Id: Invaded vol. 1: #Brake-broken – Otaro Maijo

3 out of 5

Rather cheaply, I report: if you liked Id: Invaded the anime, you will like the manga. But also: if you have not seen the anime, I’m not sure you’ll understand the manga.

Now, sure, it really just boils down to a mystery, with some sci-fi concepts dribbled atop, and I’m sure a keen reader will be able to piece it together, but whereas the show is somewhat structured around dribbling out details on id wells and whatnot, #Brake-broken is more certainly just assuming you know what’s up. Which, at a high level, is inserting a cop into the mind of a killer (aka that “id well”) to suss out details on their crime. But when you add Invaded’s oddities atop that – that the person inserted takes on the persona of “The Great Detective” once inside, and is always investigating the death of a girl named Kaeru, who is somehow representative of the killer’s motivations / crimes – it can get a little confusing. Writer Otaro Maijo has also decided upon a particularly complex concept for the well into which we’re diving in this volume, as it all takes place betwixt speeding cars in which the brakes have been disabled, requiring artist Yuuki Kodama to illustrate some very tricky between-car choreography and large-scale crashes. To the credit of both creators, it’s always clear what the intention is in these scenes, with guiding dialogue and key shots establishing things effectively, but Kodama can’t always handle the specifics.

As part of the “you watched the show, right?” approach, we don’t get any real introduction to our characters, who are either harvesting the id well data for clues, or out in the field and trying to find the killer, leading to an exciting three-layer approach. Exciting, but, again, without much context.

#Brake-broken’s puzzle keeps evolving throughout, making for a page-turning read, but be warned: there’s no conclusion here, and there’s not even a satisfying realization or anything to round out the volume – volume 1 is just the first few chapters of the story, as we are wholly smack dab in the middle of it. When all is revealed, and considered as an extension of the show, I’m guessing it can be considered on equal footing as its animated counterpart. As a standalone, though, it’s fun, but somewhat slight.