Masamune's Dominion is the story of an elite police
force commisioned to capture the master crook Buaku and his
gang. At the start of the story, they manage to bungle his
capture after the crook robs gold coins from a bank. The gung-ho
crew manages to come under constant fire from their destructive
manners and constant failure to capture the wiley crime boss.
As the story depens, Buaku's plans to kidnap Greenpeace Crolis,
a biologic experiment to clean the polluted air shaped in
human form, and then to secure travel off what he deems a
doomed planet become revealed.
A large focus of the story is spent on the members of the
the Tank Police, most noticeably Leona and her tank driver
Al, who has an irrespressible crush on Leona. The only problem
is - she's in love with her special tank Bonaparte. Along-side
of them is the seasoned, yet overbearingly macho Brenten,
Lovelock, the scientific brains of the unit who basically
is a voice for anything Shirow wants to explain to the reader,
and Chaplain, the ever-present conscience of the Tank Police.
When it comes to villains, Buaka and his gang have their charms
while still playing the decent nemesis.
Underlying to the main story are a number of social issues
that Shirow tries to interject: religion versus science, the
state of the environment and polution and the responsibility
of the police to public safety. These issues add a social
depth to a story that could be written off as the standard
sci-fi fare to most manga readers.
Dominion does try to blend action and drama with a
sense of humor that sometimes crops up. While the humor aspect
is, for the most part, a nice touch, sometimes it tends to
slow the pace of the story down. Also, for the most part,
the characters tend to be shallow stereotypes and very little
effort seems to be made to give them depth. From time to time,
the story stops to give some of the characters a little more
personality and development, but it never seems to be enough
to make the reader feel really attached to them.
Artistically, Dominion is as good as Masamune Shirow
always manages to be. Everything is illustrated well and has
a good design about it. If you've seen one of his books, you'll
know what to expect.
If you enjoy Shirow's works, this one's worth getting. For
those uninitiated into his style of story, Dominion
is a good place to start. It mixes enough science, humor and
action to keep you moving and won't drag you down with way
too much theory and speculation.