Dominion
Author:
Masamune Shirow
Genre:
Sci-Fi/Action
Grade
B+

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.

- - Vane

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