After discovering that RyuZU’s little sister– another member of the Initial-Y series, is missing, Naoto Miura is determined to go find her. But before he has a chance to go, Marie Bell Breguet approaches Naoto to help her locate the sender of a mysterious message she received.
However, upon arriving in the city of Mie , all functionality in the city has stopped. In the dead city of Mie, Naoto, RyuZU, Marie, and Halter infiltrate the city’s Core Tower to investigate…but what they find in the depths of the Core Tower may be more troublesome than finding RyuZU’s sister automata.
Clockwork Planet‘s second volume catches us up to the present day events. Now that the main characters and the world has been established in the first volume, the story focuses on a seemly trivial adventure of our cast now turned life-changing following the terrorist attack on Akihabara.
It’s amusing how just a simple desire leads to our main characters becoming terrorists. Naoto Miura can’t stop thinking about RyuZU’s sister, AnchoR and Marie gets a insulting and anger-inducing message from a mysterious sender. The attitude our two main character results in them going to the city of Mie where they discover a menacing threat and plan to take it down. The ending of the first volume concluded with very little continuation with leaving the events of prologue questionable. Thankfully, Clockwork Planet resolves that issue and secures itself with a safe narrative by taking form of having our extraordinary characters getting wrapped up in events that threaten the world they live in. And with the cliffhanger the light novel leaves us, we are in for a much bigger adventure.
Marie continues to be a highlight of Clockwork Planet with her inner conflicts and moments of self-doubt. Marie’s pride is her most defining characteristic and how she acts is in accordance to that. So when the result of her actions ends up becoming disastrous for both herself and her companions, Marie takes it very critically. The light novel builds on this by interjecting a statement of criticism as she’s reevaluating the situation, creating a monologue conversation where she’s accusing herself for her actions. Her prideful reflection as a genius clockmaker also adds to the factor of hopelessness as she realizes that even with her superior intellect and skills, everything is out of her hands. Challenging her moral principles in the previous volume was a fantastic reflection of her character, and with this volume challenging her own proud personality, Clockwork Planet continues to impress with the development of Marie.
And with Marie’s moments of breakdown, her aide Halter deals with it in the most logical and effective fashion. Halter doesn’t give any cheap consolation and he doesn’t skirt around the facts. Doing so would undermine Marie’s pride even more, and yet he understands that Marie is a little sixteen-year old girl. But at the end of the day, he understands the basis of the genius known as Marie Bell Breguet and Halter acknowledging that.
“…I failed. Utterly.”
“Yeah, you really failed terribly there.”
As for the other duo, Naoto and RyuZU show significantly less moments of characterization. It doesn’t help at all when the two of them combined is like a couple who constantly snaps at anyone and each other. This side commentary tends to be more harmful for Clockwork Planet as it feels like trivial insults rather than funny comedy and it can feel out of place. The real noteworthy moments are at the end where they eventually confront AnchoR, elaborating themes of trust between each other, albeit one sided at times .
In addition to the characterization, Clockwork Planet continues to build upon the world its has created, focusing on the various organizations and entities of the planet. The second volume also alludes to the thought process of the mysterious individual known as ‘Y’ through the Initial-Y automata, AnchoR.
The drawing style for the illustrations for this volume uses a more blended blur for the character designs in comparison to more sleeker linework in the previous volume. While I don’t have a problem with the the chibi-like depiction of the characters, there are some illustrations where I personally found them jarring to the scene. However, the chibi representation works wonderfully for the character design of AnchoR, which is understandable considering the illustrator’s previous work.
The second volume of Clockwork Planet continues the series on a strong note. Characterization of Marie and Halter and the development of the world of Clockwork Planet remain to be solid and consistent features of the series, but the characters of Naoto and RyuZU leave much to be desired. Regardless, now that the events are all set up, volume 3 appears to be very loaded installment going by the cliffhanger to this volume and I look forward to how the characters tackle this predicament.
Rating: Recommended – Highly Recommended
Author: Yuu Kamiya and Tsubaki Himana
English Publisher – J-Novel Club