most likely ones. Gotta start with motive and opportunity," Reiko remarked.
"Motive and opportunity? No problem. Maybe if we start from the top, we can just interview every single other dojin circle that was at this convention."
A ringing sound came from the pocket of Reiko's tan trenchcoat. She pulled out the source—the modern equivalent of an old detective's radio, a Nokia cell phone—and thumbed the Talk button. "This is Haga."
She listened for a moment. "Okay, we're on our way." Pressing the End button, she slipped the phone away and looked to her partner. "They've booked our friends. Neither's requested a lawyer yet. You want the softy and I'll take the tough one?"
"I never get the tough ones," Asahi said in a mock-whine, extending the half-empty bag of roasted cashews to Reiko. "Want some?"
"No thanks, I like my nuts just plain crazy. We've got two to deal with now."
Midtown South Precinct
Interview Room A
"So, Mr... Vertical, was it?" Reiko asked, loosening her necktie, a rather odd staple for a female detective, and spinning the old steel chair around, leaning forward on what was normally the back of the chair.
Vertical Guy already had a severe five o'clock shadow about his face, which was odd from having been arrested and booked less than an hour ago, when it was just an ill-shaved half-Hitler mustache under his nose. "I have nothing to say to you," the tall, skinny, lanky otaku proclaimed in his normal, nasal voice. "All my dojinshi were purchased legally and legitimately."
"Oh, I'm sure they were," Reiko said, raising an eyebrow and unfolding a sheet of paper from her pocket. "You know what this is?"
"I don't care."
"This is an evidence processing sheet. We fill it in for all our evidence and personal effects that may be connected to evidence collected in a crime."
"That's wonderful. I want out of here."
"The evidence storage process takes quite a long time," Reiko continued, ignoring Vertical Guy's comment. "We first catalogue and describe—in detail—every item, wrapper, crumb, everything we took off of you in the booking process."
Vertical Guy's eye twitched. "What do you mean? Why do you need all that?"
"Just to be sure, just to be sure," Reiko said casually, running her eyes over the sheet. "Whew... we may need another one for you, chief. Quite a long list you have here. 'Autographed copy of Zoom Zoom Baby, from Genesis Rights Books. Autographed copy of 42 Areas, Center Outside Dojin. The list goes on and on and on, doesn't it? You were quite busy at ComiPa, weren't you?"
"I had a rather large haul," Vertical Guy said, adjusting his glasses. "What are you going to do with it?"
"Just run over it with a fine-tooth comb. Of course, you do realize that this isn't Japan, Mr. Vertical, and certain things are illegal to depict and sell in America..."
"This is entrapment! This is extortion!"
"Oh, I'm afraid you can only pick one, but the fact of the matter is, I have here the submission sheet for our evidence people to go over. I could just give the whole lot to 'em... I figure it'll take about four weeks to cross-reference everything against preexisting warrants or otherwise issues... and what was this about a citation for creating a disturbance at ComiNext? I'm sure a judge wouldn't want to have a two-time dojinshi offender out on the streets, don't you think?"
"Fine, fine, what do you want?"
Reiko leaned further over the table, narrowing her eyes and staring right at Vertical. "Where'd you get that dojinshi?"
"My friend and I found it at someone's table. I forget whose. It was on sale for $5. That's all I know."
"You didn't think it was suspicious that a Cat or Fish!? dojinshi, one of the most sought-after books at any convention, was at someone else's table? I find that hard to believe."
"All I did was buy it," Vertical replied indignantly. "The girl there said that Ms. Oba had given her some to sell. I know a bargain when I see one. I bought it. Now are you going to let me go or get me a lawyer?"
"I forget whose table we got it at," Horizontal exclaimed happily, his hands clasped in front of him. "We got a really good price on it; the girl selling it said it was a dojinshi exchange with Cat or Fish!?. Please, Ms. Cute Detective, I would do anything to bring such transgressors to justice! I pledge you my full cooperation, admiration, and support in the fight for truth, justice, and..."
Asahi rolled her eyes and sighed, adjusting her glasses as Horizontal Guy kept babbling onward, his eyes dewy with admiration. This happens way too often, she thought. Maybe I should shave my head. Hell, Reiko used to be with Undercover Division. All that cosplay could maybe help tone all this cuteness crap down.
"Mr. Horizontal, do you remember anything about where you purchased that dojinshi?"
"I wish I did," Horizontal said wistfully. "I want to help you, Detective Sakurai!"
Asahi sighed, stood up, and walked out of the interview room, shooting a glance over to the one-way mirror that was installed on her way out. A few steps to another door brought her to the other side of the mirror.
"Looks like you got yourself a new fan," Lt. Yuu Inagawa, head of the 21st Precinct Dojinshi Investigations Division, noted with a sip of coffee. "Seems like he's telling the truth about this girl who sold him the book. Maybe we shoulda put you in charge of the other one."
"Same thing, though, right?"
"Yeah, same thing. Vertical thinks he got it near the Sakuramicon booth, somewhere near one of the walls of the convention. Problem is, Sakuramicon was square in the middle of the Javits Center according to the Comic Party Preparatory Committee staff."
"Isn't Judge Makimura part of the Board of Directors for ComiPa?"
"Yeah, she worked her way up from the Preparatory Committee staff while she was an undergrad and made Head of Security while she was at law school. Now look at her."
"Damn. I was hoping that we'd end up drawing her for when this case goes to trial."
"L-T, I got nothing," Reiko said with a sigh as she came into the interview room. "Vertical just remembered his right to remain silent, and believe me, I wish he retained it in the beginning. I can't stand this stuck-up otaku jerk. He wants a lawyer or his release. I say we let him go."
"It'd be nice if they knew exactly where this dojinshi came from," Yuu said, picking up the still-sealed comic and turning it over. "Go ahead and let 'em out. Slap 'em with an angry look and 'We're watching you.' After that, see what turns up with some interviews of other dojinshi circles at the convention."
"You mean we're going canvassing, right?" Asahi said with a sigh and a look at her partner.
Reiko returned Asahi's glance and shrugged. "We've got nothing much else to go on. The place where they got the dojinshi is still iffy according to the layout that the ComiPa people gave us. Best to start out from the beginning and work our way outwards."
"All the while, the culprit builds up a more and more solid alibi," Reiko said with a sigh. She looked at the evidence bag and slid the counterfeit comic next to an original that Eimi had provided, but only after Reiko had ponied up her own money for it. "'You'd better find out who's ripping on the Great Eimi Oba,'" Reiko mocked Eimi. "Gah. Let her go vigilante on them. It'll be fun."
"Hey, we don't need another King Jacky running around," Yuu said, heading out of the observation room. "I'll give you guys the breakdown of the vendors at ComiPa and their addresses. Better start warming up your knocking knuckles. We'll get the lab running down the inks and papers in the counterfeit in the meantime."Better Burgers
178 8th Avenue
1:47 PM, April 20th, 2005
"Hey, you're late." Asahi waggled her finger at Reiko as her partner walked into the restaurant. "I ordered you your usual ostrich burger combo."
"Thanks, I'm starving." Reiko slid into the booth across from her partner. "I got really confused looks from basically everyone I went to. Nobody even knew about this dojinshi before Horizontal and Vertical picked it up. We really nipped the distro in the bud; apparently it was just at that one table."
"Personal connection?" Asahi asked. "Back to the grudge-against-Oba theory?"
"It seems the best thing to suit the situation. So far, we've only got one instance of these Cat or Fish?! books being sold at one table. Pair that up with an author with enough skill to either copy a dojinshi that Eimi made or swipe it from her, and we're dealing with one of two things: A) A very talented artist and writer who knows Eimi well enough to have seen every stage of the dojinshi's development and copy it accordingly, or B) A very skilled thief who was able to steal a copy from the printers and take it to another print shop or make reproductions at ComiPa itself."
"Yeah, and since ComiPa doesn't have a full offset press on site, we can assume that this was planned out. That means malice. Grudge. Planning." Asahi accepted her soy burger and Boylan's birch beer from the waitress.
"How can you eat that rabbit food?" Reiko asked, making a face.
"I don't care if it's from an ostrich, a chicken, a cow, or a pig, I'm not eating any meat," Asahi said with an upturn of her nose.
"Just you wait. One of these days I'll swap your soy for—gasp!—a chicken cutlet!"
The two detectives giggled. "So who's next on our list?" Asahi asked between bites of her soy burger.
"Well, believe it or not, we've got a certain outfit called Jamming Book Store. Aya Hasebe."
"Aya Hasebe? The attorney Aya Hasebe?"
"You know her?"
Asahi frowned and set her burger down. "Yeah, back when I was with Internal Affairs, she was the representing agent for the West Side Redevelopment Corporation, the people who're building the stadium for the 2012 Olympics a few blocks down from the Javits Center. Her name came up on a list of donors who were connected to the Gambino crime family. IAB investigated some possible improper gifts from her office to some of our investigators looking into her finances. She was acquitted; turns out some cops were taking payoffs from the Gambinos from antoher office. I doubt she's the kind of person to get involved in this, but she's still a damn good criminal defense lawyer. Her own practice uptown and everything."
"What would a hotthot lawyer working fway throuf the Olymphics wanth with Cath or Fith!?" Reiko asked, her mouth full of ostrich.
"I managed to talk to Lieutenant Inagawa before I went canvassing today. Hasebe's actually an incredibly talented artist. Here, take a look." Asahi reached into her jacket and pulled out a rolled-up dojinshi. She slid it over to Reiko, who set down her burger, wiped her hands off with a napkin, and flipped through a few pages.
"Pinwheel, huh? This is really good artwork. Really minimalist, doesn't look like a lot of stuff that's out there... which means she's already eclipsed by Cat or Fish?!, right?"
"Bingo. Finish your carcass and let's get moving."
"Hey, I like being a carnivore," Reiko joked, taking a big bite of her burger. "Mmm. Nearly-endangered meat is like a good yaoi manga... tender, tasty, and sticks with you."
"I will never get your habits, Reiko."
Offices of Aya Hasebe, Esq.
225 Park Avenue
"Ms. Hasebe? I'm detective Haga, this is detective Sakurai, NYPD. Thank you for agreeing to meet with us; we know your schedule is really tight."
"Oh, there's no problem at all..." Aya said, standing up from her desk and smoothing down the folds in her dark suit. "Can I offer you some coffee, tea, anything..."
"We're fine, thank you," Asahi jumped in, as she and Reiko sat in chairs across from Aya's desk that she had gestured to. "Ms. Hasebe, you're a dojinshi author, right?"
"Yes, it's something I do whenever I can," Aya said with a nod. "I don't get to make many dojinshi these days, what with the practice and my own personal life."
"So this is one of your works?" Reiko asked, sliding the copy of Pinwheel across the polished cherrywood desk. Aya picked it up and smiled.
"Yes, this is one that I finished last year. I've been selling it from convention to convention. I've had a lot of extra copies... these younger circles can turn out so much more and so much fresher material, so I just do this for myself."
"Have you had a drop-off in customers lately?"
"That would imply I had customers that could drop off," Aya laughed gently. "I usually have maybe only four or five people through the entire day come to my table and actually buy the comic. Most just pass it by because the cover isn't that flashy."
"Ms. Hasebe, were you at the recent Comic Party?" Reiko asked.
"Yes, I was," she said with a nod.
"Was it just you at your table?"
"It's always just me..." Aya said, a tinge of caution in her voice. "I did get up to go to the restroom and to get lunch, also to look around for dojinshi... what's this all about?"
"Do you recognize this dojinshi, Ms. Hasebe?" Asahi asked politely, taking the "good cop" approach to round off the edgy directness of Reiko's questioning. Asahi held up the counterfeit dojinshi, removed from the evidence bag.
Aya blinked twice. "Isn't that Momo Master, the latest Cat or Fish?! release?"
"And this?" Asahi held up the issue that Eimi had sold to Reiko.
"It's the same thing..." Aya leaned forward, squinting gently. "It looks like the first one is a little different, though."
Reiko nodded. "They are different. Where were you between 7 AM and 2:30 PM this past Saturday?"
"Are you implying that I'm counterfeiting Cat or Fish?! dojinshi?" Aya asked, half-shocked.
"We're just trying to make sure that your bases are covered so you're above all suspicion, ma'am," Asahi said with a smile.
"I... I was awake at 7 AM and I came to the Javits Center at 7:50," Aya said, blushing and looking down. "Let's see... I went to the vendors' entrance, set up my books, and I was at my table from 8 through the opening at 9, then I went to get lunch at 1:15. The table next to me covered for my sales, and then I covered for them when they went to eat lunch. I was at the table for the rest of ComiPa, and then I went home after packing up at 5:40."
"What were you selling that day?" Reiko asked, furiously jotting down notes on her notepad.
"Let's see... I was selling Pinwheel, The Sun and The Moon, Silent, and The Mobius Strip. I had about twenty of Pinwheel and around thirty to forty of the others... I don't know if I have the receipts from the printer, if those will help..."
"No, that's just what we need," Reiko said, putting her notepad into her coat pocket and setting down one of her business cards on Aya's table. "We won't be bothering you any more about this. If you have any questions or know anything about this, please don't hesitate to call."
"Um... of course," Aya said, handing back her dojinshi. "I hope I was at least able to help."
"Well, actually, there's one more thing," Asahi chimed in, reaching into her pocket. She handed a pen across to Aya. "Think you could autograph this? Our lieutenant is a fan of yours."
"Of course." Aya blushed, took the pen, and signed her name in flowing script across the front. "I'm glad your lieutenant likes it. Tell him... er, tell him or her that I'll be selling this and other back issues at the next ComiPa."
"We'll be sure to do that. Thank you for your time, Ms. Hasebe."
"Not at all, it was no problem."
"Well, that was a bust," Reiko said with a sigh. "Jamming Book Store was next to Local H Press, and they back up her alibi. Local H did well enough even with Cat or Fish?!, so we can probably rule out them working in concert."
"Yeah. This is really starting to slow us down. We're getting nowhere fast."
Reiko's cell phone rang again. "Haga here." She listened for a moment and grinned. "Great. We'll be right there."
"What was it?"
"Lab came through with some info on the inks in the dojinshi. They want us at One Police Plaza ASAP."
To be continued...
A/N Afterword: Cendrillo, if you're reading this, use the link to E-mail me. I want you in on my proofreading list for stuff like this. If nothing else, I want to expand the ComiPa category here on and make the C2 community I just established really grow...
Besides, it's always good to be in contact with other fans.