The smash science fiction manga hit Clockwork Planet continues this week and I couldn’t be more excited. Yuu Kamiya and Tsubaki Himana have kept the story feeling fresh with plot twists and new developments in each volume and the third volume brings more of that and then some. If you dug the high stakes of the first volume buckle up because the entire planet is at threat this time!
Writer: Kuro (Author), Yuu Kamiya (Creator), Tsubaki Himana
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
After Naoto, RyuZU, Marie, and Halter’s mission to save Kyoto succeeded, the group must lie low. Branded as terrorists and with Marie presumed dead, the new allies decide to gather more information while acting out the daily lives of high school students—something Marie isn’t used to! While undercover, Marie receives valuable information through a coded message: The government is still abusing core parts to endanger civilians. Meanwhile, RyuZU wishes to find her little “sister,” AnchoR, but when the fellow automaton appears, is she a friend or foe?
Why does this book matter?
Mixing some adult themes, cool science fiction ideas, and sharp art, Clockwork Planet has felt modern in the best of ways. It’s the science fiction manga for the reader who wants a bit of quirk with an entirely fresh concept.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Marie gets much of the page time in this volume.
This issue opens up where we left off, with Marie joining Naoto’s school to stay hidden after faking her own death. The concept certainly flipped the purpose of the manga and created a fish out of water situation. The creators use that to its full extent and show what it would be like if a genius kid joined a school that’s way too easy for her. Add in the fact that Naoto isn’t so great as his classes, yet has an incredible ear that can help him fix impossibly broken machines, and you have a fun dynamic at play. This gives the manga a lighter humorous angle whilst RyuZu’s robot sister AnchoR carves up some special ops folks and continues to cast an angel of death vibe.
These elements build tension and end up blowing up when a secret message–over the illegally used radio waves–reaches the heroes. To say the message is graphic and adult is an understatement. It made me laugh, but some might fight it offensive as it involves certain male and female parts in its code. I say code, because this somewhat graphic and comical message ends up having greater meaning later. It might just be the most graphic out of nowhere message to have a bigger purpose I’ve ever seen. This kicks off the second half of the book, which brings a darker and mysterious tone to the manga that shifts things nicely.
The last quarter of the book continues to show AnchoR much more and she looks incredibly creepy, but also cool. The art overall is good, but some epic double page spreads in the end of the manga are real showstoppers. Showing size and scale beautifully with a ton of detail, the creators make it clear the threat is very big and possibly impossible to stop. Given each of our heroes has a talent it’ll be fun to see how they can save the day next volume.
They’re a good team.
It can’t be perfect can it?
RyuZu ends up playing second fiddle to Marie, possibly because the creators wanted to utilize her comedically more, but it ends up leaving RyuZu rather underused. Frankly, she serves more as cheesecake here, which is unfortunate as her dynamic with Naoto is underused. There’s clearly an imbalance when it comes to utilizing all of the characters though it’s never too distracting since the plot moves forward at a good clip.
Fun with well written characters who play off each other very well, Clockwork Planet is a manga that always feels fresh. Mixing humor with its science fiction setting, this is the perfect manga for those who have read it all.