Switch Vol. #06 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: C-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translation Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 and Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 210
  • ISBN: 978-1421517698
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Switch

Switch Vol. #06

By Patricia Beard     July 04, 2009
Release Date: January 13, 2009


Switch Vol. #06
© Viz Media

Not so much a case of style over substance, as style sabotaging substance.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Naked Ape, Saki Otoh and Nakamura Tomomi
Translation: Paul Tuttle Starr
Adaptation: Paul Tuttle Starr

What They Say
Kai Eto may look like a squeaky clean kid, but the Greater Kanto Narcotics Control Division's new investigator hides a violent alter ego and a dangerous past. Together with his stoic partner Hal Kurabayashi, Kai is assigned to track down and stop the distribution of a dangerous new drug--Dragon Speed.
Hal survives an assassination attempt, but it seems he may not have been the target. Clues point to the "switch," but no one seems to know just what that means. The Ryugen, however, do know something and use that knowledge to entrap Kai and flip his switch.

Kai Eto may look like a squeaky clean kid, but the Greater Kanto Narcotics Control Division's new investigator hides a violent alter ego and a dangerous past. Together with his stoic partner Hal Kurabayashi, Kai is assigned to track down and stop the distribution of a dangerous new drug--Dragon Speed.

The Review!
I have to admit to a problem when I set out to read Switch. With the release of each new volume, I find myself having to go back to previous volumes to reacquaint myself with the large cast of characters- who they are and to what group they belong. Sometimes, I do this in the middle of a volume. As much as I enjoy the story, I'm beginning to begrudge the way mangaka are making me work for it.

The problem lies in Nakamura Tomomi's distinctive art style, which is put at a great disadvantage here. While her characters are attractive, she simply does not have enough variety in her repertoire to support the sheer number of characters here.  Variations are slight and along with the emphasis on close-ups, often results in a strained and confusing read.  And to compound the problem, there is sometimes a poor sense of what the story needs sequentially. The cover art and individual panels can be quite attractive and powerful, but more narrative sense is what's needed.

This volume, boasting gorgeous cover art of Kajiyama and Shiba (at least I think it's Shiba), continues the NCD search for the illusive members of Ryugen and the drug, Dragon Dive that had beugun in volume 5.  There is a connection to a 16 year old case involving a drug called "switch", and the attempts of the NCD inspectors to find a connection to their current case lead them on a chase with some unintended results.  The blend of mystery, treachery, sabotage and treason comes across as well-told and well-paced, once the identity parade is resolved, showing that Naked Ape can tell a good story.  They just need to get the pictures to support it better.

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