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"The more human we become...the more animalistic we are."
—Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Words of a Dwarf, quoted in chapter two.
A Film Noir manga series from Kazuya Minekura (the creator of Saiyuki), Wild Adapter follows Anti-Hero Kubota Makoto and Tokito Minoru, the amnesic stray cat he picked up as the two play video games, help people, and investigate a mysterious new drug on the streets: Wild Adapter.
The series ran in Chara from 2000 to 2008 and went on hiatus after forty-six chapters due to Creative Differences between the Seinen tone of the series and the shounen-ai demographic of the magazine. It was collected into six tankobon volumes (with five chapters remaining uncollected), published in the U.S. by Tokyopop in 2007-8 and in Singapore in English and Chinese by Chuang Yi. In 2011 the rights to the series were acquired by Ichijinsha, the publishers of Saiyuki.
- Anachronic Order: The appearance between the first and second volumes of a year's lapse and a Deuteragonist isn't explained until the fifth volume, and the events of the sixth volume occur after those of the succeeding chapters.
- Animal Motifs: "I picked up a stray cat."
- The effects of W.A. include the growth of hair and claws.
- The dead strays Kubota finds, and identifies with, in the prologue arc.
- Sanada likens both Kubota and his successor Osamu to his dog, Ark Royal. Kiba Osamu's family name is a pun on kiba, 'fang'.
- The cicadas in the cult arc refer to Fortune's Fang's ethos of "casting off humanity"; cicadas are noted for moulting.
- The page quote
- Art Evolution: Take a look at volume one. Now look at volume six. Now back to one. Now back to six. Drawn over eight years, there is a perceptible shift to more realistic detail and proportion (though not as pronounced as Saiyuki); the early images on the character sheets in later volumes are a ready illustration.
- Body Horror: For "wild adapter" read "metamorphoses users into hirsute, beclawed, hyper-aggressive zombies, then makes their organs explode."
Kasai: This is the sixth body we've found that seems to have transformed into a beast - in attitude and appearance - after taking the drug. But he's the only one that died from a gunshot wound. The rest were exploded into gory little pieces.
- Boys Love Genre: Technically accurate - the series ran in a BL magazine - but Boys Love Tropes are usually averted, when they aren't subverted or parodied.
- Driving Question: Where does W.A. come from, and what happened to Tokito?
- Expys: Kubota Makoto and Tokito Minoru made their first appearance in Araiso Private High School Student Council Executive Committee, which is otherwise unrelated to Wild Adapter.
- Fantastic Drug: The mysterious "W.A.", whose source and composition are unknown and side-effects are gross.
- Gangsta Style: Is a rather oft-recurring image of Kubota.
- Grey and Gray Morality: On the cynical end of the scale. While the antagonists shoot first, the protagonists are more dangerous, and both sides are motivated by self-interest. Lampshaded in the kidnapping arc, a Perspective Flip with a Mook Horror Show.
Kubota: If we're monsters... maybe you should have let us be.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Kubota and Tokito.
- Ho Yay: Kubota and Tokito. Despite the series' Seinen sensibility and lack of overt romance, it did run in a BL magazine. Komiya, Sanada, and Sekiya have their moments with Kubota, too.
- The Ishmael: Many chapters and entire arcs are narrated by a temporary Supporting Protagonist. To name a few: Komiya; Saori; Takizawa; Anna; Hasebe; Shouta; Osamu.
- Mahjong: How Kubota was recruited into the yakuza, and how he first bonded with his uncle Kasai.
- Multiple Demographic Appeal: I can't believe it's not Seinen! The U.S. editions were not marketed as BL.
- The Nineties: The series begins in May of 1995 and covers roughly three years in six volumes. Volume one ends on January 22, 1996. At 9:05 a.m.
- No Export for You: Due to the Series Hiatus, six chapters were never officially released in English.
- Parental Neglect: Endemic. Kubota was ignored; Komiya is responsible for his mother; Saori's family washes their hands of her; Shouta is a latchkey kid; Yoshirou was abused and disowned.
Kubota: They're around. But that's all they are.
- Quest for Identity: Tokito and Kubota investigate W.A. for what it can tell them about Tokito's Dark and Troubled Past.
- Running Gag: Tokito is a stray cat that Makoto took in.
Tokito: "Will you stop it with the house pet thing?!"
- Series Hiatus: Due to illness and contractual obligations after rumoured creative differences with its magazine.
- Ship Tease: Between Kubota and Tokito, both played straight and for laughs at yaoi tropes.
- Story Arc: Each volume consists of a self-contained arc while advancing the greater series plot.
- Sympathetic POV: On Kubota.
- Yakuza: Kubota leads the Izumo youth group during the prologue arc, and continues to cross paths with the Izumo-kai and their rivals the Tojou-gumi throughout the series.