Manga-ka: Kazuya Minekura
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: Febuary 2008
Synopsis: “Pursued by rival Yakuza factions and linked to the mysterious and dangerous drug, “Wild Adapter”, the distant Kubota and prickly Tokito have formed a relationship where they trust no one but each other… When Kubota ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time, he is called in for questioning by the police, and his silence to protect himself and Tokito is left in the dark, homeless and incommunicado, and with no coice but to try to uncover what happened to his friend and companion.”
With the search for clues to the mysterious, and deadly, W.A. drug moved to the backburner, volume four of Wild Adapter sees Kubota arrested for a crime he didn’t commit and Tokito on the hunt for information about his friend’s past.
What was once the teasing innuendo so common to Kazuya Mineakura’s stories becomes something more substantial in this newest release. While Tokito and Kubota always shared a close relationship, under circumstances not yet revealed to readers, Tokito’s raging jealously, curiousity and outright emotional passion definitely puts his relationship with Kubota in the spotlight, despite their lacking on page time together. He meets an old lover from Kubota’s past and continues to realize just how little he knows about his chronically laid-back partner. Meanwhile, Kubota spends most of the book at the mercy of a stubborn interrogation cop who’s determined to find a way to get the young man behind bars. It’s a strong testament to Kubota’s skill and stubbornness.
Kazuya Minekura’s style of artwork really feels at home in Wild Adapter, even more so than in her popular hit, Saiyuki. The designs and facial structures really add to the demeanour of the characters, whether they’re angry, calm, violent or merely just down on their luck. The characters are attractive in their own right but in a way that makes them easy on the eyes and not your stereotypical pretty boys, who would be completely out of place in this grungy, drug-dealing setting. Adding to the mood of the story is the use of black backgrounds around all the panels.
No complaints about Tokyopop’s release of the series. The translation is smooth and keeps the intended tone with the use of language and speech. The occasional interior scene required editing of very dark and detail heavy and it was handled very well. Kudos to the Tokyopop staff for their wonderful work on the cover design, which uses the same general layout of the Japanese releases but with some really eye-catching clean-up and logo work.
While there wasn’t much in the way of epic turns in the story or plot progression, volume four offers a lot of character drama and the occasional dropped hint of things to come. The synopsis for volume five promises a flashback to the year following Kubota and Tokito’s first meeting, which will hopefully serve as some backdrop to their current state, if not at least further fan service. Wild Adapter continues to be a surprisingly captivating story of drugs, gangs and comradery, and while it’s yet to recapture the same tone that carried it so strongly in volume one, it shouldn’t let its readers down and has a lot of promising things to come.