->"The more human we become...the more animalistic we are."
-->--'''Ryunosuke Akutagawa''', ''Words of a Dwarf'', quoted in chapter two.

A [[FilmNoir noir]] series from Kazuya Minekura (''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}''), ''Wild Adapter'' follows AntiHero Kubota Makoto and Tokito Minoru, the amnesiac [[RunningGag stray cat]] he picked up, as the two play video games, help people, and investigate a mysterious new drug on the streets: [[TitleDrop Wild Adapter]].

The series originally ran from 2000 to 2008 in ''Chara'', a [[YaoiGenre shounen-ai]] magazine. It went on [[SeriesHiatus hiatus]] after forty-six chapters due to Kazuya Minekura's poor health, as well as CreativeDifferences between the {{seinen}} tone of the series and the magazine's [[YaoiGenre shounen-ai]] demographic. It was collected into six tankobon volumes (with five chapters remaining uncollected), published in English in North America by {{Tokyopop}}, and in English and Chinese in Singapore by Chuang Yi. In 2011 the rights to the series were [[http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2011-08-08/kazuya-minekura-wild-adapter-manga-changes-publishers acquired by Ichijinsha]] (''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}''), and serialisation resumed in ''Zero Sum Ward'' in spring 2013.

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!!''Wild Adapter'' provides examples of:

* AdoptTheDog: Perhaps ''WildAdapter'''s core trope, and coincidentally its central metaphor. Kubota is a weirdly unemotional, sometimes casually and chillingly violent person with minimal human connections or moral compunctions, until he takes in Tokito, "a stray cat", around whom his life subsequently revolves.
* AnachronicOrder: The appearance between the first and second volumes of a [[TimeSkip year's lapse]] and a {{Deuteragonist}} isn't explained until the [[WholeEpisodeFlashback fifth volume]], and the events of the sixth volume occur after those of the succeeding chapters.
** Volume one: May 1995 - January 1996
** Volume five: February - June 1996
** Volume two: January 1997
** Volume three: Summer 1997
** Volume four: Late autumn or early winter 1997
** Volume seven: Spring 1998
** Volume six: 1998, after volume seven
* AnimalMotifs: "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 [[PetTheDog his]] [[RightHandAttackDog dog]], [[AwesomeMcCoolname Ark]] [[FluffyTheTerrible 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
* ArtEvolution: [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/wild_adapter/v01/c001/18.html Take a look at volume one.]] [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/wild_adapter/v06/c041/10.html Now look at volume six.]] [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/wild_adapter/v01/c001/23.html Now back to one.]] [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/wild_adapter/v06/c041/4.html Now back to six.]] Drawn over eight years, there is a perceptible shift to more realistic detail and proportion (though not as pronounced as ''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}'''s); the early images on the character sheets in later volumes are a ready illustration.
* BodyHorror: 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 [[LudicrousGibs exploded into gory little pieces]].
* BoysLoveGenre: Technically – the series ran in a BL magazine – but BoysLoveTropes are usually averted, unless subverted or parodied.
-->'''Kubota''': "We're seeking spiritual guidance because we're a gay, sex-addicted couple... [[IncestIsRelative who are half-brothers]], disowned by our family after the consummation of our forbidden love." How's that? [[UndercoverAsLovers Isn't it perfect?]]
-->'''Tokito''': Wha - wha - wha - [[TakeThat what the hell is that?!]] No fucking way!
* DrivingQuestion: Where does W.A. come from, and [[QuestForIdentity what happened to Tokito?]]
* {{Expy}}s: Kubota Makoto and Tokito Minoru also appear in ''[[HighSchoolAU Araiso Private High School]] [[AbsurdlyPowerfulStudentCouncil Student Council Executive Committee]]'', which is otherwise unrelated to ''Wild Adapter''. While ''Araiso'' was published earlier, Minekura created ''Wild Adapter'' first, so which versions are the originals and which are the expys is open to debate.
** Tokito, Kubota, and Kou appear as Wonder Arm, the mysterious guy, and a good scientist in the {{shonen}} manga [[ShowWithinAShow that Shouta draws]] in volume five.
* FantasticDrug: The mysterious "W.A.", whose source and composition are unknown and side-effects are [[YourHeadAsplode gross]].
* FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator: Though there are many scenes from Kubota or Tokito's perspectives, each arc is partly narrated by a minor protagonist (or antagonist), who observes them from the outside and usually elucidates much of the theme.
** Volume one: [[SideKick Komiya]]
** Volume two: Saori
** Volume three: [[IntrepidReporter Takizawa]]
** Volume four: Shimura, [[HookerWithAHeartOfGold Anna]]
** Volume five: Shouta
** Volume six: [[TheDragon Osamu]]
** Volume seven: Yoshiro, Kasai
* GangstaStyle: [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/wild_adapter/v01/c001/10.html Is]] [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/wild_adapter/v01/c006/17.html a]] [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/wild_adapter/v02/c011/9.html rather]] [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/wild_adapter/v02/c011/16.html oft-]][[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/wild_adapter/v02/c011/17.html recurring]] [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/wild_adapter/v06/c037/8.html image]] [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/wild_adapter/v06/c038/14.html of]] [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/wild_adapter/v06/c040/10.html Kubota]].
* GreyAndGrayMorality: Leans towards the cynical end of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism, but Tokito and Kubota are probably ALighterShadeOfGray. Although Kubota deals in DisproportionateRetribution and {{No Holds Barred Beatdown}}s, it's usually when VillainsActHeroesReact. Lampshaded in the kidnapping arc, a MookHorrorShow PerspectiveFlip.
-->'''Kubota''': If we're monsters... maybe you should have let us be.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Kubota and Tokito.
* HoYay: Kubota and Tokito. Enforced and occasionally invoked: despite the series' {{seinen}} sensibility and lack of [[SubText overt romance]], it did run in a [[BoysLoveGenre BL]] [[CastFullOfPrettyBoys magazine]]. Komiya, [[AmbiguouslyGay Sanada]], and [[DepravedHomosexual Sekiya]] have their moments [[EvenTheGuysWantHim with Kubota]], too.
* IdiosyncraticCoverArt: Each volume features Kubota and/or Tokito looking through a barrier of some kind – chain-link fence, a Venetian blind, crime scene tape.
* {{Meaningful Name}}s:
** Kubota and Tokito's ThemeNaming, [[http://mangabookshelf.com/16936/no-us-and-them-theme-in-wild-adapter/ as a commentator noted]]: ''"their names include each other. Kubota’s name has protect and field in it; Tokito’s includes assignment/charge and ripen. And Kubota’s name includes everyone else as well; his personal name, Makoto, is made up of truth and person, “what people really are.” "''
*** Aversion in-story: Tokito was NamedAfterSomebodyFamous almost at random: actor Tokito Saburo. "Anything but Saburo."
** The only memorable thing about Ken Shimura is that he also shares his name with a famous actor.
** Osamu the 'loyal attack dog''s surname Kiba is a pun on 'fang' and his nickname Chamu is "cute like a dog."
** Ryuunosuke, nicknamed Tatsu, is a textbook case of AProtagonistIsRyu.
* MultipleDemographicAppeal: I can't believe it's not {{seinen}}! The U.S. editions were not marketed as BL.
* TheNineties: The series begins in May of 1995 and covers roughly three years in six volumes. Volume one ends on January 22, 1996. [[LudicrousPrecision At 9:05 a.m.]]
* NoExportForYou: Due to the SeriesHiatus, six chapters were never [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes officially]] released in English.
* ParentalNeglect: Endemic. Kubota was ignored; Komiya [[TheCaretaker is responsible for]] his mother; [[TeenPregnancy 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.
* QuestForIdentity: [[AmnesiacHero Tokito]] and Kubota investigate W.A. for what it can tell them about Tokito's DarkAndTroubledPast.
* RunningGag: Tokito is a stray cat that Kubota took in.
--> '''Tokito:''' "Will you stop it with the house pet thing?!"
* {{Seasonal Motif}}s: The date is mentioned in most arcs and reinforced with seasonal symbolism.
** Volume two: Cold weather.
** Volume three: HeatWave, CicadianRhythm, and [[AmericanHolidays Fourth of July fireworks]].
** Volume four: dead leaves, first snow of the year.
** Volume five: Beginning of the school year.
** Volume seven: Spring rains, gardenias blooming.
* SeriesHiatus: Due to illness and [[ScrewedByTheLawyers contractual obligations]] after rumoured [[ExecutiveMeddling creative differences]] with its magazine.
* ShipTease: Both played [[FanService straight]] and for laughs at [[BoysLoveTropes yaoi tropes]]:
** Volume 1: Even when he's mid-coitus with a woman, Komiya can't shut up about how cool Kubota is.
** Volume 3: The spooks who bug Kubota and Tokito's apartment get an earful of cheesy yaoi-style seduction scene dialogue improvised to screw with them before destroying the bug.
** Volume 4: Takizawa tentatively asks Tokito what his relationship with Kubota is after Tokito spills his insecurities about Anna; there's a soap opera argument about cheating playing on the television in the background.
** Volume 5: The nude, sleeping Tokito drags Kubota down on top of him after Kubota rescues him; Kubota reflects humorously that it looks bad but he doesn't object.
** Volume 6: Kubota refers to the kidnapped Tokito as his "mate" in the American translation.
* {{Story Arc}}s: Each volume consists of a self-contained arc while advancing the [[MythArc greater series plot.]]
** Volume one: the prologue arc. Kubota's first encounters with W.A. while a leader of the Izumo-kai gang, and his social detachment, are seen through the eyes of his second-in-command Komiya.
** Volume two: Tokito, his apparent connection to W.A., and his close, ambiguous relationship to Kubota, are introduced through the perspective of Saori, a runaway whom the Tojou gang believe may be a lead on W.A.
** Volume three: Kubota and Tokito infiltrate a cult that may be a front for the mob and W.A., with the help of Takizawa, a reporter with a vendetta against its leader.
** Volume four: the ''kotodama'' arc. Kubota is the chief suspect in a prostitute's murder, and Tokito, after realising how little he knows about Kubota's past, enlists the help of Anna, another prostitute, to hunt down the true killer.
** Volume five: the flashback arc. Kubota's ten-year-old neighbour Shouta helps domesticate Tokito and observes the slow growth of trust between him and Kubota.
** Volume six: the kidnapping arc. Osamu, Kubota's successor as the leader of the Izumo youth, is ordered to abduct Tokito, to his gang's rapid regret.
* SympatheticPOV: On Kubota.
* {{Yakuza}}: Kubota leads the Izumo [[GangBangers youth group]] during the prologue arc, and continues to cross paths with the Izumo-kai and their rivals the Tojou-gumi throughout the series as they compete to discover the source of W.A.

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!!Episodes of ''Wild Adapter'' provide examples of (spoilers ahead):

!!Volume One
* AdoptTheDog: After the violent deaths of two stray cats [[spoiler:and Komiya]], and expecting someday to meet the same end himself, Kubota chooses to care for another one: Tokito.
-->'''Kubota:''' "I took in a cat. He's big for a stray. He looks like he'll be a lot of trouble. But he also looks like a tough one. This time I'm thinking I'll be the first to die. . . He felt heavy, that little cat."
* DiedInYourArmsTonight: [[spoiler: Though Komiya [[HisNameIs loses his sample of W.A.]] in the assault, he manages to drag himself to Kubota's doorstep to deliver the [[FinalSpeech motivational speech]] that drives Kubota out of Izumo.]]
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Kubota's 'job interview' with Izumo requires him to execute the incumbent with a gun that might backfire. He complains about the noise.
* FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator: Komiya.
* {{Mahjong}}: Kubota attracts the notice of the Izumo gang because he's a mahjong shark.
* PetTheDog: Komiya discovers his devotion to Kubota after helping him to bury a stray cat. Kubota is also literally petting Sanada's dog when he tells him that he likes animals, but isn't interested in people.
* ProlongedPrologue: The entire arc establishes Kubota's character before meeting Tokito; Tokito doesn't even show up except in the BookEnds.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Upon leaving the yakuza [[spoiler:in compliance with Komiya's dying wishes]], Kubota does OneLastJob for Izumo: shooting and beating to death the leader of the Tojou-gumi and twelve of his employees and burning down their headquarters. He gives an IronicEcho of his comment about burying the second stray cat: "Since I couldn't do it that last time. . ."

!!Volume Two
* DistressedDamsel
* FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator: Saori.
* GoodGirlsAvoidAbortion: Aversion. Saori, Kubota, and Kasai all treat it as Saori's wisest course; Kasai mentions that he's done it before.
* TeenPregnancy
* TimeSkip: Picks up a year after the end of volume one. Tokito and his relationship to Kubota are as unfamiliar to the audience as they are to Saori.

!!Volume Three
* BeliefMakesYouStupid: Inverted. While the cultists are drug addicts and the yakuza preying on them, rather than true believers, both the protagonists and the villain claim that only fools turn to religion: "God is for the weak."
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: The basement cultists' marijuana use doesn't quite explain their homicidal tendencies.
* CicadianRhythm: Literal in both Taki's memories and the present, but the cicadas are also symbolic to him of Fortune's Fang, which preaches escape from "the human shell" of society. Cicadas shed their shells when they emerge as adults.
* FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator: Takizawa.
* HeatWave: Kubota mentions that the discomfort probably helps with the brainwashing, and Taki gets into the cult's building posing as the A/C maintenance guy.
* LikeAGodToMe: "My god died. One year ago." Takizawa's life revolved around his invalid sister, but this is decontructed as he realises that she [[IJustWantToBeNormal wanted to be an ordinary human being]] and that the family's idealisation of her was their elder sister's FreudianExcuse for her [[TheSocialDarwinist Social Darwinism]]. Meanwhile, however, Kubota implies that Tokito fills the same role for him.
* ScamReligion: Fortune's Fang fleeces the drug-addicted faithful. [[spoiler:It's also bait for anyone investigating W.A.]]
* TroubledBackstoryFlashback: Involuntary injections remind Tokito of someone named Akira.

!!Volume Four
* BeAsUnhelpfulAsPossible: Kubota refuses to say anything of significance during police questioning (or to Tokito beforehand), in thematic contrast to Shimura.
* ClearTheirName: While Detective Hasebe holds Kubota for questioning, Tokito, Anna, and Takizawa, and independently Kasai and Araki, track down Shimura.
* FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator: Shimura, Anna.
* MadnessMantra: The deconstruction of ''kotodama'', "the spirit of words", or the belief that saying something can make it real, is a CentralTheme of the arc. Shimura reassures himself with a SurvivalMantra that helps him in the aftermath of the murder, but as his paranoia grows it degenerates into delusion. Lampshaded by Tokito: "How the hell did you expect that to work?"
* ReturningToTheScene: How Anna's suspicions fall on Shimura. The inevitable practice of criminals, [[DiscussedTrope according]] to Takizawa.
* TriangRelations: Tokito initially wonders if Kubota has {{Sexiled}} him from their apartment in favour of NewOldFlame Anna. When she offers to have sex with ''him'', he only sticks around long enough to ask whether she's slept with Kubota.
* WhosLaughingNow: Shimura is an unhappy {{Salaryman}} who blames ''kotodama'' and the mockery of others for the mediocrity of his life. He feels briefly powerful and exceptional while concealing his killing from his coworkers.

!!Volume Five
* AdoptTheDog
* DesperatelyLookingForAPurposeInLife
* FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator: Shouta.
* HatesBeingTouched: Tokito, in the first weeks of staying in Kubota's apartment, won't let Kubota or Kasai touch him. Touch is the plot's main symbol of Tokito and Kubota's relationship: After Tokito [[spoiler:breaks Kubota's arm]] with his beast hand, he refuses to touch anyone for fear of harming them. Later Kubota refuses to relax his promise not to touch Tokito, for fear of psychologically harming ''him''. Finally Tokito demands that Kubota take his hand.
* IFoundYouLikeThis
* TroubledBackstoryFlashback: Shouta asking about the name Minoru on the bracelet Kubota found on Tokito triggers one. [[spoiler:Tokito breaks Kubota's arm as]] Kubota administers a CooldownHug to restrain him, and Shouta is frightened away from their apartment for days.
* WholeEpisodeFlashback: HowWeGotHere for volume two, spanning the first half of the year-long TimeSkip between the first and second volumes.

!!Volume Six
* CoolShip: The Izumo gang holds Tokito aboard a tanker at anchor in Yokohama harbour. It's an UnnecessarilyLargeVessel for the purpose, but this setting also evokes the arc's recurring imagery of being surrounded by and sinking into darkness.
* DarkIsEvil: Osamu, and Ryuunosuke's uncle before him, compare the violent, amoral underworld of the yakuza to an inescapable darkness. But as he sees it, the Izumo youth merely "live in the shadows. We stay always just to the left of the light", while Kubota and Tokito "can only fully breathe in the pit of darkness."
* DisproportionateRetribution: In order to recover Tokito, Kubota kills about twenty people. Then he loses count.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Osamu's inclination to kill Kubota isn't lessened by his belief that Kubota killed his best friend Shuji[[spoiler:, and then Ryuunosuke]], who [[DiedInYourArmsTonight died in his arms.]] Shuji left behind a grieving mother, and Ryuunosuke had a yakuza uncle who warned them away from a life of crime.
* FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator: Osamu.
* ItWasAGift: The watch that Tokito breaks was given to Kubota by Komiya. His lack of concern about it encapsulates his total disassociation from his old companions in the Izumo youth group.
* [[IveComeTooFar I've Come Too Far]]: Osamu likens joining Izumo to sinking into dark water. The only way to surface again is to rise to the top of the organisation.
* MookHorrorShow: The sequence in which Kubota kills the Izumo youth gang one by one aboard the tanker is shown largely from their perspective. Kubota is rarely seen.
* MookPromotion: Osamu, Ryuunosuke, and Shuji were Kubota and Komiya's barely-differentiated minions during Kubota's time with Izumo in the prologue arc. In volumes four and six they have names, personalities, backstories, and their own supporting cast, and Osamu and Ryuunosuke have succeeded Kubota and Komiya as Izumo's [[TheDragon Dragon]] and his SideKick.
* VillainEpisode