Wild Adapter

Wild Adapter by Kazuya Minekura 4/5 stars (amazon.com)

Kubota is a cool, enigmatic man. He’s so self-contained that in Wild Adapter, you learn more about him from the way the other characters react to him as opposed to his own thoughts and feelings. Kubota lives for gambling, especially mahjong, but he remains strangely distant about making connections to other people. He’s asked if he’s interested in women or men, and replies that he’s just not interested in people. When his fearless mahjong playing results in him being tapped for a leadership role in a yakuza youth gang, he executes someone as part of his initiation without hesitation. He’ll coolly beat rival yakuza up, then take the time to bury a dead cat. There are hints that he’s estranged from a prominent family, and he also seems to be on decent terms with the police.

Komiya is Kubota’s assistant in the yakuza youth group. He has his own problems to deal with, but he becomes more and more fascinated by his new boss. The Wild Adapter in the title of the book is a new drug with strange side effects that promises to cause trouble for the yakuza and police in later volumes. The first volume functions mostly as a prelude, setting up characters and establishing the seedy underworld Kubota navigates.

If you like reading stories about cool men who might or might not have romantic feelings for each other smoking cigarettes and shooting guns, you can’t go wrong with Wild Adapter. There is nudity and violence in this manga, which in public libraries should probably be shelved in an adult graphic novel section.