Collected and published as a single tankobon volume by Matsubunkan as an Ace Five Comics release in May 1984, Mehyō no Kiba (Japanese title: 牝豹の牙) is a five chapter mini-series centered around a female assassin by the name of Sawairi, or, as she is better known among her rivals, “Mehyō” (Lady Leopard).
Though ethnically Japanese, Sawairi was raised from a young age in New York where she was brutally raped by a black guy from the Bronx when she was still just a minor. Despite being just a child, her indomitable spirit soon comes to the fore when, despite the huge size of her attacker, she plucks up the courage to steal his knife and stab him in the face just minutes into her molestation. Sawairi’s sudden act of bravery not only stops her rapist in his tracks but also kills him instantly ensuring a bitter memory that is destined to stay with her for the rest of her life. It is in this brief but uncomfortable moment we see a transformation in Sawairi’s view of men and life in general as she relives her terrifying ordeal each month in the form of a nightmare that often results in her waking up in bed and discovering that she has started her period. Despite the passage of time, it is clear that Sawairi is not only haunted by her past, but that she also harbors a very deep grudge against men and sees them as nothing more than objects of sexual fulfillment.
Aside from Sawairi’s flashback to her childhood in America, Mesuhyō no Kiba is set entirely in present day Japan. Working as both an assassin at night, and as an everyday office worker (a job she does disguised as a much older woman), Sawairi leads a very busy life and is never short of assignments that require her immediate attention. The interesting thing about Sawairi is that her targets almost exclusively seem to be sleazy men in positions of power, all of which invariably end up meeting some kind of brutal, yet inventive demise. Despite the nature of her work, Sawairi appears to have no qualms about killing and, in some instances, it even appears to make her horny with the first chapter of the book ending in her seducing an eye witness to one of her murders!
Before long, it is revealed that there is somewhat of a saturated market for hired assassins and Sawairi finds herself up against Hisao Kato, a second generation Japanese-American colleague from her New York days. Like Sawairi, Kato too is somewhat of a master of disguise and succeeds in cornering Sawairi alone in an elevator. He explains to her that there are too many hitmen in the field and that competition is getting tough. He then goes on to explain that there is a “war” going on between all rival assassins and that with each hitman’s death, the greater the spoils for those that are left standing. With assassins killing assassins, its only a matter of time before the cream of the crop are left and they can demand bigger fees for their services. With this goal in mind, Kato attempts to rape and kill Sawairi but his plan ultimately backfires when he discovers too late that she is carrying poisonous tipped needles in her vagina. In a just a few brief moments, Kato is left writhing on the elevator floor in agony as his life ebbs away, allowing Sawairi to walk away from the scene safe in the knowledge she has one less competitor to worry about.
In the final chapter, Sawairi finds herself being escorted home by a mysterious yet kindly man after having too much to drink. A few days later, she gets hired for another hit during the afternoon. To her surprise, the target is the same man that kindly sent her home the night she became inebriated. Unable to overcome her confusion, she misses her shot allowing the target to escape. Furious at herself for screwing up, she tracks the target down to his home address and is startled to find him waiting for her. It is revealed that he himself is the one that has been hiring her all this time and that he put the hit on himself. Proving to him her declining ability to go through with the jobs she’s given, he informs Sawairi that “The company” regretfully has no further use for her services and that she must be killed. Granting Sawairi her final request to orgasm one more time before she dies, the mysterious man blows her away with a handgun….
Much like Erorisuto (another Ace Five Comic title published by Matsubunkan shortly after this one), Mehyō no Kiba is unique in that there is no publication date or information printed in the volume whatsoever. After much research I discovered that the volume was released in May 1984 but sadly I cannot pinpoint an exact date. I have also asked Toshio Maeda personally and he has no recollection at all so it seems this title has been largely forgotten. I couldn’t even find out what magazine this manga was serialized in! As such, this is a manga that shall remain shrouded in mystery until I find out more details. Sorry folks!
Aside from the main story, there are 3 one shots also included in the volume. These are “An inflamed passion” (爛れた情炎 – Tadareta Jōen), “Hot uniform trap” (制服の熱い罠 – Seifuku no atsui wana) and “Breast gouging crotch violation” (乳房えぐり股犯し – Nyūbō eguri mataokashi). The 3rd of these one shots was also printed in Akudama Suikoden the previous year. Like most of Maeda’s work, Mehyō no Kiba is long out of print now but copies can still be found on Amazon marketplace and Yahoo Auction so if you see one, be sure to pick it up!
Here’s the original Japanese cover artwork: