Switch Vol. #02 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1-4215-1765-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Switch

Switch Vol. #02

By Patricia Beard     December 24, 2008
Release Date: May 13, 2008

Switch Vol.#02
© Viz Media

A much more focused work that volume 1, it looks as if Switch may have found its groove.

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist: Saki Otoh / Nakamura Tomomi
Translated by: Paul Tuttle Star
Adapted by: Paul Tuttle Star

What They Say
Kai's been working undercover as the assistant to the famous actor Kyoya Shirai, who's a suspected Dragon Speed user. But Shirai isn't the average junkie, and his fame is being used as a covert advertisement for Dragon Speed, with sickening results. Will Kai's feelings of friendship for the actor get in the way of the investigation?

The Review

Volume two starts out with Shirai's confrontation of Kai, and Kai's revelation to Shirai that he is a member of the NCD.  But Shirai has his own agenda and his own confession to make, which only makes Kai more determined to aid and protect him.
In the meantime, Kai's very reluctant partner, Hal, who had been shot at the club and was hospitalized, has blackmailed the Meguro police into getting him out of the hospital and back out on the street following Kai. The other detectives of the NCD are still on the case watching out for Kai, but it's Hal who has gathered the information that furthers the case once the situation with Shirai comes to an unfortunate conclusion. (Just who is Hal?  He doesn't seem to be any rookie.)

With the new information, the department continues on the trail of Dragon Speed, but a case involving a high school gang called "mp" gets their immediate attention. On this case, Hal and Kai must go undercover at Teito Academy, an exclusive escalator school, with Kai as a student and Hal as a student teacher. Unfortunately, an action in the line of duty on Hal's part has inadvertently jeopardized both Hal and Kai at the school. This  arc is continues into the next volume and shows that Naked Ape can tell a taut and suspenseful story.
Separating the two arcs of more serious crime story is a short comedy piece introducing Expert Substance Analyst, Mari Kuzui, a tall and intensely focused young woman who has a fondness for all things small and cute, which in this case means Kai.  Under the misapprehension that this is a date with Kai, she agrees to undercover with him at a club where a notorious dealer and womanizer often hangs out.  Her geekiness leads to disaster, but all turns out well in the end. Maybe not so much for Kai though.

What a difference a volume makes!  Showing little of the fits and starts that characterized volume one, volume two delivers a more focused and polished narrative.  Even the artwork is tighter and flows better.  I did have some confusion with some of the officers of the NCD, but that's a minor complaint.  Comedic interaction that had a tendency to get lost or diluted in the first volume, now plays out well and has a stronger voice.  Switch seems to have finally found its rhythm. 


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