Wild Adapter Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Release Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Translated by:Alexis Kirsch
Adapted by:Christine Boylan
What They Say
When an assassin tries to quit the profession, he takes in a boy with a mysterious past. The boy has been exposed to the drug wild adapter, which has caused his arm to transform into a monstrosity...
Wild Adapter has a lot of potential, but I'm just left frustrated with what feels like an attempt to please the legion of fujoshi doujin artists out there ready to slash it up with Minekura's hot boys. Only time will tell if this will turn out to be another Banana Fish, or just another manga for the heap.
Definitely one of the better looking TOKYOPOP books I've seen in a while. The colors on the cover are gorgeous and look great with the matte finish. Color pages are included in the beginning and the print reproduction is sharp. The pages are cut a bit close to the spine, so get ready to bend. That logo though is ridiculous, with the emblazoned 'WILD' looking like something that more fits a young teen title rather than something rated 'M' for mature.
The strong-jawed character designs are quite appropriate for the storyline. However, the panel compositions feel quite crowded, as I feel like I'm right in the face of each character in every panel. This means the backgrounds are sparse and there's not a lot of room to breathe.
SFX are not translated. TOKYOPOP tends to go overboard with Minekura scripts, but this one reads quite well. It has an edge to it with a good amount of profanity, but it feels appropriate to the story. A couple editor's notes are included in the margins.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Allow me to show my cards and be honest up front, I've grown quite disappointed with Minekura's works ever since the wonderfully enjoyable Sayuki. Minekura has a lot of great ideas and a talent for moody narrative, but seems to have forgotten how to pull everything together into a story. Wild Adapter is filled with drugs, hitmen, yakuza, brothels, sex, and other elements of the seedy underground, but reads with a jarring unevenness.
Right off the bat, the plot is off to a rough start as a young up-and-comer is plucked right out of a mahjong parlor and placed into the leadership position of a 'youth group'--a small outfit of young thugs in a yakuza organization. No back story, no introduction, no real reasoning as to the young lad's nomination other than 'Yo! I know this cool cat who's good at mahjong.' The initiation? Shoot the former leader in cold blood, which the young cat does without hesitation and off we go all within a dozen pages.
What follows is a lot of posturing, as Minekura (or her editors) are fanning the flames of fujoshi doujin artists across the land--more hot guy fodder. Seriously, it's quite frustrating. The yakuza boss approaches his new recruit with a variety of jobs that include drug running or shaking the money tree from the brothels and parlors, but the details are skipped for overwrought monologues and conversations in an attempt to bring a dark emotional element to the story. Am I supposed to feel something when two young thugs bury a cat in the park? The forced homosexual undertones feel a bit too contrived. I mean, does a yakuza boss really try the gum trick to get a smooch? C'mon!
However, the potential for this to turn into a captivating story is there, something that could pan out to the shoujo crime title Banana Fish. There's a small story spinning about some drug that causes its abusers to turn into enraged animals with murderous intent, and a detective on the cases that has ties to the yakuza. Unfortunately it's not at all developed at this point, and after the horribly abrupt ending I was left quite frustrated at the squandered potential.
So far Wild Adapter suffers from many of the issues that I have had problems with ever since Saiyuki; great ideas and moody characters that find themselves mostly posturing and spouting off contrived dialogue that is supposed to spark some deep emotional attachment between the characters and their hidden homoeroticism. Wild Adapter has a lot of potential, but I'm just left frustrated with what feels like an attempt to please the legion of fujoshi doujin artists out there ready to slash it up with Minekura's hot boys. Only time will tell if this will turn out to be another Banana Fish, or just another manga for the heap.
TOKYOPOP's production on this volume is 95% awewsome, but the 'WILD' logo sits on the wrong side of the 'it's so bad it's good' line.
Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 17 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left