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Wild Adapter, vol. 5 (Kazuya Minekura)

This entire volume is a flashback. We get to find out what happened right after Kubota picked up his "stray cat" at the end of volume 1 and learn how they became the odd but close couple we saw in volume 2 and thereafter. The story is told mostly in first person, from the viewpoint of young Iizuka Shouta, Kubota's next door neighbor. I don't recall seeing this viewpoint used much at all in the manga I've read thus far - it's rather interesting.

Shouta is a solitary child who doesn't get along with his classmates, doesn't play sports, and doesn't belong to any clubs. Both parents work, and his afternoons are usually spent alone in the family apartment, playing videogames and writing and drawing manga- and anime-influenced adventure stories . When his neighbor Kubota shows up one afternoon with another young man slung over his shoulder, unconscious, Shouta's life gets a lot more interesting. For one thing, the comatose guy has a hand that looks like an animal's paw, furred and clawed. For another, Kubota needs Shouta's help when the new arrival wakes up: he doesn't trust Kubota, but he's much less on the defensive with a child.

Minekura is good at portraying kids, and when Shouta's going off into his fantasies about what's really going on with his next-door neighbor, the story has a rather Neil Gaiman-esque feel to it. And although Shouta certainly learns a lot from this strange interlude in his life, Kubota and Tokito get a few lessons as well.

 

Wild Adapter, vol. 5 (review)

Oh boy! We see Kou-san wearing something besides his Chinese robe! He shows up at Kubota's wearing a maxi-length trenchcoat! I'm in Heaven!

OK, now that I've got that out of my system ... . But I really wish Minekura would do some more with Kou ... .

There are some funny scenes, but mostly, this was really, really beautiful and sad. Yet it ends with a feeling of fulfillment and optimism. The scene where Shouta explains to Kubota what he's been doing wrong with Tokito - via the ruse of asking for help with figuring out the motivations and personality of one of his story characters - is one of the sweetest, most poignant things I've read recently. And the scene where Tokito makes Kubota confess his feelings is all kinds of win.

Question for the manga experts: I've been tagging my manga reviews with categories such as shoujo or seinen. But where on that spectrum does Wild Adapter fit in?

• Oyceter's write-up on this (with spoilers)

Comments

( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
smillaraaq
May. 16th, 2008 02:37 am (UTC)
Ah, I loved this one SO MUCH...although I think I'd still have to perhaps give a slight edge to 4, because all the Toki flustered-jealousy and protective Kubo stoicism, leading up to that vulnerable little leaning scene, just squeezed at my heartstrings something fierce. But this is a very very close second! And oh, did I ever identify with little Shouta-kun...

As for classification...my understanding has been that it ultimately comes down to the main focus/target market of the original publisher, thus explaining all the weird cases that don't seem to fit the Western stereotypes of what shonen/shojo/etc. manga should be like. And since WA is initially serialized in Chara Comics, and Chara is definitely working a particular niche... *whistles* (And just look at all that cover art...nope, can't quite put my finger on what this is reminding me of...
avierra
May. 16th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)
nd since WA is initially serialized in Chara Comics, and Chara is definitely working a particular niche... *whistles* (And just look at all that cover art...nope, can't quite put my finger on what this is reminding me of...

I can't imagine what you are getting at here, Smilla... ;X

I loved Vol 4 too. They practically confessed, I couldn't believe it (although I think that's as close as we'll ever see to any action per se ;P )
smillaraaq
May. 16th, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC)
I can't imagine what you are getting at here, Smilla... ;X

I'm not sure either! I'm pretty sure I had a point in mind, but somewhere around the umpteenth cover picture of pretty half-dressed boys leaning on each other, it totally slipped my mind... ;)

And yeah, Vol. 4 was a lot like some of our favorite 585 moments; lots of squee and aww and "they're soooooo married...even if they don't know it yet".
(no subject) - chomiji - May. 19th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
freeradical9
May. 16th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
Really nice review! I just found a copy of this volume in the bookstore this morning. Shouta is adorable (oyceter's comment about Tokito being socialized by a kid is too true!) and the manga/reality fusion going on in his head and in his journal is really neat.

In closing, I have to say that I too would love to see Minekura-sensei do more with Kou. He's such a fascinating character. A real black box--one never knows exactly what might be going on inside his head. I'd love to know how his shop started, and where he learned about medicine. Maybe we'll find out more about him as the series progresses. ^_^
chomiji
May. 18th, 2008 04:37 am (UTC)

Yes, I loved that comment of Oyce's! And the manga stuff was so cool ... and Kubo's comment at the end, that he wouldn't want to read Shouta's manga - presumably because it would remind him of too much - was very touching.

I also really loved the look on Kubo's face when the still-sleeping Tokito grabs him and snuggles up.

Kou is a bit sweet on Kubota - or at least he finds him charming. He also seems to be very lonely.

avierra
May. 16th, 2008 12:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the review, I just got mine the other day and haven't yet had a chance to read it (I've read the scanlations though, but it just isn't the same.) Looks like good times ahead. :)

I like the character of Kou very much, I am with you on that!

Perhaps Minekura is just in a category of her own. ;) Really, I have no clear idea how to adequately classify Saiyuki either, despite where she happens to end up having it serialized. Saiyuki and WA seem to combine a lot of different "types," but maybe that is why they are so cool. (I suppose technically they're BL... sort of... but not really.)

chomiji
May. 18th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC)

So have you had a chance to read it yet?

avierra
May. 18th, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
I have, indeed! Very angsty and, as you said, sad and beautiful. But I think it was quite hopeful at the end, and as if they had come to terms with whatever it was between them. I really liked the last few panels where Tokito reached out to Kubota and told him to take his hand if he wanted him, it gave me a happy sniffle.

Minekura seems to have a running "thing" about the value of touch and sensation. In Saiyuki, it's Gojyo who craves contact, but interestingly, in WA it's Kubo (who I consider to be more or less a Hakkai analog) who needs it and is afraid to ask for it from the person he wants/needs it.

And I liked that Minekura made it clear that the lack of physicality was emotionally painful for both Kubo and Tokito, and causing problems and misunderstandings in their relationship (which has barely started at this point).

The whole Kubota backstory about how he was unwanted and unneeded and how he shouldn't have existed in the first place was just heartbreaking (and again, very similar to Gojyo's story).

And Shouta was wonderful (and funny), wiser and smarter than both of the others even though he's much younger.

I like to think they both went home at the end and screwed each other to the mattress. >_>
chomiji
May. 21st, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)

Tokito is very odd in sweet ways - he apparently uses the most macho language to refer to himself in Japanese, and that sort of goes with what he does to Kubota in that scene, making him declare that yes, he needs Tokito. And I love the part where Tokito is talking enthusiastically about reading Shouta's manga some day, and Kubo isn't quite so sure he'll want to read it.

I think Shouta has learned a lot - much too much for a child his age, in fact - from listening to his parents fight, poor kid. I know how he feels.

Yeah, Kubo seems to have Gojyo's story and Hakkai's personality!

I think maybe Kubo didn't know that he had the touch thing himself until recently ... maybe when the unconscious Tokito grabbed him and snuggled up ... .

(no subject) - smillaraaq - May. 23rd, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chomiji - May. 23rd, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smillaraaq - May. 24th, 2008 11:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chomiji - May. 27th, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
vom_marlowe
May. 16th, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
I love Kou! After reading the first couple volumes (I got them in Japanese and then found translations), I decided to wait to read the whole of Wild Adapter when it was finished. I want a Kou of my very own. I actually used to draw pages of WA again and again, to learn manga drawing techniques, and Kou and Kubota were my favorites to draw.

I would characterize WA as boy's love, because it appears in Chara, a BL serial and also because the focus of the story is romance (G-rated romance, even if the assorted plot action is rated ZOMG bloody and violent!!). I read recently that Minekura was interviewed about whether there would ever be explicit BL action in WA and sort of wibbled and said she wasn't sure, because her characters are unpredictable. But I could be misremembering!
chomiji
May. 19th, 2008 02:35 am (UTC)

I don't think I could take not reading them as they come out! Even in the case of Samurai Deeper Kyo, where I've read the scanlations through the end, I like to get the books as they show up in English publication. I think I rather identify with Kou - he seems so lonely and wistful, and he rather fancies Kubota.

Everyone seems to agree that it should be shounen ai, so I tagged it that way. Thanks!

smillaraaq
May. 23rd, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
Like you needed more evidence of just what that magazine's market is...The Crimson Spell also runs in Chara. (Raws from this month's chapter just showed up on the relevant community...it's one long Havi/Vald sex scene. *chuckle*)
(no subject) - chomiji - May. 27th, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smillaraaq - May. 28th, 2008 12:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chomiji - May. 29th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smillaraaq - May. 29th, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chomiji - Jun. 3rd, 2008 02:54 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - chomiji - Jun. 10th, 2008 03:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smillaraaq - Jun. 10th, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
despina_moon
May. 17th, 2008 12:00 am (UTC)
Nice review! I avoided this post last night because I just got my copy. I stayed up until midnight to read it twice. The end with Tokito was so... wow. Kubota is so fragile and that part about no one wanting him was heartbreaking.

Kou was (and is always) ♥

I think WA is BL, too.

Thanks! I love being able to fangirl with others.
chomiji
May. 19th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)

Please, come here and fangirl all you like! I am trying to read lots of different types of manga, but I definitely like things with BL elements or that are slashable. (Otherwise, I orefer shounen/seinen to shoujo).

I read and review some SF and fantasy too. And I also like Tanith Lee!

despina_moon
May. 19th, 2008 05:30 am (UTC)
I read a lot of manga, too. BL and horror are my favs.

I love Tanith Lee! Her Flat Earth series is some of my favorite stuff. Her rewrites of fairy-tales totally rock! Yay! It's very hard to find people who love her.
(no subject) - smillaraaq - May. 19th, 2008 06:24 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - chomiji - May. 21st, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
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( 38 comments — Leave a comment )

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