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Wild Adapter, Volume 2 by Kazuya Minekura
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Wild Adapter, Volume 2

by Kazuya Minekura

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The second volume of Wild Adapter starts a year after the events of the first and marks the beginning of the true main story. Kubota is living with the Tokito, the boy he picked up unconscious off the street at the end of the previous volume. It seems though the boy was initially hostile or feral, both he and Kubota have changed a lot in the past year. Tokito is now relatively normal, if brash, a little spoiled, honest to a fault, and still with no memory of anything before Kubota's saving him. Kubota seems to have found in Tokito something he cares about, and the two keep on the alert for any news about the W.A. drug likely related to Tokito's animal-like hand.

The structure of the second volume of WA is different from the first, which was scene by scene clearly focused on character exploration. Here the POV is from a young woman who's boyfriend has gotten mixed up in the W.A. business and who Kubota and Tokito come in contact with. The volume feels a little more traditional in structure, focusing to a larger extent on simply telling her story. I'd say the mangaka is still primarily trying to draw interest with character development and exploration of the two main males, but on the surface the volume gives more time and focus to the side character. She's not bad at all, but I couldn't help but be sad any of the moments focused on her took time away from learning more about the mains, even if she was frequently used as a vessel to observe them from.

Another slight let-down in this volume for me was the relationship between Kuboto and Tokito. There's a lot less subtlety here compared to the relationship in the previous volume. Tokito calls Kubota the somewhat cutsey “Kubo-chan” and pouts exaggeratedly when he brings a girl home, frequently-used indicators of possessiveness in these near-BL series that I thought this manga was going to stay away from. It's understandable they'd be very comfortable with one another after living together for a year and likely having been through a lot together, but their comfort and closeness is displayed a bit heavy-handedly sometimes. I might have been able to swallow it a little better if I'd been able to watch the development of Kubota and Tokito's relationship from the start, and perhaps there will be some flashbacks or more information on this later, but for now it's a smidge over the top for me.

On the other hand, this volume is still better than a lot of crime (...Fighting? Avoiding? Investigating? ^_^; ...I'd say the lack of easy categorization is usually a pleasing aspect, if anything) manga. The side character the volume focuses on is flawed but sympathetic, and a lot rounder than most single-arc side characters I've seen in other series. The more action-centered part of the volume simultaneously managed both interesting action and character exploration at the same time, and the denouement of the arc was allowed an entire chapter and quite satisfying.

And, despite the overdone quality of some of the displays of Kubota and Tokito's relationship that left me either mostly disinterested or slightly turned-off, there were some bits, particularly one scene in which we find that Tokito apparently isn't comfortable enough with Kubota to share everything with him (nor, as it turns out, is Kubota), that have all the subtlety of the first volume and more, managing to convey a sense of affection and understanding between the two all the more believable and touching because of its restraint.

There are various choices I see the author taking here at the start of the main story of WA that leave me a bit less enthusiastic than before. It's still well above average over-all, though. My hope is that the mangaka will lay off the overdone displays of closeness or introduce some background for it that will at least make me able to read it without so much skepticism, but either way I imagine each volume will be worth reading for the strong writing in other areas along with even just the occasional strong character scene. ( )
  narwhaltortellini | Dec 9, 2010 |
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A year has passed since Makoto Kubota left Sanada and the Izumo Organization in a rain of blood, and took in his little "stray cat." Kubota and Tokito may be living together, but Tokito is still as wild as ever, and without memory of his past or the origins of his grotesquely strong right arm. Later, Kubota bumps into a young runaway, who gets a rare glimpse into the private lives of these two young men.… (more)

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