Id: Invaded vol. 2: #Brake-Broken – Otaro Maijo

4 out of 5

It’s book two, so the incredible learning curve of Id: Invaded is more understandable, here. But we’ve also cleared off the complexities of this particular case’s setup in the first book, allowing this volume to not only be oddly much more accessible to a new reader – you expect to be dropped in the middle of things – but also a ton more fun in general, as we’re now full bore into the mystery. It also helps that the action can take something of a backseat to figuring out what the Id Well is representing: in the real world, the supposed culprit, injured in the crash at the end of the previous tankobon, has been captured, and while interrogations are happening in the hospital, both Narihisago and Hondoumachi are dispatched into the Well to suss out more details. Their interplay of the action-hero detective and the attentive, focused detective is amusing, and the additional time spent on these dual lines of inquiry prevents the car chase stuff from becoming repetitive, or from requiring Maijo to force further discoveries via that thread.

Plus, it just gets damned weirder a cult-like procession of followers seems to have formed around the hospitalized prisoner, and a missing Wakumasubi prompts another Well to be detected…

Again, while all this terminology and dream-diving stuff might seem as offputting to newbies as it was in book one, because it’s not mixed up with all the case setup, it seems a lot more contextually-intuitive; I bring this up again as it certainly also affects the general flow of the book: volume 1 was a lot of start and stop inside the Well, but volume 2 is very much all forward momentum – it really feels like we’re making progress on the plot, and not just stacking up curiosities. And when that progress is stymied by our tight-lipped persecutor, there are plot ante-ups to keep things exciting, providing the volume with an actual climax, which the first book was rather lacking.

Yuuki Kodama’s art is very much spot-on with the character models to the anime, but what’s impressive throughout – and this was also the case in the last tankobon – is how effectively communicated is the complex choreography of the scene setups, as well as the rapid-fire pacing and scene shuffling. You always know where you are, and where you are within that scene.

Some minor hiccups: Narihisago’s plan towards the end of the tankobon admittedly creates some fun tension, but it ultimately feels a little forced, solely for that purpose. It’s fairly true to his personality as depicted in the anime, I suppose, but the problem also existed there: when impulsiveness doesn’t necessarily vibe with the character’s otherwise logical approach, and we achieve “twists” through withheld information that maybe doesn’t make sense to withhold. Also: it’s tough making some important details reliant on colors (the killer has a following of fellow car-drivers, in specific colored cars) in a black and white book; I kept getting confused as to the relevance of said colors.