Archive for August, 2009


The Underground Subway: Chameleon Jail

August 1, 2009

The Underground Subway


This is a new segment that I’d like to introduce here in “How To Write Kanji?” and it’s called the Underground Subway. It’s a section dedicated to introduce people to an unknown manga series that didn’t get as much attention as it should. There will be a counterpart segment for anime called the “Small Densha”.

Today, I will introduce you to Chameleon Jail, a series by Inoue Takehiko of Slam Dunk and Vagabond fame. While this series is not his highpoint when he has manga like Real and Slam Dunk to keep up with, but it is good to note that

The main character, Chameleon Jail.

The main character, Chameleon Jail.

 this is what his artwork looked like before Slam Dunk and it’s amazing to see how his artwork looked like…just a year before Slam Dunk. I should note that this is from the “Golden Years” of Shonen Jump and fits in with the artstyle from the time.




The series revolves around a series of episodic adventures and a protaganist

A page displaying Inoue's influence in later works.

A page displaying Inoue's influence in later works.

called Jail, a “risk hunter”. The series doesn’t really make much sense as to what the hell is going on. All we get is Chameleon using an energy called “kara” that causes him to blow up his face and change it into a different face. It really doesn’t make sense but in a world of power levels over 9000 and outerspace mecha clunking each other over oil, this isn’t as far fetched as it sounds. All I have to say it’s like imagining Golgo 13 actually helping people and being a tough guy that doesn’t use fire arms, instead his strength and balls. He’s also not a mysogynistic asshole. It’s 12 chapters so it’s worth the time investment. The art is really good, just not Inoue-sensei great. You can really spot the time difference between his other series and Chameleon Jail. I should mention this series isn’t as shonen-y shonen as you might think.


Overall, check this series out if you’re an Inoue Takehiko, or a fan of old Weekly Shonen Jump manga.