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Watch Dogs Tokyo Volume 1 Review


Watch Dogs Tokyo Volume 1 Cover

Publisher Summary

When the Tokyo Metropolitan Government applies a new, futuristic urban infrastructure management system called J-ctOS, it appears to be an instant success. Citizens' lives are quickly improved thanks to the ease of interconnectivity and convenience. However, all is not as it seems; while everything may appear to be going well, there are secrets lurking behind Blume Japan, the creator of J-ctOS.Inspector Goda Gordon is a dedicated, honorable policeman who believes in justice above all — a mindset that is harder and harder to hold onto as his investigations continue to hit dead ends. After some off-the-books sleuthing, he comes to understand the grip that J-ctOS has on every aspect of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, including its police department. Soon, he realizes that his only option to fight the injustice and corruption in his city may lie in the hands of a group of vigilante hackers known as DEDSEC.  How far is Inspector Gordon willing to go in his fight against J-ctOS? And who, exactly, is DEDSEC?


Author: Seiichi Shirato

Illustrated: Shuuhei Kamo

Translation: David Bove

Lettering: Vibrraant Publishing Studio


I purchased Watch Dogs Tokyo Volume 1 personally with my own funds for the intent of writing this review.

 

Background


Watch_Dogs is an action-adventure franchise developed and published by French publisher Ubisoft. The series currently has three entries in the series with the first two games selling a lifetime total of 20 million+ units total.


Watch Dogs Tokyo was serialized in Shinchosha's Kurage Bunch Magazine in 2022


Tokyo Pop announced it's acquired the license for an English digital and physical release April 30th, 2024


Shuuhei Kamo worked as an assistant and was an artist for one of the volumes of Gangsta:Ghost

 

Review


A man in facepaint, a ball cap , and a jacket looking determined

In modern-day Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government introduces a new urban infrastructure management system called J-ctOS. One of the features of J-ctOS is that it hosts a database of Japan's inhabitants to collect data on potential suspects for criminal activity. While it has been proven to lower Japan's criminal rate, questions begin to arise about the morality of using technology to pass judgment on people.


a man with a long trench coat and suit walking on the side walk

We're introduced to Inspector Goda Gordon, a by-the-books detective whose moral code allows him to be considered one of the best in Japan's police department. When he got assigned to a case involving the murder of a social media influencer, Goda was ready to put his skills to use to unravel the mystery. However, it was revealed that instead of going through the standard due procedure of a criminal investigation, Director of Investigative Support and Analysis Ayashiro announced in the debrief that J-ctOS will be used for the first time to aid in the investigation. Skeptical but optimistic, Goda complies and carries through his investigation, leading to the arrest of one of the named suspects on the list J-ctOS's AI has generated. As the case seems to wrap up, Goda notices that the apprehended suspect was not the prime suspect in the case due to an oversight in how the suspect handled a firearm. When he challenged the results J-ctOS created, he was immediately dismissed by his superiors and the case was closed. He was unsatisfied with the results, and the feeling of guilt overwhelmed him. Goda takes the investigation into his own hands and follows a lead into an abandoned warehouse before he gets ambushed by masked assailants. As things seem to get grim, he is saved by a vigilante group named DedSec, who's against the idea of J-ctOS. Goda is now presented with a choice: keep things as they are or join up with Dedsec in his personal fight against J-ctOS.

A street with lots of glistening cameras pointing at the reader

Narratively, it's a solid vigilante-eques action story with a convincing enough hook that will keep you engaged from start to finish. It's J-ctOS, which reminds me a lot of Psycho-Pass's Sibyl System as we see it in action in the first case. Inspector Goda's reactions and motivation to challenge the system feel genuine and grounded in the world it's based in.


As seen in his backstory, when we see Goda's sharp intuition, His dialogue and senses show that there's no room for error and that every action is purposeful. However, when J-ctOS is introduced into the equation, we can see how much this throws off Goda's grove with the amount of hesitation that is shown in his actions and judgments.


The conspiracy aspect has me engaged in wanting to know more about what is J-ctOS and has me invested in seeing what DedSec's motivations are despite not having much screen time in this first volume. From what we do see, they seem to be a group of individuals with different talents to create a group akin to something you'd see in Magilumiere Magical Girls Inc


The art style and paneling do a good job adding a sense of adrenaline to the fight scenes and chase scenes. This is also present when we switch from action to monologue, as contrasted with its more dialogue-heavy moments. I especially like the DedSec designs that are presented here.

a picture of two faces, on top is a man in a mask and face paint with the bottom being a woman in a mask and face paint

With it being an adaptation of a video game, I think this manga does a pretty good job explaining it's lore and factions in this manga adaptation. I will say I wish we got Goda's backstory in the beginning chapters instead of throwing a bunch of Watch_Dogs information at the reader all at once from the start

 

Final Thoughts

I came in with low expectation given it's a manga adaptation of a video game and what I got out of it was a solid revenge story about how far are you willing to go to do the right thing. While the information might a bit much to digest at first, it presents an engaging narrative that hooks you to see Inspector Goda Gordon's journey on how far is he willing to go before he's at crossroads with his own personal morals and his responsibilities as an officer.


For Fans of the video games, I definitely recommend this one as this will scratch that more "serious" tone itch that was set by the first game in the series


Verdict: Buy it


Watch Dogs Tokyo Volume 1 from TokyoPop is now available at all retailers

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