Friday, July 27, 2012

Manga Review: Twin Spica (volumes one and two)

The last of my recent pick-ups for the used bookstore, I had previously read a bit of Twin Spica in a bookstore, normally I try to only read a chapter or less of a book in a store (just so I can get a feel for it), but I was so entranced by the series I read the whole thing so the series has been on my to-buy list for a while now. So I was more than a bit alarmed at the news a couple of months back that publisher Vertical was going to let the series go out of print (and it really does sound like overall the books sold terribly) before I had picked up any. Now that I've got the first couple it seems like I'll pick up the rest of them piecemeal and hope I get them all in time, which makes me amused that here I'm going to try and convince everyone else that this series is worth buying and therefore make it even harder to get them all.

Twin Spica by Kou Yaginuma (volumes 1 & 2)

  
Summary: The year is 2024 and middle school student Asumi wants to become an astronaut and be one of the first admitted to the Tokyo Space School. But her small size isn't the only thing working against her there, over a decade earlier Japan's first manned rocket crashed and burned which eventually killed her mother and cost her father his job for his part in designing it. Asumi is determined however and refuses to give up her dream no matter what the world throws in her path. 

The Good: This is a surprisingly emotional story, even though I had already read most of volume one I still found myself tearing up at parts and have no doubt that future volumes will do the same. I hope that some of the side characters are more fleshed out in future volumes but the story has already hinted at backstory for some of them. While it's paced a bit slowly the story never drags and I never felt bored, even though most of the first two volumes about about testing and getting used to the school. For it's fantastical premise the story is rather down to Earth and touching, I can't wait to get a hold of more volumes.

The Bad: While I did like the two extra chapter at the end of each volume I do hope that these won't be at the end of every volume (or at least if there is that it doesn't focus on Asumi every time, I feel like giving her anymore backstory will be overkill) and I'm starting to have a hard time figuring out where all of these extra chapters fit into the timeline which isn't a good thing. I'm also a little worried that the story will rely on emotion too much to carry the story, if that makes sense, since it's already pulled out one dramatic "twist" in order to keep the story interesting and I hope that doesn't become a regular feature.

The Art: The art is on the simple side, especially in the character designs, but the backgrounds are detailed enough and I never had trouble telling any of the characters apart. In some ways Twin Spica is a very simple story and for that reason I think the art fits the story perfectly, it accentuates but never overwhelms it.


As mentioned earlier, this is one of the few series where we have explict, advance notice that it's going out of print and indeed, already volume 11 has vanished from a number of online sellers. I've snagged a copy of that (and have an order at TRSI for volumes 5, 9, and 10, all of which are very low on volumes as well) and I will be trying to grab the others as soon as I can. I suggest that anyone who is interested in the series do the same, but try and leave a copy or two behind for me 'kay? 

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