I discovered Wild Adapter in…I think it was 2008. Possibly 2007. Wild Adapter was, and continues to be, the rule breaker. I don’t keep up with fandoms. Once I leave, that’s it I’m gone until (or unless?) I return for another obsessive round at some point. Except with Wild Adapter. Every few months I hit up the comms, living in hopes that there will FINALLY be a new chapter, or to see if any new fic has been posted and I’ve been doing this for years despite the fact that there hasn’t been any new canon since 2009. It is the manga I love best and which is closest to my heart, even when I’m so far from anime/manga fandoms that it’s hard to believe I was ever an otaku at all.
It’s funny, because at first I wasn’t into Minekura-sensei’s work. I had ~ideas~ about what I wanted from my manga and anime, and this art just didn’t fit it. Too sharp, too angular, “not pretty,” I think was what I thought. But then Saiyuki kept popping up, and I liked the way people talked about it, and I decided to go looking, but I still wasn’t that impressed to be honest.
(Saiyuki, to this day, is one of those anime/manga that I eye warily, half wanting to dive in/half wanting to forget it exists, mostly because there’s so damn much of it. Maybe one day.)
In any case, somehow I stumbled upon one of Minekura-sensei’s art books online and I was immediately captivated. What I came to realize, or maybe just recognize, was that her art is too sharp; it’s too keen, too edgy and that’s what makes it absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. It wasn’t what I was used to liking in manga artwork, but that made it even better.
The first title I picked up was Bus Gamer (I’m weak to pink hair!) which I instantly adored. I’m still super sad that there’s very little chance there will ever be more of it.
After that I picked up Wild Adapter, because the art for that had also been super compelling, and…well that was all she wrote. I fell hard.
Tokito (left) is one of those characters that just melts me: damaged and scarred but so far from broken. He lives in fear, but he lives and I adore how much he loves living and loves his Kubo-chan. And oh, Kubota (right). I’m not generally a sucker for the strong and silent types in manga, especially not sociopaths, but Kubota had my heart the first time he fucking blew through a yakuza warehouse and killed anyone who stood between him and Tokito with a terrifying smile on his face.
Kubota isn’t possessive. If Tokito wanted to go Kubota would let him and he would wish him well. But heaven help the person who tries to take Tokito away against his will, because there will be no mercy, no power that can save them from Kubota’s terrifying wrath. He murdered every single person on a tanker ship to get Tokito back the last time he was kidnapped (
also why do I find this like uberhot?).
Despite the fact that Tokito gets injured/kidnapped a lot (and is super sensitive to drugs of any kind—vomit everywhere) he is far from a “damsel in distress.” He has some killer combat skills, and his right arm is super strong. But he is really naive and gullible (and proud) which is often what lands him in trouble, both the sinister and every-day kind. Tokito, as I mentioned, lives with quite a bit of fear. He has no memory of the time before Kubota found him, except in really vague nightmares that he forgets (or pretends to forget) as soon as he wakes up. Despite this, he is very sweet once you get under his prickly exterior, kind-hearted, and extremely loyal…and very jealous, but I’ll get to that later. Both he and Kubota have an adorable addiction to video games, and while playing is generally the only time Tokito will get aggravated with Kubota.
Okay and now their relationship and just pardon me while I SQUEE WITH JOY FROM THE ROOFTOPS OMG.
Minekura-sensei (I think purposely) leaves the exact nature of their relationship ambiguous. At times they resemble nothing more than close (make that very very close) friends, at times the dynamic is almost parental…but still other times there is the suggestion of an almost frighteningly passionate romance. I can see the argument for any of these, or even a mix. Whatever the nature of their relationship it is characterized by a deep love, and that’s something that no one can argue with. Tokito and Kubota love each other so much there just aren’t words to properly describe it. In one of the last chapters, Tokito begins to question what they are to each other, and Kubota…well, Kubota was never possessive of Tokito before but maybe his feelings are evolving too ;D
They sleep in the same bed.
Tokito has jealous, possessive fits over anyone he thinks is taking Kubota’s attention away from him.
Tokito is the only person Kubota has ever allowed himself to need; to lean on.
To Kubota, Tokito is, quite simply, everything.
And the sentiment is very much returned <3
There are problems of course: Kubota is a sociopath. In the volume leading up to this panel, Tokito is kidnapped by the yakuza (and there are some really cute realizations on Kubota’s part over how he feels about Tokito…but I won’t spoil everything ^____^) and Kubota is determined to get him back. He murders an entire building full of people and then an entire ship full of people in order to get Tokito back. I mean, granted, they were shooting at him too, but even if they hadn’t been Kubota would have shown no mercy. They took Tokito and they hurt him. Kubota can’t and won’t forgive that. And when he finally gets Tokito back, they’re cornered on the deck and Tokito knows Kubota so well, he doesn’t even have to look. He pulls the gun from Kubota’s waistband and shoots their would be attacker. He does it in self defense, and in defense of Kubota but it still shocks him. And it saddens Kubota too, who never wanted Tokito to be tainted by his life. It doesn’t stop them though. Kubota standing behind him, helping him steady the gun, he kills the last member of the yakuza standing on the deck. It’s horrible and terrifying, but there’s something beautiful about it too. It’s that last step, the breaking down of the last wall Kubota had kept between them out of fear or out of kindness, or both.
I find this set interesting for two reasons: A) OMG THEY’RE OBVIOUSLY IN THE SAME BED TOGETHER KYAAAAAAA!!!!! And as an offshoot of that, it’s really really pretty and suggestive without giving anything away and I love that a;ldskfj;l. B) I love the symbolism. Kubota can’t see without his glasses, which Tokito is holding in his beast-hand that has the strength to break bones with a careless gesture. Kubota has Tokito’s glove that he uses to hide the beast-hand from the world. They trust each other implicitly, they are comfortable being vulnerable around one another in a way that they aren’t and just cannot be with anyone else, and it makes my heart catch in my throat because it’s so lovely.
Then there’s this picture which is also full of symbolism. Kubota is the larger one and, arguably, the stronger one, the one curled protectively over—but he’s the one bound by leash and collar to Tokito. He is the one in the position of the dependent. This, I think, represents the fact that while yes, Tokito needs Kubota, Kubota also needs Tokito just as much, if not more. Tokito is the grounding force in Kubota’s life, the one that keeps him from imploding on himself. Kubota needs him.
And this one I just like! :D
So what does Wild Adapter have to offer you? Well, the truth is not much. The fandom is tiny. The manga hasn’t updated in three years due to Minekura-sensei’s illness. But she’s doing better now, and hopefully things will be picking back up! There isn’t an anime, but there is a sort of AU OVA, and it’s adorable and just as full of feelings (Araiso Private High School Student Council Executive Committee, if you’re interested. Yes it’s a mouthful, but it’s completely adorable!). And it’s been announced that an actual Wild Adapter OVA has been greenlit, so exciting things are happening!
There isn’t much fic for it but here’s a link to the section on AO3, where I have found several that are quite good!
There’s a livejournal community for discussion. There’s a fanworks community also! Then there’s the Minekura-sensei community, that has information etc from all of her works. Artbooks can be found too, if you have a little patience and know how to look ;) None of these are very active anymore, sadly, but that could change when the manga/news about the anime picks up!
But you don’t have to be fannish about this series at all! It stands on it’s own, just as it is and you should read it even if that’s all you do. It has enough feels to fill ten thousand buckets, mystery, romance(?), and action and god I just want everyone to love it as much as I do! If I was able to sway even one person I would consider this post a success!