Back in September 2022, I reviewed the first volume of the sci-fi police procedural Your Forma. Since then the series has had an anime adaptation announced and Yen Press has begun releasing the manga adaptation. But today I’m here to return to the source material with Volume 2, to find out if it continues to prove an interesting series.
In the first book, we were introduced to electronic investigator Echika Hieda and her Amicus (an artificial human) partner Harold. As they solved a case together, Echika worked through her complex feelings toward Amicus and now although Harold still pushes her buttons, the two are an accomplished detective duo.
As we reunite with the two at the beginning of Volume 2, we find them about to get wrapped up in a new case in London. Here people are being assaulted by an Amicus that looks just like Harold and the attacks seem to be connected to the RF Models. The RF Models of Amicus were three units given to the Queen of England. One was Harold, another was Steve who was the culprit behind the crimes in the first book and the third was Marvin whose thought to have gone missing and presumably is no longer working.
After the events of the previous book, there have been calls to shut down Harold in case he goes rogue like Steve. Echika and her department are adamantly against this, but with these new allegations, it’s proving difficult to protect him. Echika is certain Harold isn’t the criminal – but if not him, it must surely be Marvin. As the investigation continues, our heroine is forced to learn and face facts about Amicus that she never dreamed of. She may no longer hate these artificial humans, but how far is she willing to go to protect her partner?
If the first instalment of Your Forma was Echika’s story, then this one is all about Harold. Here we finally learn about the history of the RF Models as well as meet their creator Professor Carter. We learn why these models act so much more human-like and what may have led to Steve going so far as to attack a human, something an Amicus isn’t supposed to be able to do. These are the pieces of the puzzle we were missing in Volume 1. They’re details that didn’t matter in that case, but which are important going forward and will determine the relationship between Harold and Echika.
While this whole story serves as character development and history for Harold, it’s also a compelling mystery in its own right. I did unfortunately figure it out quite early on, but that didn’t take away from the fun of watching our main characters figure it out. Author Mareho Kikuishi is proving skilful at writing stories that hook you emotionally, which helps keep you invested even if you do figure out the culprits ahead of time.
And then there’s the change of scenery from America to the UK. As readers may remember from Volume 1, Your Forma takes place in an alternate future but despite that, there’s still plenty that will be familiar to those of us living here. This includes the popularity of tabloid newspapers as well as the somewhat stereotypically gruff personality of the detective in charge of the investigation and the author also sneaks in a reference to Sherlock Holmes (befitting to a story set in the mystery genre, I feel). And rather than the author taking us to England for the sake of it, this feels like a development that was always likely to happen given the fact the RF Models were originally gifted to the Queen of England.
Now that we know the history of both Echika and Harold, I’m looking forward to seeing where things go from here. It would be nice to see them solve a case that’s not directly tied to their past or feelings and if Kikuishi can pull it off it’ll leave readers eager to return for as long as the series continues. I mean who can say no to a good buddy cop drama? Certainly not me!
As previously mentioned Your Forma Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and continues to be translated by Roman Lempert. The translation reads well with no issues to note. Volume 3 of the series is already available in English with #4 set for a release in September.
Overall, Your Forma Volume 2 shows us the history of the RF Model of Amicus which answers quite a few questions readers are sure to have had since the first book. If the series can remain as compelling as these first two entries have been then the future looks bright for this one.
Our review copy from Yen Press was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK.